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5 considerations for values-based estate planning

Despite how it sounds, estate planning isn’t only for the Rockefellers.

Everyone has an estate worth planning for. From your car to your home to your life insurance policy, each of your assets represents a goal in your life. An estate plan is simply assigning them a role to continue to fulfill goals when you’re gone.

An estate plan provides written instructions on what you want to happen to your possessions in the event of age, death, or disability.

No matter where you fall on the net-worth spectrum, everyone needs a plan for their estate. Not only does it provide a sense of security, but it can alleviate stress from your loved ones in a difficult and transitional time in their lives.

Here are a few steps to get started:

1. Inventory your assets

First, you’ll want to get an idea of what’s included in your estate.

Include physical assets in your inventory such as homes, land, or real estate—anything with a title—as well as intangible assets including retirement accounts, HSAs, and life insurance policies.

Each of these items has value and should have a designated beneficiary.

A beneficiary is the person or entity that you legally designate to receive the benefits from your financial products.

2. Pick your people

Thinking about what will happen after you’re gone can be an emotional process. Having people you trust covering roles in an estate plan can ease this anxiety.

Consider who you may name as executor of your estate, guardian for your young kids, and a medical and financial power of attorney. Then, outline these individuals in your will.

3. Establish your legal documents

If you haven’t established one yet, you’ll want a team of experts for this step, as it includes legal documents such as your will, trusts, medical care directives, financial power of attorney.

A financial professional can walk you through this with an attorney, helping you translate your wishes into language a lawyer will understand to prepare the documents you need.

4. Plan to minimize taxes*

Ideally, your assets will go to people and causes you value, with less going toward taxes.

Estate and inheritance tax vary state by state, and a local financial professional can help coordinate your wealth in your lifetime to limit tax implications later on.

5. Schedule time to reassess

The estate plan you establish in your 30s when your kids are young and your net-worth is modest will look very different from the one you have as you’re approaching retirement with decades of accumulation.

Your financial professional can assist and advise you on changes to your estate plan as things shift over time. If you need to change any elements of the plan, they will be there to guide you and coach you on communicating changes to your family.

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    With the right guidance and active assistance, you can obtain a sense of security in knowing that your legacy is protected. North Star Resource Group has over 160 financial professionals serving clients nationwide.

    Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory Services offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC, a registered investment adviser. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.

    For a comprehensive review of your personal situation, always consult with a tax or legal advisor. Neither Cetera Advisor Networks LLC nor any of its representatives may give legal or tax advice.