4 Ways Your Accountants Can Help You With Your Estate Plan

Posted on: 7 April 2015

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Are you about to see an attorney about setting up an estate plan? Before you head off to your lawyer's office, you might also want to consider speaking with your accountant. Your accountant will be able to give you information regarding your assets and debts so that you have a fuller picture to give your legal aide.

1. By Giving You a Full Debt Picture

Many people run into problems with their estate planning because they don't fully realize how much debt they have. Think about it: before any inheritance is separated out between your children, all of your debts will need to be paid off. This could include your mortgage, home equity loans, car loans and more. If you want to give your home to your children, you need to make sure that the mortgage is paid off as early as possible. 

2. By Projecting Out Your Retirement Costs

When planning an estate plan, retirement will definitely factor in. You need to know how much money you can spend on your retirement and still give something to your children when you pass on. Projecting your retirement costs often involves looking at your current expenses; the goal is to ensure that you can achieve the same quality of life as a retiree without having to dip too far into your savings.

3. By Calculating Your Final Expenses

Final expenses can be very costly, especially if you need to purchase a burial plot. Families can become blindsided by final expenses, which may even exceed an inheritance if not planned out correctly. Accountants can also advise you on life insurance policies that might cover these costs.

4. By Helping You Investing Your Funds for Future Inheritance

If you want your children to inherit -- and you want a comfortable retirement -- you need to invest. Your accountant will usually not make investment decisions for you, that is usually the role of a financial adviser. But your accountant will help you by telling you how much you can afford to invest and what returns you will need to meet your expected quality of life. Your accountant may also be able to give you a referral to an investment consultant. 

It's always a good idea to have a full picture of your finances, so schedule some time to discuss them with your accounting firm soon. At minimum, you should have a balance sheet that lists your assets and debts in addition to an income/expense report for the past year. (For more information on accountants, contact Myron E Triska Chartered Accountant or another practitioner)