Planning for the future


No matter your assets, you need an estate plan.

What comes to mind when you think about estate planning? Is it like a scene from a movie, with a bunch of well-dressed folks waiting eagerly to hear who gets the money, who gets the paintings and who gets the summer home on the cape?

The reality is far different. No matter how many assets you have, a will ensures they are distributed how you like. And even if you're not too worried about inheritance, you may want to set up a living will or other advance medical directive as well as a durable power of attorney for financial decisions. It's important to make these arrangements now, as anyone can become incapacitated and unable to express their wishes.

Creating a will gives you control over who gets what. If you don't have one when you die, your estate will be divided according to the laws of the state in which you reside.  A typical split would be half to your surviving spouse and half shared among your surviving children. While your property passes to your closest family, this prevents you from leaving anything to friends, charities or any other person or group of your choice.  In many cases, trusts can be used to fulfill the goals of an estate plan. Estate plans are especially important if you:

  • Are part of an unmarried couple.
  • Handle the financial affairs in your family.
  • Have young children who would need a guardian.
  • Have an estate worth more than $11 million, which adds extra tax implications.
  • Own property in more than one state.
  • Have privacy concerns.
  • Have other distinct needs, like a business to pass on.

There may be medical situations in which you cannot speak for yourself. To make sure your wishes are honored, there are several kinds of advance medical directives you can use:

  • A living will puts your instructions in writing. For instance, you may outline scenarios where you would like to receive care and those where you would refuse it.
  • Durable power of attorney for health care, also called a health care proxy, designates one or more family members or trusted individuals to make decisions about your care on your behalf. 
  • A do-not-resuscitate order, or DNR, indicates that you don't want any life-saving measures used on you. Someone with a terminal illness may sign one to refuse CPR in the case of cardiac arrest, for instance.

Not all states recognize all of these directives, so you may need more than one type.

If you'd like to learn more about estate planning, you can get an overview from this video or explore the topics here. If you're ready to talk about your estate plan, schedule an appointment today to meet with John Englin, director of financial planning and trust services, by calling (319) 236-6744 or (800) 235-3228, ext. 6744.

Veridian Investment & Trust Services Advisors are registered representatives of CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. Securities sold, advisory services offered through CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker/dealer and investment advisor. CBSI is under contract with the financial institution to make securities available to members. Trust services provided by MEMBERS Trust Company. Not NCUA/NCUSIF/FDIC insured, May Lose Value, No Financial Institution Guarantee. Not a deposit of any financial institution.

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