Coordinated Financial Care from eLegacy Law
At eLegacy, we help our clients create comprehensive Estate Plans, and we encourage people to do so relatively early on in their lives. In fact, an Estate Plan should be an integral part of your overall financial strategy. Coordinating your current financial management strategies with careful thought about how you want your finances to be handled as you age or even after you pass on will make it possible for you to achieve all your financial goals.
Plan – and Act – For Your Future Now
People are often pretty good about short-term goals like saving up for a new car or for a downpayment on a house. They know they should put some savings aside for contingencies like losing a job or the car breaking down. But they never really take a hard look at where they are and where they want to go in terms of their finances overall, and whether these expenditures – and the amount they spend – are really in their best financial interests.
The fact is, many people do not put sufficient effort into more long-range financial planning. They may put some money aside in a retirement or pension fund, and they may take advantage of a few minor tax shelters, like Health Savings Accounts or IRAs. But even though they are saving something, they often have little idea how much they should be putting in and what those contributions will yield by the time they need to access those funds.
A successful financial plan will enable all the “moving parts” of your financial life to work together in one cohesive effort that maximizes your returns, reduces your exposure to taxes and other liabilities, achieves financial stability, and builds your wealth. It will address how your assets and financial resources are allocated now and set targets for how you should allocate those resources moving forward. Estate planning should be part of this overall financial plan.
To do this well, you will need some outside help in the form of a financial advisor, an estate attorney, and a certified public accountant (CPA). Working together with you, a team of qualified professionals will assess where you are, and tell you what steps you need to put in place now to reach your long-term goals for yourself, your spouse, your children, and even your favorite charities. And more than just putting those steps into place, you will have to put those steps into practice.
Working in tandem with your financial adviser and your CPA, your attorney can help you create the right financial vehicles that will set you on the right path. Taking control of your finances by creating a plan will ensure you reach your long-term retirement goals. This is a larger task than many people realize as they stop and consider that a comfortable retirement may require more resources than they thought.
Although essential, an Estate Plan is just one part of an overall financial and life plan that takes into account all the varied interests and goals you may have. An Estate Plan will not only include a Will but will include documents that operate during your lifetime, such as an Advance Medical Directive and a Durable Power of Attorney. These instruments are designed to express, with legal force, your wishes as to how you want your healthcare and financial decisions handled should you become incapable of making those decisions for yourself. You will also likely create one or more Trusts, which can be designed not only to dispose of your estate upon your death, but to protect your assets during your lifetime, and ensure that they are used for specific purposes that you determine.
An overall plan may include things like your 401(k) plan from work or long-term care insurance or life insurance. You may have to establish special trust for loved ones to make sure they are taken care of in the event you are unable to do so yourself. Properly setting up your plan may involve moving assets or transferring the title of certain assets into a trust, or re-allocating investments. All of these things will depend upon your particular circumstances and your priorities and goals, but your plan will help you make these decisions.
Once you establish an achievable plan and conscientiously implement it over time, you will gain tremendous peace of mind. When you know exactly why you are handling your finances in a particular way and know how your plan works, it frees you from worrying about any given expenditure. You’ll know exactly how much disposable funds are available for you to use as you wish, and you can truly enjoy that overseas trip or that new car, knowing you are still going to meet your financial objectives. By educating yourself on how your assets work for you, you will be able to make adjustments should you need to reassess your plans.
All of this can be achieved by a relatively small investment of your time and funds. If you would like to learn how to coordinate your financial care by working with a team of professionals, contact eLegacy today.