Estate planning is a logical continuation to the financial planning process. It is the complete consideration of your assets and liabilities. It is used to both distribute wealth and also to create and protect it.
Estate planning involves three basic elements:
- Deciding how to divide you estate
- Making or updating your will
- Providing the means to make sure your wishes are carried out
Estate planning can benefit everyone; it doesn’t matter what the size of your bank account is or if you are married. At its most basic, we should all have a will and power of attorney as these can help to lessen the stress for grieving families during an already painful time. These documents should be reviewed every three or so years or at major life events such as marriage, birth of a child or divorce.
A well-constructed estate plan is more than simply making a will. It may also include:
- Forming a discretionary/ family trust
- Establishing a testamentary trust to reduce your family’s tax liability
- Appointing a power of attorney
- Selecting a trustee and/or executor