As holistic financial planners, all elements of one's finances take priority in our process. Whether it is protection planning, investment management, loan analysis, or estate planning, all parts play an integral role in creating a sound financial plan.
Over the years, we found that getting clients to have their estate planning documents drafted and executed is the tallest of tasks. After all, it's not fun to think about, requires scheduling meetings with an attorney, and can cost thousands of dollars.
Despite the challenge, estate planning documents are essential since they can:
Once you've met with an attorney and decided who will benefit from your wealth and how they will benefit, you will then sign your documents for them to become binding. After this is complete, your estate plan is not entirely in effect. Signing your estate documents is not the final step in your estate plan.
Although some of your assets or property will be transferred through your will or revocable trust, not everything does.
Upon execution of your estate plan, be sure to ask your attorney who should be named the beneficiary of your life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Life insurance and retirement accounts pass to beneficiaries by what are known as beneficiary designations.
The structure of your estate planning and the beneficiaries within your will or trust will not direct where these assets go. It is your responsibility to make sure this part of your estate plan is organized and done effectively so that the structure of your estate plan works the way it was intended to.
Sometimes the life insurance and retirement account beneficiaries should be different since the taxation of these accounts can differ upon your death.
The type of accounts that require beneficiary changes for many physicians and dentists are:
TIP: Don't forget to update the beneficiaries through your employer benefits.
Remember, you may have plans, policies, and designations in place from earlier in your life that no longer reflect where you are now. To ensure that your beneficiary wishes are reflected across the board, you will need to review all of your accounts with beneficiary designations that haven't been updated since you finalized your will and estate documents.
Estate planning can be a long-drawn-out process and can be cumbersome to overcome. Despite this, it plays an integral role in the foundation of a sound financial plan.
If you're unsure how to get started, reach out to one of our financial planners to start a discussion.
As the Director of Financial Planning for Spaugh Dameron Tenny, Jordan applies his academic and practical experience in the creation and maintenance of the firm’s financial plans, as well as coordinating research efforts for products and strategies that may benefit clients. Originally from Canada, Jordan came to Charlotte on a golf scholarship where he attended Queens University of Charlotte. In addition, Jordan has a Master’s degree in Wealth and Trust Management.
Having an estate plan is a critical component of responsible financial management. It ensures that your assets are distributed according to your ...Read More →