Kirk Pearson, Wealth Advisor
Estate planning isn’t just for the mansion owning, yacht club type. Everyone can benefit from having a plan for their estate when they are gone. Our advisors at Anchor Wealth will partner with your attorney to prevent your beneficiaries from dealing with unnecessary taxes and disputes among beneficiaries. We will ensure there is a plan in place for your assets at your passing, as well as a clear set of health directives when you are still here.
What is estate planning?
Estate planning gives you the ultimate power and control over your assets once you are gone. Your estate includes everything from your investments and properties to your grandmother’s wedding ring. If you do not make a plan for your estate while you are alive, the control of your assets could be left in the hands of individuals who are not necessarily committed to the best outcome for your loved ones. To avoid unnecessary legal bills, taxes, and time waiting on the courts, we suggest discussing the creation of a trust, in addition to a will and power of attorney for property and healthcare. This will help to ensure your money is being handled as you wish in the event of incapacity and death.
Consider your family’s needs
When you begin to plan your estate, first consider the needs of your loved ones. About half of the people who set up a trust do so to make sure that the transition of their property is done without family feuds or wasting money on unnecessary taxes and legal fees. The other half want to create an easy transition of property for their children. If you have multiple children, or you have dysfunction in the family, it is especially important to set up an estate plan that guarantees your assets are distributed exactly as you want. If there are concerns about disagreements amongst beneficiaries, a trust can be set up to give a beneficiary nothing if they choose to dispute the directives. If you are concerned with how your family will handle your assets after you die, you can ensure annual disbursement to protect the future of the funds. Beneficiaries of your estate do not have to be family, you can create a trust for a third party or a charitable cause. Trusts offer flexibility and can be altered when needed while you are alive. A trust allows you to be fully in control of your estate, even from the grave.
Legal Directives in Trusts to Avoid Probate
Probate is the legal process of determining the validity of someone’s will after they have died. With a trust, you can avoid probate court, which can be timely and expensive.
Important legal documents to include in your estate plan, in addition to a trust and will are:
- A living will – A document that states your wishes for end-of-life medical care.
- A medical power of attorney – A trusted person who is designated as your medical power of attorney will ensure your medical wishes, should you become unable to express those for yourself, are carried out.
- A financial power of attorney – Someone who can deal with your financial decisions if you are medically unable to yourself. This includes having access to your funds, as well as making sure your taxes and bills are being paid.
Use financial professionals for help
Anchor Wealth works closely with trustee management experts to ensure your estate planning is as straightforward and transparent as possible. Before meeting with an attorney, discuss the outcomes you are wanting from your trust with a financial advisor to avoid unnecessary legal fees and create a tax-efficient strategy. Initially, setting up a trust may cost you more than creating a will, but in the long run, you are saving your loved ones from the burden of having funds tied up in probate courts. We can help you begin the process of setting and prioritizing your estate planning goals and get you connected with the best team of people to execute a plan that will protect your family’s financial future.