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Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor About Estate Planning

Creating an Estate Plan is an essential part of protecting your assets. Learn which questions you should ask your financial advisor about estate planning.

As you get older and begin thinking about the future, you may begin to consider your Estate Plan and how to go about creating one. This can often be something that we want to push off, as thinking about the future can be scary, especially the possibility that we may not be there to see it. However, it is important to begin having these conversations now before it is too late and we no longer have the chance. One person that you will want to consider having this discussion with is a financial advisor.

At Trust & Will, we know that it can be intimidating to broach the topic of estate planning, and it can be hard to know what questions you should ask your financial advisor about when you meet with them. That is why we have put together this article to go over some of the basic estate planning questions you may want to cover with your financial advisor and why they are important.

Keep reading to learn more about the following questions:

Should I leave my assets in a Will or a Trust?

Before discussing this question, you will want to understand what both a Will and Trust are. 

What is a Will?

A Will is a legal document that details who you want to receive your assets, which can include anything from cars to jewelry, property, houses, vacations homes, and more. The people who will be receiving your assets within your Will upon your death are known as your Beneficiaries. 

What is Trust?

A Trust is a legal document that you can transfer assets into, often bigger assets such as houses and cars. Once your assets are within your Trust, you will be able to name a Trustee who will be responsible for your assets until you eventually pass away and they are able to be passed on to your Beneficiaries. You can also choose to name yourself as your Trustee within your Trust, allowing you to retain responsibility for your assets until you pass away.

It is important to know whether a Will or a Trust—or both—is the right option for you. To come to this decision, you will want to sit down with your financial advisor and discuss which options are best for your assets and your family. 

When it comes to a Trust, you often want to have a certain net worth in assets to make creating a Trust valuable for you. However, a Will is something that most likely everyone will be advised to create by their financial advisor. Additionally, you will want to discuss which assets should be held within your Trust and which will be better suited to only be mentioned within your Will. Other factors that come into play when deciding to create a Will and Trust are the expenses that probate court may incur and thereby decrease the amount of money you can leave in your Will and Trust. 

How do I leave my retirement accounts and bank accounts to my loved ones?

Often, we have the goal of being able to leave an inheritance to our children once we pass away, and this can come in the form of money remaining in your retirement accounts, or the remainder of money held within your bank accounts or 401k accounts. However, to ensure that your money ends up in the hands of the right individuals, you will want to make sure that you have the necessary documentation complete before it is too late. As your financial advisor often has knowledge of your different accounts, they will be able to assist you with making sure all the correct documentation is complete and that you have the right people listed in your papers. Make sure to have this conversation early on with your financial advisor as you complete your Estate Plan.

What is a Financial Power of Attorney and should I have one?

A vital conversation you will want to have with your financial advisor is discussing what a Financial Power of Attorney is, whether you should have one, and how to select the best one for you. 

A Financial Power of Attorney is a legal document that allows you to select a trusted individual to have responsibility for your finances in the event that you can no longer be held responsible for them yourself. A situation like this may occur when you find yourself in a coma, you develop Alzheimer’s disease, you are declared brain dead, and more. If these situations occur, your Financial Power of Attorney will be responsible for all aspects of your finances, including paying your bills and deciding whether or not your finances should be spent on medical procedures. 

It is more than likely that your financial advisor will suggest you create a Financial Power of Attorney, as having one will help you to keep control of your finances even when you cannot do so yourself, as a trusted individual will be able to help keep your wishes. Your financial advisor can help you determine how to go about creating a Financial Power of Attorney document and help you determine who the best person in your life is to become your Financial Power of Attorney. 

Estate planning can seem intimidating and challenging when you first start out, as there may be terms you have never even heard of before. However, leaning on people like your financial advisor for support and advice can help make sure that you are on the right track. Although these decisions can often be challenging and time-consuming, creating your Estate Plan documents does not have to be. 

Here at Trust & Will, we’re here to help you keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific Estate Plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning options. Get started today!

Is there a question here we didn’t answer? Reach out to us today or chat with a live member support representative!


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