Everything you have accumulated during your lifetime is considered your estate. That includes your home, bank accounts, insurance policies, and other valuables as well. Ensuring that your legacy is carried out according to your wishes after you pass requires a well-planned strategy.
When and How to Start Estate Planning
It’s important to have an estate planning strategy in place as soon as you have acquired assets or are legally responsible for minor children. Your specific plan may begin with a simple will and develop into a full-fledged strategy that includes joint accounts, beneficiaries, guardians, asset protection, and income tax reduction.
We have a referral list of qualified tax accountants and attorneys in the area to help you in developing your estate plan. These affiliates have gone through an extensive qualifying process to ensure the highest level of quality service. Ask us about our referral list to learn more.
A Carefully Structured Estate Plan
- Provides for orderly transfer of your property.
- Provides for effective financial management.
- Ensures care for your children and dependents.
- Minimizes or defers estate taxes.
- Minimizes taxes for your beneficiaries.
- Bypasses probate and its related expense.
- Relieves your family of additional debt and responsibility.
- Prevents undue financial and emotional strain for your family after you are gone.
Estate Planning Tools
There are a variety of tools to evaluate when planning your estate. Click a link below to see a brief overview of each tool.
Information Needed to Plan Your Estate
To aid in planning your estate, it’s helpful to have as much of the following information on hand as possible.
- Names, addresses, and birth dates of your spouse, children, and other relatives whom you might want to include in your will. List any disabilities or other special needs they may have.
- Names, addresses, and phone numbers of possible guardians (if you have young children) and executors or trustees.
- Amount and sources of your income, including interest, dividends, and other household income, such as your spouse’s salary or income your children bring home, if they live with you.
- Amounts and sources of all your debts, including mortgages, installment loans, leases, and business debts.
- Amounts and sources of any retirement benefits, including IRAs, pensions, Keogh accounts, government benefits, and profit sharing plans.
- Amounts, sources, and account numbers of other financial assets, including bank accounts, annuities, outstanding loans, etc.
- Life insurance policies, including face amount, cash value, owner, insured, beneficiary, and loans against the policy.
- Approximate values of valuable property you own, including real estate, jewelry, furniture, jointly owned property (name the co-owner), collections, heirlooms, and other assets. Cross-reference your list of items with the names of the people you might want to leave each item to.
- Documents that might affect your estate plan, including prenuptial agreements, marriage certificates, divorce decrees, recent tax returns, existing wills and trusts, property deeds, and so on.
HVFCU Financial Services also works closely with members to better understand Social Security and its impact on financial planning, and most importantly, retirement.
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Chris Cantele, HVFCU Financial Services located at Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union,
9 Mall Plaza
1810 South Road, Suite 121
Wappingers Falls, NY 12590
845.463.3366, (fax) 845.463.4172
email: [email protected]
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