I recently considered this question within the context of estate planning and had an epiphany. It is at the core of this question that the motivation and objective of estate planning are revealed. By thinking about what makes your life meaningful, you begin to determine the direction in which your estate plan is headed. With that direction in mind, we can begin to lay a clear roadmap to your goals.
With a tailored estate plan, you get to decide what happens to the things that are most important to you such as yourself, spouse, children, pets, assets, and charities. As you begin to think about what makes your life meaningful, you may find it easiest to begin your journey by considering these three prevalent estate planning road markers:
1. You. In the realm of self-care, think about what would make you feel most comfortable and secure in a time of tragedy. Basic documents, including powers of attorney for health and finance, along with a Last Will and Testament, can help confidently place individuals in the right roles to care for you when you most need it.
2. Your Loved Ones. Whether those near and dear to you are younger, older, or covered in fur, there are different estate planning tools that can provide for longevity of assets and protections to ensure for their care from your estate if you aren’t here to provide it directly. Additionally, it is important to talk about who would help care for your child(ren) and/or pets if you are gone.
3. Organizations You Believe In. If charities are something near and dear to your heart, you can reduce your taxable estate by using qualified assets to benefit charitable organizations. Because these entities are tax exempt, a gift to them reduces the amount of taxes assessed against your estate. Additionally, if you hold life insurance assets, make sure they are payable to a named beneficiary or a trust. By doing so, the insurance policy payout will maintain tax exempt status.
Having given considerable thought to what makes your life meaningful, you are well on your way to creating an estate plan you and your loved ones can trust. Don’t hesitate to put those thoughts in writing. Contact Hightower Reff Law to get started on your estate planning roadmap today.