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Estate Planning involves planning for how an individual’s assets will be preserved, managed and distributed after death. It also takes into account the management of an individual’s properties and financial obligations in the event they become incapacitated.

When a person dies what determines how your assets are distributed?

Is there any tax on the estate when that person dies?

Who gets mother’s engagement ring when there are four girls who will all want the ring?

What happens if you are in a terrible accident and cannot speak or communicate, who determines what is next for you and the direction of your life?

Do you want to leave the family farm to the entire family or to one child? And what does this mean to that child’s siblings who also have a financial interest in the property?

Are you charitably inclined and want part or all of your legacy to go toward helping fund that mission?

These possible issues happen every day in various estates in our community. Many people feel that Estate Planning should focus just on estate taxes. The truth is that estate planning encompasses much more and impacts a large number of people today. You could have an Estate Plan that provides the family farm to a child working the farm. The three siblings get other assets so that the estate is fairly and equally distributed to the rightful heirs!

Estate Planning Assets

Assets that could make up an individual’s estate include, houses, cars, stocks, paintings, life insurance, pensions, and debt. Reasons for estate planning are preserving family wealth and providing for surviving spouses and children, possible funding for grandchildren’s education or leaving their legacy behind to a charitable cause.

Every person, family and business should have estate planning in mind when considering what happens to all of the stuff that is accumulated during a lifetime. This may include a will, full power of attorney, health care power of attorney, trusts or other protections in place.

Estate Planning Strategies

The most basic step in estate planning involves writing a will and / or trust.

Will– A legal document created to provide instructions on how an individual’s property and custody of minor children, if any, should be handled after death. The individual expresses their wishes through the document and names a trustee or executor that they trust to fulfill the stated intentions.

Trust– There are many types of trusts that can be created to meet your needs. Trusts are established to provide legal protection for the trustor’s assets and to make sure those assets are distributed according to the wishes of the trustor.

A trust is a legal entity employed to hold property, so the assets are generally safer than they would be with a family member. Even a relative with the best of intentions could face a lawsuit, divorce or other misfortune, putting those assets at risk.

Other major tasks include; limiting estate taxes by setting up trust accounts, establishing a guardian for living dependents, naming an executor of the estate to oversee the terms of the will, updating beneficiaries on plans such as life insurance and IRAs and appointing a Power of Attorney (POA).

Plan for Your Future

You will need the advice of an attorney for your will and / or trust. At St. Charles Financial Services, we work closely with several attorneys to meet your goals and needs for estate planning. Contact us today to speak to a financial professional who can help you evaluate your estate and plan your future.

Estate Planning services provided in conjunction with your licensed legal professional.

We are here to help protect what matters most to you!

Contact SCFS today and let one of our financial professionals customize a financial plan that helps prepare you for an enjoyable retirement in the future.