More than a will
Estate planning includes much more, but help is available
While critical, creating a will (and/or a living will) is just one step needed to plan for distribution of your assets and belongings upon your death or incapacity. Knowing you have a thorough estate plan in place can bring you, and your loved ones, peace of mind.
Estate planning is easier when you’re surrounded by a competent team of professionals to assist you. Depending on your situation, you’ll want to enlist the help of an attorney, a tax professional, and/or a financial planner.
Based here in Hayward, I offer financial planning services for people of all life stages across several locations. I’m most passionate about working with members of our local community. My clients and I work together to develop sound estate plans, starting with the below.
Update beneficiaries on all your accounts
It’s a common misconception that who you list as beneficiaries in a will supersedes the beneficiaries listed on life insurance, retirement accounts and/or other investment accounts. That’s not the case. You’ll need to review and update the beneficiaries on each as desired. This will ensure the related funds go to the correct people and legal complications relating to the estate are avoided.
People are often surprised to learn how much must be accounted for when I sit down with them to discuss estate planning. To determine where your assets will be allocated, you’ll need to first list all of them. It’s a more in-depth process than people might realize.
Naturally, you’ll take inventory of your monetary interests like investments, accounts and ownership interests. However, you also must list all tangible assets like houses, cars and valuable artwork. In a complete estate plan, everything must be accounted for. Having an accurate inventory is essential.
Build your team
Surround yourself with the right people to ensure your estate plan is thorough.
- An attorney can assist with proper documentation of your intentions and make sure everything is in order legally.
- An accountant plays an important role due to the numerous tax implications related to estate planning. (Your beneficiaries could end up with extreme tax penalties if your estate is poorly planned.)
- An experienced financial professional can help your estate continue to grow and be divided as you wish. Everyone’s financial situation is unique, but there are multiple ways to leave an inheritance to ensure equal shares.
By working with a team, you won’t have to worry about selling tangible assets or businesses to split up the proceeds. And a financial adviser can use a combination of insurance products and investments to ensure your wishes are met without disturbing existing entities.
Start planning your estate today! Reach out to me for local, professional and customized assistance with your estate plan.
*Securities and advisory services offered through MWA Financial Services, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Modern Woodmen of America. Member: FINRA, SIPC