Retirement bells are ringing, and you are probably wondering where to start with your estate plans. Given that you have worked so hard over the years and built a sizable estate, it is important to have a plan for the future with an eye on passing down your assets to your beneficiaries.
Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Account for all your assets
This should probably be your first move. Make a list of everything you own that may have value. This may include any bank accounts, shares of stock, real estate, retirement accounts and more. It will help you have a clear picture of the size of your estate before settling on how you plan to distribute it to the beneficiaries.
2. Establish your directives
If you ever become incapacitated due to an illness or injury, it’s good to have someone who can act on your behalf. Powers of attorney for health care and financial decisions can help provide some security — but only if you trust the people you appoint. Start thinking about who you might want in these roles.
3. Look at beneficiary designations
Many of your assets may have beneficiary designations on them. Insurance policies, for example, ask you to name a beneficiary and even a secondary or tertiary beneficiary. Those bypass your estate and your will and are paid as directed. You need to decide if they are allocated the way that you prefer and look at any other options that might better meet your goals.
4. Consider the tax implications
Federal and state taxes can affect your estate plans in unusual ways. A consultation with a financial advisor before you finalize your estate plans might not be a very bad idea.
With a sound estate plan in place, you can now enjoy your golden years with peace of mind that your family will be well taken care of once you are gone.