A successful financial plan in many cases involves money to outlive the investor, addressing the primary concerns of having one’s money last. However, the planning continues beyond that point as a result of this wealth transfer to heirs often referred to as Estate Planning or Legacy Planning. A proper Legacy Plan will help to ensure that the distribution of assets will follow the wishes of the owner after their time. Not only will it provide additional piece of mind that your intent has been properly taken into account, it can also help to avoid certain headwinds such as probate, overspending by beneficiaries, legal claims against the estate and/or beneficiary.
Is Legacy Planning Right For Me?
Often the term “Estate” can conjure up images of wealth and exclusivity; however nearly every person has an estate of some kind. Any property held by an individual such as cars, bank accounts, furniture, collectibles, investments, real estate, life insurance and personal possessions make up parts of an estate. As a result, it is important to not only account for what makes up one’s personal estate but to make sure that the proper provisions are in place to distribute these assets with minimum impacts to the value of the estate itself and its beneficiaries. For these reasons, legacy planning is for most people. Coastal Wealth Planners is prepared to begin this discussion with you and help with your Legacy Planning needs.
I Have a Will, Isn’t That Enough?
Having a Last Will is a step in the process; however it is not an all-encompassing estate plan and needs to be reviewed over time. An individual’s Will is used in the case of non-beneficiary designated assets as part of the probate process. However, where possible and if proper to one’s wishes the use of a beneficiary designation can avoid additional time as well as cost involved in the probate process. Furthermore, a Legacy Plan should also involve provisions before death such as a Living Will (also known as a Healthcare Directive) and a Durable Power of Attorney. Over time, the changes in estate law, tax law, personal preferences or life changes can all be reasons to review and/or update the Legacy Planning documents as well as any beneficiary designations where necessary.
What Does Legacy Planning Involve?
Legacy planning starts with understanding your wishes both now and after your passing as previously mentioned. The wealth transfer preparation will involve gathering a list of your possessions for consideration in the planning process. This will help to better organize the visualization of who you’d like to direct parts of the estate to, what you’d like to distribute to them and when/how that distribution should take place. Considerations involved during this step can include ways to ensure that legal, tax, and court costs are minimized to preserve the maximum value of the estate. It is also a time that one can name trusted individuals as part of the process as executor/executrix who understands the intent of the estate planning and will act on behalf of the estate when the time becomes necessary.
Additional considerations can be made for when and how the legacy transfer takes place as well. Consultation with legal and tax professionals can help understand how these can enhance potential tax savings or asset protection. It is also important to consider different investments potential tax impacts on the beneficiary as a result of the distribution methods set forth in your planning.
Why is Legacy Planning Important?
As previously mentioned, the proper planning can give you piece of mind as well as more efficient preservation of your estate’s value. It also ensures that you have clearly written directives in the case of incapacitation and proper legally provisioned individual(s) to act on your behalf should it be needed. More importantly, it can eliminate additional uncertainty during an already trying time for your loved ones while ensuring your wishes are carried out. The proper Legacy Plan will also ensure that nothing gets missed or unclaimed therefore becoming unclaimed property of the state.
How Do I Get Started?
Coastal Wealth Planners is here to help in understanding your needs and beginning the collaborative process of Legacy Planning. Call us today for a complimentary Legacy Planning Introductory phone appointment at (732)554-1099 or schedule directly HERE.
Interested in exploring some planning topics with our complimentary tools? Register HERE.