Estate planning and creating a legacy are on the top of most retirees’ minds. Estate planning is the art of making sure your loved ones still talk to each other after you pass on. Leaving an unplanned estate can destroy the strongest of family units. Make sure you take the time to build this important element into your comprehensive Retirement Plan.
By definition, estate planning is a process designed to help you manage and preserve your assets while you are alive, and to conserve and control their distribution after your death according to your goals and objectives. But what estate planning means to you specifically depends on who you are. Your age, health, wealth, lifestyle, life stage, goals, and many other factors determine your particular estate planning needs. For example, you may have a small estate and may be concerned only that certain people receive particular things. A simple will is probably all you’ll need. Or, you may have a large estate, and minimizing any potential estate tax impact is your foremost goal. Here, you’ll need to use more sophisticated techniques in your estate plan, such as a trust.
What Are the 5 Components of Estate Planning?
1. Wills and Trusts
A common misconception is that only wealthy people need wills or trusts. In fact, a will or a trust is a crucial part of any estate plan, whether you are wealthy or of modest means. A will or a trust will direct the distribution of your estate (all of your property and assets) after your death, according to your wishes. A will can also name a guardian for any child you have who is not at least age 18 at the time of your death.
2. Durable Power of Attorney
Each of us has a complicated web of financial and legal responsibilities to take care of from day to day. We pay bills, manage bank accounts, sign documents, and perform any number of other ordinary, yet important, tasks. Should we become unable to perform these tasks due to illness, injury, or death, chaos can ensue. Bills won’t get paid, deposits won’t go into our accounts, and responsibilities won’t be met. A durable power of attorney, however, allows you to name a trusted individual to handle your financial and legal affairs should you be unable to manage them yourself, whether temporarily or permanently.
3. Medical or Healthcare Power of Attorney
Like the durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, sometimes called a healthcare power of attorney, allows you to authorize a trusted individual to make decisions about your medical care if you are unable to make those decisions for yourself. Having a living will or advance healthcare directive does not preclude the need for a medical power of attorney, as situations may arise that are not addressed in the living will, and those will require decisions to be made by the person you have designated.
4. Living Wills and Advance Directives for Medical Decisions
Living wills and advance healthcare directives are legal documents that specify your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself and are terminally ill, seriously injured, in a coma, late-stage dementia, or near death. The living will or advance healthcare directive can ensure that you get the medical care you want and are not given treatments that you don’t want. It can also relieve your family members of decision-making in a time of crisis and minimize confusion or disagreement about what you would choose if you were able.
5. Beneficiary Designations
While you are creating your estate plan, you should also ensure that you have named beneficiaries and that your beneficiary designations are up to date. Beneficiaries will need to be named for benefits that are paid directly without going through the estate, such as benefits from life insurance policies and retirement plans.
Supporting All Your Most Important Decisions in Realtime
- Staying on track with your goals
- Reviewing financial decisions
- Updating financial projections
- Evaluating tax savings options
- Advising on 401k allocations
- Supporting your kids’ financial goals and plans
Every Northern Alliance Financial Retirement Flight Plan Includes:
Your hard-earned wealth has to last a lifetime, and that takes planning. We work with you to build toward the goal of
maintaining your lifestyle.
Your finances in retirement are particularly exposed to taxes. We plan ahead giving you options for tax mitigation.
The values you live by carry on through your legacy. Our planning process uses estate planning to extend those values and that legacy.
We built NAF Capital as our
operations and compliance
backbone to empower our advisors to act in your best interests.