Navigating Complex Estate Planning: Expert Strategies and Advice from PWA
If you’ve been conscientious, chances are good you have some type of retirement plan in place. This retirement fund will (hopefully) provide you and your spouse with a comfortable, secure lifestyle during your retirement years. But have you planned for what comes after you and your spouse have passed away? You may wish for your remaining assets to be distributed to family, friends, or charities. If you haven’t taken the time to engage in professional estate planning, it may be the courts that ultimately decide who gets what.
What Estate Planning Can Do for You
Ultimately, the goal is to build an estate plan that minimizes taxes and facilitates the distribution of your assets according to your wishes so that more of your legacy goes into the pocket of your loved ones and less goes into the pocket of the U.S. treasury or state government.
The Elements of Estate Planning
Better control over the distribution of your assets. As mentioned above, a well-crafted estate plan will ensure that what you leave behind is taxed as little as possible and that the settling of your estate will be done according to your wishes. It sounds easy, but it’s not. Just as with retirement planning, you can’t be certain how long you will live and how much you will leave behind at the end of your life. Estate planning experts recommend that estate planning be done in conjunction with retirement planning.
Asset protection. If you’re a business owner, it’s important to recognize the potential for lawsuits on your estate after you pass away. This is particularly critical if you have worked in a high-litigation sector such as healthcare or property development. It’s never too early to develop a well-thought-out estate plan that reflects your wishes and protects your assets from lawsuits that might be filed before or after your death.
More integrated planning. Some estate planning companies often use outside lawyers to help settle your estate. This means that someone with no knowledge of you or your assets is stepping in at the eleventh hour to try and settle your estate according to your wishes. Consider looking for an estate planning firm that integrates financial planners, accountants, and estate planning attorneys on the same team from the beginning.
Expertise in creating trusts. To ensure that your estate is settled in precisely the way you want, you may wish to consider creating a trust. A trust can also help protect your estate from entering probate, in which a judge – and not your heirs — makes decisions about the transfer and distribution of your assets. There are several types of trusts, including revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, and charitable trusts, so it’s a good idea to consult with an estate planning expert to determine which is right for you.
Consult a Professional
A professional financial services firm can help you make sure your estate is planned in advance for maximum transfer of your remaining wealth to your heirs. Arizona-based Prime Wealth Advisors is a full-service tax, retirement planning, estate, and wealth management firm that can take the guesswork out of filing your taxes. Call 623.77.PRIME or visit our website for more information.