It’s estimated that only 17% of Americans work with a financial advisor to manage their affairs. Unfortunately, this percentage is meager when considering the many benefits a financial advisor can provide regardless of an individual’s financial circumstances.
If you’ve been following this series, you know how much a financial advisor can help someone in the decades leading to retirement. However, that’s not where an advisor’s work stops. One of the most important services they provide is estate planning. If your advisor is helping you with investments, real estate, and tax planning, they likely have the best picture of your financial life to help you plan for your estate.
What Is Involved In Estate Planning?
An estate plan is a documented plan for your assets in the event of your passing. While this is not something we want to think about often, it’s essential to put a plan into place so that your family doesn’t have to make these tough choices when you’re gone. An estate plan also puts the power in your hands to make charitable contributions and care for those you love.
The primary document in an estate plan is your will. A will is the easiest way to divvy savings, real estate, investments, 401(k) plans, and other important assets amongst the family. You can also leave possessions to a charity or people outside the family beneficiaries of a will or trust. Other essential parts of the estate plan will include:
- Your life insurance and long-term care insurance
- Durable and healthcare power of attorney designations
- Beneficiary designations
- Guardianship designations
Why Do I Need a Financial Advisor to Help?
A simple will may only require an attorney’s assistance, but there are several reasons why the input of a financial advisor is beneficial. First, financial advisors have your best interests in mind and aren’t afraid to ask the hard questions to ensure your estate plan is one you’ll be wholly satisfied with. For example, they may have you consider aspects of your financial plan you didn’t think about before – such as how much to give to charitable organizations, stepchildren, or grandchildren along with your immediate family.
A financial advisor will also:
- Keep your plan updated – They will check in with you annually to ensure that new assets are accounted for, and life changes such as marriage, divorce, or children turning 18 do not affect your current estate plan.
- Interpret legal information – Most estate plans are written in legal jargon that can be frustrating to proofread independently. A financial advisor will help you better understand the minutiae of your estate plan and ensure it’s precisely what you want.
- Work with your attorney – Financial advisors work closely with estate attorneys to advocate for their client’s wishes and ensure the full scope of their estate plan is met, not just the essentials.
How Do I Find a Financial Advisor for Estate Planning?
Not all financial advisors offer estate planning services, but those that do are invaluable to your and your family’s financial future. In order to find the right estate plan for you, come prepared to your consultation with several questions that will help you decide if they’re a good fit, such as:
- Who is your typical client? What is their financial situation like?
- What tools and outside counsel do you use to help me with estate planning? Do you work with tax planners, attorneys, and other financial experts?
- What services will you provide for my estate planning?
- What is your fee structure?
OneAscent strives to provide holistic, easy-to-implement estate planning services to ensure our clients are cared for. We understand how sensitive this part of financial planning can be and do our best to provide you with the best information to make decisions for yourself and your family. To learn more about estate planning with OneAscent, schedule a consultation today.