Estate plans put you in control of your inheritance | Columns
When you hear “estate planning”, what do you think of? For many people, these words conjure up images of immense richness. But estate planning isn’t just for the rich – it’s for everyone. And it’s not just about preserving your heritage, it’s about giving you control of your own legacy. But how to achieve this laudable goal?
You can start by identifying your estate planning goals. Here are some of the most common:
• Control the movement of assets to beneficiaries – During and after your life, you’ll want to make sure your loved ones get what you want them to get, and when. Through documents such as a will and living trust, and techniques involving life insurance and the use of appropriate beneficiary designations, you – not the courts – will control the transfer of your assets to their intended recipients. .
• Appoint someone to make decisions for you if you become incapacitated – Naturally, you expect to remain physically and mentally fit throughout your life and remain able to make your own financial and health care decisions. But the future is not ours, so to protect your interests and those of your loved ones, you may want to consider creating provisions such as a power of attorney, a health care directive and a living will. This way, you’ll always be able to control the key choices ahead of you.
• Caring for minor children or dependents – If you have young children or other dependents, you will want to make sure they will be taken care of if you are not around. In your estate plans, you can appoint a guardian for them. You can also use various estate planning tools, such as life insurance, beneficiary designations, and establishing a trust to provide needed financial resources for your loved ones.
• Support charities – Leaving something behind for your family is obviously an important part of your legacy – but it can also be important for you to support charities whose work you have admired. Of course, you can contribute to these organizations during your lifetime, but through strategies such as donor-advised funds and charitable remainder trusts, you can include these groups in your estate plans.
• Effective tax management – If you are likely to have a large estate, your heirs may have to worry about income and estate taxes. To help control these taxes, you can take a number of steps, such as making outright gifts to your family during your lifetime, establishing
an irrevocable life insurance trust, creating a family limited partnership and making charitable donations.
All of the estate planning strategies and techniques mentioned here can be complex. Therefore, to implement them, you will need to work with an estate planning lawyer and a tax specialist. You can also include your financial advisor, who can help ensure that your estate planning goals align with your important financial goals, such as living comfortably in retirement and educating your children or grandchildren.
By identifying your goals and working with your professional team, you can create an effective estate plan and help you maintain control of your legacy.
This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, SIPC member; Michael J. Lindsey AAMS; 101 Wilson Ave., Suite C., Hannover; 717-634-2445; [email protected]