For some people, financial planning is mainly concerned with how best to go about building a nest egg, and how to make it last through retirement. But for many, there is a desire to ensure their estate delivers benefits beyond their own retirement, and produces a lasting legacy even after they have passed.
Why Estate Planning is Important
If you wish to leave behind a lasting legacy, whether it’s for family and loved ones or a charitable institution, then you need to put a well-thought-out Estate Plan in place, so your legacy is established in accordance with your wishes. Without such a Plan, strangers (the State, Lawyers or individuals that don’t have your interests in mind) could determine what happens to your Estate.
If you wish to ensure that you are in control of what happens to your estate, and if you want to guarantee that your estate is handled in accordance with your directives, then having an Estate Plan is paramount.
What We Can Do For You
Our Estate Planning service includes:
- Helping you understand the importance of a will: Your will should be the corner stone of your Estate Plan. We can help you understand why and how you should structure this document so your legal team can create a will that reflects how you want your Estate disposed. From a simple will to a Testamentary Will, or Joint Wills and Living Wills – our experts will help you navigate through the complexities so you won’t need to stress over what’s what!
- Creating Powers of Attorney (POA): Whether it’s to manage specific assets, like your investments, bank accounts or real estate holdings after your gone; or whether it’s meant to help others make health-care decisions in your best interest in case you are ill or incapacitated, you need to have a POA in place to ensure your wishes are followed. A well-crafted POA will also smoothen how decisions about your final arrangements, and those related to your estate, are taken care of once you pass.
- Choosing Executors: The Executors of your Estate wield strong powers that determine how your Estate is finally dealt with upon your passing. We’ll help you understand the importance of choosing an executor (s) for your Estate, and what criteria you should consider when appointing someone to discharge this all-important role – especially if minor children/guardians are involved.
- Designating beneficiaries: If you don’t choose beneficiaries for your assets carefully (or not at all!), your estate assets might well end up in the hands of individuals that you never intended should benefit from them.
- Considerations for dependents needs: A well-thought-out Estate Plan will ensure that all of the needs of your dependents (be they minors, adult children, siblings, persons with special needs or aging parents) are taken care of in accordance with your desires.
- Tax planning considerations (minimizing Estate taxes and reducing probate fees): Without a well-thought-out Estate Plan, a considerable part of your estate could erode through taxes, fees and other levy’s, even before your designated beneficiaries see a cent!
- Protecting your estate: Though you might no longer be here, many of your assets – like your long-term investments, property and other tangible assets – will likely need care, protection and management until they are finally disposed off, and the proceeds distributed to your designated beneficiaries. In the absence of an Estate Plan, your assets will likely not receive the type and level of protection those assets require.
- Health and welfare considerations: A comprehensive Estate Plan contains several components, including directives to your Executors and POA-holders about what to do in case your health (mental or physical) deteriorates. In the absence of those components of your Estate Plan, decisions impacting your health and welfare might be made by others (likely medical professionals or state-appointed representatives) whom you do not trust.
- Distributing your assets/legacy: Without a proper Estate planning, your assets might not be distributed in line with your final wishes. And because creating legally-binding wills and ensuring the Estate Plan are in sync with the Will is essential to ensure proper distribution of your estate, our professionals can support you in this endeavor.
Stratos Wealth Partners, Guardtower Financial Services and LPL Financial do not provide tax and/or legal advice or services. Please consult your tax and/or legal advisor regarding your specific situation.