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Creating an Estate Plan, 4 Reasons to Start Today!

If you do not have an estate plan in place, it is time to create one with the assistance of a Certified Estate Planner™ and a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™Professional.  It does not matter if you are a pre-retiree or a retiree living in or near Lakewood, Colorado; you need a sound estate plan in place to ensure all of your hard work puts your loved ones in a secure financial position.  

Let’s discuss ways to get your financial life balanced. Contact The Normandy Group today!

 

Your financial professionals can implement a collaborative approach with other key parties including attorneys and accountants for a truly unified effort with a single goal in mind: making the most of your wealth.  Meet with these professionals, detail your current financial situation and you will have the expert guidance you need to create an estate plan that sets your family up for financial success across posterity.  Let’s take a look at the top four reasons to create an estate plan. 

1. Safeguard Your Family’s Wealth With an Estate Plan

The primary purpose of an estate plan is to ensure the proper planning and legal protections are in place to protect your money, investments, and other assets.  Your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™Professional and Certified Estate Planner™ will work in tandem with other professionals for a cohesive approach to wealth protection that preserves the value and ensures the proper distributions of your assets including but not limited to:

  • Real property
  • Stocks
  • Mutual funds
  • Bonds
  • CDs
  • Money market accounts
  • Business ownership
  • Cash 

This is the measured approach you need to ensure all of your hard work was not in vain.  Your financial professionals will review your assets, create a plan to protect them, formulate a wealth transfer strategy, and set your loved ones up for financial success in the years to come.  Examples of estate planning tools used to protect assets include: 

  • Asset protection trusts 
  • Irrevocable trusts 
  • Limited liability entities 
  • Asset ownership insurance

Once these essential forms of asset protection are in place, your assets will be safeguarded against creditors should a lawsuit/claim arise in your final months or even after you depart this plane of existence.  There is no sense attempting to understand the nuances of each of these asset protection tools when a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and a Certified Financial Planner™ are here to provide invaluable assistance broken down in plain English you can understand without an advanced degree in finance.  

Once your wealth is properly protected, you and your family will be able to rest easy knowing your assets won’t be subject to litigation or other threats.  This plan is a metaphorical bridge that transports your hard-earned assets to loved ones without interference.  Just be sure to communicate your plan for your assets to your family so they fully understand how each value store will be distributed, clearing the air so there is no confusion or potential legal conflicts between relatives after you pass away.

2. An Estate Plan Minimizes Your Relatives’ Tax Burden

If you do not establish an estate plan, there may be a chance a large portion of your assets will end up in the state’s hands.  There is no reason to let the government receive your assets when proper financial and estate planning can provide for an outcome that benefits your family, friends, charities, and anyone else you would like to benefit from your hard work.  From trusts to insurance, retirement plans, and beyond, a wide array of tools are available to safeguard wealth while minimizing taxes.  

However, if you were to attempt to learn the nuances of these tax minimization tools on your own, you would be inundated with information, burn through your limited free time and possibly make quite the costly mistake(s).  Instead, lean on your financial professional for guidance.  Your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professional and Certified Estate Planner™ will help mitigate your relatives’ tax burden when inheriting assets and also minimize transfer taxes.  

As an example, it might be prudent to transfer some of your wealth while living.  Thanks to the Tax Cuts and Job Acts of 2017, it is possible to make yearly tax-free gifts up to $15,000.  Your financial professional may also advise you about AB Trusts as a component of your will or revocable living trust to decrease or even eliminate estate taxes.  In fact, there are even ways to decrease income tax your loved ones might have to pay after you pass away.  

3. Avoid the Probate Process With an Estate Plan

Aside from attorneys, just about everyone detests the prospect of probate.  Probate is the arduous process of validating a deceased individual’s will, putting a value on his or her assets, and paying taxes and bills prior to distributing the remnants to beneficiaries.  Your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™Professional, Certified Estate Planner™, as well as estate planning attorney, can help you avoid probate, or at the very least, plan for it.  

Establish an estate plan and you will have done your part to avoid the waste of money and time involved in a lengthy probate process.  Your estate plan will establish a durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney, and guardianship to ensure you are treated properly in the event of incapacitation.  These legal tools also ensure the proper parties receive assets in accordance with your desires, ultimately preventing legal drama and squabbles between family members.

4. Your Estate Plan Leaves the World a Better Place Through Philanthropic Planning

Even if you are not wealthy, you are still likely considering leaving a small amount of money to a cause, charity, or group in need.  The vast majority of your assets will be distributed to your loved ones yet you might also desire to make Lakewood, Colorado, or the world a better place through a charitable gift upon your death.  Your estate plan ensures your objectives in the context of charitable giving are met exactly as you wish.  Furthermore, there are tax ramifications from charitable giving.  

Meet with your Certified Estate Planner™ and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™Professional as you determine how much money you would like to leave to one or several charitable causes and you will have the guidance necessary to make a gift that makes a positive difference in Lakewood, Colorado or elsewhere after you depart this plane of existence. 

The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professionals and CERTIFIED ESTATE PLANNERS™ at The Normandy Group offer serious financial planning for today’s complex world.  By combining tax, financial, and estate planning strategies we can help you achieve your goals. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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Charles Partheymuller
Author:

Charles Partheymuller