Four steps to get your estate plan off your to-do list

Catholic United Financial > Education > John Tetzloff > Four steps to get your estate plan off your to-do list
Creating Wealth Beyond Money Blog

Wealth is a mindset that combines the material and spiritual — rooted in knowledge, wisdom and trust


by John Tetzloff
Advanced Case Specialist

Most people don’t know where to start when it comes to estate planning. Let’s change that right now.

These four steps will start you down the right path. But I can tell you, whether you are looking to review your current plan or begin one for the first time, the best resource to start with is your local Catholic United Sales Representative. Let’s look at the four-step process your Rep and I would take you through…

1. Gather information — No plan will be effective if you don’t know what you own. All assets play by different tax, probate and planning rules. Understanding these rules is a crucial part of a good plan and will certainly help with the decision-making process. Your local Sales Rep has been trained to know what questions to ask to best understand your family’s unique situation.

2. Overview of the estate — Your Sales Rep would then look at the “big picture” to help determine which areas need most attention based on what is most important for your family. He or she would help you to understand the various “rules” we need to be aware of throughout the process. Depending on the complexity of your case, your Rep may then bring me into the process to assist in recommending a plan.

3. Team with other professionals — I’m not an attorney or a certified public accountant and neither is your Sales Rep. Therefore, we cannot draft documents that are needed for most estate plans such as wills and trusts. What we can do is help you prepare for the visit with these legal professionals — at no cost. If you begin your process with an attorney or CPA, you’ll be looking at their hourly rate to help you, and to help wrangle your documents. One of the biggest benefits we offer is this pre-planning, and attorneys LOVE it when our clients walk in organized and ready to work. Steps 1 and 2 can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Often, we can recommend a local attorney who specializes in estate planning. Most of the time, our clients ask us to come along to that first meeting, which we’re very willing to do.

4. Follow-through — It’s very important to remember that the process doesn’t end with the drafting of a will. You’re not done living yet! Your plan needs to be reviewed periodically for changes in law, family situation and financial assets. Some other topics that will be brought up include final expense planning, protection of assets, and how taxes can affect your plan.

The estate planning process doesn’t have to be a daunting task. By working with me, your local Sales Representative and your local legal professionals, you can move through this process with ease and confidence.