WHY ESTATE PLANNING
Regardless of the size of your investment accounts, everyone has an estate. Your estate comprises everything you own – your car, home, other real estate, investment and checking accounts, life insurance, furniture and other personal possessions. In a nutshell, estate planning is naming whom you want to receive your assets after you die and identifying someone to be responsible for distributing your assets according to your wishes. Additionally, an estate plan can convey your preferences if you become incapacitated and cannot make decisions for yourself. Before anything happens to you, you want to outline your wishes for life-prolonging medical care and for controlling how your possessions are given to the people or organizations that are important to you. While everyone needs an estate plan, creating one – or keeping it current – should be an especially high priority if you: ■ WANT TO BE PROACTIVE ABOUT HEALTH CARE DECISIONS IN THE EVENT OF YOUR INCAPACITATION ■ WANT TO ENSURE YOUR ASSETS AND PROPERTY ARE DISTRIBUTED ACCORDING TO YOUR WISHES ■ RECENTLY EXPERIENCED A SIGNIFICANT LIFE EVENT, SUCH AS MARRIAGE OR DIVORCE, BIRTH OR ADOPTION, RETIREMENT OR DEATH OF A FAMILY MEMBER ■ HAVE MINOR CHILDREN OR OTHER DEPENDENTS WHO ARE DISABLED OR HAVE SPECIAL NEEDS ■ WANT TO MINIMIZE ESTATE TAXES OR PROTECT YOUR FAMILY FROM CREDITORS AND LAWSUITS ASSOCIATED WITH YOUR ESTATE While this workbook will not create your estate plan, it will help you understand the estate-planning process, gather important information, start thinking about key decisions you’ll need to make and prepare for conversations with estate-planning professionals who can help draft your plan. Fill in as much as you can. Record your questions in the space provided at the end of the workbook, and if you get stuck at any point, contact a Commerce Trust advisor for help. When you complete this exercise, you will have answered the following questions: ■ WHO IS GOING TO MAKE FINANCIAL DECISIONS FOR ME IF I CANNOT MAKE THEM FOR MYSELF? ■ WHO IS GOING TO MAKE HEALTH CARE DECISIONS FOR ME IF I CANNOT MAKE THEM FOR MYSELF?
■ HOW WILL MY ASSETS BE DISTRIBUTED WHEN I DIE? ■ WHO WILL DISTRIBUTE MY ASSETS WHEN I DIE? ■ WHO WILL CARE FOR MY CHILDREN WHEN I DIE?
1 | ESTATE PLANNING WORKBOOK
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