Welcome to Estate Planning
Welcome to estate planning! While it may sound like something only the wealthiest people need to worry about, estate planning is merely figuring out how you plan to take care of the people who mean the most to you.
What estate planning is
Your estate is made up of everything you own, from your DVD collection and cash to your house and everything inside it.
Your estate plan lets you legally say how everything you own will be distributed among your heirs.
Why estate planning is important
Why figure all this out ahead of time?
Basically, because it’s easier on those who’ll handle your affairs once you’re gone and prevent them from having to guess what you might have wanted done.
It’s also helps you manage your wealth while working toward your long-term financial goals. And it lets you consider and plan for tax implications, so your heirs don’t have to.
Once you’re ready to execute your plan, be sure to share it with your heirs so they’ll be absolutely clear on your goals and wishes.
How to plan
While estate planning is very personal, it can also be quite complex. So, it’s best to work with a team of professionals such as an attorney, accountant, tax consultant, investment advisor, and/or insurance agent when putting the plan together.
Before you start, make a list of all your material possessions, property, life insurance policies, savings and retirement plans, along with their cash and sentimental value.
Be prepared to talk about guardianship of children and educational plans. And be ready to talk about a number of legal documents like wills, trusts and life insurance policies.
You might also consider these common questions for your estate planning team:
- Do I need a will?
- Is a living trust more appropriate for my situation?
- Should my spouse also have a will (or trust)?
- What will happen to my assets if I don't have a will (or trust)?
- What will happen to my children if my spouse and I don’t have a will?
- Should I create a trust to give my family greater protection and security?
- Are life insurance proceeds taxable?
- How can I reduce estate taxes?
Keeping your estate plan current
Once you establish your estate plan, be sure to review and update it from time to time to make sure it reflects any changes in your financial goals or in your family situation (such as the birth of a child).
Although estate planning may require you to make some tough decisions, it’s worth the peace of mind you’ll get from preparing for your family.
Neither Nationwide nor its representatives give legal or tax advice. Please consult with your attorney or tax advisor for answers to your specific questions.