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  • Writer's pictureVitaly Novok

Guarding Your Legacy with Proper Estate Planning

a family with two kids sitting with a financial advisor discussing estate plan

We’ve all heard the stories - someone passes away without a will, and family members face years of legal battles. The emotional toll is immeasurable, often causing irreparable harm to relationships.

Without a will or trust, the state decides how your estate is divided and who will care for your minor children. Shockingly, only one-third of Americans have a plan for their assets after death. Additionally, 63% of Americans lack an estate plan. Don't let this be you!

You might think estate planning is only for the wealthy, but even 20% of Americans with $1 million or more in assets don’t have a will. Estate planning is crucial for everyone.

Dying intestate, or without a will, means the state determines how your affairs are settled, which varies by state. This is particularly painful for unmarried partners, stepchildren, and even your own children who might lose an inheritance.

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Estate planning ensures your loved ones won’t have to guess your intentions during a difficult time. Money can create divisions even among those on good terms.

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document that instructs your executor on how to distribute your assets after you die. Your estate goes through probate to review your assets and determine inheritance. A will ensures your wishes are honored and lists your assets, accounts, property, and more.

Beneficiaries and Trusts

Have you designated beneficiaries for accounts like IRAs? Beneficiary designations override the will.

A living will provides instructions for medical care if you can’t make decisions. A trust allows a trustee to hold property for you, benefiting your beneficiaries. A living trust holds assets before and after death, while a testamentary trust, created by the will, takes effect after death.

Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney enables your agent to act on your behalf if you become ill or incapacitated. Financial and medical powers of attorney allow your agent to manage your affairs and make medical decisions, respectively.

Prepare Your Heirs

Communicating your plan to beneficiaries minimizes the risk of a contested will and fosters family unity during tough times. Surprises can breed resentment, resulting in unwanted consequences.

Estate planning is a deeply personal process and can be daunting, especially for large or blended families. Our aim is to start a conversation, help develop a plan, or encourage you to update an existing one if necessary. If you have any questions or need assistance with your estate planning needs, don't hesitate to contact us. We are always here to answer any questions you might have. Don't put your legacy at risk by failing to act.



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