Estate Planning and Trust Planning
Thinking about your own death may not be pleasant, but it’s very important when it comes to financial planning. This is especially true if you have children or others who are dependent on your income and assets. As unpleasant as it may be, it’s critical that you consider what will happen to your assets and how those assets can best benefit your heirs. Proper estate planning can even alleviate stress to loved ones.
When you pass away, your assets are distributed to your family and other heirs. Without guidance from you, your heirs will have to decide how the assets should be distributed. That can lead to arguments, legal disputes, and maybe even some decisions that you wouldn’t make yourself.
With some simple estate planning, you can relieve your family of this burden. Estate planning helps your family avoid messy arguments and disputes. It also removes a major source of stress while they’re grieving your loss. Perhaps most importantly, it helps you make sure that your assets are distributed according to your wishes.
Here are a few tools that are commonly used in estate planning:
A will is the most basic document used in estate planning. Quite simply, it tells your heirs how you would like your assets distributed. It’s a legal document, so the executor of your estate must follow the will’s instructions in most cases.
Also, if you have children, you can use a will to assign guardianship of the kids in the event of your passing. A will is an important document and it’s very easy to establish.
Trusts are used to accomplish things that a Will cannot do. Maybe you want to leave assets to a child, but you want to specifically direct how and when they receive the money. A will can’t do that, but a trust can. A trust could also be used to establish care for someone who has special needs.
In many cases, trusts are established for financial reasons. Items in a trust can often pass probate, which may save your heirs time and expense. If you have a sizable estate, you may also be able to use a trust to minimize estate taxes. Trusts are more complex than wills, but they can provide powerful solutions.
Living Wills and Powers of Attorney
These documents are actually used while you’re still alive. They provide instruction to your family and caregivers in the event that you can’t provide instruction yourself. You can use them to give medical directives or to assign a financial guardian in case you’re unable to make decisions for yourself.
At Sherman Wealth, we help our clients craft an estate plan that meets their needs and goals. Estate planning can often involve difficult conversations. We facilitate those conversations and help our clients better understand their wishes and priorities. We’d welcome an opportunity to consult with you and learn more about your estate planning goals. The professionals of Sherman Wealth are not attorneys but we will work with your tax or legal professionals to assist in the creation of your estate plan.
Sherman Wealth Management does not offer tax or legal advice. Individuals should consult their tax or legal professional regarding their specific circumstances.