Estate planning is an important part of retirement planning for many reasons: You’ve worked hard for your money and want to see your children and grandchildren benefit. And, you want to see it passed down in the most efficient way possible. Unfortunately, costly mistakes are all too easy to make, from forgetting to name a beneficiary to not updating your estate plan over time. Since your estate and legacy plan is a part of your overall retirement strategy, it is important to discuss how you plan to transfer your wealth before you pass with your trusted financial professional. So, try and keep these three helpful things in mind when estate planning.
Many people may not know that their will does not control who inherits all of their assets, such as retirement accounts, life insurance, and annuities. In order to pass these on, you must name a beneficiary for each retirement account, insurance policy, and annuity. If you don’t, these assets will likely be paid to your probate estate, possibly triggering income tax. Believe it or not, some people incorrectly name beneficiaries; don’t forget to distinguish family members of the same name with signifiers like Sr. and Jr., and update last names in the cases of marriage and divorce.
Estate planning becomes more complicated when it comes to how to pass on a retirement account to minors or individuals with special needs. Children cannot claim assets without a court-appointed conservator to manage the asset until they turn 18. Individuals with special needs could benefit more from a trust rather than directly inheriting assets because if they receive too many assets they could no longer qualify for government benefits. You should also consider how inheritance could affect your beneficiary’s tax burden, and consult a professional for a tax efficient strategy.
It’s important to review your estate plan regularly, and update it when there are major life changes like the birth of a new beneficiary, marriage, divorce, or when beneficiaries become eligible to receive money. How you distribute assets may change over time, as could your own financial situation. All of this is part of your financial and overall retirement plan, thus making it crucial for you, your family, and your trusted financial professional to discuss.
Here at Madrona Financial, we understand the importance of properly passing on your hard-earned money to your loved ones the way you want when you pass. We want to help you create a comprehensive retirement plan that takes this into account by making sure your assets are passed on in the most efficient way possible. Don’t wait to start planning for the inevitable. You may need to create an estate and legacy plan from scratch or simply update your existing one, so click HERE to schedule your complimentary financial review today.