Estate planning is just a way of securing wills and trusts, a durable power of attorney etc. for when you are incapacitated. Although business owners and people with complex financial issues rely on estate planning, it is for anyone with assets.
When to start estate planning
A good example of when to start is when you start to accrue interest from savings and retirement accounts and when you own property (includes jewelry and stocks.) Start gathering the materials to organize accumulated all assets will be distributed at the time of death. If this is not done, family members will likely receive your assets.
Where to look for estate planning information
The safest way to find information and to start estate planning is to work with reputable financial firms. For beginners, a really easy and quick way to learn about estate planning is to start with financial gurus like Suze Orman.
She speaks to the average Joe and her website comes with various resources like kits, books and even message boards where professionals respond to your questions.
For the more financial savvy and legal minded person, Legalzoom.com is another well known and reputable source for estate planning. However, information is attained, the point is to designate guardians of your estate, handle the probate process for your loved ones and allocate your funds.
Purposes of estate planning
Distribution and funeral planning alleviate stress for inheritors. For example, money and property left to a minor need to be appointed to a guardian with the minor’s best interests at heart. A bereaved, adult child receiving money from a deceased parent is also common.
“What steps do I take with this money?” Complex financial processes while grieving don’t mix. Estate planning provides you with many solutions on how to smoothly transition your money to the minor.
A part of estate planning used in present day is scoring tax breaks, making insurance work and titling or transferring trust assets. Having an estate plan provides you with many tax loop holes, including lower taxes for having a good quality plan set in motion.
Life insurance policies such as whole life policies for retirement allow you to borrow financial contingencies on top of the monthly stipends your insurance plan pays.
Granting peace of mind to inheritors is much easier when you have implemented a strategy for distributing benefits. Have you considered the creditors who will be calling your family asking for payments after your death? Estate planning can remove that problem.
Estate planning also only needs to be revisited when there are major life changes:
- Having a child
- Designating/changing guardians
- Changes in financial accounts
- Buying/changing life insurance plans/providers
- When titling or “retitling” large assets ex. home
- Changing, expanding or selling a business.
Save inheritors litigation stress. When opening any financial account, consider estate planning so your money is designated the way you want it to be designated. It is the ultimate way of controlling how your finances and business matters are handled when you are no longer around to do so.