Helping you protect your legacy
No matter how large your estate is, a sound estate plan remains the best assurance that your assets will be distributed to the heirs you select in the way you choose. It can also help protect your financial security if you become incapacitated.
While reducing taxes can be an important goal, it’s not the only reason to develop an estate plan. Regardless of what happens with tax legislation, an estate plan can be an essential financial tool.
As you put together your own estate plan, consider these elements:
- A will can specify who gets what and name guardians for minor children.
- Durable powers of attorney allow whomever you choose to make financial and medical decisions if you become unable to do so yourself.
- Beneficiary designations on retirement accounts, life insurance policies and the like must be coordinated with the rest of your estate plan. Those assets will go to the listed beneficiaries, regardless of your will.
- Titling of assets also should be coordinated with your total estate plan. Property owned jointly with right of survivorship, for instance, typically goes to the survivor, superseding any instructions in a will.
- Trusts are flexible tools that can be used to manage investments during your lifetime and beyond, distribute assets to heirs under circumstances that you spell out, minimize estate taxes, maintain the privacy of your financial affairs and protect assets from lawsuits and seizures.
Estate planning can protect your family's interests and ensure that your wishes are carried out.