Estate planning can be intimidating if you donâ€™t have enoughinformation at hand to make crucial decisions about your future and the futureof your loved ones. Consider these nine practical tips for successful estateplanning:
- Keep your important documents like your will ortrust up-to-date. Keep your legal residence address, marriage status, children,guardian list, etc. updated.
- Keep track of beneficiaries for all of yourIRAs, qualified plans and insurance policies. If you don't, they may be goingto someone you no longer wish to receive them.
- Maximize the liquidity of your estate. Liquidityis defined as the ability to quickly turn assets into cash. Without sufficientcash to pay taxes, funeral, and other expenses, your family may have to sellilliquid assets - such as a family business or other property - at aninopportune time.
- Maintain an appropriate mix of investment risk.Over time, more risky investments like stocks and mutual funds should be movedinto safe and stable investments such as annuities.
- Name a dependable executor and/or trustee.Executors are called upon to collect assets, pay obligations, and distributeyour assets. Your trustee must enforce all the provisions of any trusts youcreated. Choose people who have the knowledge, integrity and stamina in theface of pressure from family members to fulfill these obligations.
- If you have minor children, consider naming oneguardian for your minor children and a separate guardian for the propertyyou've left to support them. The best guardian for your children may not be themost effective money manager you know.
- Estate planning for your spouse. If your networth is high enough, your estate may be subject to taxes. A simple estate plancan potentially save your loved ones hundreds of thousands of dollars in estatetaxes.
- Leaving the right assets to the right people.Make sure proper financial management systems are in place for people such asspecial needs children, teenagers, or other dependents.
- Plan, plan, plan. While estate planning isimportant for everyone, it is most important for business owners, who must planfor the succession and/or buyout of their business.
This is just an overview of estate planning issues that you should address. Remember, every situation is different andyour estate plan is not going to look exactly like your neighborâ€™s estate plan. At Idaho Estate Planning we are the experts youneed to know and trust. Work with us and we'll put together a plan that worksfor you and your loved ones. Remember, good planning is no accident.