Stepchildren are often part of American families, and it is not uncommon for them to…
I’ll take “Downsizing” for $200, Alex.
This phrase describes the feeling you get after you de-clutter and move to a
smaller, more manageable home and it can also be used to describe the feeling
you get after you complete your estate plan.
What is peace of mind?
Peace of mind is correct.
As you’re thinking about downsizing, you’re also taking the time to invest in peace of mind for your retirement years. Another crucial step toward achieving that peace of mind is estate planning. Most of us naturally dread confronting issues surrounding death and taxes; we know they’re important but it can be so hard to take that first step. Much like tackling a messy garage, where do you even start? We know that estate and tax planning can feel equally, overwhelming making it hard to pick up the phone and call someone.
Even though it is easy to keep estate planning low on your list of priorities, we think you owe it to yourself and to your family to take the time to make a plan. No time is better, or easier than the present to get a good
estate plan in place that will evolve with you through life.
Why make an estate plan in the first place?
Other than peace of mind, the main reason is simple, in making a plan you minimize the risk of a substantial negative impact on your family.
If you don’t already have an estate plan, you might be surprised at how easy they can be.
An estate plan is a process that you control and your attorney will be there to learn your unique goals and help you achieve them in a way that best matches your needs. Common goals include preserving financial resources for children and grandchildren and avoiding the time, expense and headache of ever needing to go to probate court.
A basic estate plan, which we recommend to all of our clients, includes:
- Last Will and Testament – this document distributes your property after your death and nominates your executor;
- Durable Power of Attorney for financial affairs – this document authorizes another person to handle your financial affairs for you; and
- Health Care Power of Attorney – this authorizes another person to make health care decisions for you if you are unable and declares your intent on life sustaining treatment.
Depending on your personal situation, we may advise you to add elements to your estate plan. For example, a trust may make sense for you if you desire to minimize estate taxes or have special circumstances your family to meet prior to inheritance. Each estate plan is specifically crafted for your unique needs and peace of mind.
You: I’ll take “Downsizing” for $400, Alex.
Alex: This is what you do if you already have an estate plan in place and are downsizing or transitioning into retirement.
You: What is nothing, I’m all set.
Alex: I’m sorry “doing nothing” is the WRONG ANSWER.
If you already have an estate plan and you are downsizing or transitioning into retirement or another new phase of life, we strongly recommend you include a review of your plan as a part of that process. When many people downsize it often involves modifications to assets, liabilities, and/or retirement resources. For example, if you buy or sell real estate or open new a new bank account, this is an ideal opportunity to update the titles for these assets. In doing so, you may be able to avoid these assets going through probate court, or if you’ve created one, put the new title in the name of your trust.
In today’s legal environment, most assets and some liabilities can include titles or designations that will facilitate the transfer at death to a third person(s) without the necessity of probate court, thus achieving more peace of mind. We recommend revisiting your plan at least every 5 years or upon the occurrence of certain life events, to ensure that it continues to achieve your goals and objectives
If you have been putting off this important obligation to your family or would like to review your plan with us, then please do not hesitate to call on us for help and guidance. We think you’ll enjoy the peace of mind.