Basic Estate Planning Documents
Are you covered and up-to-date?
Although many of us don’t like to think about planning for a future that we won’t be around to experience, a well-thought-out estate plan helps us manage and preserve assets during life and conserve and direct the distribution of assets at death.
Basic estate planning is for everyone. Through an estate plan, you have a say in the “how, when, and to whom” your assets are transferred, in addition to achieving your own specific tax and non-tax planning goals.
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A will governs only probate property; a trust governs only assets owned by the trust. In addition, some assets pass outside of probate by virtue of a beneficiary designation or the manner in which title is held. Therefore, it is important for you and your financial advisor to review the ownership and/or beneficiary designation of these assets to be sure that they will be distributed according to your wishes upon death. These assets include:
- Jointly held property
- Life insurance proceeds
- Retirement benefits
- Employee death benefits
- Retirement plan proceeds