Seven Steps to a Bulletproof Plan

As a recent article explains, creating and revising our estate plans is akin to getting back into shape. We know we ought to get back into the gym, however the daunting nature of the task often causes it to be pushed back more often than we would care to admit. For those who have been pushing off creating a comprehensive estate plan, below are seven steps to take to not only create a plan, but to make it bulletproof.

  1. Execute a Will: A will is the most basic and most recognized of all estate planning documents. Without a will, your assets will pass to your beneficiaries according to state law upon your death.
  2. Name Beneficiaries on all Accounts: Many accounts and policies, such as retirement and life insurance, allow the policy holder to designate the recipient of the funds immediately upon the policyholder’s death. Be sure you have made these designations, and that they have been updated.
  3. Avoid Federal Estate Taxes: For 2013, individuals will only be charged federal estate tax if their estate meets or exceeds $5.25 million. For the one percent of the population that federal estate taxes apply to, good planning can avoid these taxes.
  4. Leave an Explanatory Letter: If you made any designations in your will that may be upsetting to your beneficiaries, consider leaving a letter that explains your decisions.
  5. Execute a Durable Power of Attorney: This allows you to select the people who will make financial decisions on you behalf, should you become unable to do so.
  6. Execute an Advance Health Care Directive: This allows you to be in control of what type of care you receive at the end of life.
  7. Organize Your Physical and Digital Files: Organizing all important documents will make it easy for your estate to be administered.

For assistance in creating your bulletproof estate plan, contact us at (626) 696-3145.

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