Estate Planning Estate Planning Guide
Protecting Your Estate and Your Family
Although two-thirds of affluent individuals have some
kind of estate conservation program, only 11 percent of these
programs are current (less than two years old) and nearly
40 percent are six to 10 years old — dangerously out-of-date
by experts' standards.
Many people have worked hard to accumulate assets for their
family's welfare and consider taking care of their heirs a
top priority. By periodically reviewing your estate conservation
strategy, you can help ensure that your assets are protected
and passed to your heirs as you intend.
Here are a few questions to consider when reviewing your current
- When was the last time you looked at your will?
If it's been a while or you can't remember, it may be time
to review your will and determine whether any changes are
needed. Perhaps you have had a change in your marital situation
or new grandchildren whom you would like to include.
- Have you established a trust? If structured
properly, a trust can be a valuable tool to help protect
assets and provide funds for final expenses, estate taxes,
or other administrative costs. A trust may also help reduce
the amount of estate taxes due.
- Have you funded your trust? A common
mistake in estate conservation is setting up a trust and
then failing to transfer assets into it. By moving the desired
assets into your trust, you can avoid this costly mistake.
- Did you name an appropriate trustee?
Is your trustee someone you trust to manage your assets
and make sound financial decisions that will affect your
family? You might want to consider a professional trustee,
such as a bank or trust company, that can provide stability
and impartiality to this role.
The use of trusts involves a complex web of tax rules and
regulations. You should consider the counsel of an experienced
estate conservation professional before implementing such
Considering these questions might help ensure that your family
and estate are protected. Call today if you want help in evaluating
your estate preservation strategy.