It’s never too early to begin thinking about your legacy or to create an estate plan. Contrary to what many people think, you don’t need to be among the ultra-wealthy to have an estate plan. An estate plan is an important part of any ongoing financial planning process.

Your legacy transcends money as it also encompasses your values. Your wishes and dreams may include using your assets to help secure your family’s future or you may choose to support another cause close to your heart.

An attorpersonal financial planningney plays a key role in the estate planning process. Educating you on current estate and gift tax laws, drafting documents to implement a client’s wishes and serving as a guide on legal matters that arise after an estate plan is in place. Estate plans can include drafting or updating wills, drafting durable power of attorney, creating a trust, drafting a HIPAA Release, Medical Power of Attorney & Medical Directives. Your heirs will appreciate having these.

The financial advisor may be the key player with respect to structuring savings for retirement and to suggest the best products suited to your needs in preparation for the estate settlement costs.

A financial advisor’s role is to identify whether the estate is properly funded and to verify that the correct beneficiaries have been named. Given the complexities of estate planning and the information that has to be included, financial advisors have the unique advantage of understanding your complete financial picture.

Many lawyers will give you an elaborate “letter of instruction” about how to finish and implement the estate plan but unfortunately close the file once you have paid and are out the door. According to a recent report by a local law firm, neglect of proper funding defeats more than 50% of estate plans.

Despite the benefits of estate planning and the cost of not having an estate plan, many procrastinate getting this important task finished. First, no one likes to think about dying. Second, there is the complexity of the laws and the organization of the paperwork that ranks right up there with doing your taxes. Finally, it is an emotional issue that concerns life, legacy, and the fear of pleasing your heirs.

Here are a few tips that can help:

  1. Work with an attorney to develop an estate plan that addresses your needs. It may be very simple or it may be complex. Ultimately the design is up to the both of you. At Worth Asset Management, we can help guide you toward someone who is familiar with our financial planning tools and services.
  2. Tell your attorney upfront that you will be taking their drafted instructions to your financial advisor. You may need to sign a disclosure form but it allows your team to speak directly to each other.
  3. Mark a date on your calendar each year to locate your plan, review any life changes that occurred and communicate those changes to your team. Some common changes can include a change in beneficiary, new grandchildren etc.

Your financial advisor can help you with the estate investment planning process and work closely with you and your tax and legal advisors to implement the estate planning strategies that make sense for your particular situation.

You have the right to ask questions and you have the right to be educated about your financial goals!

Contact us if you would like to discuss your financial goals with a Worth Asset Management Advisor and discuss strategies to protect your portfolio.

Keep in mind that past performance is not indicative of future results. In addition, there may be other Exchange Traded Products that offer exposure to the sectors mentioned and each has their unique perspectives and characteristics. It is important to determine if they are appropriate for your personal portfolio.

Disclosure: Worth Asset Management is a Registered Investment Adviser with the state of Texas. Jim Clark and/or his clients may hold positions in the ETFs, mutual funds, and/or any investment asset mentioned above. The commentary does not constitute individualized investment advice. The comments and opinions offered herein are not personalized recommendations to buy, sell or hold securities.

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