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October Is National Estate Planning Awareness Month/Week

This month is the 14thth anniversary of National Estate Planning Awareness Month/Week. Each year, I do what I can to promote and cultivate greater awareness about the importance of having an estate plan. There are still too few people who do not utilize the skills of both financial planners and estate planning attorneys. But the importance of both cannot be overstated.

A Brief History

National Estate Planning Awareness Month/Week was an effort spearheaded by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) along with 49 other Representatives on board. In September 2008, Congress passed H. Res. 1499 designating the third week in October as a week for assisting the public in understanding both, the importance and benefits of estate planning. This year, that week is October 17 – 23.

As a financial planner, I help my clients accumulate wealth so they can have a comfortable, rewarding retirement and enjoy the kind of lifestyle they desire. On the other hand, the goal of an estate planning attorney is to utilize various estate planning tools to help clients preserve and distribute their wealth after death. Very often I work with estate planning attorneys and other professionals such as CPAs as part of a client’s financial team. I typically do encourage my clients to establish an estate plan as part of their overall retirement planning efforts for the many benefits and savings to be gained.

The Purpose Of Estate Plans

An estate plan is vital to helping you use your assets to provide for yourself and your loved ones in the event of your death or incapacity. Without an estate plan, decisions about your money, medical care, and other issues may not be made or carried out in the way you would like.

Many misunderstandings exist around the idea of estate plans. Some people think estate plans are only for the very wealthy. Other people think estate plans are too complicated or are only for people of a certain age…basically old people. None of these statements are true. In fact, age has nothing to do with having an estate plan. If you are 18 years of age and have assets such as a car or other motor vehicle, a bank account, digital assets and more, you would benefit from having an estate plan.

You Want To Live Well And Help Those You Leave Upon Your Passing Live Well

I have worked for hundreds of clients over the years. I ultimately end up feeling like part of my clients’ families since I typically have insight into their intimate financial details. I also know whenever there is a new member added to the family through birth or marriage and when there are losses in the family due to divorce or death. Financial plans and estate plans must be revisited whenever there are additions and losses in families. And one of the biggest things I’ve learned over the years is that not everyone makes it to retirement. Some of my clients have passed away before they were able to live their retirement dreams. Another excellent reason to have an estate plan drawn up early in your wealth accumulating years. Estate planners help with drafting wills, naming guardians and conservators, asset allocation, passing down assets to heirs, and minimizing unnecessary taxes.

If you would like to know more about estate planning as part of your financial planning efforts, give me a call. I can help you learn how to select a team of professionals according to your specific circumstances.

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