Creating an optimal strategy for your legacy is more than just managing estate taxes … it’s about organizing your assets so they pass to your family, loved ones or a charity in the manner you wish. It’s about maximizing how much you leave, while still ensuring that your financial needs are taken care of for the rest of your life.
Some people believe that legacy planning is only necessary for the wealthy, but this simply isn’t true. There are plenty of reasons why you should do the necessary planning, regardless of your net worth. For one thing, this will help to define who inherits your assets. It also determines who will be the guardian of your minor children or any dependents with special needs. The minimum components of legacy planning usually include a will, a durable power of attorney, and a medical power of attorney.
Establishing a Trust
Legacy planning is critical to ensure that your family receives the assets you have accumulated during your life. Regardless of how much money you have, we feel legacy planning is the best way to protect the financial interests of your family when you are no longer here to do so.
One tool at your disposal during estate planning is a Trust. The focus for a Trust is that it is a key instrument in helping you minimize estate taxes and probate exposure. Proper verbiage and Trust design is necessary to protect assets from the potential ravages of extremely high cost healthcare as we age. Establishing a Trust and planning ahead could be worth a lot to you and your heirs.
Keep Good Records
Another key facet of estate planning is keeping good records, not just of your assets, but also documents that describe your wishes. As an example, your will should outline who you want to inherit your assets after you die, as well as who you’d like to manage your finances or make medical decisions for you in the event that you are incapacitated. These documents are also helpful because they reduce the time and expense of estate settlement, which makes it easier on your heirs.
If you have worked with someone in the past, and you believe your estate is properly structured, it may not be. There have been substantial changes in estate laws and taxes in the last couple of years and your plans may no longer accomplish what you originally intended. Also, it’s likely that your situation has changed, maybe even dramatically since you last examined this part of your financial picture.