Written By: Christopher Hopkins, Private Wealth Advisor
For the past 20 years, I have worked for some of the largest financial institutions in the United States, including Charles Schwab and TD Ameritrade. I have advised thousands of high-net-worth clients and have helped facilitate hundreds of estate distributions to their heirs. Many of these clients were self-directed investors, collaborating closely with financial professionals. For either of these client scenarios, I have often found essential steps that were overlooked, causing significant asset loss and family disunity. These steps could have helped avoid unwanted outcomes if addressed at the proper time.
Ask Yourself, are my Heirs Mature Enough to Manage these Assets Responsibly?
If your answer is no, certain trusts are designed to alleviate this concern. Your heir may forgo a tax benefit for doing this. However, that may be advisable if the assets would otherwise be mismanaged or depleted prematurely.
Bequeathing Assets to the Children of a Previous Marriage
Any assets that are jointly held will transfer to the new spouse. Retirement assets that did not have a signed spousal consent to transfer will also go to the new spouse. This will happen regardless of what a will or trust may specify. If you intend to leave assets to these children, proper titling and documents must be in place before death.
Strategize to Suit Your Beneficiaries’ Knowledge Level
Leaving an aggressive, robust portfolio to a beneficiary unfamiliar with stock and options can cause unnecessary stress. Consider the beneficiary and set them up for success by making early changes to your strategy.
Inform Your Executor
Forty percent of parents never discuss their estate intentions with their children.1 Make sure your Executor KNOWS they are the Executor; this is also the case for trustees and successor trustees. Ensure they know the location of important documents, how assets are held and titled, and who are the listed beneficiaries.
In most cases, emotion trumps logic. Poor decisions are made during emotional and stressful times. So, effectively communicating the intentions and details of your estate with your heirs will help put the logical steps in place to ensure your wishes are honored when the time comes to pass your legacy to them. A family meeting with your financial advisor can solve unforeseen pitfalls in the generational wealth transfer process.
Contact us today at (941) 946-1028 or at ewmadvisors.com to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation initial meeting with Executive Wealth Advisor Chris Hopkins