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Estate Planning 101

Estate Planning 101

October 01, 2023

A recent study showed that over 60% of Americans do not currently have an estate plan. This means that roughly only 30% of the US population have any sort of estate planning documents in place. 

As we head into “Estate Planning Awareness” month, we want to make sure you and your family are set up for success in the event that something catastrophic happens.

When people hear the words “estate plan”, most think the term only applies to people that are wealthy. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We are here to help educate and guide you through the process of setting up you and your family for financial success by preparing an estate plan.

Plan for tomorrow, today.
Did you know that if you die without a will, your state's succession laws will determine where your money goes? This requires going into probate court where they will appoint someone as a personal representative to oversee distribution of your belongings.

Nobody likes talking about death. But this is exactly why you should make an effort to create and maintain an estate plan: you simply won’t be there to settle matters when the time comes.

Everyone has an estate.
One day, it will be someone's job to account for the things you leave behind when you die. This goes for homeowners and renters, those who are retired and those who are working full-time, and everyone from every walk of life.

Why not just a will?
While your will may state who your beneficiaries are, they may still have to seek a court order to have assets transferred from your name to theirs. Estate planning can include items like properly prepared and funded trusts, which could help your heirs to avoid probate. Probate can be an expensive process and lock up assets during the time they're needed most.

Beneficiary designations on qualified retirement plans and life insurance policies usually override bequests made in wills or trusts. Many people never review the beneficiary designations on their 401k accounts and insurance policies, and the estate planning consequences of this can be serious.

Having an estate plan means keeping the plan updated, as time passes or changes happen in your family.

Where do you begin?
We recommend that you start by setting up a consultation with one of our experienced financial professionals. Our team can refer you to a good estate planning attorney and also help you get started on all the tax documents. We look forward to helping you soon!