Financial Planning and Estate Planning

Having a proper estate plan is important for individuals and couples. An estate plan is important to determine what happens to assets, what level of medical care an individual wants in certain situations, who may act instead of an individual, and so forth. One important element of estate planning is financial planning. A solid financial plan can improve an estate, and thus improve the outcome for beneficiaries named in the estate plan. The estate planning attorney and the financial planner can work closely together to ensure a financially sound estate plan.

Funding the Trust

A critical element of the estate planning process involves funding the trust. This means naming the trust as beneficiary in some instances such as life insurance, or placing assets into the trust, such as putting real property into the trust. Working in conjunction with a financial planner is important in ensuring the assets in the trust are working for the most benefit for the grantor of the trust, and thus, the trusts beneficiaries. A financial planner can work through an individual’s assets, and the attorney can then make sure those assets are properly titled in the estate plan. A proper financial plan ensures that the assets of the trust are working to the greatest benefit for the grantor and his/her beneficiaries.

Taxes

While the estate tax rarely impacts individuals or married couples, tax considerations may be important for certain estates. A financial planner and estate planning attorney can work together to minimize any tax consequences to an estate. Certain legal and financial planning techniques can be used to reduce the taxation to an estate.

Avoiding Probate

A main reason to select a trust is to avoid probate court. Probate can be a lengthy, and at times costly, endeavor. Furthermore, probate records are public, and some individuals don’t want their financial state open to the public. For example, if someone with a trust fails to name the trust as beneficiary of a life insurance policy (and the named beneficiary is deceased), then the probate process will be required to ensure that the trust becomes the beneficiary of the life insurance proceeds. A financial planner and estate planning attorney can work together to ensure assets are properly titled and that assets are properly in the estate.

Collaboration Between the Financial Planner and the Estate Planning Attorney

By working together, a financial planner and estate planning attorney can ensure that loved ones avoid unnecessary expenses and time-consuming processes after someone passes away. The financial planner ensures that investments and other assets are working for the goals of the client and the beneficiaries of the estate plan. The estate planning attorney ensures that the estate is legally sound, and that the end-of-life and after death goals of the client are met.

To begin the estate planning process, or have your current estate plan reviewed, please contact Benjamin Long of Schmidt & Long.