A recent survey from Prudential Insurance Co. of America demonstrates the apparent notion that families whose incomes fall in the middle categories don't see the need for estate planning. Many individuals who don't consider themselves wealthy would be surprised at the total of their accumulated assets. Here's a quick exercise that can illustrate the need for estate planning:
- Total your family savings.
- Establish the market value of your home.
- Determine the value of your IRAs, 401(k)s, or other qualified plans.
- Total the value of any life insurance policies, including group policies offered by an employer.
If this totals $675,000 or more right now, there is a serious risk of estate tax liability. However, there are simple steps an individual or couple can take to protect their assets with a well-thought out estate plan.
For every family, there is a short list of steps that will help protect the family and provide peace of mind.
- Execute a will.
- Name a guardian for your minor children.
- Review the beneficiaries on any IRA, qualified plan and any life insurance.
- Complete a living will.
- Get a health care power of attorney.
- Create a durable power of attorney.