Creating a Solid Plan for Your Estate

Posted by Busey Bank on Jun 26, 2024 9:45:00 AM
Busey Bank

No matter your life stage or financial situation, preparing your estate is of vital importance. Without proper planning, you have no real say about who gets what, and more of your property may go to unintended recipients instead of your loved ones. If you care about how and to whom your property is distributed, you need to prepare your estate plan.

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Who needs estate planning?

Estate planning is important regardless of your financial situation. In fact, it may be more important if you have a small estate because the final expenses could have a much greater impact on your estate. Wasting even a single asset may cause your loved ones to suffer from a lack of financial resources.

Your estate plan may be relatively simple and inexpensive, such as preparing a will to distribute basic accounts and assets and designating beneficiaries for your life insurance policy and retirement account. If your estate is larger or you have more assets, the estate planning process may be more complex and expensive. In any case, you'll probably need the help of professionals, including an estate planning attorney, a financial professional, an accountant and possibly an insurance professional.

Issues to consider

Your estate plan should be geared to your particular circumstances. Some factors that may impact your estate plan include whether:

  • You own real estate, especially if you own property in different states
  • You have minor children or children with special needs
  • You are married or have a partner
  • You intend to contribute to charity
  • Your estate might be subject to estate tax
  • You become disabled or incapacitated and are unable to manage your financial affairs

How do you begin planning your estate?

It generally begins with an analysis of what you own. The type of assets and property you own can affect how you plan your estate. Next, formulate goals and objectives for your estate plan, as well as beneficiaries. Consider whether you want to place any restrictions or conditions on an inheritance (e.g., specify a replacement should a named beneficiary predecease you; control distributions to minors or someone you consider a spendthrift).

Consider how taxes might impact your estate, including federal and/or state gift and estate taxes, state inheritance taxes, and federal and/or state income taxes.

Goals and objectives you might consider include:

  • Provide for your family's financial security
  • Ensure that your property is preserved and passed on to your beneficiaries
  • Avoid disputes among family members
  • Provide for family members' education
  • Determine who will manage your assets and property after your death and who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes (e.g., executor, personal representative, trustee)
  • Avoid probate
  • Help reduce estate and other taxes
  • Plan for your potential incapacity

Common estate planning tools

Many strategies and tools are available to help you carry out your estate plan. In most cases, these tools are governed by specific state law, as well as federal law in some instances. Therefore, you should consult with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to ensure that your legal documents and estate plan comply with the appropriate laws. The following is a brief description of several common tools and strategies.

  • Last will and testament: A legal document that describes to whom and how you want your property distributed, names the person or entity that will administer your estate, and specifies who will care for your minor or disabled child.
  • Trust: A separate legal entity that can hold property and assets for the benefit of one or more people or entities and can be implemented while you're living or at your death, usually through your will. Trusts may incur upfront costs and often have ongoing administrative fees.
  • Durable (financial) power of attorney: A document in which you name someone to act on your behalf for a specific purpose or to manage your financial affairs should you become unable to do so yourself.
  • Health-care directives: A health-care proxy and a living will allow you to express your wishes about the administration of medical treatment and life-prolonging measures during times when you cannot otherwise express those intentions.
  • Guardian for minors: Generally included in your will, this is the person who will be responsible for the care and protection of your minor children.
  • Beneficiary designations: Often overlooked, this important function supersedes instructions in a will and applies to financial products you own such as life insurance, annuities, and qualified savings accounts such as your Thrift Savings Plan and Individual Retirement Plans (IRAs).
  • Funeral and burial arrangements: Your wishes for your funeral, the disposition of your remains, and organ donations may be expressed in your will, trust or in a separate writing.

No matter your life stage, the Busey Wealth Management team can provide tailored solutions designed to fit your unique needs. For more details on our comprehensive services, visit


This is not intended to provide legal, tax or accounting advice. Any statement contained in this communication concerning U.S. tax matters is not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, for the purpose of avoiding penalties imposed on the relevant taxpayer. Clients should obtain their own independent tax advice based on their particular circumstances.

This material is provided for educational purposes only and should not be construed as investment advice or an offer or solicitation to buy or sell securities.

This presentation is for general information purposes only. It does not take into account the particular investment objectives, restrictions, tax and financial situation or other needs of any specific client.

Investment products and services through Busey Wealth Management are:
Not FDIC INSURED | May lose value | No bank guarantee

Topics: Wealth, Estate Planning

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