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Estate Planning

If you have real estate, investment savings, or any other assets in your name, you should have an estate plan. Estate planning allows you to plan how your assets will be distributed among your beneficiaries.

While estate planning seems like only writing a will, there is more to it than that. This guide explains what estate planning is, the role of a financial advisor in estate planning, plus the cost of drafting an estate plan.

What is Estate Planning?

Estate Planning is the process of arranging how your assets will be managed or disposed of in the event of your death or incapacitation. Estate planning is an essential tool, especially in today's world where family members fight over the estate of a deceased loved one.

<b>What are the Major Components of Estate Planning?</b>

What are the Major Components of Estate Planning?

Estate planning isn't a standalone topic. It comprises several components that make up an estate plan. They include:

Financial Planning

The initial stage of crafting a comprehensive estate plan is financial planning. This crucial step requires a thorough evaluation of all your assets to assess whether they will suffice to distribute among your intended beneficiaries in the unfortunate event of your passing.

To accurately determine the value of your assets, it is essential to factor in estate taxes, inflation costs, and any other expenses related to estate planning. If you find loopholes in your finances that could decrease the value of your assets, resolve these gaps before they become a liability.

Directives and Distribution

Directives and distribution are what comes next in an estate plan. This is a crucial section because it addresses the distribution of the assets and applicable directives that apply to estate planning. Common documents found here include the will, power of attorney, living trusts, and healthcare directives of the deceased.

Seeking the guidance of an experienced estate planning attorney is recommended when you draft these documents.

Do Financial Advisors Do Estate Planning?

In estate planning, financial advisors can be valuable partners. Working with a financial advisor throughout the estate planning process can offer several benefits, including:

Retirement Planning

Retirement planning can be complex and overwhelming. Financial advisors can help with setting up retirement accounts such as IRAs, Roth IRAs, and 401(k) rollovers. They can also guide you on the laws regarding inheritance that govern these accounts. This means your advisor can ensure that your retirement accounts align with your overall estate planning goals and can make necessary updates in case of policy changes.

Updating Beneficiaries

Life changes can impact your estate plan, and it's important to keep it up-to-date. For example, if you have a new child in the family and would like to add them as a beneficiary, your advisor can help make the necessary adjustments. Similarly, if you have made significant transactions such as selling a business or adding beneficiaries, updating your estate plan to reflect these changes is crucial to ensure your plan remains current and aligned with your goals.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  • Is Estate Planning Part of Financial Planning?

    Finances are core to estate planning since they are part of the entire plan. These include money stashed away in retirement, investment, and savings accounts.
    Managing the financial part of an estate plan is by no means an easy feat. This is why a financial estate planning advisor is crucial to estate planning since they take care of the money part. They're also aware of changes in existing policies that may impact your estate plan in any way and can make updates accordingly.

  • What is the Average Cost of Estate Planning?

    The benefits and confidence outweigh the costs of hiring a professional.
    If you choose to hire an attorney, together with a financial advisor, the total cost will vary depending on how sophisticated your estate is. A more vast estate requires much more planning, and hence, costs are higher than smaller estates.

  • What are the Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes? 

Not having an estate plan at all: Failing to create an estate plan is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Without a plan, your assets may not be distributed according to your wishes, and your loved ones may end up with significant legal fees and delays.

Failing to update your estate plan: If your estate plan is not updated regularly, it may not accurately reflect your current wishes or financial situation. This can lead to unintended consequences and legal challenges.

Not considering all of your assets: Many people only consider their bank accounts, investments, and real estate when creating their estate plan. However, it's important to remember that assets such as life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and digital assets also need to be included in your plan.

Choosing the wrong executor or trustee: The person you choose to oversee the distribution of your assets can have a significant impact on the process. It's important to choose someone who is trustworthy, responsible, and capable of carrying out your wishes. 

Failing to consider estate taxes: Estate taxes can significantly reduce the value of your estate and impact how much your beneficiaries receive. It's important to work with a financial advisor or estate planning attorney to understand how estate taxes will affect your assets and plan accordingly.

Schedule your Estate Planning Session Today

Estate planning is for people from all walks of life, regardless of your level of assets. Therefore, the role of a financial advisor in estate planning today shouldn't be underrated because they are integral in financial planning.

If you'd like to start your estate planning journey today, contact us and we would be happy to guide you through the process.

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