4 Estate Planning Tips to Remember

Planning for the future can be scary, but that doesn’t mean it’s not important. Here are four lessons you can use to make sure you and your loved ones’ legacies live on for years to come.

 1. Yes, you have one

If you’re a person, you have an estate. Whether you cherish a wedding ring or a special book from childhood, you probably have personal items that mean something to you. If not, you’re most likely leaving behind money of some sort.

“Everyone has an estate if they have any personal property,” Jeff Sawyer, a Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in McKinney, explains. “When we think of ‘estates,’ it is easy to immediately assume that to have an estate you must have multiple millions of dollars, which is not the case at all.”

2. Your Loved Ones Need to Know

Sawyer emphasizes ensuring that your family knows how to access everything they need in regards to your estate.

“It is critical that your spouse, children, or another trusted person knows where your legal documents are stored, as well as how to obtain them in the event of your incapacitation or death,” Sawyer says.

Make sure that your loved ones know what to find and where to find it. Sawyer recommends that his clients consolidate every piece of important financial information — from online logins to bank accounts — in something like a thumb drive, along with a hard copy in a fireproof safe.

Along with the financial information, it’s also imperative to have properly executed legal documents such as powers of attorney, living wills, and pay-on-death authorizations nearby.

3. Your Estate Needs to Be Insured

When planning your estate, one of the simplest ways to ensure it lives on is through a life insurance policy. In fact, a policy creates an estate in itself. A good rule of thumb is that the insurance policy should cover the total amount of potentially lost income for the loved ones of the deceased. You also won’t want to forget about property, auto, business, and liability insurance to protect the remainder of the estate.

“It is not possible to overstate the importance of life insurance in the estate planning process,” Sawyer tells us. “This financial estate that life insurance creates is the replacement of the economic value — think lifetime income — that an individual’s family is going to lose in the event of the untimely and premature death of the policyholder.”

4. It’s a Party

Estate planning should never be a one-person project. In fact, Sawyer says, you should have a professional financial team consisting of a CPA, financial advisor, and estate planning attorney, in addition to your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent. Having an Agent on your estate planning team ensures that your assets are protected and helps to determine where your assets will go, should they need to be distributed. Every member of your team is vital to effectively, safely, and legally planning your estate.

“The mantra I use with my customers is: Always consult your CPA, financial advisor, and estate planning attorney to make sure that we are properly naming beneficiaries and contingent beneficiaries,” Sawyer advises.

Contact your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent today and take the first step to ensure that your family’s future is protected.

Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2020 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance