No matter what our income or assets there’s a fundamental question we all must face:  who do we leave our wealth to and how much?  Listen as we welcome back Kirby Stoll from the Northwestern Foundation and Paul Stein from Advanced Retirement Resources to help us work through questions on wills, trusts, taxes, and passing along a legacy.  We spend time unpacking:

Estate planning.

How to choose a financial adviser.

Pros and cons of ‘online wills’ – Paul points out that some online tools are very helpful, but the person building the will needs three things in order to do it well: Knowledge, time, and interest. Kirby strongly suggests that families work with an estate adviser to ensure that the proper steps are taken and that the family will be entirely covered after your death.

The importance of communication – Kirby suggests that you involve your children in the process and make sure everyone understands the plan in place. Some people are private about how much money they’ve put away, but Paul says there are important conversations you can have without naming specific dollar amounts.

The difference between a will and a trust (a will is public and ensures the court’s involvement; a trust is private).

How to include charities in your estate.

The investing principle – low risk = low returns.

How to start planning for retirement early in life.

Kirby and Paul point out that overall, the important thing is to be aware of the laws in your state, your current debt, and how you want your possessions and finances to be divided upon your death. Regardless of your age, it’s wise to look ahead to the future and take steps to wipe out your debt while protecting your loved ones after you’re gone.

Highlight – Online tools?

Investing & tax management

Image: Flickr