There are few things in your financial life that will be as important over time as proper estate planning.

This may come as a surprise to people who think estate planning is something done as one looks at retirement, or something that only concerns those with intricate financial and real estate holdings.However, the simple truth is that everyone can benefit from a well-thought-out estate plan. While an estate planning attorney is needed to draft the documents, the fiduciary team at SK Wealth Management will regularly revisit your documents at each meeting to ensure they are being properly utilized. We help our clients understand that effective estate planning is a dynamic process. Because tax laws and life situations change, it is vital that your estate planning keeps pace.

Take something as basic as a will.

Many people write a will, file it in a safety deposit box or other secure location and then give it little thought going forward. But, things often change. Does your existing will properly designate beneficiaries? Are the listed heirs and executors still consistent with your wishes? Because life situations rarely stay the same through years of moves, family changes, and professional advancement, regular reviews of your will are critical.

What about your assets not necessarily covered by the will?

While wills are important, they don’t capture all of your assets. Things like life insurance policies and retirement accounts require you to list beneficiaries separately, so it is important to do regular and routine checks to make sure that the beneficiaries listed are consistent with your current wishes. For most people, the bulk of their assets are captured in retirement accounts. It is unlikely that your will captures these assets and they will transfer to the beneficiaries listed. It is far too common for someone to inadvertently disinherit a child by failing to update their beneficiaries, or to leave a 401(k) to an ex-spouse.

Additionally, a review often uncovers accounts that have no beneficiary. While retirement accounts generally require a beneficiary be listed, other investment accounts do not. Even bank accounts should be looked at. Adding a beneficiary is an easy step, and it will save time, money, and stress of probate for your heirs.

What about trusts?

At SK Wealth Management, we offer you our proprietary Integrated Financial Advantage™ process, which can help determine if drafting a trust makes sense for you. Beyond the recognized benefit of avoiding unnecessary estate taxes, having a trust also offers some protection from creditors, and can be used to make sure the inheritance is managed in a way that distributes money over time to prevent a lump-sum going to a child. Trusts are also very helpful in cases of blended families.

Another consideration that we will help you work through includes issues of power of attorney – an important safeguard for you if you become incapacitated. As part of our process, we review all of our clients’ documents annually. However, even if nothing changes, we recommend that power of attorney documents be refreshed at least every ten years to avoid any issues of “stale documents” not being accepted by financial institutions.

And, because the issues of wills, proper designation of beneficiaries and executors, and formation of trusts are so integral to your long-term financial well-being, our team at SK Wealth Management partners with your attorney to ensure your estate plan is up to date and properly implemented. We are also happy to recommend highly qualified attorneys if you’re not currently working with one. It is the best way to ensure that your plan will be easily and exactly executed.

Our goal is to give you confidence that your assets will be used to create the future you want, because the greatest benefit of planning for the future is to have complete peace of mind in the present.

Get in touch with the team at SK Wealth Management to learn how we can help secure your future!

SK Wealth

Author SK Wealth

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