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Estate Planning

You’ve worked hard to ensure family members are provided for when you’re gone, but what can you do to guarantee a smooth transition and distribution of assets during such a difficult time? A detailed estate plan is the answer. Certified public accountants can help avoid the hassle of family arguments and other end-of-life legal concerns by ensuring appropriate distribution of assets that adheres to your wishes.

With professional estate planning, your legacy will live on and your family can better plan for the future. Read on below to find out more, or contact us now to get started.

What Is Estate Planning?

Effective estate planning facilitates the orderly transfer of assets to your beneficiaries, provides security for your surviving spouse, and can reduce or eliminate the tax due on the transfer of your business and other assets. 

How does this differ from writing a will, you ask? While a will specifies who will get your assets after your passing, an estate plan is a larger more comprehensive plan of action regarding how those assets will be dispersed. It can apply to your life as well as your death. An estate plan also preserves legal authority in the event of incapacitation. 

Important determinations that may be specified or created during the estate planning process:

  • Assigning power of attorney
  • Drafting a legal will and letter of intent
  • Designating beneficiaries
  • Deciding guardianship for dependents
  • Granting access to medical records
  • Maximizing what you can leave behind by minimizing “gift taxes”

Make sure to ask for someone’s consent before naming them in legal documents like these, as the goal of estate planning is to avoid surprises.

 No matter where you are in life, trust our experienced CPAs to guide you through the complex process of getting your financial affairs in order. With a wide array of accounting, financial planning, tax planning, and consulting services, the Leadingham Rodgers Montgomery accounting firm is ready to help.

Steps of Estate Planning

First we will conduct a thorough review of all assets in your name. This includes savings accounts, property, personal possessions, stocks, bonds, life insurance policy, and more. We leave no stone unturned!

Digital assets (like passwords to social media accounts, digital storage, cryptocurrency wallets, and other electronic records) also require a named beneficiary. Without naming a beneficiary, access to your digital assets may be lost forever.

Any assets without named beneficiaries (or “probate assets”) may be contested, which can lead to long, drawn-out, and costly legal disputes.

Once we’ve gone over your assets and named beneficiaries, you’ll need to think about how those assets are distributed. Keep in mind that a lump sum transfer of assets can be subject to significant estate and inheritance taxes from the Internal Revenue Service. With their thorough knowledge of tax law, a CPA can help you determine which of your assets are at greatest risk for taxation ahead of time. 

Furthermore, a legal trust can help you control how the assets get used by the beneficiaries. By placing assets into legal trusts, you are able to set certain conditions over the usage of those assets. You can also make sure that certain assets are mature before being sold.

By contacting a certified public accountant from our accounting firm and beginning your estate planning today, you’ll join thousands of happy clients who have laid the groundwork for the financial future of their loved ones.

Who Needs Estate Planning?

Anyone with end-of-life medical concerns or fears over the transfer of assets should consider drawing up a detailed estate plan rather than relying on a comparatively simple last will and testament. For business owners, providing for business continuity and succession of ownership is particularly crucial. 

Getting all the right paperwork in line is a daunting task, so for best results, it is important to collaborate with an attorney and possibly a tax advisor throughout this process.

Leadingham Rodgers’ CPAs have helped countless individuals safeguard their legacies through detailed estate planning. Under the guidance of an expert CPA, you’ll get peace of mind about the well-being of those you love.

Start Estate Planning with A CPA from Leadingham Rodgers Certified Public Accounting Firm Today!

Since 2009, Leadingham Rodgers has provided financial solutions for individuals and businesses in Montgomery and across Alabama. With our trusted team of legal and financial advisors on your side, you can create an ironclad estate plan from start to finish. Take control of your legacy and protect your assets before it’s too late.

To get started with estate planning, business planning, tax services, or other accounting services, give us a call 334.721.2548 or contact us online to get started.