Next year is almost here. In just a few weeks, 2020 will arrive. Are you ready?
Yes, it is an election year. It is a leap year. It is a new year to plan and move ahead with those plans.
Should it also be your “Estate Planning Year”? Yes. As hard as it may be to think about, let alone talk about dying and what happens with all our stuff when that happens… it is a fact of life.
So, while we have covered the topic of estate planning in other blogs, it is a subject that is worth revisiting. As this year winds down, you can act now to plan for your estate and help protect your family and loved ones.
As you sit down with your trusted financial and estate planning advisor, keep these five points in mind:
- Life Insurance: There was a popular radio commercial about life insurance many years ago that said “Life insurance isn’t for the deceased. It’s for the living!” It seemed like a trite, non-sensical statement but it is so true. Life insurance is primarily used to protect a loved one from loss of income when the spouse or family member dies. Life insurance is a tax-free income that the beneficiary may use for income and expenses. If you’re not sure where to begin with life insurance policies, go to www.consumersadvocate.org/life-insurance/ for the latest reviews.
- Beneficiary Designations: Life insurance, 401(k)s, IRAs and personal property all will be owned by someone upon the owner’s death. So, designate beneficiaries for all of these items. Review and update those beneficiaries every few years. Backup beneficiaries can also be named should the first beneficiary pass away.
- Charitable giving: Non-profit organizations receive billions of dollars each year from the generous giving of estates. Legacy giving is popular for churches, temples, alma maters, non-profits, civic groups and other legally designated 501 ( c ) 3 organizations. You can also discuss with your financial advisor the advantages of setting up a CRAT (Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust).
- Form a Trust: Discuss with your estate planning advisor revocable or irrevocable trusts. Discuss your wants and needs and find out if one of these options matches your goals for estate planning.
- Reduce debt load: Pay off your debts! It is that simple. Your estate may end up paying those debts off which means leaving less for your heirs. Begin now at paying off credit cards, liens, and loans.
Why work on estate planning now when there’s always tomorrow? It’s a lot of work! Truth is, making an appointment to start the estate planning process, making a plan, and then working towards that plan will set you and your family up for success! Don’t wait, act now.
A.K. Burton, PC, has an experienced estate planning advisor and attorney on our staff who can help you do it all. We can begin now and take you through the entire process, professionally and compassionately. Contact us at (301) 365-1974 to schedule a consultation. Our accounting firm serves the Bethesda, Rockville, and Montgomery County, Maryland areas.