For many people, one of the first things that come to mind when becoming familiar with the term “estate planning” is the Last Will and Testament. In one of our previous articles we explored the what a will entails, but it’s wise to remember that there is much more to an estate plan than this.
The Importance of the Will
There’s no denying that a last will has a considerable effect on the structure and management an individual’s estate. In some ways, it is a condensed roadmap of a person’s legacy, one with a great deal of legal, financial, and emotional weight. Still, it only encompasses a single side to the multifaceted project that is an estate plan. A last will only concerns proceedings that will take place following death, whereas there are elements of an estate plan that are actively relevant well before you or a loved one passes on. This is a particularly important distinction because proactive thinking is a core part of what makes an estate plan successful.
The Bigger Picture
In addition to a will and living will, estate planning will involve trusts, power of attorney, and beneficiary designations. A trust is a way to set aside assets outside of your will. It therefore avoids probate, which allows for more privacy, and offers you a heightened level of control in combination with a potentially lower tax burden. Power of attorney refers to the appointment of a person who can make legal, financial, or health-related decisions on your behalf. Finally, beneficiary designations determine who will receive particular assets like pension benefits and life insurance proceeds. Depending on circumstances, this can even override your will.
Beyond the Numbers and Fine Print
It’s not hard to find yourself lost in the technical ins and outs of an estate plan. However, if there’s one aspect of this process that estate management professionals fail to properly account for, it’s the human element. Each estate has its own familial circumstances, histories, and relationship dynamics to bear in mind. These have an active effect on efficiency and success of any estate plan, no matter how calculated it is in terms of numbers or legal gymnastics. This is why it’s so important that your plan is constructed and managed by professionals who are as sensitive to your personal needs as they are to the security of your assets.
MacMillan understands estate management on a deeper and more personal level than anyone else. We provide elite services that add true value to your wealth without compromising the values of your family. Call us at 1-833-266-6464 to begin planning for the future of your estate.