THE PANDEMIC SHINED A LIGHT ON AN ALREADY CONSISTENT OMISSION IN ESTATE PLANNING
Anxiety about Mortality! WHAT IF?!?
With the recent turmoil in the financial markets, I have undoubtedly been spending a great deal of time managing and calming my clients’ expectations and fears regarding their portfolios and financial future. As coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to saturate the media, I have also noted a significant rise in clients’ anxiety level about estate planning and their own mortality.
In addition to the barrage of “doomsday” prognostications, clients are also struggling to understand the recent SECURE Act and how it will affect their retirement and estate planning. Adding to that anxiety, research indicates:
- 60% of U.S. adults do not have a will;
- 70% of U.S. adults do not have an estate plan; and
- 40% of affluent investors rate having no estate plan as their biggest concern.
Financial advisors typically don’t provide legal advice, so it is imperative that I partner with a local estate planning firm that understands and respects my role in the client’s trusted circle of service providers.
As an essential part of a basic estate plan, you may also have questions and concerns regarding trusts and wills. Providing specific legal advice is not recommended by Advisors like me, but I can help guide you on how to complete this very important part of your household planning. ASK ME FOR HELP.
As your preferred investment advisor, I am prepared to address many of these recently escalating concerns that often range far beyond managing portfolio risk and asset allocation.
One often overlooked topic we should be comfortable discussing is medical decision documents. These include:
- Healthcare directive – What healthcare measures do you want if you become incapacitated?
- Healthcare durable power of attorney – Who do you want to make decisions if you are incapacitated?
- HIPAA authorization – Allows healthcare providers to share information with your decision makers
More than one-third of U.S. adults do not have a healthcare directive. Regardless of marital status, these are all very important documents for any client over the age of 18.
As an essential part of a basic estate plan, you may also have questions and concerns regarding trusts and wills. Providing specific legal advice is not recommended by Advisors like me, but here are several important topics I can offer insight on:
- Benefits of a revocable/living trust
- Avoiding probate with efficient distribution of assets
- Reducing estate and gift taxes
- Caring for minor children or protecting assets from children’s spouses
- Caring for special needs beneficiaries
- Preserving assets for future generations
- PR is named in the will to manage the probate process
- Cannot exercise power until obtaining a court order
- Values estate and transfers assets to trusts and beneficiaries
- Files tax documents to close the estate (Form 706 and 709)
- Legal owner of all assets titled in the name of the trust
- Interprets and executes the grantor’s wishes
- Acts with reasonable care in the beneficiaries’ best interest
- Responsible for managing the assets in the trust unless directed
- Individual as successor trustee
- Understands family dynamics
- Less expensive and more suitable for smaller trusts under $250,000
- May have expertise/experience needed for family LLC’s or business holdings
- Comprehensive experience and expertise
- Unbiased with no family agendas
- Continuity of service — doesn’t die, get sick, or go on vacation
- May allow for grantor’s preferred advisor to manage trust assets
These topics can lead to a more substantive dialogue about you and your family with my strategic partner relationships. The desire to remain an integral part of your families trusted inner circle remains a constant. Are you planning on leaving assets in a trust to heirs? Why or why not?
These are clearly unsettling and unpredictable times. More than ever, my clients need support and guidance across these broader array of issues.