Who is on your Team: Can your starting lineup carry the ball?
Estate planning is not just about what happens to your stuff when you die. It is about coordinating all aspects of your life so (i) you can be taken care of during times when you are unable to care for yourself, and (ii) your obligations are taken care of and your money and property are then distributed to the individuals you have selected upon your death, in the way you want.
While you may visit with us to prepare your estate plan (i.e., will, revocable living trust, powers of attorney, and living will), this is only one component of making sure that your ultimate estate and financial goals are carried out. In order to accomplish this large and important task, you need a team made up of the right players.
Introducing the Starting Lineup
We, as your Estate Planning Attorneys can help by arranging your legal affairs so that trusted people are authorized to make decisions for you when you are unable and so that your money and property are handled and distributed as you desire after your death. As your legal counsel, we are well-versed in the strategies to accomplish this.
A financial adviser plays an important role by being able to understand your specific financial goals and investment objectives. He or she is able to craft a financial plan to ensure you have sufficient cash to meet your needs and live the lifestyle you want. They can also help ensure that there are ample resources available at death to pass on to your loved ones. If you are an individual or have a family with a high net worth, financial planning often moves beyond retirement planning to laying the foundation for multi-generational wealth transfer or achieving philanthropic objectives.
An insurance professional provides an analysis of your current and future insurance needs. For many estate planning strategies, life insurance is critical to ensuring that there are funds available to take care of all your beneficiaries and any tax obligations your estate may leave. This is especially true if you own your own business or have other large accounts or valuable pieces of property that are difficult to divide between beneficiaries.
An accountant or CPA brings valuable income and estate tax planning strategies to the planning process. Although much of the focus in estate planning has historically been on estate taxes, a comprehensive plan must consider the impact of all taxes you and your beneficiaries may owe. While you may have great goals for the future, we want to make sure that they are not achieved at too high of a tax cost.
A spiritual adviser can offer insight and provide guidance to help you express what matters most to you. They can help you share lessons, stories, and experiences, along with moral, personal, and spiritual values with the next generation through your estate and financial plans. By approaching your planning from a spiritual or value-based perspective, you can shape how you are remembered. Planning with a focus on your morals, values, and beliefs also provides valuable context for your family about why an estate or financial plan is designed in the way it is and how your family can continue your traditions and use what has been left to them in a responsible and charitable way.
Who Needs This Type of Planning?
Employing a large number of advisers to assist you can seem like an overwhelming task and only necessary for the very wealthy, but everyone can benefit from this comprehensive approach. When everyone is on the same page, your team can work together seamlessly behind the scenes to make sure everything is taken care of.
Although the following list is not exhaustive, if you find that any of the following apply to you, then you will benefit from comprehensive estate planning.
● You do not have a will or trust
● Your will or trust is old
● Your existing trust is unfunded
● You have minor children
● You have a child with special needs
● Your child is not good at handling money or susceptible to other legal claims
● You have gotten remarried and are now part of a blended family
● You have gotten divorced or been widowed
● You are unmarried but in a committed relationship
● You are in a same-sex marriage
● You own a large retirement account
● You have charitable interests
● You own your own business
● You have a pet(s)
● You are unmarried and do not wish to leave assets to your family members
We Are Here to Help You Get Started
We are happy to work with any of your existing advisers or provide you with recommendations for advisers if you are interested in engaging their services. Call us today to schedule an appointment to review your existing plan or draft a comprehensive new estate plan using the team approach.