Gaining Control Over The Future Of Your Finances Through Estate Planning

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While it may be easy to think of estate planning as a chore best left for the future, there are so many reasons to take care of this vital process as soon as possible. Otherwise, you risk jeopardizing the financial protection your current and future dependents stand to gain. Below, we’ll go over the basics of establishing an estate plan and maintaining it through every stage of life.

First, what is estate planning? Unfamiliar territory for most, this multifaceted process involves arranging the safe and defined transfer of your or your family’s assets in anticipation of death. The goal is to ensure that the intended beneficiaries are able to receive the maximum amount of wealth possible. There are many aspects of estate planning that can — and should — be started long before you own a house or even have kids. Although most Americans agree this process is important, more than half haven’t taken the initial steps.

Beginning in early adulthood, everyone is encouraged to have some level of estate planning documents. These include establishing a comprehensive will; naming beneficiaries on retirement accounts; and assigning powers of attorney for financial and health concerns. Many may consider this as morbid at such a young age or that there are too few assets to make it worthwhile, but that’s not the case. Life is unpredictable and having these affairs in order when going off to college or beginning a career is critical in the case of injury or illness. Without the proper documents in place, family members could have difficulty acting on your behalf.

Once marriage and family life begin, arranging these matters becomes even more imperative. Experts recommend couples pursue collaborative estate planning to better understand each other’s preferences and make joint decisions on consequential topics. Couples are also advised to explore life insurance options at this stage and establish guardianship for dependents as the family continues to grow.

As life marches toward retirement, plans should be kept in line with retirement and future lifestyle goals. This could relate to addressing potential long-term care needs, setting up desired trusts, and other strategies aimed at preserving your accumulated wealth. Regularly reviewing and updating plans as life changes is key, as it makes certain that beneficiary designations align with your intentions. Of course, ensuring everything goes to plan requires working closely with professional legal and financial guidance. Consulting with these specialists not only presents personalized advice, but it helps provide peace of mind now and down the road.

Want to learn more about estate planning for all the life stages? Check out the accompanying resource for additional information.


Infographic created by Goodnight Law, experienced probate lawyer in Oklahoma City
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