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Estate planning for all California residents, not just rich

The very word "estate" has historically been associated with those who are wealthy. However, this association is a relic of previous eras. In the 21st century, it is valuable for everyone to take care of estate planning for a variety of good reasons. Many couples are taking that advice and meeting with advisors to plan for the future.

One example is a couple named Joseph and Bella. While those are not their real names, it was decided to use those to share their story since they're sharing personal financial information. That information includes some of the assets that they have and expenses that they want to cover.

The assets that they have are substantial. They include a thrift savings retirement plan in the amount of $780,000, $315,800 in individual retirement accounts, $111,000 in savings, a 401(k) plan worth $96,000, $5,000 in checking, and $10,200 in Certificates of Deposit. They also have a 529 Plan that has $36,000 for college costs.

They understand that some of that will eventually go to their children as inheritances. However, they also want to make sure that their retirement years are covered. Additionally, they want to be able to travel.

In view of those circumstances, they have been advised to look into multiple estate planning tools. One is making sure that they have a clear will specifying where all assets should go. Another is power of attorney assigned for each member of the couple respectively, which can potentially save money. They may also want to look closely at estate taxes, so they know how much will be taken.

Looking into these aspects of estate planning can be valuable for many couples. Of course, it is a complex process. For that reason, it is best to consult with an experienced estate planning professional.

Source: NJ.com, "Your Money: Estate planning not just money lingo for the rich, it could save your long-term financial plan" Karin Price Mueller, May. 04, 2014

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