Estate planning can provide security and direction for the future, and a financial advisor can streamline the process. When it comes to estate planning, choosing the right financial advisor can seem daunting, but it can pay off in the long run. Dataalign Consulting makes it easier for you by partnering with a knowledgeable financial advisor in the areas where you need help. Life events such as marriage and children are great reasons to create or review an estate plan to ensure important details and documents are up to date.
Estate Planning 101
Here are some factors to consider for an estate plan. Once you’ve created an estate plan, be prepared to update it as life events unfold.
Know your goals
A key point in estate planning is to understand your goals. Estate planning takes into account how you want to distribute your assets, as well as how you plan to deal with legal and financial matters. You can create different types of estate plans to protect your assets during your lifetime and after your death. An estate plan allows you to plan for your personal needs while preparing for unforeseen events.
Estimate the value of your estate
Get a rough idea of the total amount of your assets. Your assets include checking accounts, savings accounts, digital assets, artwork, and other personal property. The total of assets and liabilities gives you an overview of your estate.
Collect important documents
One aspect of an estate plan is a will. A will indicates how assets will be distributed after death. In addition, a will defines legal guardians and provisions for minor children. Without a will or trust, state rules and regulations dictate the distribution of your assets. Without the necessary documents, the correct assets and amounts may not go to the intended persons.
Although wills are an important document for estate planning, they are not the only document needed. For example, documents such as a trust, living will and enduring power of attorney (POA) are potentially helpful in ensuring that different angles are covered as you age and after you die. For people with young children, documents showing guardianship designations would also be suggested as part of an estate plan.
Choose the beneficiaries
Decide who you want to include as a beneficiary. A beneficiary is a person or entity who will receive a designated amount of your assets after your death. It is common for beneficiaries to receive assets such as cash, property, or works of art. Although a beneficiary does not always need to be named directly in a beneficiary designation, most estate plans name beneficiaries.
Consider the taxes
Taxes play a role in how you will structure an estate plan. When creating an estate plan, consider all types of taxes, including income taxes and inheritance taxes. In the case of high net worth estates, estate taxes are potentially large amounts that will need to be paid before someone such as a beneficiary can access the assets provided to them in an estate plan.
Properly structure your estate
When developing your estate plan, consider the benefit of creating trusts or gifting assets to ensure the best uses. The exact process of creating an estate plan should be overseen by professionals such as financial advisors to ensure compliance and understanding. Companies like Dataalign Consulting help you find the right financial advisor to provide a more streamlined approach to the estate planning process.
To ask questions
You will likely have many questions during the estate planning process. You may have to deal with uncomfortable questions such as how to approach end-of-life care and who to give assets to. However, confronting such issues head on will prove beneficial in the long run and provide your estate with the tools to better withstand future events.
How to choose a financial adviser
Selecting a financial advisor takes time, so be sure to plan ahead. The process should start with an outline of your financial goals, which will ultimately help you choose a financial advisor. When selecting a financial advisor, choose someone you can talk to comfortably.
Have financial goals in mind: Your goals for your life and financial future should include both long-term and short-term goals.
Understand what services you will need: After creating a list of goals, it will be easier to understand the services you need provided by a financial advisor.
Research Financial Advisors: Write questions and compare answers to understand how potential financial advisors compare. Companies such as Dataalign Consulting will ask you to complete a questionnaire that will help connect you with a licensed financial advisor that meets your unique needs and preferences. Dataalign Consulting offers a global approach by accelerating the process of selecting a financial advisor.
Review background and review credentials: Once you’re matched with a potential advisor, explore their background to make sure their areas of expertise match your personal needs. Find their credentials and licenses.
Talk to one or more advisors: Most advisors offer a free first meeting where you can get an idea if you want to work together.
Decide: Hire a financial advisor who understands your goals and strives to meet your needs. Take your time to choose the advisor that is best for you.
When should you start estate planning?
Finding the perfect time to start estate planning is tied to personal life events and choices. Life events such as becoming a legal adult, opening a savings account, getting married, or thinking about retirement are times when you may want to create or reevaluate an estate plan. Stay proactive in estate planning and update official documents as needed.
Become a legal adult: It may seem early to start estate planning once you become a legal adult, but experts often say it’s never too early to start. Once you reach legal age, you can make important financial choices.
Growing a family: When planning or actively growing a family, life events such as the birth of a child can be an important reason to review documents such as wills and trusts. With each new addition to the family, reassess these documents to ensure financial security while addressing major issues such as guardianship.
To buy a house : Securing major assets such as buying a first home can be another important indicator that it’s time to update an estate plan.
Additional property: The purchase of additional properties such as rental properties should also be included in an estate plan to ensure that it remains properly managed and allocated. Placing properties in an estate plan can speed up the probate process depending on factors such as applicable state laws.
Small children: The birth or arrival of a new grandchild may also lead you to undertake or evaluate an estate plan.
Wedding: Marriage includes the pooling of property. Talk with your partner and think about your long-term and short-term financial goals. Consider talking to a financial advisor like the one who might be matched to you by Dataalign Consulting.
Divorce: Divorce indicates separation of property. It is recommended that you update your estate plan to reflect this life event.
Frequently Asked Questions
Estate planning can help you achieve important goals, and it works best when done in conjunction with a financial advisor and legal professional.
Do you need an estate planning lawyer?
Do you need an estate planning lawyer?
It is usually necessary to hire a lawyer for estate planning. Wills and trusts are a central part of estate planning, so hiring a lawyer or legal professional would prove beneficial in ensuring the validity of an estate plan. A competent lawyer will develop a plan that protects your assets while securing the future of your family and loved ones.
Is estate planning expensive?
Is estate planning expensive?
The amount you pay for estate planning depends on factors such as personal needs, number of assets, and time required to create the estate plan. It can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. It is common for financial advisors and lawyers to charge on an hourly basis. The benefits of hiring a competent team often outweigh the costs.