Western Fraternal Life :: Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Estate Planning

Estate Planning is the carefully thought out and documented process you complete on how you want your assets to be divided after you are gone.  Written estate plans begin with a will but may also include other documents that may help your family to remain harmonious and cohesive.  Communicate to advisors and family members what you want and why you want it. 

Three key objectives of an effective estate plan Include:

  1. Preserve assets and minimize estate taxes and legal expenses.  Without a well thought out plan, you may subject your heirs to unnecessary expenses.  The expenses of probating an estate can be minimized with a properly executed will and a qualified estate administrator.
  2. Provide for an equitable and orderly distribution of the assets.  Many people have assets that can’t easily be divided.  Making an equitable distribution is not the same as an equal distribution.  Some children may end up with income producing property or farmland while others get cash or investments.  Planning an equitable distribution and communicating that to your family is essential to family harmony. 

Provide guardianship and care of minor or disabled children.  Naming someone to administer the funds left in trusts for a minor child or disabled adult child and naming someone to care for the child are two distinct needs.  It will likely require two people with different skills to be involved.  Special needs trusts are necessary to shelter assets for the disabled child.  A properly drafted special needs trust will coordinate with social services benefits.  Otherwise, services may be denied in an inheritance is made directly to a child.

To begin working on your estate plan, check out our estate planning worksheet.

Estate Planning Worksheets.pdf