This Week’s Financial Strategy – Estate Planning 101 – Part 1

November 17, 2010

An excerpt from Follow the Money Weekly Radio with Jerry Robinson – 11/13/10

To hear the entire program, click here.

by John Bearss

Transcript

Hi Jerry. Thanksgiving is already upon us and I pray you all will have a safe and wonderful time with your family and friends as we thank God for all the blessings he has given us.  I have talked with many people who are concerned about the direction of our country and their own personal well being, but during this time let’s remember and be thankful for the promise that God gave us in Phillipians 4:19.  But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.  This is a great promise to be thankful for.

Last week we talked about what estate planning is and who might need it.  Today, let’s talk about how to do it and where do you begin.

You should begin the estate planning process by understanding your particular circumstances, such as your age, health, wealth, etc.

You will also need to have some understanding of the factors that may affect the distribution of your estate, such as taxes, probate, liquidity, and incapacity.

When your particular circumstances and the factors that may affect your estate are clear, your goals and objectives should come into focus.

With these goals and objectives now clear, you can begin to consider the different estate planning strategies that are available to you.

Seeking professional help such as an attorney or financial advisor will help you understand the strategies that are available and this will help you formulate and implement your master plan.

Finally, after following these steps, you should be able to formulate and implement a plan that works for you. Here are a few basic tips:  Make sure you understand your plan, Secondly, rely on people you trust, and third keep your documents and information organized and within easy reach.

Then when you have implemented your master plan, be sure to perform a periodic review and, if necessary, make revisions that reflect any changing circumstances and tax laws.

There are many estate planning strategies, including some that are implemented while you are still living such as making gifts.  Then there are other strategies that are implemented after you pass away, such as disclaimers. Before you choose which strategies are right for you, you need to understand your particular circumstances.

To understand your particular circumstances you need to gather and analyze the facts. The following questions may help you to accomplish this. If they are not easy to answer, you may have to make some estimates based on reasonable assumptions and expectations.

What is your current income?

What is your income likely to be in the future?

How much do you spend each year?

What are your expenses likely to be in the future?

What are your current assets and debts?

Are your assets currently owned solely or jointly?

What estate planning strategies have you already implemented?

Who are the family members you intend to benefit?

What are the needs of each family member?

Designing a plan is a process that is unique to each estate owner. Don’t be intimidated or overwhelmed at the prospect. Even the most complex plan can be achieved if you proceed step by step. Remember, the peace of mind that comes with developing a successful estate plan is worth the time, trouble, and expense.

Next week we will continue on this topic and talk about another factor that is important in determining a proper estate plan…taxes.

I trust this financial insight has been helpful and I look forward to the next time when I can help you provide the foundation for a lifetime of financial independence.

About John Bearss: John R. Bearss is a Retirement Specialist with the Christian Financial Advisor Network. He has been helping clients and financial professionals understand financial strategies for 24 years.

Disclaimer: John Bearss is a registered representative of and does offer securities through Sicor Securities, Inc.  Lifetime Decisions Management, nor it’s representatives provide legal or tax advice.  Please consult your CPA or qualified tax advisor before making any decisions. Lifetime Decisions Management, Inc. is not a subsidiary of nor controlled by SICOR Securities, Inc.

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