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Protecting Your Family’s Security: Integration of Your Estate Plan and Your Financial Plan
If you’ve been following our blog, you know that estate planning is an important step in protecting your family’s financial security. Whether drawing up a Will or establishing a Trust, an Estate Plan is an essential tool to ensure that your assets find their intended recipients after you pass. Likewise, perhaps in your financial plan you have implemented financial strategies such as saving for retirement or teaching your children about good money management. However, there’s far more to it than simply having both an Estate Plan AND a Financial Plan in order to help you gain peace of mind knowing your family will be provided for, no matter what happens to you. Why? They have to be integrated to work together or you run the risk that what you think will happen may not.
Here are a few important steps you can take to help your financial strategies work with your estate planning strategies:
- Make a List of Your Debts and Assets. The first step towards planning your future is to get organized. It’s difficult to make a plan if you don’t know where you stand. Begin by making a list of all your debts, financial accounts, and any other assets you have. Then create a system to organize all your documents. Finally, determine your monthly expenses and earnings so that you can create a budget.
- Plan for Retirement. Once you’ve determined your monthly balance, the next step is setting longer term financial goals. Determine the amount of money you need for retirement, and set up a monthly budget to ensure you’re setting enough money aside to reach your goals.
- Pay Down Bad Debt. Many people, despite their best intentions, find themselves in debt, whether it’s unpaid credit card bills or out-of-control student loans. Bad debt can be a major roadblock towards establishing financial security, and can keep you from sticking to your budget. There are several strategies for paying down doubt which are well worth considering as part of your plans.
- Purchase Life Insurance. Life insurance is one way to provide for your family, should anything happen to you. It allows for a sizeable payment to your beneficiaries in the event of your death. Another form of insurance that can help protect your family’s financial security is long-term disability insurance, which would continue to provide you with an income should you get hurt and no longer be able to work.
- Educate your Children about Financial Security. All of these steps are useless, however, if your children are just going to squander the money you leave them. Beginning your kids’ financial education at a young age is the best way to ensure that they will make smart economic decisions throughout their lives. This way you’ll rest easy, knowing you can pass your financial security down to the next generation.
With this said, when you meet with an estate planning attorney, that attorney will have before them what they need to make sure your that your financial plan fits with your estate plan, even with respect to the financial and non-financial dynamics of your family life and your loved ones. So, while it’s extremely important to protect your assets with a Will or a Trust, always keep in mind that the triangle of professionals you should always have in an “estate plan” include your accountant, financial advisor and estate planning attorney and you should provide all of them with what they need to work together to secure your family’s financial future.
At the Law Firm of Blanche D. Smith, we have years of experience helping clients draft an Estate Plan that helps accomplish their future goals, including the integration of their financial plan. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us by calling (936) 301-0111 or by using the brief form below: