Estate planning is one of the most overlooked and procrastinated upon areas of financial planning. But when thinking about receiving an inheritance, advanced planning can provide smoother and more beneficial transitions.
While your legacy is important, it doesn’t generally take the front seat of your thoughts or your financial plan. There’s more to legacy planning than just having a will, but how much more depends on which stage of life you’re in.
To coincide with National Estate Planning Awareness week, this year we are discussing steps to take when planning your legacy whether you’re in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or 60s.
What should someone in their 20s and 30s be doing about their estate planning?
When you’re in your 20s and 30s legacy planning starts with creating a will. A last will and testament gives you a good foundation and will get you thinking about electing your beneficiaries. You’ll also want to select your beneficiaries on your investment accounts.
Once you get married and start having children, then it’s important to keep your plans updated. It’s also a good time to get term life insurance. Make sure to revisit your will and the beneficiaries on your investment accounts periodically or with major life changes like a move or a new baby.
What are the important legacy planning considerations for someone in their 40s?
When you’re in your 40s you probably have more accounts and higher balances than you did in your 30s. Have you kept up with all of your retirement accounts from previous employers? The key to staying on the right track is to stay organized. Make sure to check in on your beneficiaries and estate documents from time to time.
Tax planning is important in your 50s and 60s
If you are in your 50s and 60s you may be in the sandwich generation. This means you may have elderly parents and your own kids embarking on adulthood. This is an age when many really start thinking about their own legacy. It’s a good time to start thinking of Roth conversions. You can start tax planning not just for yourself but for your entire family. Think about how you can pass on your assets with the most after-tax value.
What should you do if you inherit money?
If you receive an inheritance there are different things to consider depending on your age and financial situation. You may want to consider paying off loans, buying a house, or even taking a mini-retirement. Having a financial plan in place can give you the confidence to do exactly what you want with those funds.
Estate planning is usually the last item on your financial planning list of things to do and it often takes another person to spur you on. A professional like an attorney or a financial planner often help guide you through this process. Let us know if you would like some help getting your estate planning in order. Plan today to make the most out of your retirement.