Here are some basic documents and structures that will help lay the foundation for you to address some of the challenges presented by the wealth transfer process.
Last will and testament – This legal document disposes of your assets at death. It names an executor (or personal representative) to carry out your wishes, including the nomination of a guardian for any minor children.
Trust – At its core a trust is simply a legal relationship in which an owner (grantor) transfers assets (such as stocks, bonds, cash, real estate, artwork, insurance policies, etc.) to another party (trustee) who administers the assets for the benefit of other people or charity (beneficiaries).
Durable power of attorney – This grants power to an agent to manage your assets during your lifetime (including while you’re incapacitated) and make financial decisions on your behalf. Lapses at your death, after which your executor or personal representative fills this role.
Healthcare proxy and living will – This grants power to an agent to make health care decisions during incapacity and provides guidance to agent on treatment and care, including withdrawal of life-sustaining support or avoiding extreme medical measures in certain situations
All of this doesn’t have to fall completely on you. In fact, engaging a team of advisors to help guide you through the process is critical. You must, however, start as early as possible. Hope is not a strategy; the best way to preserve your family’s wealth and legacy is with a sound and dynamic plan.