Getting Your Plan in Order
Perhaps you’ve asked yourself questions like, “How can I plan? We just sold our home and bought a retirement condo. Our older child just moved across the country and our younger child will be getting married later this year. With so much change, how can we make plans?”
Life Changes Quickly
In each of our lives, change comes very quickly. You are going to face new circumstances every year. Yet planning exists to prepare for life - and to give your family members better lives. It is essential to create goals that help your family live better in the midst of new circumstances. Even if you or your family is going through major changes, there are several basic steps that will help you succeed in your plans.
Step one for a successful life is to have goals. It has been said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re not likely to get there.” This is very true about goals for your family and for your estate. Think about goal-setting as though you are purchasing a birthday gift for a family member in a clothing store. A clothing store might have 20 or 30 different sizes. One size does not fit all in the area of clothing and it also doesn’t work for your family and estate plan.
How do you find the “right size?” Just like clothing for a family member must fit properly, in your planning for family, it’s important to decide the right time and amounts for an inheritance to be most beneficial for your children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces. Your other goals may include the age for heirs to receive property and reducing costs and estate taxes.
What Do You Own?
Can you write down a list of all the property you own? I once represented a married couple who estimated that they owned about $500,000 worth of property. However, when we went through their assets carefully it turned out they owned more than twice that amount and were millionaires. It’s not uncommon for people to “forget” or undervalue some of their assets.
Understanding your property starts with listing all of your assets – your savings account, certificates of deposit, home, IRA, 401(k) and personal assets, among others.
Children, Grandchildren, Nephews and Nieces
Your plan to benefit family during your lifetime or through your estate will vary greatly depending upon the ages and circumstances of your children and their needs. For parents with minor children, a key decision is to select a guardian. Minor children also need to have property held in trust, so there is appropriate investment and expenditure of those funds. For adult children, it’s important to think through the right time, right amount and right type of inheritance. Many families find that a trust that pays income for a number of years to adult children is also a very helpful method to provide added security for them. Some families get energized when they find that they can leave a legacy of significance to their community, while at the same time making sure to provide for their family needs.
A Convenient Way to Plan
Would you like to have a convenient way to think through some of these issues before you consult with your financial advisor or attorney? A free tool is available at kidney.giftlegacy.com where you can plan your will, consider whether a trust is right for your family, and request a free wills guide from the National Kidney Foundation of Hawai‘i. The secure web site lets you gather your information and ideas together, read general information about planning, and even prepare for a meeting with your advisors. Why not take a look at kidney.giftlegacy.com today? It just may help you answer the question, “How can I plan?”
For consultation call 589-5976. Be sure to register for a free eNewsletter and check out the wealth of information at www.kidneyhawaii.org.