One of the biggest mistakes the Boomer generation is making, according to USA Today, is their failing to develop an estate plan.The reason? Many are simply unaware of the document’s importance, and how it can ease the transfer of assets to family members. Moreover, an estate plan may help ease future tax consequences.
“I think that on a list of things to do, it’s at the bottom, if it even makes the list,” says Nicole Hart, director of trusts and estates at Sontag Advisory, a New York-based wealth adviser.
The same can be said for most anyone, but the Baby Boomers seem to be more focused on what “their cash flow” will total at retirement and “not focused on death,” notes a managing director at Wilmington Trust, Wilmington, Delaware.
An estate plan avoids ‘probate.’
Generally, the estate plan can protect both financial and real estate holdings from the probate process. As such, the legal wheels can grind very slowly through the court—and expensively. Property must be identified, debts and taxes paid before any remaining funds can be disbursed.
Three areas of the Estate Plan
Typically, the ‘plan’ focuses on three critical areas. One component includes property and financial assets, such as savings and retirement portfolios. Also, under the category of ‘medical decision,’ appointing someone to handle personal affairs if someone is incapacitated is vital.
When it comes to ‘second marriages,’ the plan can also provide for children, or help protect against losing assets if the new marriage doesn’t work out.
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