Steps to Successful Estate Planning

The beginning of the year is the perfect time to think about estate planning. Let Quatrinini Rafferty get your estate plan off the ground, one step at a time.

Step one: Get organized. Gather up your bank and investment account statements, savings bonds, annuity and retirement account statement, deeds to real estate, etc. Make a list of these assets and their current value along with how they are owned. Some assets, like life insurance policies, retirement accounts and annuity contracts, give you an opportunity to select your beneficiaries using a beneficiary designation form. We strongly suggest that the beneficiaries you select on these forms be reviewed yearly. If you haven't already selected beneficiaries on these accounts, do so immediately.

Step two: Name your heirs. Determine who you want your estate to be paid out to upon your death. We have found that it is usually easier to think about paying out your estate to loved ones or charities in percentages rather than dollar amounts. Make a list of the names and relationships of your beneficiaries and double check that the percentages add up to 100%.

Step three: Name your executor. Your executor will be the person in charge of your estate. Often times, your spouse will be your executor, which is an easy choice. But who will be the back-up executor in case your spouse is not able to do it? Carefully select the person who would actually do the job and who you trust will do a fair job.

If you have young children (under 18 years of age) you need to also determine who you will select to be their guardian (the person in charge of your children) and who will be their trustee (the person in charge of your children's financial affairs). The guardian and the trustee doesn't have to be the same person, but they can be if that is what you want. 

Finished Steps 1-3? Now you are ready to give Quatrinini Rafferty a call to finish up your estate plan by putting your plan to paper! Give us a call at 724-837-0080 to schedule a free consultation with either David DeRose or Jim Horchak, our estate planning experts. 

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