Whether you’re young, old or somewhere in-between, making plans for the legacy you’ll leave can be stressful. But it’s important. The preparation you do today can help your family and friends understand your wishes and intentions when you’re gone.
Outline Your Objectives
Leaving a legacy begins with identifying your objectives. What are the needs of those you might leave behind, and how do you want to help meet those needs? Some questions to consider include:
- If you have a surviving spouse, will he or she need to replace your income?
- Will your surviving spouse be able to manage financial matters independently?
- Do you have dependents, a spouse or aging parents who will need care when you’re gone?
- Do you need to prepare to fund your children’s future education?
- If you own a business, have you created a strategy for its transition?
- Would you like to leave a lasting financial gift to your favorite non-profit organization?
Document Your Belongings
With your objectives identified, it’s time to inventory your assets and liabilities. Identifying these items will help your team of professionals formulate your strategy.
Here are some items you’ll want to remember to include:
- Your home and any outstanding mortgages
- Your vehicles and any outstanding loans
- Your business and any outstanding loans
- Your retirement accounts
- Your life insurance and annuity policies
- Any funds you’ve saved in a college account
- Stocks and bonds you own
- Other valuable property such as wedding china, baseball card collections, antiques, jewelry, etc.
- Other debts or loans owed
The Farm Bureau Journal of Wishes and Records can also help you document these items.
Bring in the Professionals
Formalizing your plans for leaving a legacy takes a team of professionals that could include your Farm Bureau agent, accountant, banker financial adviser and estate preservation attorney. This team will help you ensure your wishes are clearly documented, and help your heirs avoid unnecessary estate taxes1 and settlement costs.
Once your strategy is set, plan to review it at least once per year to ensure it continues to reflect your wishes. Big changes in your life – marriage, divorce, birth, death, acquisition of property, change in financial status or a move to a new state – are always reason to take a look at the arrangements you’ve made.
With some preparation today, you can leave a financial legacy that lasts. Let Farm Bureau Financial Services help you make that happen.
Contact a Farm Bureau agent to begin setting the stage for your estate strategy.