Can you build an estate plan like a house?

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Edward Jones - Chad Choate, AAMS

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Posted on

Jun 30, 2023

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Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties

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  If you’ve ever been involved in building a house — or even if you’ve just heard about it — you know that there’s a well-defined process to be followed. But here’s something to think about: Some of the same steps connected to constructing a home are the same as those needed to build an estate plan. 

            What are those steps? Here are some to consider:

            

Get the right “builder.” Unless you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you’ll probably have to hire someone to build a house for you. Of course, you’ll make your wishes known about what you want your house to look like, but you’ll be relying on the builder’s expertise. And the same is true with estate planning — you’ll want to share your goals and vision with a legal professional who’s experienced in creating comprehensive estate plans.

            

Build a strong foundation. “Every house needs a strong foundation” isn’t just a metaphor — it’s true for every house that’s built. And when you create an estate plan, you also need a foundation that includes whatever basic elements are appropriate for your situation — a will, a living trust, power of attorney and so on.

            

Make the necessary additions. Even if you’re pleased with your new house, you may eventually decide to make some changes, such as adding on a new bedroom or bathroom. And the structure of your estate plan may need to undergo some modifications, too. For example, if you drew up a will two decades ago, but haven’t looked at it since, it may be out of date — especially if you’ve experienced changes in your life, such as new children or a divorce and remarriage. That's
why it’s a good idea to review your estate plans at least every few years. 

            

Protect your investment. Of course, when you build a new house, you’ll have to insure it properly. And while there’s no actual “insurance policy” for an estate plan, you do have ways to protect it. For one thing, you need to make sure beneficiary designations on retirement plans, investment accounts, insurance policies and other assets are correct. These designations are powerful and can even supersede the instructions in your estate-planning documents. So, as mentioned, if you’ve had significant life changes involving your family, you need to ensure your beneficiary designations are updated if you want to protect how insurance proceeds, investments and other assets are distributed.

            


Watch for mistakes. It’s unfortunate, but mistakes do happen in home construction. Water stains can indicate that water is seeping through cracks in the foundation. Or cracks in retaining walls and garage floors could be a sign that the concrete structures were installed improperly. Estate plans can also contain errors or bad choices. Some are inadvertent, such as failing to put intended assets into a trust, but others are done with the best of intentions, such as naming adult children as joint owners of your assets. Even if your children are quite responsible, this move could give their creditors access to your money. If you want your children to be able to step in as needed, you could find other methods, such as giving them power of attorney.

           

 Following these “construction” techniques can help you create an estate plan that can last a lifetime


and beyond.

           

Chad Choate III, AAMS

828 3rd Ave W

Bradenton, FL 34205

chad.choate@edwardjones.com

941-462-2445


 

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor. Edward Jones, Member SIPC Edward Jones, its employees and financial advisors cannot provide tax or legal advice.  You should consult your attorney or qualified tax advisor regarding your situation.

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Local Services By This Author

Edward Jones - Chad Choate, AAMS

Financial Advisor 828 3rd Ave. W., Bradenton, Florida, 34205

Hello, I'm Chad Choate a dedicated financial advisor in Bradenton, FL, I began my career with Edward Jones in 2017. As a financial advisor, I want to find out what's important to you and help you build personalized strategies to achieve your goals. As a lifelong Manatee County resident, I graduated from the University of South Florida and was a teacher in Manatee County before joining Edward Jones. My driving force is to change people's lives in a positive way, and what better place than my home to do that. Whether you're planning for retirement, saving for college for children or grandchildren or just trying to protect the financial future of the ones you care for the most, we can work together to develop specific strategies to help you achieve your goals. We will also monitor your progress to help make sure you stay on track or determine if any adjustments need to be made. Throughout it all, we're dedicated to providing you with top-notch client service. But we're not alone. Thousands of people and advanced technology support from our office can help ensure you receive the most current and comprehensive guidance. In addition, we welcome the opportunity to work with your attorney, accountant and other trusted professionals to deliver a comprehensive strategy that leverages everyone's expertise. Working together, we can help you develop a complete, tailored strategy to help you achieve your financial goals. I currently volunteer with the Manatee Hurricane football Broadcast and Booster Club, serve on my church's trustees council and have previously served as a leader in Young Life. I am a member of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and an alumnus of their Leadership Manatee program. I have been married to my childhood sweetheart, Ashley, for 15 years and we have a son, Wesley, and daughter, Camryn. We enjoy watching our children play their sports and traveling as a family.