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Remember retirement accounts when drafting an estate plan

It is not rare to plan for your future. This means different things to each person and family; however, when it comes to your financial wellbeing, estate planning tends to come to mind. This is a very effective and often vital tool to include in your life. In general, it is something one should do sooner than later.

An estate plan can be as detailed and as complex as you want to make it. Nonetheless, making a simple plan could have its pitfalls and detriments to a drafter. Thus, it is important to understand the overall role of an estate plan and what goals it can achieve. Furthermore, this means taking a full assessment of your financial accounts, ensuring all are addressed and your wishes at the time of your death are properly articulated and defined in your estate plan.

"Assets" is a broad category, and most think of their bank accounts, real property and investments when they finally sit down to draft an estate plan. While these are imperative types of assets to address, the category tends to be much larger. Additionally, the category of assets expands as one goes through life changes and ages. This means modifying or adding to a current estate plan. Even more so, it means considering retirement accounts and benefits.

Even if you are a long way away from retirement, it is never too soon to take active steps to protect your retirement accounts. This often looks like naming a beneficiary, changing a beneficiary name if circumstances have changed, adding accounts if need be and even placing some of these funds in a trust. Much like any asset you hold, there can be tax implications. It is important to understand how to avoid these or even set up an automatic withdrawal system, ensuring your funds are going into the correct account.

No matter how you intend your financial future to look, life can bring with it many changes. Because of that, one needs to be prepared to alter his or her estate plan. Modifications can be complex; thus, one should take the time to understand the process and how best they can protect their rights and interests.

Source:, "Don't Forget Retirement Accounts In Estate Planning," Masood Vojdani, Sept 11, 2017

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