Estate planning and financial planning are two areas in which you can greatly benefit from experienced advice and guidance. However, some people overlook the benefits of including your financial advisor in the discussion when developing your estate plan. Our California estate planning attorneys discuss five ways your financial advisor can help you with your estate plan.
How Can a Financial Advisor Help You with Your Estate Plan?
1. Assist You in Understanding How Changes to an Estate Plan Impact Your Overall Finances
Most individuals see their estate planning attorney when they want to change their will or trust, or after significant life changes, such as a divorce, the death of a spouse, or the birth of a child. The estate attorney assists you in making changes to the estate plan to ensure the plan continues to reflect your wishes and desires. However, those changes could have a significant impact on your overall finances. The changes could have an impact on your heirs as well. A financial advisor can analyze how your changes to your estate plan impact other financial matters now and after your death.
2. Review Beneficiary Designations
Some assets pass directly to heirs without becoming part of your trust or probate estate, such as life insurance policies, annuities, some brokerage accounts, some financial accounts, and most retirement accounts. Because your financial advisor routinely works with these accounts, the advisor should also periodically review beneficiary designations to ensure they reflect your current wishes for your estate plan.
3. Properly Titling Assets
For an estate plan to work, you must title assets correctly. Your financial advisor can review all assets to determine if they are titled properly. For example, you’ll want to be sure that assets are properly titled, with appropriate legal terms, if you want to transfer them directly to a joint owner such as a spouse upon your death.
4. Assist Estate Attorney with Trust or Probate Administration
After your death, your financial planner can work with your trust and estate attorney to prioritize what needs to be done right away to protect your assets for your heirs. In some cases, the financial planner may be able to provide your heirs with immediate access to funds they may need after your death, or even for your own care if you’re incapacitated. Because your financial advisor may be the person most familiar with your assets after you’re gone, your advisor can assist your estate attorney and personal representative in identifying all assets, including assets that pass to beneficiaries and pass into your trust or probate estate.
5. Coordinate Your Retirement Plan with Your Estate Plan
An important element of your overall financial health is ensuring that you have sufficient retirement funds for your own support, and so that you can leave a legacy for your loved ones. If you outlive your retirement funds, it could result in reduced care, and in debt for your heirs instead of property. Your financial advisor can assist you in coordinating your retirement plans and estate plans to help you reach your goals for retirement savings, long-term care planning, and legacy planning.
Contact a California Estate-Planning Attorney for More Information
If you have questions about estate planning or probate matters, talk with our California estate planning attorneys today. The first step in developing a comprehensive estate plan is learning about your options. Our attorneys can give you advice and guidance based on your unique situation, needs, and goals. Once you understand your options for estate planning, you can take the steps necessary to protect yourself, your property, and your family.