Preparing for what might lay ahead in life, or at death, is a daunting process which is easy to put off. But the fact is everyone who owns anything has an estate, and everyone already has an estate plan put in place by state and federal law. Conceiving and implementing an estate plan is about making your own choices to dispose of your property as you choose, instead of by the law, an institutional policy or a court appointed guardian.
The concept that comes to mind when thinking of estate planning is a Will: a document that says what happens to your property at the time of your death. But estate planning is actually a process that touches every aspect of our personal and financial lives. While asking, “what are my assets worth, and what do I want to happen with my assets?” is an essential part of an estate plan, so are questions like:
“Who do I think would be able to manage my assets if I die?”
“Do I have enough assets to take care of my family and pay my debts in the case of my death, or do I need life insurance?”
“Who would make medical or financial decisions for me if I am not able to?”
“Who could best care for my minor children in the case of my death or incapacity?”
“How can I best arrange my assets to make managing their transfer simple, efficient and saving the most in potential fees and taxes?”
Talking to a fee-only financial planner about your estate plan is essential to organizing your financial and personal life now, and for the future.