Finding your Team (and I don't mean picking the NCAA Champion)Submitted by Headwater Investment Consulting on March 16th, 2017
By Kevin Chambers
On this kick off day for the NCAA March Madness, you may well be thinking of your bracket and watching your team steamroll to the top. However, there is another team you should also be thinking about: your Estate Planning Team.
Estate planning is often a source of stress for people as they near retirement. It can be complex and daunting, but having a solid estate plan can make a big difference for your loved ones. Here is the first tip to make the process a little clearer and less intimidating.
Finding your Team
With age comes wisdom. The kind of wisdom that means understanding that you don’t have to have all the answers, just know where to find the answers. For estate planning, finding the right answers means having a team of people to help you with your finances and estate. That team will most likely include three people:
(1) Estate Attorney: When figuring out your estate plan, it is important to consult with an estate attorney. They can help you through the process of setting up a will, a trust, or other legal designations like health care proxy and durable power of attorney. Using an attorney will help you understand the various options, minimize mistakes, and ensure that the estate process goes as smoothly as possible.
(2) Tax Professional: Additionally, consulting with a tax professional is integral as there are often tax consequences surrounding estate decisions. This can also depend on the complexity of each person’s financial situation. For some people, getting the advice of a tax professional can save them, or their beneficiaries, thousands of dollars.
(3) Financial Manager: Headwater Investments, or a similar firm, is an important member of your estate team. Headwater Investments helps many people go through the retirement and estate process. A good financial manager will be knowledgeable about the estate process and be able to help you through the process, including setting up any accounts you will need, tracking distribution requirements, and minimizing tax consequences.
Once you have your team together, it is a good idea to let each of the team members know who you are working with. Often the three pillars of your estate team, with your permission, can talk to one another and pass along information. That way there are no miscommunications within your planning process. And perhaps more importantly, once your estate plan needs to be enacted, your beneficiaries will have a dedicated team of professionals to walk them through the many steps and hurdles it takes to finalize an estate, making this process much smoother and less stressful.