A 5-Step Guide to Securing Your Family’s Future

Jun 12, 2024 | Financial Planning

Let’s dive into a topic that is arguably one of the most impactful to your loved ones’ and your financial well-being: estate planning.

Sure, it’s not as exciting as planning a vacation or buying a new gadget but taking care of your family’s future is truly a big deal. So, let’s break it down into five straightforward steps to help you kick-start this important process.

1. Know What You Have

First things first, take stock of what you have. Your house, car, that vintage comic book collection—yep, they all count. Knowing what you have, including assets and liabilities, sets the stage for the rest of your estate plan.

Estate assets might include:
  • Retirement savings
  • Money in your bank accounts or CDs
  • Investments like stocks and bonds
  • Real estate or other properties
  • Vehicles, boats and motorcycles
  • Business interests
  • Cool collectibles
  • Cryptocurrencies

2. Choose Your Beneficiaries

Consider who gets to inherit your wealth. Then ensure that you have both primary and contingent beneficiaries listed on all applicable accounts. Whether for family, friends, or philanthropy, when you set up effective directives, you get to control who gets what and how much— while not leaving anything up to chance or the courts via probate.

Beneficiary accounts might include:
  • Retirement accounts
  • Life insurance policies
  • Non-retirement assets via a Living Family Trust document
    • If no Trust exists, then to list your beneficiaries in your Will

3. Protect Your Loved Ones and Estate

Now that you’ve chosen your beneficiaries, let’s consider how to manage your estate and care for your loved ones. What might your family need if something happens to you? Do you have young kids who might need a guardian? Is there a highly trustworthy person who could continue managing your family’s financial affairs as Power of Attorney, in the event you experience a physical or mental incapacity? Is there someone with special needs who requires additional care? Considering your family’s needs, in addition to your own, better ensures the continuation of everyone’s care and well-being.

A legacy roadmap might include:
  • A valid Will
  • Medical directives
  • Choosing a guardian for your kids
  • Setting up a Trust (which can skip the whole probate thing)
  • Mindful provisions for family members with special needs
  • Giving someone Power of Attorney to handle your affairs if you can’t

4. Keep Things Up-To-Date

Life changes, and so should your estate plan. Whether you get married, divorced, or have a new addition to the family, it’s essential to review your plan regularly. Make sure everything still reflects your wishes and keep all your documents organized and safe.

Remember to:
  • Review your plan every 3-5 years
  • Update beneficiaries and directives as needed
  • Keep your documents in a secure spot where the right people can access them when necessary

5. Master Your Taxes

Yeah, yeah, taxes are a pain, but understanding how they work can save your beneficiaries a lot of hassle. Know the rules in your state and make decisions that minimize taxes and maximize what your loved ones receive.


Things to consider:
  • Gift Tax Exemptions—$17,000 annual gift tax-exclusion per person in 2024
  • Federal Gift and Estate Tax Exemption— The lifetime threshold is $13.61 million for individuals and $27.22 million for married couples in 2024
  • States that levy an Inheritance Tax—IA, KY, MD, NE, NJ, PA
  • States that levy an Estate Tax—CT, D.C., HI, IL, ME, MD, MA, MN, NY, OR, RI, VT, WA
Estate planning might not be the most thrilling topic, but it’s essential for securing your family’s future. By knowing what you have, deciding who gets it, protecting your loved ones, staying up-to-date, and mastering your taxes, you can create a plan that truly reflects your legacy wishes. So, if you’re ready to take control of your estate planning journey, our team of financial professionals is here to help. Give us a call today, and let’s start building your legacy that could last for generations to come.

Learn how our unique approach and personalized advice can help you grow the value of your financial portfolio.

Disclaimer: Pring Turner is a Financial Advisor headquartered in Walnut Creek CA, and is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940. The views represented herein are Pring Turner’s own and all information is obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable. This information should not be considered a solicitation or offer to provide any service in any jurisdiction where it would be unlawful to do so. All indices are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment. Past performance does not guarantee future results.