Your family is your heart and soul, so you want to make sure they’re taken care of after you’re gone. There are many ways to do this, and estate tax planning early on is critical in making sure your beloved family members enjoy continued financial security.

Whether you’re single, married, or living in a domestic partnership, estate tax planning should be at the top of your to-do list when organizing your financial matters as you age.

By following these steps, you can rest assured that your money stays where it belongs — with your family.

Consult with a financial advisor

Securing a financial advisor you know and trust with your economic well-being is the first step. The right financial advisor will be informed on your specific needs and will be able to provide the most accurate advice as you plan your financial future.

Do your research before you choose one, as not all financial advisors are created equal, and the services they provide can vary based on title, expertise, and available resources.

Educate yourself

Tax laws are ever changing, and with recent shifts in political legislation and leadership, it’s necessary to stay informed on tax law revisions at the state and federal levels.

Carefully review your estate tax planning strategies annually so you know you’re keeping up with legal requirements. Balancing a trusted financial advisor’s guidance with your own knowledge on changes to tax laws is key to ensuring that you have peace of mind when planning for estate taxes. 

Take inventory of your life

Most people might assume that estate tax planning doesn’t apply to them, but in reality, it affects families of all income levels. Consider your various possessions, from your stamp collection to property ownership, and determine their worth to better strategize how to protect your assets.

Utilizing a worksheet from your financial advisor can help you organize your assets so all pertinent information is easily accessible.

Plan at a steady pace

While it’s smart to give to beneficiaries now so that they avoid excessive estate taxation later, you don’t want to jump the gun. You want to make sure that you (and your spouse) are financially secure before you begin making financial bequests to loved ones.

In consulting with financial and legal experts, you can also gradually update your will to guarantee that it reflects your personal goals and your family’s best interests. When so many variables are at play regarding your estate tax planning, moderation and patience are worth their weight in gold.  

Be flexible and adaptable

Estate tax planning strategies can seem daunting and overwhelming at first. The key is to recognize that reaching your financial goals requires flexibility with both legal mandates and your own life circumstances.

Life happens in the most unexpected ways, like a major health complication. If life throws you a curveball, take steps immediately through consultation and self-education to see what action you need to take.

The bottom line

The benefits of planning early and thoroughly are twofold: You can have peace of mind knowing your finances are in order and your loved ones can enjoy financial security through your legacy.

Your path to financial freedom starts here.

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