Estate Planning: The Foundation of a Healthy Financial Plan

Growing up in the U.K., I attended a Church of England school. At school assemblies, we often sang hymns, one of which was about a wise man who built his house on solid rock and a foolish man who built his home on sand. And when the inevitable rains came, the man on the sand watched his house wash away while the wise man was left “high and dry.”

The same can be said for your Financial Plan… is HAS to be “rock solid” to withstand all the things that can happen to you and your family in the future. And that means not only investing prudently and with a diversified portfolio, but also taking care to address other aspects of your Financial Plan, even those you might think are less “exciting.”

At D.B. Root & Company, we work with our clients to think through the following:

  • Your Estate Plan — it’s not only important to have a will and possibly trusts, but also think about how and when your heirs will inherit your estate, what charities you might want to leave money to, who should be guardian of minor children and who should be the executor of your estate.

Three important questions to ask yourself:

  • WHO will be beneficiaries of your estate?

  • HOW will your estate be managed/distributed?

  • WHO will be making the decisions to carry out your wishes?

If you have covered these issues in your estate planning efforts, you can sleep easier. KEEP IN MIND, HOWEVER, THAT YOUR PLAN SHOULD BE REVIEWED EVERY FIVE YEARS!

It is also important to remember that a solid estate plan is most effective when part of an overall financial planning effort. Don’t overlook the following:

  • Insurance– a great investment portfolio can provide income to surviving spouses and children, but what if it isn’t yet big enough? Life insurance can add to it. Or what happens if you’re disabled and unable to work? Or what if you are sued? Or what if you live so long you can’t care for yourself? ALL THESE ISSUES NEED TO BE THOUGHT THROUGH.

  • Taxes– the benefit of a well-structured portfolio can be diminished by poor tax planning. We like to help clients pay the least amount they are obligated to pay through legitimate tax planning strategies.

  • Education– planning for a child’s education expenses is critical. Software programs can help you determine how much to save/invest as well as the best 529 plan to use.

  • Retirement Planning — most people have NO IDEA what their cash flow will look like when they retire. Forecasting the future is always hard, but having some idea can help you decide WHEN to retire, when to elect Social Security and how your assets should be allocated. Our software package can project future cash flow under a myriad of circumstances. AND GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF WHERE YOU ARE HEADING.

The bottom line is that good Estate Planning is just one part of a great financial plan. Without good planning on ALL aspects of your finances, you might one day find the ground under your “home” to be a bit sandy. Don’t let that happen to you!

Life has a way of throwing obstacles in our way and none of us know what can happen to us tomorrow. But knowing how your beneficiaries are taken care of due to your sound planning can put your mind at ease today.

D.B. Root’s Estate Planning service is an important component of the firm’s LifePlan 20/20® Financial Planning Service. For more information, contact LifePlan 20/20® Director, Tiffany Benigni:


This material has been provided for informational and educational purposes only and is not suitable for everyone. This material should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. The information contained herein should not be construed as personalized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. There is no guarantee that the views and opinions expressed in this newsletter will come to pass. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication. All information presented herein is subject to change without notice and should not be considered as a solicitation to buy or sell any security.

This material has been provided for general, informational purposes only. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a financial professional for further assistance with your individual needs.


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