Everyone should have a plan for their estate.

Estate planning should be a financial priority at every stage of life and is essential for organizing your financial affairs for the wellbeing of your family members when you die. Taking the time now to plan your estate eliminates uncertainties and maximizes the value of your estate. Regardless of your age, the breadth of your finances or the complexity of your situation, you need to plan today to make sure your beneficiaries are protected and your wishes are carried out.

The basic steps involved include:

  • outline your current financial situation
  • define your personal and financial goals for your estate
  • identify options and make informed choices for your estate that will allow you to achieve your desired outcomes
  • review your plan and make adjustments when your financial picture changes

Deciding what will happen with your estate is an important part of your overall financial plan. You should think of it as a living document. It should be a reflection of your life at any given time. For example, if there are any changes, such as the birth of a child, marriage or divorce, your estate plan should be revised to reflect the change. It's a good idea to review your estate plan and your will at least every three to five years.

5 Hardest Questions to answer when planning your estate

  1. Who will your beneficiaries be?
    While your spouse is the most obvious choice as the primary beneficiary, children, grandchildren, your favorite niece or nephew, or even your favorite charity will need to be outlined as a beneficiary if that is part of your estate goals.
  2. If you have young children, who will be appointed as their guardian?
    If your spouse survives you, he or she would of course take on this role. But in the event you and your spouse die in an accident together, you will need to determine who will look after your children.
  3. Who will be the executor of your estate?
    The executor is the person who will be responsible to carry out your estate plan. While it may seem like an easy task to carry out even the best laid plans, many issues can still arise. There are many options to consider including professional third parties. Click here to learn more about the process of settling an estate as an executor.
  4. How to distribute the inheritance to your beneficiaries?
    Depending on the type of assets you’re leaving each beneficiary, you many need to split up an asset between two or more parties. Furthermore, when leaving money to your children or grandchildren, you may not want them to receive their inheritance too soon or all at once. In this case, you would want to look at trusts.
  5. Who has power of attorney now?
    While the executor or your estate will have legal control once you die, there might be circumstances where you need someone to manage your finances and act on your behalf while you're still alive.

While planning your estate is an uncomfortable process for many, taking the time to plan it out now will help ensure the best for your family. Below are some helpful resources to get you started on planning your estate.

As always, your credit union is hear to help you through the planning process. Contact us today. No obligation. No commitment. Just sound advice from our wise financial experts who are focused on you and your goals.  

Additional Resources to get you started on planning your Estate: