Estate planning is the process of accounting for all your assets and ensuring that in the event of your death, they’re passed on to your beneficiaries in accordance with your wishes. We understand that planning for the future can be a daunting task. But having a well-conceived plan will help streamline this process and give you and your family real peace of mind.
Not sure how to get started? Here are six important steps to get you on the right track:
Take Inventory of Your Estate
Start by preparing a summary of all your valuable assets. Some examples might include: bank and investment accounts, your home, vacation property and any personal property such as vehicles, jewelry and art. You can also use this opportunity to document where important items like your birth certificate are located.
Define Your Estate Planning Goals & Objectives
As you begin your estate planning, consider both the personal and financial goals you’d like to achieve with your plan. Doing so will provide comfort in knowing that your property will be distributed as desired and that your loved ones are taken care of. Some of the main objectives you should consider include:
- Providing for loved ones
- Minimizing taxes
- Protecting your assets
- Maintaining privacy
- Supporting an important cause
Here are some key questions to ask yourself when establishing your goals and objectives: Who will be the beneficiaries of your estate? How will your estate plan impact your loved ones? When would you like your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance? Do you wish to leave any portion of your estate to charities?
Evaluate Your Goals & Objectives Based on Your Financial Situation
Once you’ve established your goals, the next step is to determine how you’ll achieve them based on your current financial situation. Speaking with your financial advisor will help you to properly assess your situation and outline how your objectives can be achieved. Some key factors to consider during this process include inflation, taxation and legislation which are all subject to change over time. Our portfolio managers at RaeLipskie are happy to make this process as seamless as possible. Reach out to us here!
Establish a Power of Attorney
A power of attorney (POA) is a legal document giving one person the authority to manage your money and property on your behalf. In the event that you become disabled, injured or incapacitated, this person has the ability to make financial and medical decisions for you. Your POA may have full or limited authority to act for you depending on what you decide, making it critical to choose someone you trust wholeheartedly. The POA can end for a number of reasons such as: when you die, when you designate a new POA or when the court invalidates it.
Draft a Will
A will is a legal document that allows you to specify your wishes, including how you’d like your assets distributed and who will take care of your children or pets. Plan to update your will regularly especially after major life events, like marriage, birth of a child or retirement. Having a will is necessary to ensure all your assets are accounted for and that others understand and carry out your wishes.
Review your Estate Plan Regularly
Life is always changing, so it’s important to review and update your estate plan regularly so it continues to reflect your wishes and the laws in place. As things like your family structure and finances are subject to change as the years pass, it’s recommended that you review your estate plan at least once every two years or after any big life events.
As tempting as it may be to put off creating your estate plan, doing so now will give you peace of mind knowing that all your affairs are in order. The RaeLipskie Partnership is happy to help ensure that your estate plan addresses all your needs and you don’t miss any important details. Reach out to one of our Portfolio Managers to get started!