By: Laurie Valentine- COO & Trust Counsel
A Christian estate plan is one you develop by determining how God wants you to: (1) provide for your family and other “dependents” at your death and (2) have your finances managed and decisions made for you if you became incapacitated and no longer able to do those things for yourself.
Step #1- Determine What You Own. The first step in developing a Christian estate plan is to make a list of all of your assets [bank accounts, investments, life insurance, retirement accounts/benefits, real estate, business interests, collectibles, jewelry]; each asset’s current market value [what you would get for it if you sold it or it paid out its full face value]; and how each is titled [is it just in your name or jointly-owned or beneficiary-designated].
The kinds of assets you own guide decisions about who should be named to serve as executor of your estate; how assets should be left to family and others at your death; and who would be best-equipped to manage what you own if you became incapacitated during your lifetime.
The value of what you own guides decisions about the type of estate tax and gift tax planning you should consider.
And, the way those assets are titled determines what document will govern how each asset will pass at your death.
Next Month- Step #2 Make a Written Plan
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The information in this article is provided as general information and is not intended as legal or tax advice. For advice and assistance in specific cases, you should seek the advice of an attorney or other professional adviser.