Many people mistakenly believe that a will is all they need in their estate plan. However, there are many other issues that need to be addressed in order to make sure that you maximize the assets that you will pass down to your chosen beneficiaries.
Here is a brief overview of five issues that need to be considered to help you meet your estate planning goals:
Your will. A will is needed to make sure that your assets are transferred to the people or entities that you wish. Without a will your assets will transfer according to your state’s intestacy laws, which are applied when a person dies without a will.
Trusts. Trusts are an important tool for many individuals as they often allow assets to be passed down without having to go through the expensive and burdensome probate process, which we discussed at length in a past post.
Beneficiary designations. It’s important to revisit your beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts and insurance policies to make sure that they are up to date as your will does not override named beneficiaries.
Your retirement. After you have reached retirement, you should know whether you should be spending from your retirement accounts or your taxable accounts first, which can depend on whether you will outlive your assets.
Your financial documents. Your financial documents should be gathered and kept in a safe place where they can be easily accessed by the executor of your estate, otherwise accounts could potentially be overlooked.
An experienced estate planning lawyer can go over each of these issues and others with you. Once your estate plan is in place, you can rest assured knowing that your affairs are in order.