Learn why it is imperative that you create or update your will so that you can achieve your goals after you transition…
In today’s economy it is more important than ever that you create a will and/or have an estate plan in place.
In this discussion TheWealthIncreaser.com will discuss the importance of why creating a plan that considers what happens to your assets after you transition is a vital step for you to take at the earliest time possible in your life stage.
Even if you currently have an estate plan or will in place, you want to review and possibly update at this time due to not only recent changes in your family situation, but also recent changes in the tax law and increased exemption and gift tax amounts.
If you have recently married or divorced, have children that have now aged or you have a change in outlook on who you would like to leave your assets to, now is the time to review and possibly make the needed changes.
Your estate may face taxation at the federal and state level, and it is important that you realize that your estate consists of:
The amount of each of the above can be significantly more than you think, therefore it is important that you get out in front of your estate and address what needs to be addressed at this time.
If you have an estate valued over $1 million when the value of your house, retirement accounts and life insurance proceeds are totaled, it is important that you talk to an estate planning attorney to discuss how you can protect your assets and possibly lower your taxes for estate planning and tax purposes.
You may need to use creative strategies such as paying your taxes now so your heirs can avoid future taxes if it is more advantageous to do so.
However, you may need to talk with legal and tax professionals based on your unique financial position, to determine the best or more advantageous route for you to take as some assets that you may own may receive favorable “stepped up basis” treatment.
In addition to a will/trust, you may also need to create a durable power of attorney to give others the power to handle your affairs, create a healthcare proxy to serve as your healthcare advocate if you are unable to do so–and create an advance directive which outlines your wishes if you are involved in a medical emergency and are not able to speak up for yourself and handle your affairs.
You will want to gather certain information whether you decide to utilize an attorney or do it yourself.
Regardless of your choice, you will want to take the following 10 steps and gather the needed information to smooth out the process:
- name and contact information of all you plan on including in your will/trust
- the name of beneficiaries of all of your accounts and policies
- the person(s) that you would like to be executor of your estate
- all statements from your banks/brokerage and retirement accounts including pensions
- all life insurance policies
- all real estate including mortgages and estimated value
- all businesses that you have an interest in
- any inheritance that you are expecting
- any charities that you are considering to leave a bequest to
- any other document(s) that you feel is important
Always realize that the beneficiaries that you name on your accounts and policies will get the proceeds–not who you state in your will, therefore you may need to update your beneficiaries as well as create or update your will at this time.
If an ex-spouse or anyone else that you desire to be removed from any of your policies or accounts who are now named as beneficiary need to be removed–now may be the time to remove them and name another beneficiary(s)–if you have not done so.
You also want to choose trusted family members or friends who could act as executor, a healthcare proxy (you may need them to fill out a healthcare proxy form) and HIPAA form in case of a medical emergency.
The procedures for doing the above could vary by state so be sure you are aware of the procedures in your state.
It is important that you realize at the earliest time possible that creating or updating your will is an important step toward the building of wealth and the generating of generational wealth (pun intended) and it is very important that you get out front and seriously address this area of your personal finances.
Keep in mind that you can choose to complete your estate planning/wills documents online (freewill, legalzoom, nolo etcetera) or schedule a meeting(s) with an attorney–depending on the size of your estate.
If your net worth is $500,000 or more, you definitely want to seriously consider talking with a highly competent estate planning attorney in your state.
Whether you choose an attorney or a do-it-yourself format–your finalized documents must be signed by you, witnessed by two people who won’t inherit anything in the will and be notarized to make it legal and binding!
You will also want to keep your documents secure, therefore you want to store the original in a fireproof safe and tell your executor(s) and other trusted family members where it is and how they can access those documents.
- durable power of attorney to who will handle your affairs
- a healthcare proxy (also file with your primary physician’s office) to who you choose as your healthcare advocate if you are unable to do so and,
- an advance directive (also file with your primary physician’s office) to who you wish to handle your affairs if you are in a medical emergency
Also consider giving a backup copy to someone else you trust in case the executor you choose is unavailable (out of state/country or is otherwise unable to be reached in an emergency).
Be sure you make key family members aware of who your executor(s) are!
If you choose an attorney they should keep a file at the office and it is your responsibility to make sure they do. You also want to let the executor(s) and trusted family members know who the attorney is and provide contact information to them so that they can contact the attorney when needed.
By preparing an estate plan/will at this time you will be using good judgment and not only will your assets go where you intend that they go–you will greatly reduce the possibility of family squabbles and undue burdens and hardships that could be placed on family members and other loved ones during a high stress and grieving time period.
Isn’t it time that you put time aside and gather all of the necessary documents so that you can live out your remaining years on earth in a manner where joy lies at the center of your daily activities and not let anxiety and uncertainty have an undue and unnecessary influence in your life?
NOTE: This discussion on estate planning/wills is not intended to be legal advice and is provided so that you are aware of what is available as far as wills and estate planning is concerned.
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