Estate plans: an important part of financial wellness in retirement
One of the key components to a healthy retirement is a well-prepared estate plan. Estate plans determine to whom and when the proceeds of your estate will be distributed in a way that maximizes the value of the estate by minimizing and reducing taxes, liability and other expenses.
Estate planning can be an all-inclusive, tax-saving financial plan for the preservation of your assets when combined with savings, investments and retirement; the protection and continued operation of a business; the support and care of your children; and much more.
To develop an estate plan that is best aligned to your interests, you should work with a reputable lawyer, skilled fiduciary specialist and other professionals who have experience and expertise in wealth transfer planning, custom trust solutions, trust administration, estate tax minimization, power of attorney/living will, document review, beneficiary designation, titling of assets and real estate management services.
Here are some basics that should be covered in your estate plan:
- A will, the written document that provides for the transfer of your property upon death.
- Assignment of power of attorney, which gives the person you name the authority to manage your financial affairs if you are unable to do so.
- Beneficiary designations; if you have not named a beneficiary of your estate, a court is empowered to manage your possessions.
- A letter of intent, which specifies to the beneficiary how you want your affairs carried out after your death or incapacitation.
- A healthcare proxy that authorizes another person to make medical decisions on your behalf.
- Guardianship designations; as is the case with the distribution of your assets, you do not want the court making decisions about whom your children will live with after your death.
Estate planning is part of any healthy retirement strategy, and with it comes added peace of mind.
Darren Schuldheiss is president of KeyBank’s Idaho market.