Managing your Assets for the Long Term
The foundation of your wealth lies in your assets, both real such as your home and financial such as your investments, business or insurance policies. In order to put together a long term plan to care for yourself and your spouse and to provide for family members through your estate plan when you are gone, it is important to have all your assets clearly identified and set up to meet your estate plan goals.
Assets and your Estate
How your assets are managed is dependent on your estate planning goals and your own needs and desires. In setting up your estate plan, your planner will take these goals into consideration when reviewing how your assets are set up and managed.
Inventory your Assets
Before writing up your estate pan, the first step is to identify and inventory all your assets. You should create a list of everything you think you own. For real property on the list, such as land or buildings, you will want to locate the Deed indicating your ownership. For financial assets, such as bank accounts, IRA’s or 401Ks, pension plans and so on, locate the Bank, Account Number, the exact type of account (for example an IRA may be traditional or Roth or a 401K rollover). For all your assets, indicate how the assets are held (for example an investment may be held by an individual, jointly, in a Trust or an LLC or other form). Don’t forget valuables such as jewelry, artwork, antiques or other items of value. Don’t forget to include insurance policies on your list.
Once your assets are inventoried, your estate planner will put together a plan for reorganizing any assets that are not set up in an optimal fashion to meet your overall goals. For example, the bulk of financial assets may be best held in a Trust to avoid the expenses and delays of going through probate upon your death. Rental properties might do better in an LLC to protect your personal assets in case of a lawsuit related to that property.
In the case you have a special needs individual in the family, you will want to identify and put aside some assets for care, and take advantage of any tax benefits by doing so. In general, your estate plan will be put together for the best overall use of your assets to handle your needs.
If you would like help to review your asset management strategy, please give us a call or contact us.