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Summer Newsletter

When Regal opened it’s doors nearly twenty years ago we decided on the tagline of Accumulation, Preservation and Transfer.  In our opinion these three words encompassed all stages of the financial planning lifecycle.  Each represents a different stage of life and a different goal to accomplish.  This newsletter will focus on the Transfer stage, and more specifically on how to gain efficiency in transferring wealth to the next generation and how to make it as seamless as possible.

All financial planning firms have clients that pass, but we try and be as proactive as possible in planning for that day by making sure that clients have all their estate documents in order and accessible.  Further, we want to make sure all investment accounts, bank accounts and other assets are also in order.  The focus of this newsletter will be on the latter, but you should definitely make sure you and your heirs know where to find will and trust documents, powers of attorney and health care directives.  One of services we offer is establishing an online secure vault where you and your children/heirs can easily access these important documents.  The process is simple and often includes an online family meeting to show everyone where to find these important papers.

So, how does one gain efficiency in transferring wealth?  One of the biggest administrative roadblocks and expenses related to one’s estate is probate.  Simply put, if someone passes with an asset that does not have any instructions as to who will receive, then that asset passes through that person’s will.  The will needs to be submitted to a court and an estate account needs to be established to gather these assets that have no instructions so they can be distributed to the heirs.  This process is called probate; it takes time and can sometimes be expensive.

The easiest way to explore this subject is by example.  Many assets have beneficiary designations and are not subject to probate.  This most common are:

  • Retirement accounts
  • Jointly owned bank and investment accounts
  • Jointly owned real estate
  • Life Insurance and annuities
  • Partnerships

These assets have beneficiary designations or provisions that indicate to whom they should be distributed.  Alternatively, an individual’s house, bank account and car collection are all assets that would be subject to probate as they do not designate who receives them when they pass.  With that said, the idea is to establish beneficiary designations on as many assets as possible.  Here are some ideas:

For any individual investment or bank accounts, you have the ability to add a transfer on death (TOD) designation. This will specifically designate a person or group of people to receive the funds upon passing.
For individually owned real estate or other assets consider a Revocable Living Trust. This involves having an attorney draft a trust document, but that document will dictate where the assets will pass thus avoiding future probate.
With regard to accounts that do have beneficiaries like retirement accounts, annuities and life insurance you should check to see if you have any contingent beneficiaries listed. Many people have their spouses listed as primary beneficiary, but it is prudent to list your other heirs as contingents. We work actively with our clients to make sure they have updated beneficiary designations on all of their accounts and produce a report that we upload to their document vault.
Ultimately, the goal is to have as many assets as possible transfer directly to your heirs upon your passing rather than going through probate.  It may be difficult to have every single asset you have pass automatically, but the more you do will mean less time and expense for your heirs.  If you have any questions regarding this topic or would like to find out more about the vault and scheduling a family estate planning and document meeting, please call or click below to schedule an appointment with your advisor.

As always, thank you for your continued business and we hope that you have an awesome summer with friends and family.

Regal Wealth Advisors SC, LLC and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or tax services.  Please consult your legal or tax advisor regarding your specific situation.

At Regal Wealth Advisors, you can benefit from the personalized service provided by experienced financial planning professionals

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