It is a law of nature: people work hard to gather assets, only to die and leave them behind. Having an estate plan (aka legacy plan) is essential for peace of mind. We all know that you can purchase forms off the internet to meet that need. But clearly you know that the advice of an attorney is worth seeking, or you wouldn't be reading this post! Getting the advice of a professional is not only advised, but is truly important to make sure that your plan will work for the family after you pass. If one professional is good, how about getting the advice of several professionals?
Meet the "team"
Estate planning is an important process that can help you ensure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes after you die. However, estate planning is not just about writing a will or trust. It is also about making sure that your financial and tax affairs are in order. This is why it is important--whenever possible--to work with a financial planner or advisor, accountant, and attorney when you are planning your legacy.
A financial planner can help you assess your financial situation and develop a plan to meet your retirement, education, and other financial goals. These professionals can analyze your budget and spending habits, helping to create short- and long-term savings strategies to help ensure you have a nest egg to leave to your loved ones. A financial advisor gives an even more comprehensive view, advising on tax and investment strategies to help build a legacy while reducing risk. They can often help you understand the tax implications of your estate planning decisions while working in partnership with your attorney.
An accountant can help you track your income and expenses, prepare your taxes, and make sure that your financial records are in order. This becomes essential when, for instance, your successor trustee enters to take over the management of your estate. Having a professional who is familiar with your financial records is a real lifesaver! They can also help you with more complex financial matters, such as transition planning for businesses.
An attorney can help you create legal documents, such as wills, trusts, and powers of attorney. They can also help you understand the laws of your state and make sure that your estate plan is compliant with those laws. And with your permission, your attorney can work with your planner/advisor and accountant to ensure that your documents align with your financial goals, or that documents are updated to reflect your changing financial picture.
Who else is on the team?
In addition to working with a financial planner, accountant, and attorney, you should also strongly consider involving your family in the estate planning process. Having open and honest discussion is essential to a successful plan, because a will or trust is only a piece of paper until someone agrees to carry it out and follow it. Family involvement will help to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that your wishes are clear, reducing conflict while people are working through grief.
Wrapping it up
Hopefully you can agree that two heads are better than one, and that three or four heads are better still! Here are some additional reasons why it is important to work with a financial planner, accountant, and attorney when planning your legacy:
They can help you identify your goals and objectives.
They can help you develop a plan that is tailored to your specific needs.
They can help you make sure that your plan is updated as your circumstances change.
They can help you avoid costly mistakes.
If you are considering estate planning, I encourage you to talk with your financial planner and accountant at the same time you talk with your attorney. They can help you create a plan that will meet your needs and protect your assets. If you do not have an attorney here in Kansas, I encourage you to contact me for a quick consultation!
This post was created using the assistance of Bard, an AI solution from Google.