Are you ready to start estate planning and writing a will? Let's explore several dos and don'ts of the estate planning process.
Write a will to help preserve your assets and protect your wishes
Include personal property and other assets, not just money
Name a guardian to care for any minor children or dependents
Choose beneficiaries for life insurance policies and retirement accounts
When the topics of estate planning and writing a will come up, do you change the conversation? You’re not alone. Most people don’t like to think about their own deaths. In fact, only four out of ten U.S. adults have a will, according to a 2017 survey from Caring.com. However, it’s important to put your reluctance aside and write your will sooner rather than later. Without one, the state where you live will control who gets your hard-earned assets, and the outcome may not be what you intended.
You don’t want to leave your estate to chance, says David J. Dietrich, chair of the American Bar Association Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law. Just look at what’s happening with the estates of Prince and Aretha Franklin. Both died without a will. Now it’s up to the courts to determine the division of assets, which could take years and result in sizable attorney fees. Don’t leave your legacy to chance.
It designates who’s in charge—an executor, trustee, or other representative.
A will should be drafted with thorough, complete disclosure of financial products, and beneficiary designations. Check your TD Ameritrade account to ensure information is current.
Designate a guardian and/or trustee to care for kids under 18 or any adult dependents.
There are a variety of estate-planning services that can meet a variety of budgets. Non-profits can help, as can DIY online services. However, most experts agree it’s best to go with a professional.
If you have had more than one spouse, specify their role in the distribution of your assets.
Talk with your loved ones and then make your intentions clear and legally binding to avoid family disputes. Good communication can go a long way.
Specify how you want your house or other real estate where you’re the sole owner handled. Example: grant one of the kids an option to buy out the others at fair market value.
Because laws vary from state to state, consider working with an attorney or professional who knows your state’s requirements. If you move to another state, you may want to double-check your will's validity.
Specify who gets non-cash items like pets, rare paintings, or a baseball card collection. These types of items are impossible to divide up and can trigger disputes.
Follow this checklist to help make sure your estate plan wishes are known and necessary documents are in place.
for thinkMoney ®
Financial Communications Society 2016
for Ticker Tape
Content Marketing Awards 2016
Content intended for educational/informational purposes only. Not investment advice, or a recommendation of any security, strategy, or account type.
Be sure to understand all risks involved with each strategy, including commission costs, before attempting to place any trade. Clients must consider all relevant risk factors, including their own personal financial situations, before trading.
TD Ameritrade does not provide legal or tax advice. We suggest you consult with a legal or tax-planning professional with regard to your personal circumstances.
The American Bar Association is separate from and not affiliated with TD Ameritrade, which is not responsible for their service or policies.
Market volatility, volume, and system availability may delay account access and trade executions.
Past performance of a security or strategy does not guarantee future results or success.
Options are not suitable for all investors as the special risks inherent to options trading may expose investors to potentially rapid and substantial losses. Options trading subject to TD Ameritrade review and approval. Please read Characteristics and Risks of Standardized Options before investing in options.
Supporting documentation for any claims, comparisons, statistics, or other technical data will be supplied upon request.
This is not an offer or solicitation in any jurisdiction where we are not authorized to do business or where such offer or solicitation would be contrary to the local laws and regulations of that jurisdiction, including, but not limited to persons residing in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, UK, and the countries of the European Union.
TD Ameritrade, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC, and a subsidiary of TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation. TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Charles Schwab Corporation. TD Ameritrade is a trademark jointly owned by TD Ameritrade IP Company, Inc. and The Toronto-Dominion Bank. © 2020 Charles Schwab & Co., Inc. Member SIPC.