- An estimated 120 million American families are not addressing their estate plans.
- Too many families are ill-prepared to handle guardianship issues, disability issues, long-term care questions and retirement distribution planning strategies.
- You’re not alone when it comes to estate planning. Smart investors have a team behind them consisting of a CPA, estate planning attorney and wealth advisor.
As many of you know firsthand, there’s nothing more joyful than having a new grandchild. Right off the bat, many of you start thinking about ways to help fund the newborn’s education. That’s wonderful, but there’s something even more important to be thinking about—estate planning. What if something terrible happens to the baby’s parents? Suppose one of them becomes disabled or even dies? It’s horrible to think about, but unfortunately these things happen all too often.
An estimated 120 million families in the United States alone are not addressing their estate plans. It’s a huge problem in the country, and it’s something we insist that our clients take care of. First and foremost are guardianship issues for the young family. There will be disability issues if something happens and you become disabled. That may be a consideration in long-term care as well. Then there’s managing the finances, paying the bills, and retirement distribution planning, along with caring for children with special needs. Life throws a lot of stuff at us.
5 keys to smart estate planning
- Awareness. Awareness is about getting some basic education on estate planning. You can do this by using the internet and talking to advisors and by walking through what you need to do for a basic estate plan.
- Putting a basic plan together. This includes wills or trusts, advance directives such as powers of attorney for healthcare and property, and plans to ensure the estate will be distributed appropriately if something happens.
- Get basic life insurance. How many times have you heard about the head of a young family who suddenly dies and doesn’t have life insurance? The family doesn’t have the cash to get through this tough transition and beyond. It’s a sad, but all too frequent scenario made only worse by the fact that a good term life policy costs only a few hundred dollars a year.
- Disability and long-term care. Few things are more difficult than becoming disabled or having to deal with a spouse or child with special needs for a long time. You need to address those issues now and how you’re going to deal with them.
- Distribution of retirement plans. There are so many special rules in this area. It’s very important to distribute retirement assets effectively and efficiently over time, so the family can take care of its financial needs.
Finally, make sure you have a team behind you—a wealth advisor, CPA and estate planning attorney to start. There’s no reason to feel you have to go it alone.
To that end, I just thought I’d remind you that National Estate Planning Awareness Week is October 20 to 26.We’re trying to get the word out about these five key estate planning strategies listed above. Speaking of awareness, we also have our Technology Open House tomorrow night from 5 pm to 9 pm right here in our offices. It’ll be a great time, and you’ll learn a lot of practical and useful tech tips that you can put into action right away.
So until next time, enjoy. Gary
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