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Estate Planning

Estate planning is an ongoing process that can help you pass on your assets in a way that reflects your values, dreams and the full life you've lived. Proper estate planning can also help you take care of your family when you're no longer able to do so yourself.  You may already be aware of the importance of life insurance when you're planning how to take care of your family financially when you're gone.  But what happens if you become ill or disabled and need long-term health care? These expenses can rapidly deplete your retirement savings and all your other assets as well.  You should also consider strategies for helping reduce estate taxes and transferring wealth to your heirs.

Some common basic goals of estate planning include:

  • Helping preserve your assets against the high costs of long-term care
  • Managing your financial and legal affairs if you become disabled
  • Expressing your wishes with regards to medical care, and designating an individual to make medical decisions for you when you cannot
  • Providing for your family if you become disabled or die
  • Minimizing delays and frustrations of estate settlement
  • Helping your family avoid unnecessary estate tax liability
  • Benefiting a charity
  • Controlling the distribution of your assets

Life Certain Wealth Strategies can assist you in creating your estate plan. In reality, much of the upfront work is done by the financial advisor through the creation of a comprehensive financial plan. Much of this information will be used by the attorney. Your financial plan should include a statement of net worth but also a listing of your current beneficiaries, your financial goals, income and expenses, and current investments, all of which is useful for your estate planning attorney.  Your financial advisor will already have gathered and organized your financial information such as tax returns, current estate documents, financial account statements, etc. having this already organized may save your attorney time and you money.

The process of creating the financial plan will help identify a lot of estate issues. Issues you may not have known prior to creating the financial plan. Your financial advisor will help invest your money in order to pursue certain goals, such as a grandchild’s college education or plan for the care of a loved one, but your estate attorney is the one who drafts the actual legal documents, such as wills and trusts. Once these legal documents are in place your attorney and financial advisor will work together to make sure your assets are titled properly and match what is in the estate plan documents. We know that life changes. These changes may affect many areas of your life including your financial and estate plan. Your financial advisor and estate attorney need to be communicating to ensure both your financial and legal plans reflect these changes. Recognize the value of a strong partnership between your financial planner and estate attorney.  Establishing an estate plan is an important component of the financial planning process. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.