Legacy Planning is a holistic approach to preserving and protecting your Financial Wealth and your Personal Wealth.
Financial Wealth consists of the things you’d consider “assets.” These include your house, real property, cars, bank accounts, stocks and bonds, brokerage accounts, life insurance and annuities, retirement accounts, and business interests.
So, how should you go about preserving and protecting your Financial Wealth? We recommend a multi-disciplined approach that focuses on four areas:
These Four Financial Wealth Pillars are equally crucial to your family’s financial peace, whether you have $2,000 or $2 Million. Legacy Planning brings you and all of the professionals you work with to form a financial safety net for your family.
Advance Legal Planning preserves and protects your Financial Wealth in several ways.
First, a proper, up-to-date Estate Plan ensures that when something happens to you, the right people have the legal authority to handle your affairs and your assets go to the people you choose. This helps your family avoid the unnecessary expenses of having a court decide who should manage your affairs and to whom your assets should go.
Second, properly structuring how you own assets such as investment properties can provide Creditor Protection so that, if you are sued, most of your assets are shielded. Your Estate Plan can also be structured to protect your children’s inheritance from their own creditors, judgments, and spouses.
Third, as you age, a qualified Certified Elder Law Attorney will work with you and your advisors to plan how to pay for Long-Term Care, such as an assisted living or nursing home. Many people are shocked to learn that nursing homes cost $12,000-$15,000 per month. Advance Planning is critical to ensuring you receive the care you need without unnecessarily depleting your life savings.
Finally, planning in advance allows you, your family, your advisors, and your lawyer to establish a relationship long before a crisis. When your family needs to step in to handle your affairs, they’ll be grateful to have made that connection beforehand.
Insurance coverage helps pay for unexpected expenses. The primary forms of insurance you should consider are:
Health Insurance provides assistance in paying for medical expenses.
Disability Insurance provides you income if you are suddenly unable to work.
Liability Insurance, such as homeowner’s, automobile, motorcycle, and umbrella insurance policies, provide coverage to protect you and your assets from loss. For example, if your house burns down, someone is injured at your home, you are in an accident and injure someone, or you are injured.
Long-term Care Insurance helps supplement your regular income to pay for long-term care (such as nursing home, assisted living, or home health care) and reduces the amount of your assets you must otherwise deplete to pay for your care.
Term Life Insurance replaces your income and provides for your family if you pass away.
Depending on your financial circumstances, Financial Planning could involve working with professionals who will help you:
Get out of Debt so that you can live a life free from the stresses of financial worry. There are programs and financial coaches that focus on helping you put together a budget, cutting unnecessary expenses, and getting you where you want to be financially.
If you are already debt-free, a Financial Planner can help you Invest Your Assets in a portfolio that makes sense given the types of assets you own, risk tolerance, goals, and timeline.
In the Legacy Planning context, Tax Planning is working with a licensed CPA on things like your income taxes and tax strategy to ensure you keep as much of your hard-earned income as possible.
You must get organized and keep good records throughout the year to help your CPA maximize your deductions.
Your CPA should also be part of the conversation any time you consider making a significant financial change with your assets, such as gifting, liquidating, or selling your assets.
When you’re ready to begin your Legacy Planning journey—contact Costanzo & Russom Law Group to see the difference it can make for you, your family, and your peace of mind.