These days, even dying can be complicated. Proper estate planning can mitigate disastrous transfer taxes, probate expenses, and ensure your assets are transferred to your desired heirs. You cannot assume those who survive you will carry out your wishes. You need to take action in advance, especially here in California where simply owning and transferring a home can be costly if not handled properly. By planning in advance, you take control and personalize the experience of estate planning.
Estate planning involves more than just the disposition and transfer of your assets. It is used to make health care decisions in advance, and select those you want to be involved in making financial and health care decisions for you in the event of your incapacity. It's very personal.
There are five good reasons to plan. Basically, you are planning for your own peace of mind and your own legacy.
1. You control your property and your legacy. Without estate planning, you are subject to the laws of intestacy and the state determines disposition of your property.
2. You are able to plan for the unexpected in advance! Rarely do we get this type of advantage in life.
3. You avoid probate - the very costly, very public, time consuming disposition of your assets. Estate planning can save your heirs a tremendous amount of money.
4. You can plan for physical or mental incapacity in advance. This way you have a say in who participates in your care.
5. Your estate plan is a guide for your family and loved ones. It's an act of love and a way to show you care.
Here’s a quick overview of the key documents and what they basically do. If you are creating a multigenerational trust, have a business or need to create a special needs trust, you will likely need more than what is listed here.
Will - the most commonly known document. A will allows you to transfer property at your death in a desired manner. Keep in mind that a will alone does not avoid probate.
Living Will - different than a will. A living will makes your wishes known if you are unable to communicate. The living will is where you outline who you want to care for children for example.
Power of Attorney - appoints someone of your choosing to speak and act on your behalf for financial and/or health matters.
Health Care Proxy - or, medical power of attorney, appoints someone to make health care decisions for you if you are unable.
Living Trust - also called a revocable or inter vivos trust, is a legal arrangement that holds your assets during your life, and transfers them to your desired beneficiaries upon death. A living trust is one method used to avoid probate.
Beneficiary Designation - allows you to name an heir to receive certain types of assets thus avoiding probate by contract or operation of law. Think about accounts like your retirement plan, an IRA, or a life insurance policy. You can name an heir and the asset passes directly to the person you name.
Keep in mind that you are allowed to make changes to your plan. Your decisions are not set in stone and your estate planning documents should be reviewed for necessary changes every three to five years, and especially at major life events such as marriage, divorce, or the birth of a new child. Your estate planning complexity may also grow and change over time as your assets grow and your situation changes.
As an independent Certified Financial Planner™, I can help you prepare for meeting with an estate planning attorney. Contact me and let’s get started. #talktometuesday #education #Hireaplanner #estateplanning #estate #legacy #stressfree #taxsavings