Seven Keys to Estate Planning

A solid foundation for effective estate planning begins with a high-quality living trust. We then structure your specific plan with additional estate planning and financial guidance to effectively:

1. Control and protect assets

With proper planning, you can control and protect your assets while you are alive, when you are disabled and after your death, give maximum asset protection for your heirs, minimize taxes and reduce the chances that your estate is lost or squandered.

2. Plan for your disability

Disability planning options are almost limitless. You can define your “disability,” name the people who will be on you disability panel, give instructions regarding the care you are to receive, dictate where you are to be cared for (home, hospital, hospice, etc.), give guidance on how the care will be paid for, tell your family when to terminate care and so on.

3. Give what you have…

What you have includes more than just your financial assets. It includes your body and organs, your children, your values, your beliefs and your family legacy.

4. To who you want…

Your living trust can include, exclude or provide for former spouses, children, step-children, other family members, charities, friends and pets.

You can include provisions for care and guardianship of minor or disabled children, divorce or remarriage. You can prevent assets from ending up in the hands of predators and creditors.

Without proper planning, you could end up giving significantly less to your loved ones and significantly more to attorneys, the courts and tax-authorities.

5. When you want…

You may want to wait to distribute the inheritance until a beneficiary reaches a certain age, or starts college, graduates and wants to start a business, gets married and wants to buy a house, exhibits good money management skills, or any other number of reasons.

You may want to be able to prevent distributions if a beneficiary has issues such as chemical dependency, gambling, catastrophic illness or disability, divorce and so on.

6. The way you want…

You can weaken or build character with an inheritance. Your living trust can include incentives and rewards that can accomplish many things including passing on your wisdom, values and beliefs, strengthening family unity and ensuring that wealth flows to future generations.

7. All at the lowest possible overall cost to you and your loved ones.

It is not a matter of whether you will pay for your estate plan, it is a matter of when, and how much. A properly designed living trust that is regularly reviewed and updated will cost less (time and expense) over your lifetime, and for your beneficiaries.

A cheap, poorly-designed living trust may save some money up front, but will fall apart when you need it and may end up costing much more than no plan at all.