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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.
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.
Estate planning isn't a standalone topic. It comprises several components that make up an estate plan. They include:
Financial planning is the first component of an estate plan. This involves taking stock of all your assets to determine whether they're enough to distribute among your beneficiaries if you die.
So to derive the actual value of your assets, you need to factor in estate taxes, inflation costs, plus other estate planning expenses. 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 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.
It is recommended to consult with an estate planning attorney and draft these documents.
Financial advisors play a significant role in estate planning. Below are reasons why you should have a financial advisor with you from the first to last estate planning consultative meeting:
Retirement planning is a beast that you may not be able to deal with alone. Besides setting up retirement plans such as IRAs, Roth IRAs, and 401 (k) rollovers, financial advisors understand the laws on inheritance governing these accounts.
What's more, in case there are policy changes on retirement accounts, your advisor could make immediate updates.
Changes in your personal or financial life require you to update your estate plan regularly. For example, if you have a newly born child in the family and would like to include them among your beneficiaries, your advisor could make these adjustments.
Alternatively, if you have made recent transactions (selling a business or adding a beneficiary, for example), updating your estate plan to reflect these changes is essential since it could impact the total value of your assets.
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.
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.