Why Should You Have A Plan? The 5 W’s Of Estate Planning
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” – Benjamin Franklin
Do YOU have a plan? At Estate Planning workshops at The Resource Center, I often begin by asking, “who has a plan?” Most attendees respond by shaking their heads in a timid “no”, some will mutter about a will, but on the rare occasion someone will confidently raise their hand and say “yes, I have a Trust”. The confidence that comes with knowing you have a plan that works gives a sense of comfort and peace of mind. Most people don’t have this confidence, they may have a plan that they don’t like or understand, they may have a will and be misinformed in the power that document holds, or they simply have no plan at all. All of these open up the family and the estate to a lot of risk and uncertainty.
If having an Estate Plan brings safety, certainty, and confidence, why do people put off planning? The most common reason is fear. Fear of the unknowns about the process. Fear that the cost will be high. Fear that they might make a “mistake” that will embarrass them in the future. Another reason I have found is a lack of knowledge. People don’t know who to talk to or where to start the process. I also find that a lack of education/understanding will inhibit people from planning. Many people aren’t aware that Estate Planning is for everyone or what Estate Planning is for. Finally, people may unintentionally put themselves in a position where they don’t have a plan due to lack of maintenance of a previous plan. Once an Estate Plan is established, it should be updated and maintained every 5 years. In this blog I will cover the who, what, when, where, and why of Estate Planning and hopefully give some insight so that you too can make a plan!
Who Do You Plan For?
This is the first thing to establish when thinking about completing Estate Planning. The common answer is that one is planning for their family. Most people desire to pass on the estate they worked their whole life to achieve to their family as efficiently and effectively as possible. An estate is anything one owns, this includes a house, a car, family heirlooms, a farm, a business, a savings or checking account and investments, just to name a few. Wouldn’t you much rather leave your estate to your family rather than the government, through taxes and probate court fees?
What Do You Plan For?
Unfortunately, you are planning for the inevitable end of your life. Simply put, you are planning for your death. You are also planning for your incapacity should you fall into a state where you can no longer care for yourself. When you have an Estate Plan you can detail specific directives of your wishes for the care of yourself, of your estate and even your pet.
When Do We Plan?
Yesterday!!! But that is not a possibility, so let’s do the next best thing and begin to plan NOW. There is no guarantee of tomorrow. Waiting to build Estate Planning into your time frame won’t work. If you wait until you need to use your plan (have end of life planning in place) it could possibly be too late.
Where Do We Plan?
Right here! We have a strategic relationship with a local lawyer, Will Worsham, who specializes in Estate Planning. With his legal guidance and my financial guidance we combine to craft the perfect plan for you based on the needs and desires you express to us. We have established a system that keeps this complex process simple. We maximize efficiency by not requiring prior document collection to hold an appointment with us. We enhance your understanding by offering complimentary meetings with knowledgeable professionals AND your family, after all, they are the ones who will need to understand your estate plan when it comes time to execute it. We do all we can to ensure your plan is successfully executed by providing “road maps” for you and your beneficiaries.
Now this is the BIG question. There are many reasons why planning will pay off.
Having a plan will help to avoid conflict. Often conflict will arise over money, possessions, and what your wishes would have been. Having a clearly defined plan eliminates the need for argument between the members of the family. Additionally, placing your estate in a trust will remove the need for probate court, saving money and time for your family. Creating a plan allows you to prepare for foreseen and unforeseen circumstances you family may face. Circumstances such as a beneficiary that is incarcerated, estranged or an addict, a beneficiary who goes through a divorce , a beneficiary who is in bankruptcy or has a large amount of debt, a beneficiary who has special needs that need to be accommodated, or a spouse that requires long-term care? Having a plan can help to provide for these and many other circumstances. Having a plan allows you to prepare for circumstances such as these and even give contingencies. When you have a plan, you know your wishes will be followed.
Monthly meetings are held in The Resource Center Community Room. Please RSVP for our meeting by clicking here. We also have one-on-one apointments by phone or in office. Please schedule by clicking here.
Bruce Porter has a book out called, ‘Finding the Courage to Retire’. Each Week Bruce Porter is a guest commentator on KOLR 10’s Ozark Live. To get first access to our video re-run, Subscribe to our YouTube page here.
We are an independent firm helping individuals create retirement strategies using a variety of insurance and investment products to custom suit their needs and objectives. This material is intended to provide general information to help you understand basic financial planning strategies and should not be construed as financial advice. All investments are subject to risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.
The information contained in this material is believed to be reliable, but accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed; it is not intended to be used as the sole basis for financial decisions.
We are not permitted to offer, and no statement contained herein shall constitute, tax or legal advice. Individuals are encouraged to consult with a qualified professional before making any decisions about their personal situation. Our firm is not affiliated with the U. S. government or any governmental agency. Investment advisory services offered only by duly registered individuals through AE Wealth Management, LLC (AEWM). AEWM and The Resource Center are not affiliated companies. #693865