Navigating a clear course toward your financial security.

Are you properly protected?

Everyone has a story of an acquaintance, relative or sports figure that passed away unexpectedly, sometimes at a relatively young age.  Despite these events hitting close to home, too many people do not adequately plan for their mortality.

Obviously, a will is the first step.  Everyone over the age of 21 should have one, even if there are few assets at stake.  Without a will, relatives bear a greater amount of post-mortem turmoil as the state decides where your assets will go.

The grief caused by a death in the family is very emotional and significant.  Proper estate planning documents reduce the feeling of helplessness that the survivor’s family must endure until the loss is more distant.

Set a date to get a will executed and do not put it off any longer.  Everyone has excuses for not doing a will, such as uncertainty about naming a sibling as a guardian for minor children, but in reality, the excuses boil down to the inability to face mortality.  If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, you would make decisions based on the best information available and get it done today.

If you are married and your combined estates, including your home, investments, retirement plans, cars and life insurance exceed $1,000,000, then you need to consider revocable trusts in addition to wills.  Significant estate taxes may be avoided with a proper estate plan.

Beneficiary Designations

Your will does not dictate the way that all assets will be distributed.  The distributions from tax-deferred assets, such as IRAs, pensions and insurance policies, are contractual in nature. They are governed by the beneficiary designation forms that were completed at the time the accounts or policies were created.  These beneficiary designations take precedence over the provisions in your will.

After your will is executed, review the beneficiary designations of your 401(k)s, 403(b)s, TSAs, IRAs, life insurance policies and other similar documents.  The beneficiary designations need to be coordinated with the provisions of your will.  Change the beneficiaries as necessary.

If you are unsure or would like to reconfirm who your beneficiary designations are on your accounts, please do not hesitate to contact us.  It is important to coordinate beneficiary designations with your will.

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