Legacy Planning - A Gift For Those Important To You
If you ask most people, they will say legacy planning is an important part of financial wellness. Yet statistics show that most people haven’t done it. A 2022 survey about Estate Planning and Wills by Caring.com found that two out of three American adults don’t have a Last Will and Testament.
Workers Credit Union AVP, Financial Wellness Coach Tammy Behringer has some tips that can make estate planning easier, including a great resource offered at a discount to WCU members.
- Decide to do it – No matter your age or assets, legacy planning gives you control. It lets you decide what happens to your assets and estate while you are still able to make your wishes known, rather than leaving it up to others to decide for you.
- Know the terms – When getting started, familiarize yourself with the terms and what they mean. For example, a Will is a legal document outlining how you want your assets to be allocated that takes effect when you pass away. A Living Trust has provisions for the management, control and distribution of assets during life and after death. You can move assets in and out of the Trust whenever you want.
- Name your partners – One of the biggest decisions is who you want involved and to what extent. You should consider naming a personal representative, often called an executor, who will handle your estate and manage all the paperwork after you are gone. During your lifetime you it’s also a good idea to name a healthcare proxy and power of attorney to designate who can make decisions on your behalf should you be unable to do so. Don’t pick people because you think you should. Select those you trust and make sure their ethics and beliefs and morals are aligned with yours. They need to know what your thoughts, feelings and wishes are. It is also recommended that you name beneficiaries who will receive your assets and how they will be divided among them. If you have minor children, you should consider naming guardians who would take care of them after your death.
- Work with an expert – Legacy planning is a complicated process. Many people hire an attorney who specializes in trusts and estates, but there are several online resources available as well. Workers Credit Union has a partnership with Trust and Willl. Their user-friendly platform guides you through the process one question at a time. WCU members can get 10% off the initial purchase of an estate plan. If you need help, seek out an expert to explain the process and help you fill out the necessary forms. Trust & Will also provide attorney support, including one-on-one time with local estate planning attorneys.
- Make your wishes known – Not only is it important to get your decisions officially outlined on paper, but it is beneficial to talk to those important to you about where those documents are and what they say. Unspoken decisions or lost documents can lead to unwanted conflict.
Creating an estate plan can give you and those important to you peace of mind about the future. To learn more, consider talking to a certified Workers Way Financial Wellness coach who can help you start the process as well as other steps you can take to promote your financial wellness.
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