Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Starting Your Estate Plan is Easier Than You Think

The phrase estate planning can be intimidating to some, but getting started is easier than you may think.

Are you put off when you hear about estate planning? It's in the news, on TV and all over the internet. Many people gt intimidated when they hear those words, but there's no reason to fear or avoid getting started with your estate plan. Let's discuss just how easy it can be to get started.

First, the words, estate planning. Those words mean something different to everyone, but all they really mean is creating certain arrangements for your assets, property, insurance, IRA, etc. and for some creating a Will, Powers of Attorney and a Living Will. For others it can also involve creating trusts and focusing on estate tax planning. In fact, you may have already done some and you don't remember.

For example, if you have some insurance, you probably named a beneficiary. Perhaps the same with an IRA. Those beneficiary designations represent a form of estate planning. Perhaps you got a Will from military service, or some other source. Again, you have done some estate planning.

So, what about getting started and why would I suggest it's easy? Well, if you want to have a simple plan, then just make sure your beneficiary designations say what you want, especially if you haven't looked at them in a while.

Second, in a State like Colorado, you can use POD (Pay on Death) or TOD (Transfer on Death) beneficiary designations to direct bank accounts or brokerage accounts to the beneficiaries you want. This represents a probate-free transfer of the bank or brokerage account to your intended beneficiary and you don't need a Will to accomplish this.

Moving to the next step could involve protecting yourself with Durable Powers of Attorney and considering a Will. If your net worth is significant, you might also look at estate tax issues.

So, when you approach it from this direction, estate planning can be simple and not intimidating.

What do you think? Please join our conversation and leave a comment or feel free to ask any questions that you may have. You can also call our office or send me an email, I answer them all.

Thanks for your interest.

Bernie Greenberg

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