Who’s On Your Estate Planning Team?

by John Montoya

Your estate plan helps protect your loved ones – mentally, emotionally, and financially – and we can help you with all of the steps necessary to put a plan in place.

Estate planning is not just the set of documents your attorney prepares, nor is it your investment allocations and financial plan, nor is it your insurance policies. It is also not only about what happens after you pass away. Done properly, estate planning includes legal documents and financial strategies, planning for both lifetime events and for after you pass away. A comprehensive estate plan includes planning for retirement, asset protection, disability planning, protecting and providing for your spouse and children, tax planning, long-term care planning, philanthropy and much more.

Estate planning should be a team effort, though that is not always the case. No one professional has all of the answers, and diverse skills and experience are necessary for the best results. Our firm routinely collaborates with all team members, keeping the big picture in mind (your goals) as that will determine the integrity of your plan for years to come.

You should choose members of your team with whom you can form a relationship built on confidence and trust. Building a successful team requires aligning the right people with the right skills that, when working together for your benefit, will culminate with your ideal estate plan, uniquely tailored to you and maximizing your goals.

So, who should be on your team?

  • Yourself – Just Do It!
    • You are the key member of the team as everything the other teammates do must revolve around your objectives, needs and wants.
    • The earlier you determine your own goals and expectations regarding the distribution of your wealth, the less likely you will be overwhelmed by the ideas and suggestions of your professional teammates.
    • Take the first step and schedule a free consultation with us, we can help you through all phases and collaborate with the rest of your team.
  • Estate Planning Attorney – Prepare and Implement Your Estate Plan
    • Our firm’s focus is estate planning and we are here to help you prepare and implement your estate plan, preparing all of the legal documents needed, such as your will, trust agreements, power of attorney, and medical power of attorney, along with reviewing and updating your beneficiary designations. 
    • We will guide you on the legal issues and available tax and non-tax alternatives and draft the estate planning documents necessary to meet your goals and objectives to carry out your wishes in the most efficient way possible.
  • Financial Advisor – Align Finances with Your Plan
    • The financial advisor plays an important role in estate planning by understanding your specific financial goals and investment objectives, helping you to meet your financial needs and live the lifestyle you want.
    • The financial advisor works with you to develop a broader plan that covers needs such as retirement, investments and insurance that protects property and financial risks and can also help ensure that there are ample resources available at death to pass on to loved ones.
  • Accountant or CPA – Taxes Are Inevitable
    • The accountant or CPA brings valuable tax strategies to the planning process and may be the one most familiar with you, your goals, income, and financial holdings based on preparing your taxes each year.
  • Insurance Professional – Protect Your Loved Ones
    • The insurance professional provides an analysis of your current and future insurance needs.
    • For many estate planning strategies, life insurance is critical to providing adequate liquidity to take care of all of your beneficiaries, particularly if you have young children or if you own a business or have other large or illiquid assets that are difficult to divide between beneficiaries.
  • Decision Makers – Those Who You Trust Most
    • Who do you trust most to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so? And that your assets are managed and distributed in the manner you want after your passing? As your attorney, we will help you appoint the individuals that you trust the most to carry out your legal affairs, both during your life and after, and to act on your behalf for medical decisions if you are unable to communicate your wishes.
    • We will help you to appoint a Financial Power of Attorney and a Health Care Power of Attorney to act on your behalf during your lifetime.
    • We will help you to appoint an Executor and/or Trustee to administer your estate after you pass away.
  • If you have young children, we will help you to appoint guardians to oversee their care.
  • Your Family and Other Beneficiaries – All the Reasons Why
    • Let your family members know you are establishing an estate plan so that if there are specific desires, interests or concerns, they can be addressed. It is important for your family to understand what is being done and why, avoiding confusion and distrust later.
    • By including your family in the process and letting them ask us (or your other advisors) questions, it will give your family peace of mind, security, and confidence during what can be difficult and uncertain times if you become disabled and after you pass away.

No Plan is Final

After creating and implementing a plan for your estate, it is important to regularly revisit your plan to ensure that it is still reflective of your values, needs, and goals for your legacy. Marriages, remarriages, births, deaths, changes in assets, new employee benefits, and legislative changes may all necessitate adjusting an existing plan or creating a new one.

You can keep your estate plan up-to-date by notifying your estate planning team of any relevant changes as they occur, and by responding when they alert you to legislative changes that may affect your estate.

We offer a free consultation to review your estate plan and our Newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with us and stay apprised of any changes in the law. If you would like to schedule a meeting, please call or text us at (412) 419-1005 or email us at hello@pghestateplan.com and if you are not already a Subscriber to our Newsletter – scroll to the bottom and signup!

If you are not familiar with the opening photo, John encourages you to check out ultimate frisbee, which he played for many years, and if you think it looks fun, then see what the local ultimate community has to offer.

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