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Your Estate Plan: Just Do It


One of the most important yet often neglected facets of financial planning for most folks is their estate plan. Sadly, many people pass away absent any personal and final instructions regarding custody of minor children or their possessions. In these cases, a person is said to have died “intestate,” and it is up to the court to determine how to divide their property and who will become the guardian of minor children. So, not having a plan is actually having a plan for the state to decide how your estate will be settled. If this does not sound ideal to you, then you absolutely must rip the band-aid off and get your plan done, as uncomfortable as it may be!

An estate plan is really just a set of documents containing instructions to assure your final wishes are carried out. Anyone who leaves family or property behind should leave instructions to assure those we care about are taken care of and are not exposed to unnecessary stress resulting from intestacy.

Estate plans may range from a simple will or trust to intricate plans designed to handle complex estates and minimize tax exposure. There are other very important documents, such as Powers of Attorney, that are critical in the event of incapacity. Your own needs will depend on the complexity of your own financial life and the needs of your family. It is particularly critical for business owners to ensure adequate plans are in place to handle the affairs of their business at their passing, or if they are rendered incapable of leading the enterprise.

Estate plans are as unique as the people they are made for. Everyone’s situation is different and cookie-cutter solutions are rarely worth the paper they are printed on. For this reason, I always recommend you seek counsel from an Accredited Estate Planning Attorney to evaluate your needs and craft your plan. Much like you seek specialists for specific medical issues, you should treat specialized legal matters similarly.

The selection of a qualified executor or trustee is another key element to a successful estate plan. Many choose a family friend or even their children for these roles. However, there are downsides to these selections, and plans frequently run into trouble as a result. Utilizing a professional, neutral third party for this important role is often a better option. Professional fiduciaries are trained, insured, regulated, and audited. They can provide professional asset management and offer continuity where individual trustees and executors often cannot. While there are expenses involved, they are often minimal and the value they add is well worth it. A fiduciary wealth manager may be able to assist you with your lifetime financial planning and serve as your executor or trustee when the time comes.

Regardless of how simple or complex your financial situation and family needs may be, there is no time like the present to establish a prudent estate plan. Having your affairs in order can also give you the peace of mind that your loved ones will be cared for when you are no longer there to help. This knowledge pays its own dividends.

Explore VeraBank Estate Services or schedule an appointment with an advisor. 


Securities provided by VeraBank Wealth Management are not deposits of VeraBank, are not FDIC insured, have no financial institution guarantee, and may lose value.

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