As you gather with close family and friends for the Holiday’s, give some thought to opening up the estate planning conversation. Whether you need to update an existing plan or look into creating a new one, it is an important piece to your overall retirement strategy, so don’t ignore the conversation. As hard as it may be to think about a plan for when you pass, passing without a plan for the distribution of your assets is even harder to imagine.  Without a will, the fate of your assets is left up to the court room where the outcome may or may not be reflective of your wishes.  A will allows you to designate beneficiaries, dictate who you’d like to manager your affairs, and can help you to reduce or eliminate inheritance, estate, or income taxes for your heirs.   You can save your family from another hardship in what will likely be a hard enough time by simply having a will and estate plan and maintaining them.

Also, make sure you add a list to your will for personal property. One of the most common reasons family dynamics are shredded after a death in the family is not just the distribution of assets, it’s the distribution of personal effects.  Don’t place the burden on your loved ones to decipher how to distribute your personal heirlooms.  Leaving a plan in place can help with that.

Lastly, if you are going to be an executor of an estate, make sure you get all of the appropriate information. You’ll want to be sure that you have a personal property distribution list, copy of the will, computer passwords, life insurance contracts, and safe deposit box information.  Being organized will make this job far less overwhelming.

When planning your estate during the Holiday’s, make sure you consult with a trusted financial professional. Click HERE to learn more about us and the different ways in which we can help assist you through the estate planning process.