Reviewing your estate planning options can be one of the most important steps to ensure peace of mind for you and your family. Though it may be an initially uncomfortable topic to discuss, estate planning is necessary to ensure your loved ones are well taken care of and your wishes are executed.
A survey by AARP found that approximately 60% of American adults do not have a will or living trust. However, without an estate plan, important questions like who will provide for your children or pets and who will inherit your assets may go unanswered. As a result, the law or courts will make those decisions for you.
Thankfully, there are exceptional estate plan resources like Saddock Wealth to help you through all the estate plan ideas and options available. Our resources allow you to determine the best course moving forward. In the meantime, you can get started on making these important determinations by taking the following small steps that will lead to better estate planning in the long term.
Create an Inventory
Many individuals are surprised when they start to create an inventory of their assets, as the list can be much longer than it initially appears. Start your estate planning by making a quick checklist of all your assets, which can include any and all of the following:
- Checking accounts, saving accounts, and CDs
- Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
- Retirement plans such as 401Ks
- Life insurance policies
- Other income, like income from a business
- Homes, land, and other real estate
- Vehicles, including cars, boats, or other assets
- Collectables such as works of art or antiques
- Other personal possessions of value
Conversely, you’ll want to list any outstanding liabilities, such as mortgages or credit card debt. This will give you a blueprint of what you will distribute in your final estate plan.
Choose Your Executor
Once you understand what you will leave behind, it’s essential to have an executor, or a point person, who will ensure your wishes are carried out. You can name more than one executor if you wish, but remember that all listed executors will have to make any decisions unanimously, which might be difficult in a challenging time
Remember that your directives will include a will that outlines how you want your assets distributed, and other factors, such as a guardian for your children. So, you’ll want to choose an individual who can handle all of these details.
Start Thinking About Your Will
Your will is essential and the blueprint for how your directives will be carried out. Optimally, a will can include the following information, as needed:
- The assets and properties you leave behind, from your retirement accounts to your collectibles and treasured mementos.
- The beneficiaries, or those who will inherit these specified properties and assets.
- The guardian is selected to take care of any children or pets.
- Instructions on finances, including how money is distributed or how debts should be paid.
- Any gifts to charities.
- Funeral or burial instructions.
- Custodian/Trustee if needed, is an adult named to manage money in a trust account on behalf of a beneficiary who is a minor.
Keep an Eye on Taxes
Estate planning ahead of time is a solid way to minimize estate and inheritance tax. Therefore, while only large estates are subject to hefty taxes of 18-40%, on the federal level, states can vary widely.
A professional wealth manager can help you navigate the many challenging tax situations when it comes to estate planning and can pave the way to a clearer path forward.
Seek Professional Guidance When It Comes to Estate Planning
Estate planning resources are all but required for individuals who may not have immediate familiarity with writing a will or navigating ever-changing tax law. Your final wishes deserve to be carried out to the letter, and professional guidance is necessary to ensure that no stone is left unturned when managing your estate.
At Saddock Wealth, we have spent decades assisting our clients with every step of wealth management, including estate planning. We will assist with coordination with attorneys and other advisors, family asset management, family conflict resolution, budgeting, and legacy or succession planning, ensuring that every corner of thorough estate planning is complete.
Reach out to us today to start a conversation about estate planning, and how we can help you with this delicate but essential aspect of wealth management. With Saddock Wealth at your side, you can have peace of mind that your loved ones will be cared for, regardless of the future.