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Everyone needs an estate planMay 10, 2016 Estate
One of the biggest misconceptions about estate planning is that it’s only for the extremely wealthy. But the truth is, anyone with investments, a home, a small business, or any assets he or she would like to pass on should have an estate plan.
An estate plan is much more than a will. It is a plan designed to safeguard your estate, smoothly transfer assets upon your passing and care for the ones you love. It is the best way to ensure your assets will be handled as you wish and your legacy is preserved. And it can provide important tax advantages, too.
An estate plan doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, there are just five steps to developing a successful estate plan:
- Sharing. Communicate the plan with everyone it impacts. Let them know your intentions so there are no misunderstandings.
- Following through. Complete all the components pertinent to your estate plan, and consider including each of the five key estate planning documents most people have (see sidebar).
- Simply starting. Jump right in and commit to creating an estate plan. Meet with your financial advisor and begin the
- Empowering. Appoint an appropriate fiduciary to oversee the estate plan, someone you trust to carry out your wishes when you are no longer able to.
- Maintaining. Update your plan regularly, especially whenever events in your life warrant changes.
Take that first step and talk to your financial advisor today about creating your estate plan and turning your life’s work into your legacy.
Time for your yearly beneficiary checkup?
A lot can happen in a year: births, deaths, weddings, divorces, graduations, new jobs, and retirements. That’s why it’s a good idea to review the named beneficiaries in your estate plan, retirement accounts, banking accounts, insurance policies and trust documents at least annually.
One of the best ways to make a beneficiary check part of your routine is picking a consistent date to do it every year. But it’s also wise to review your beneficiaries during or immediately following significant life events, such as:
- A change in mental or health status
- Death or incapacity of your spouse or child
- The birth or adoption of a child or grandchild
- A significant change in net worth
- Nearing retirement
- The impending sale of a family business
- Changes in tax laws
Whenever you review your beneficiaries, be sure to involve your financial advisor to ensure all your assets are considered and that you don’t overlook opportunities to protect your estate and your loved ones.
Essential Estate Planning Documents:
1. A Will, appointing an executor
2. A power of attorney or limited power of attorney for financial decisions, before death or loss of capacity
3. An enduring power of attorney for financial decisions if you are alive but have lost capacity
4. A power of attorney for personal care, living will, or representation agreement, depending on your province, for medical care decisions if you are alive but have lost capacity
5. Pre-planned funeral arrangements