The Importance of Estate Planning

First Prince, now Aretha. Two high-profile yet typically private celebrities who failed to establish estate plans before their deaths place emphasis on an extremely important element of comprehensive financial planning.

Why is having an estate plan so important? Here are a couple key reasons:

  1. Orderly transfer of assets. Creating an estate plan prompts directives for not only the transfer of assets and beneficiaries, but also for other key considerations including who is responsible for settling your estate, guardians for care of minor children, and trustee of any trusts you may establish in your estate plan. An estate plan helps to eliminate the probability of surviving family members fighting over the estate.
  2. Privacy. Probate is the public process of distributing the assets of a deceased person that is administered by the courts. A Will does not avoid probate but a trust can avoid probate if assets are titled in the name of the trust. For many individuals, privacy is extremely important and planning to avoid probate becomes a primary goal of their estate plan.
  3. Reduce taxes on estate. The federal estate tax exclusion for 2018 is $11,200,000 per individual. The state estate tax exclusions vary. It is important to consult an estate planning professional to understand and plan around the estate tax exemption in your state of residency.

There are many other estate planning considerations to be aware of. Check out this Estate Planning checklist on the JNBA website to learn more, or call your JNBA Advisory Team if you have any questions.

And remember, the old adage “you can’t take it with you” will always apply. Knowing you have everything in order before you go will help protect what you have while reducing the burden on the ones you love.


PLEASE NOTE: JNBA is neither an attorney nor accountant, and no portion of the above should be construed as legal or accounting advice. All legal and accounting issues should be addressed with the legal and accounting professionals of your choosing.

Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions.  Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from JNBA Financial Advisors, Inc.

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