This is the first posting in a new blog series from Stockman Wealth Management (SWM) on estate planning, the process of planning for passing assets on to loved ones.
Why you should plan ahead
Estate planning has the connotation of being only for “high net worth individuals” or “one-percenters.” But even those of us with a modest amount of assets (such as a house, car, furniture, or boat, not just cash) can find use and even comfort in an estate plan.
It’s not rocket science
Developing a plan is not rocket science; in fact, it demands more emotional intelligence than grey matter. The steps toward planning for the future are fairly simple and straightforward in most cases, but taking action is often the problem.
An emotional factor
Ultimately, you have to confront your own demise when estate planning, and the unconscious urge to avoid thoughts of mortality is enough for many to put the whole thing off as long as possible. This is the emotional factor – in essence, you must plan for your passing while you are still alive. In large part because of this conundrum, more than half of all Americans who own property die without a will (see www.caregiverslibrary.org.).
Encourage and support
Financial planners, especially those with the CFP® (CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™) designation, have the background to help with the emotional and organizational processes of planning. They can define and clarify the process and can make recommendations of qualified professionals (such as attorneys and accountants) for specific legal and tax concerns. The CFP® professionals at SWM are well-versed in the estate planning process, and can encourage and support you in all stages of planning.
This series will continue over the next few months with discussions on a variety of estate planning issues, such as property ownership and rights, powers of appointment, trusts, beneficiaries and giving, executors and guardians, succession planning (for businesses, farms, ranches, etc.), probate and how to avoid it, and many more. There is a lot to cover!
If you have a specific topic in mind, please let us know and we’ll write about it. Also, we welcome questions and comments any time!