By Matthew V. Piwowar – Preparing a family Legacy Protection PlanTM involves more than simply deciding who gets your stuff when you are gone, and how to avoid probate court. The following Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist is a comprehensive review of all the issues you should plan for if you want to protect your family’s legacy: (i) while you are alive and healthy, (ii) while you are alive but need assistance (legal, financial, medical, daily activities), (iii) after you die, (iv) after your spouse dies, (v) while your children are alive, and finally, (vi) after your children die. Each of these stages of life require an estate plan in order for you to protect your family.
Yes, this Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist is long. Life is complicated, and there are many legal, financial, and health risks. Only with a comprehensive estate plan can you hope to protect yourself and your family from all life’s ups and downs. The Legacy Architects’ estate planning process includes everything on this estate planning checklist for one flat fee. We encourage you to share this Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist with friends and family. Link to it on your website, share it on facebook, and get the conversation started.
Ultimate Estate Planning Checklist
Retirement and Long-Term Care Financial Planning. I have reviewed many estate planning checklists, and in my opinion, most of them are backwards. They almost always start with a Last Will. Ironic, considering its name. A last will is used to divide up your remaining assets between your loved ones after you die. Which is important, but first you need to make sure you have available assets while you are alive, and something left to give to your heirs when you die. What good is a last will if all your assets are used up for your long-term care. Or worse, your loved ones are forced to use their assets for your care because your funds run short?
Therefore, the first step in any good estate and disability plan, and the first item on a good estate planning checklist, is meeting with a financial advisor to discuss retirement and long-term care planning. I spent over 15 years as an international finance, business, and banking attorney before focusing my practice on estate and disability planning, and I still consult with financial advisors for my personal financial plan; you should, too.
Disability Planning. With each so called estate planning checklist I review I see a pattern. They either don’t mention disability planning, or it is left for the end of the list without much explanation. A complete estate planning checklist should start first with protecting you while you are disabled. What good is an estate plan that decides who receives your assets, if your assets are gone before you die?
If you’ve made it to 50 and you’re healthy, then you need to plan to live until you are 95. That means you are virtually guaranteed to have several months or several years where you are alive but not competent to manage your financial, legal, and medical affairs. And disability is not limited to old age – an accident or bad diagnosis from your doctor could leave you unable to manage your affairs tomorrow. That is why today, every estate plan must have a disability plan.
Your first step in disability planning is deciding who . . . .
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