When beginning the process of estate planning, certain assets do not immediately come to mind for most people. Normally, the first assets to be considered are those that are physical and can be seen. Some examples would be houses, vehicles, and cash. However, there are also assets that cannot be immediately seen, but often carry much more value than material things.
Rarely do things such as Medicare, Social Security, or retirement accounts come to mind until their owners sit down for an estate planning consult with an experienced estate attorney. What most fail to realize is that these assets can have disastrous repercussions if not planned for properly. From tax liabilities to nursing home costs, one wrong move in the planning of these accounts can derail everything.
If properly planned for in an estate plan, these benefits will pass on to a designated beneficiary when their owners pass away. For personal retirement accounts in particular, it is of utmost importance that beneficiary be properly designated. Social Security benefits may pass on to a widowed spouse from the deceased spouse’s check.
Assets such as these that seem minor for the time being can quickly become major issues if not set up and planned for properly. Estate planning is not only a plan for the disbursement of physical assets once a person becomes deceased, but also one for the designation of often unseen benefits. A knowledgeable estate attorney will be able to identify these and assist in proper planning. It is never too early to get your affairs in order and make sure your loved ones are provided for.