If you’ve seen the movie Coco or have learned about Latin American culture, you know that Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a commemoration of loved ones lost and a vibrant celebration of life on November 1st and 2nd every year.1
With this colorful holiday approaching, let’s take a moment to think not only about how we’d like to be remembered, but also about the logistics of leaving behind assets and financial obligations. You can act now to ensure that your friends and family can celebrate you when you have passed on, without the stress of guessing what you would have wanted or dealing with unintended outcomes with regards to your finances and estate.
One important first step is to ensure that you have appointed the desired primary and contingent beneficiaries on your accounts, or if you have a trust, ensure that you have either titled your accounts to the trust or listed your trust or specific sub-trust as a contingent beneficiary. The Financial Plans & Strategies team can help you with this: we can review your beneficiary designations on your FP&S accounts, and we can even help you get your 401ks, bank accounts, CDs, and other assets set up with the correct beneficiaries. Failure to properly update or review your beneficiary designations could result in you inadvertently leaving your assets to someone you did not intend.
Along a similar line is ensuring that your assets are titled correctly – we can help you make sure your accounts are correctly set up with individual or joint ownership. Correct titling of assets is important in avoiding the probate process and is often overlooked.2
If you have any questions about what it means to “avoid having to go through probate” with an estate, our advisors can explain the probate process, including the pros and cons and potential costs.
Tax planning is another important aspect of estate planning: we can help ensure compliance for gift and estate taxes, as well as help you develop gifting strategies that best help you meet your goals while minimizing the tax-impact of your generosity.3
Although in the past our firm has been able to provide estate planning legal services – including the writing and execution of wills and other estate documents – this aspect of our services is coming to an end with Mick’s decision to retire from practicing law. However, if our firm has prepared your legal documents, we will continue to hold these in escrow for you until you need to make updates. We can also review with you what the different types of estate plan documents are, and what we think you might need.
Reach out to the FP&S team to find out how to get a free executive summary for your estate plan from a legal firm. You can also read more about estate planning on our blog, in “What Is Comprehensive Estate Planning?” and “Life After Death: Estate Strategy for Your Digital Assets.”
Once you’ve checked in with Financial Plans & Strategies to make sure you’ve got your estate in order, then it’s time to bring on the face paint, sugar skulls and mariachi bands, and celebrate Day of the Dead in style!