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Estate Planning | The Key to Generational Wealth

What is the most gentle way to express this? We're all going to die eventually, and just because you'd rather not think about it doesn't mean you're immune.

What happens after that? It's that simple!

Maybe you believe that your estate will magically be settled and that bickering relatives are the stuff of TV melodrama. You're not just leaving a will, though. You're leaving a legacy. You want to be in charge of what happens to the things that are most important to you, such as minor children, dependents, financial holdings, and even your own health care decisions.

Your assets could be subject to a time-consuming, expensive, and extremely public process where family and creditors can acquire access to records and even challenge your will if you don't have a well prepared estate or legacy strategy.

Although a majority believe having such a strategy in place is crucial for everyone - not just the wealthy - only a tiny percentage have done the most basic step of choosing beneficiaries for all of their accounts, surveys have revealed.

Here are some crucial aspects to consider to avoid one of those 'then what?' moments:

  1. A Will. What could go wrong if you don't write one? 'A lot,' according to US News & World Report, 'depending on your situation, the personalities of the people in your life - and the estate rules in your jurisdiction.' In other words, if your family can't agree on their own, a court judge might end up choosing who gets everything down to your Marley albums, as well as appointing a guardian for your minor children.

  2. A Living Trust. Do you own real estate, such as a vacation home? Or perhaps you wish to leave a larger inheritance to one child than to the others? Assets placed in a revocable living trust are available to you during your lifetime, can be administered by your appointed trustee if you become incapacitated, and are more difficult to contest than wills.

  3. Health Care Directive You don't want a judge selecting who gets your Beres Hammond CDs, and you don't want the courts deciding whether you should stay in a vegetative condition or be removed off hospital feeding tubes.

  4. Beneficiary Designations. To put it another way, you don't want to be among the large percentage of people who didn't bother to name a beneficiary on their retirement plans or other savings accounts, according to research.

Some people believe that estate preparation is as straightforward as writing a will. However, our financial advisors at ICPI can work with you to devise a strategy that, among other things, avoids the court process known as probate while also ensuring that your investments are in line with your objectives.

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