Estate planning, or making sure that your family is taken care of, and also making donations to charities if possible, can be a challenging task. The subject of what to do with your money after you have gone is a somber conversation, but one that is necessary in order to finalize all of your finances. The financial advisors at Aureus Wealth Management want to help guide you through the difficult process of planning on what to do with your money. Our experience and knowledge can be a large asset to you when demanding questions arise. Here are just a few things that will help you get started on your estate planning journey.
Define Your Goals
Having a clear and concise goal in front of you will give you a chance to see what steps are to be completed and which steps can be checked off. Take time to consider what you want to happen with your money. How will the assets be spread out between family, friends, and charities? Ask yourself who you want to handle your estate, whether that is a lawyer or a family member. Write down any questions or concerns you may have and if they relate to your estate and your family. Consult with a financial consultant if you aren’t sure or are unaware of the effects of state taxes.
Gather and Organize Information
Estate planning doesn’t have to be done all at once, it can take time; so keep in mind that as you’re gathering information, it might take some patience. Gather all documents such as property titles and life insurance and determine their net worth. Creating a living trust, a will, a power of attorney for financial and medical decisions, and a living will are all items that need to be completed. A living trust will allow for the management of your finances in the event that you are unable to do so. A living will allows a person to make end-of-life decisions on your behalf.
Beneficiary designations are also an important part of the process. Look at how assets are owned. In the case of a married couple, if a title is jointly owned, the surviving spouse will own the title, despite how a will or trust has been set up. Discussing beneficiary designations with a financial advisor should be done before terms of a will or trust are defined.
Choose the Right People
A fiduciary, or the person who you choose to act as your representative, is an important decision. The responsibility to make decisions and execute your plan is a great one and shouldn’t go to the oldest child just because that is what has been done in the past. In fact, the fiduciary doesn’t need to be part of the family at all. Ideally, a fiduciary will have some experience with the legal, tax, accounting, and investing aspects of estate planning.
Once all of the estate planning documents have been signed and completed, it is essential that all decisions made are communicated to the appropriate people. The fiduciary that you have selected should know where all pertinent documents are kept and should also have access to these documents. Include contact information for anyone involved in the planning, such as physicians, estate planning attorney, financial advisor, or CPA.
After years of hard work, energy, and effort put into planning for retirement and saving money, it is crucial to have a plan for your estate. It is often a gloomy task, especially involving family members and planning for a time when you aren’t around. However, going through the hard work will be worth the effort knowing that you, your family, and your assets will be taken care of. If the time has come to start estate planning, consult with a financial advisor who can provide advice throughout this difficult task. Contact Aureus Wealth Management today.