Helping Protect Your Family Legacy
If you own anything, you have an estate. Your estate consists of everything you own; your car, home, real estate, bank accounts, investments, life insurance and personal possessions.
An estate plan allows you to control how your assets are given to the people or organizations you care most about. To help ensure your wishes are carried out, you need to provide written instructions stating whom you want to receive something of yours, what you want them to receive and when they are to receive it. You will want this to happen with the least amount paid in taxes, legal fees, and court costs.
Comprehensive estate planning should include:
- Passing your values (religion, education, hard work, etc.) in addition to your valuables.
- Include instructions for your care if you become disabled before you die.
- Name a guardian and a financial manager for minor children.
- Provide for family members with special needs without disrupting government benefits.
- Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
- Include life insurance to provide for your family at your death, disability income insurance to replace your income if you cannot work due to illness or injury and long-term care insurance to help pay for your care in case of an extended illness or injury.
- Provide for the transfer of your business at your retirement, disability or death.
- Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.
- Be an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Your plan should be reviewed and updated as your family and financial situations (and laws) change over the years.