The Nemesis of Your Estate Plan
by A. Scott White, CFP®, ChFC, CLU
President, Scott White Advisors
What do the late Aretha Franklin, Prince, Sonny Bono and Bob Marley have in common? Each of them died without a will. I was surprised to learn this, since I assumed that celebrities with plenty of money would have comprehensive financial and estate plans in place, including a will.
So, while you may enjoy their music, please don’t make the financial planning mistake these celebrities made. Because without an estate plan, the task of settling your affairs will be even more complicated and difficult for your survivors—on top of the grief they will be dealing with.
I know that none of us wants to think about our own death. That’s why when I meet with a new client, I take the lead on this delicate subject. The end of our life will mean changes for our spouse, children, or other loved ones. Losing a spouse, father, mother or sibling—at whatever point in life—is cataclysmic. Emotionally draining and disorienting, the last thing anyone wants to think about is money. Unfortunately, major financial issues and decisions arise and must be handled. One sure way to provide comfort and help ease the stress associated with a loss is proper financial and estate planning long before it occurs.
Estate planning goes beyond drafting a will. Thorough planning means accounting for all of your assets and ensuring they transfer as smoothly as possible to the people or entities you wish to receive them. Along with implementing your plan, you must make sure others know about it and understand your wishes. That’s where your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional, working with your attorney, can be helpful.
A CFP® can evaluate your current financial situation, including life insurance policies and assets, and help you plan for your spouse or children’s well-being and care after your death.
Proper estate and financial plans will consider:
- Adequate life insurance coverage under multiple scenarios, if needed
- A properly constructed will and living will
- The most beneficial trust and estate plan
- Retirement accounts and beneficiaries
- Transfer-on-Death provisions for brokerage and bank accounts, to avoid probate for beneficiaries
- A responsible estate administrator or executor
- A system for regularly reviewing and updating your estate plan
The nemesis of your estate plan is procrastination. Failing to make an estate plan can lead to excess money in estate taxes, family disputes, assets getting into the wrong hands, and long court litigation. So call your CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER® professional or estate planning attorney today. These experts can help you prevent problems for your loved ones—and ease their burden during a difficult time.
Raymond James does not provide tax or legal advice. Be sure to consult with the appropriate professional in regards to your particular situation. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.