Estate planning comes with many uncertainties, but asking the right questions can make all the difference.
You might believe that estate planning is only for people with vast quantities of wealth. However, strategizing for the future can benefit people from all walks of life. An estate plan can ease your concerns about the future. It allows you to make decisions now that will affect your family’s well-being in the long run.
Whatever your goals might be and regardless of what assets you may own, putting together a plan will help you pursue what you desire. It can also keep outside parties, like courts and government entities, from taking control of decisions that you would prefer remain in your hands or in the hands of your loved ones.
Q: What Does an Estate Plan Typically Cover?
A: Estate plans come in a variety of forms. The professionals you have on your financial team will help mold it to fit your specific needs, but certain pieces are present in most strategies:
- A will- directs property distribution after your death; can also cover the care of children under adult age.
- A living trust- allows you to name someone who can manage your assets if you become incapacitated.
- Power of attorney- involves choosing a person to make decisions for you if you are unable to do so for yourself.
- Future medical care plan- includes your wishes for certain medical procedures and medicines, as well as life-prolonging measures.
- Beneficiaries- receive proceeds from your investments after your death.
Q: When Should I Begin Planning My Estate?
A: An estate plan becomes a priority when you're past a certain age, but there's no reason to wait. You never know what the future might bring, and having a solid strategy in place can ensure that your affairs are in order if something unexpected happens to you. Your family might land in a difficult position if you haven't taken any steps to plan your estate, and therefore, it is never too early to start the process. If you have children and you want to make sure they'll be secure in the event of a tragedy, planning your estate is the most logical step to take.
Q: I Want to Have an Estate Strategy in Place, but Where Do I Start?
Making an estate plan might seem like a complicated process. Luckily, getting started isn't as hard as you might think. The first part will be figuring out where you currently stand — what assets and accounts do you currently possess — and what exactly you want to achieve.
Enlisting the help of a financial planner is a valuable starting point. They can help you organize your assets and ensure your various accounts and policies are up-to-date before proceeding. With the right help, you can break the estate planning process up into smaller, more manageable parts.
At Cornerstone Financial Management, LLC we're ready to help you figure out the most suitable way to move forward with your estate plan. We will assist you with reducing the amount of tax you would owe, while also helping you more efficiently pass your estate on to your loved ones when the time comes. With a properly composed estate strategy, your values and wishes can create a solid future for your family. Get in touch with us today for more information on estate planning and how we can help.
*This information is not intended to be a substitute for specific individualized tax or legal advice. We suggest that you discuss your specific situation with a qualified tax or legal advisor.