Estate Planning Essentials

Estate Planning is the process of creating a plan to distribute assets –  a plan to take care of the people and things important to you – during your life or upon your death. An Estate Plan should also include contingency arrangements for the possibility that you may not be able to make decisions at some point in your life, for example, because of a severe injury or medical condition.

Why is it important:

·       will help ensure that your dependents and beneficiaries have income and assets for their ongoing needs. The loss of your income means that some planning may be needed to determine how it can be replaced. You likely wish your dependents to maintain normal spending patterns without substantially altering their lifestyle when you are no longer there to contribute.

·       to minimize family disputes. By planning ahead, you can anticipate issues and discuss the reasoning behind your decisions with family members ahead of time. An Estate Plan enables you to convey your wishes about how you wish your affairs to be administered. Including guardians for your children. If you do not convey your wishes, others, such as the government, courts and those you may not trust may be able to make decisions that you would not agree with.

·       helps minimize costs and taxes so that as much property as possible is passed to your heirs, rather than being eroded by administrative fees and taxation.

·       peace of mind in having an estate plan in place. There is a certain satisfaction that comes from putting one’s affairs in order.

What is involved in the estate planning process:

  1. Determine your objectives
  2. Understand your current financial status
  3. Consider strategies and tools
  4. Develop Plan
  5. Implement plan
  6. Keep it current