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Value-added planning Featured

6:29am EDT July 19, 2002

Too often, executives view estate planning as a series of documents and insurance policies. However, most individuals' personal finances are multidimensional problems that reach beyond the scope of these services.

Investment management, taxes, charitable giving and retirement plan distribution strategies can impact your financial situation. The potential to earn more money may be the most important asset you -- and your business -- have.

As a business owner, have you written an estate plan in addition to your business plan?

If not, here are a few questions to help you define how to begin the process:

 

Individual Partner/ Trust Unknown

Spouse

 

How do you hold title to personal

savings/investments?

 

How do you hold title to residential

and investment real estate?

 

How do you hold title to corporate

stock?

 

If you are not incorporated, who is/are

the surviving owner(s)?

 

Who is named as beneficiary of your

retirement accounts, life insurance

policies, buy/sell agreements?

 

Yes No Unknown

 

Does the ownership of your assets and

beneficiary designations contradict or

complement your will or current estate

plan?

 

In the event of catastrophic illness, do you

have all the necessary documents

completed so your family and your

business lives can continue while you are

convalescing?

 

If you don't recover from your illness,

will your assets avoid guardianship and/or

probate issues at death?

 

A completed estate plan is as necessary as a detailed business plan. This estate plan provides the glue to keep your assets and family intact when an untimely illness or death occurs.

The estate plan is part of the overall wealth management strategy developed in concert with your financial advisor. Keep in mind that designing and implementing these life-planning decisions is a journey and not a destination. Robert A. Valente CFP (rvalente@ravfinancial.com) is president of RAV Financial Services. He can be reached at (216) 831-4900.