As a financial planner, it is part of my commitment to guide my clients in many aspects of their financial affairs. One area that is particularly critical to get right is estate preparation and the protection of your loved ones from the unexpected. Proper estate preparation is an act of love and responsibility to those you care about. Many Americans put off estate preparation because they view it as morbid or depressing. Rather, it is important to remember that preparing now may help protect your family. Though you cannot control the future, these preparations help you focus on what you can control and empower you to care for your loved ones long after you’re gone.
Estate Preparation Questions You Should Consider:
- Have you discussed your wishes with your spouse and loved ones?
- Do you have an updated Will?
- Have you executed a Living Will and healthcare proxy to protect your wishes in the event of incapacity?
- Have you named guardians for your children?
- Have you created a Trust and titled your assets in the name of the Trust?
- Were your estate plans constructed to minimize tax consequences?
- Have you reviewed your primary and secondary beneficiaries to make sure they reflect your priorities?
Why is estate preparation so critical?
- It documents your wishes and helps ensure that they are carried out when you are no longer able to look after your affairs.
- It helps protect the financial stability of your loved ones and support your life priorities.
- It helps minimize the taxes, expenses, time, and legal hassle involved with transferring assets to heirs.
Do I really need estate preparation if I have beneficiaries on my accounts?
Beneficiary provisions are a valuable tool for reducing the expense and time associated with transferring wealth. However, they do not replace proper estate preparation. The process of preparing your estate is critical to protecting your family and future financial affairs. Estate preparations also offer an opportunity to explore your life priorities and discuss your thoughts with your loved ones.
If you have worked with an attorney to develop your estate plans, it’s still a good idea to regularly review your documents to make sure that they still reflect your wishes. Letting your documents go out of date can create legal problems or expensive tax bills for your heirs.
Hopefully, this information will help you think about your priorities and prompt a discussion with your loved ones. These questions and considerations are not exhaustive and are only designed to act as a starting point for your preparations to get your estate documents in order. If you’re not sure about any of these issues, it may be time to request a legal and financial review.
Investment Advisor Representative of and securities and advisory services offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, a Broker/Dealer and a Registered Investment Adviser. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.
Hudson Financial Services, Inc. 1249 Pleasantville Road, Briarcliff Manor, NY 10510.