7 considerations for evaluating your current estate plan
Whether you are new to the estate planning process or revisiting a current estate plan, there are seven considerations you should take into account when evaluating the final plan.
Control who gets what and how much. In order to distribute your assets, you must decide who the beneficiaries of your estate are (spouse, children, grandchildren, charities) and what assets you wish to pass to them (liquid and illiquid). You also need to determine how much for each beneficiary, and when considering children, fair vs. equal distribution needs to be discussed. Keep in mind the time frame for distributing your wealth and consider whether there is a benefit to do this before or after death. Also, be sure to discuss how assets are distributed and understand any conditions on access to the assets.
Special concerns. Be sure to address any special concerns you may have in the plan. For example, tax efficiencies; special needs trusts or unique family situations, as well as special assets or concentrations in certain assets. If you are a business owner, don’t forget to consider business ownership and/or succession issues.
Special considerations for beneficiaries: spouse. When considering the distribution of assets to your spouse, discuss whether there is a need for a contingency plan. Such as, what is their financial/business acumen and does they have independent assets? Consider any likelihood that they will remarry and what their desired level of involvement in the management of your wealth would be.
Special considerations for beneficiaries: child/grandchild. Be sure to note the age of children or grandchildren when developing your estate plan; are they minors or adults? Also, take into account their financial/business acumen and how will/should they use available resources. Address any marriage and/or in-law issues if needed and reflect on any on-going legacy thoughts.
Special considerations for beneficiaries: charity. Acknowledge any charities you want to help. Consider tax-advantaged strategies and which assets are best to utilize, and take into account any continuing family involvement or legacy.
Questions to ask now. It is important to answer the following questions when considering developing an estate or wealth plan:
- What plans do I currently have in place and when were they last reviewed?
- How confident am I that these plans will achieve my goals?
- Do I have the knowledge and skills needed to lead creation of my estate plan?
- How confident am I in the abilities of my attorney, CPA, and/or investment professionals?
- Are there any unique situations that may require special planning? (i.e. business succession)
- Do I need a team to help guide these estate planning decisions?
Necessary documents for planning. Multiple documents are needed when you sit down with someone to discuss your estate planning. Copies of existing trusts, wills, and powers of appointment are needed as well as your personal financial statement. Also bring along copies of current asset statements and copies of the last three years of federal tax returns. Bring along anything else you see as pertinent to your legacy.
At TS Prosperity Group, we IGNITE PROSPERITY® by helping our clients do more with their money. Whether it’s saving a little extra cash each month or accomplishing a long-term strategy, our goal is to help you transform your financial life. Call and schedule an appointment today, one of our team members would love to help you do more with your money at TS Prosperity Group. TS Prosperity Group is based in Council Bluffs, Iowa, with clients across the midwest. For more information visit tsprosperitygroup.com or call 844-487-3115. #igniteprosperity