You said you’d do it when you got a “Round Tuit”. Well, here’s Your Round Tuit!
Let me guess. For years, the recurring thought pops up from time to time, that your affairs are not in order. The will isn’t finished, or maybe it needs to be rewritten, thoughts of final arrangements for a funeral still need to be in place, and if you died tomorrow, your family would be in a terrible mess. I get it, life is busy, and it seems the older we get, the faster the days and weeks fly by. There is so much going on and final planning isn’t something that takes priority for most of us. The common phrase of I will get around to it later, is all too familiar for most of us. Well, here it is, I am going to give you what you’ve been asking for, here is a “Round Tuit.”
Be sure to print off this blog and keep this Tuit with you.
Make 2021 the year you get your final planning and financial affairs in order and add a little more peace of mind to your day-to-day affairs.
Start at the End
Starting at the end is more common than you think. Many of the greatest authors in the world have come up with fantastic endings, and then composed a story that that leads back to it. If you’re having trouble trying to figure out where to start with estate planning, the easiest place to get started is at the end.
Imagine for a moment that a tragedy has just occurred, and you are now deceased. What happens next? What funeral home should your family go to? Do you wish to be buried or cremated? Would you like a church service or something small in the chapel at the funeral home. Do you want to have a catered luncheon, or will you get the CWL to make those little salmon and egg salad sandwiches?
If you’ve ever planned an unexpected funeral for a loved one, you will know these are just a few details needed with funeral planning. They might appear trivial on the surface, however in my experience these can be difficult necessities when a loved one passes. Having been through this experience more than once, I can assure you that your family will appreciate any type of planning laid out. By writing down your final wishes, you have taken care of some of the most important details and have started down the path of Estate Planning.
This leads us to the next big question, who gets what?
Estate Planning is a Team Sport
Imagine being at the hospital for surgery. You’re in the pre op room when the surgeon comes in and says “Ok. Hop on the gurney it’s time to get moving.” But he’s all alone. You ask the surgeon, “Where are the nurses and other support staff?” The surgeon replies, “there’s no need for them, I’ll be handling all this myself”. How confident are you feeling at this moment? Not very, right? And why aren’t you feeling safe and comfortable? Because you know it takes a team of qualified professionals to perform a successful surgery. Well guess what? It takes a team of professionals to create a great estate plan too. But many people only consult their Lawyer (and some don’t even do that). This is the same as asking a surgeon to perform surgery all alone.
Who’s on Your Team?
The key players (other than you of course) are as follows:
Financial Advisor– Your financial advisor should be your first point of contact when planning out your estate. Why? Well for starters they know you, and your family. They know about most if not all your investments, and…if they’re any good, they have a pretty good understanding of both Tax Law and Estate Laws. Equally important, unlike the other members of your team, your Advisor doesn’t charge an hourly rate. This makes them a great person to hash out all the answers to the tough questions you’ll have like who gets what and from which investment etc. For example, you may want to leave your house to your daughter, while your son would get the proceeds of your life insurance policy. Your advisor can help with all of that.
Your Family – If you have adult children, I genuinely believe it’s important to involve them in this process. By doing so, you can prevent infighting and resentments in the future. At first, this may feel uncomfortable, but your kids are ready for this and I think they’ll handle it a lot better than you think. Get your Brother or Sister involved too if you feel they have something positive to offer. And again, invite your advisor to be part of the conversation. If they won’t do it or, if you don’t have one, call me. I’m happy to help.
Accountant – Once you’ve answered all of the tough questions, it’s time to get the experts involved to check your work. Your accountant will review the choices you have made and determine the tax ramifications for each. Most importantly, your accountant may have ways to tweak you plans to save your family thousands in taxes.
Your Lawyer – In planning your estate, your lawyer is like the surgeon who pieces everything together and makes sure everything expressed properly and legally. Lawyers are also great at making sure that no stone is left unturned and that every “What if” is answered in advanced. For example, you may wish to leave portion of your estate to your Sister. But what happens if she were pass away before you and before this will is updated? Then who should receive the proceeds? Lawyers know these things. That’s why they’re so important.
So, what are you waiting for? You now have your Round Tuit and a roadmap to get you started. The only thing left is a little initiative. If you’re stuck, not to worry. Give me a Call a 519 -721-7254 and I’ll help you get started.