You’ve worked hard to build a career and accumulate assets. Now it’s time to consider what happens to your legacy after you pass away. It may not be fun to think about your own passing. However, without a strategy in place, you could expose your loved ones and your heirs to sizable risks.
According to a survey from Caring.com, 60 percent of Americans don’t have a will or any kind of estate plan. A will is a good first step toward protecting your heirs. But a will can’t accomplish everything. Even if you have a will, your estate could still be vulnerable to risks.
At America’s Annuity, we help you craft an estate plan that meets your needs and goals. There’s no universal estate plan that’s right for everyone. Yours should be based on your unique priorities and concerns. Below are a few issues you may want to consider.
Perhaps the primary goal of estate planning is guide the distribution of your assets after you pass away. There are a few ways to pass assets on to your heirs. Of course, a will is perhaps the most straightforward method. You can use a will to state who should receive which assets and property.
You also may want to consider a trust. A trust allows you to leave assets to specific individuals, but also state how the assets should be distributed. For example, you could use the trust to pay out assets when heirs reach certain ages. You could even use a trust to manage an heir’s inheritance if they are unable to do so. That could be helpful if your heir is a minor or if he or she is handicapped in some way.
Assets with beneficiary designations, like annuities, life insurance, and qualified plans, can be effective asset distribution tools. These assets aren’t governed by a will. Rather the account administrator simply pays the funds out directly to the named beneficiaries.
Even if you have a will, your estate will likely have to go through probate. That’s the legal process for settling one’s estate. The county court and estate executor address a number of issues, including paying outstanding debts, filing a final tax return, liquidating assets, and more.
Probate can be time-consuming and costly. It can hold up the distribution of assets for months and generate a significant amount in legal and administrative expenses.
Fortunately, you can minimize the impact of probate on your estate. There are a variety of tools, such as trusts, annuities, life insurance, and more, that avoid probate. By utilizing these tools, you can limit the amount of assets that go through probate and get your legacy to your loved ones without delay.
Estate planning isn’t just about what happens after you pass away. It can also be used to address risks that can happen while you’re still alive. Perhaps one of the greatest risks you could face is incapacitation.
Incapacitation is a state in which you are physically unable to make or communicate decisions for yourself. It’s common for those suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or other cognitive disorders. If you become incapacitated, you may not be able to participate in decision-making about your own affairs.
You can use tools like a living will, power of attorney, or trust to protect yourself in the event of incapacitation. You provide specific instructions and designate a trusted individual to make decisions on your behalf. Without this protection in place, you could be vulnerable to abuse by those who don’t have your best interests at heart.
Ready to protect yourself, your legacy, and your loved ones? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at America’s Annuity. We can help you analyze your needs and develop a plan. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.