Everyone has different objectives when starting their estate planning process. For many, though, common objectives often include:
- Providing for lifetime financial security.
- Providing for the management of assets.
- Creating the liquidity to fund tax, debt, and administrative needs.
- Minimizing estate and gift taxes.
- Maximizing assets being transferred to children or others.
- Providing for family members and protecting those with special situations.
- Gaining peace of mind that all these items are in place before any sort of disability or other issues make it too late to act.
Proper estate planning basics also includes financial planning. Financial planners, accountants, and insurance agents can help identify other estate planning issues not addressed in this booklet.
TIP: There is no single estate planning checklist that will work for everyone! Each person is unique and requires a personalized approach to create an effective estate plan.
Remember, if you don’t take control of your estate plan, someone else will and default rules will apply, whether or not they make good sense for your particular situation. Without proper estate planning:
- You lose the ability to name a trusted individual to act on your behalf if you become disabled or unable to manage your own affairs during your lifetime.
- Your assets may not go where you want them to go.
- You forfeit your right to name a personal representative, trustee, and guardian.
- You lose the opportunity to protect assets.
- You may pay more estate taxes.
TIP: Your estate plan does not need to be overly complicated, but it should be well thought out. It is your plan based on your decisions and your goals. Estate planning allows you to control the outcome of your life’s efforts.
- What are possible consequences to your estate if you do not have an estate plan?
- What are the most important objectives for your estate plan?