Estate Planning

Protecting And Preserving Your Wealth

At Johnson Investment Counsel, much of our financial planning work is focused on your big life goals and strategies to help you make those goals a reality. Retirement, education funding for children, business ventures, and much more are often major elements in our clients’ financial plans.

However, we also take time to consider planning for your loved ones and those who mean the most to you. That’s especially true with regard to estate planning. You’ve worked your entire adult life to grow your career, accumulate assets, and raise a family. Your estate plan documents the kind of legacy that you will leave for your loved ones.

While it may not be pleasant to think about death and end-of-life complications, those issues are too important to ignore. It’s also critical to address estate planning needs earlier rather than later. If you wait too late in life to think about estate planning, you may find that your options and menu of strategies have become limited.

While every estate plan is unique to each client’s goals and needs, Johnson Investment Counsel does follow the same broad process with each client. That process includes:

Fact-finding. As is the case with investment planning, wealth management, and our other services, our first step in estate planning work is to learn as much as we can about your goals for your legacy and your loved ones. We sit down with you, your spouse, and any other relevant loved ones to better understand your needs and wishes.

What assets are included in your estate? How are they currently setup for distribution upon your death? Which loved ones should be included in your estate? Are there any assets that hold sentimental value? Are there any charities or other organizations that should be included? This is a small sample of some of the questions we may discuss in our initial fact-finding discussion.

Strategy development and implementation. The second step is to develop and recommend a strategy to meet your needs and goals. We may recommend a number of planning documents, such as wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and more. We could also recommend insurance products if needed.

Upon acceptance of the recommendations, we help you implement the agreed-upon strategies. If you have an estate planning attorney in place, we can work directly with them to execute your strategy. If not, we can certainly introduce one of our many qualified and experienced partners.

Beneficiary review. If you’re like many investors, you have accounts and assets that are governed by beneficiary designations. These accounts include things like IRAs, 401(k) plans, annuities, life insurance, and more. Beneficiary-designated accounts are not governed by wills, but they can be included in trusts if the trust and accounts are set-up properly. We evaluate these accounts and your current beneficiary designations to make sure they are in alignment with the overall strategy.

Review and support. Finally, we meet regularly to review your estate planning needs and goals just as we do with other aspects of your financial plan. Estate planning isn’t a one-time event. Your needs could change over time.

For instance, your asset values could change significantly. Your relationships with loved ones could change, or you could have new children or grandchildren that need to be added to the plan. Tax law changes could impact your plan. We regularly review your plan with you and update as needed.

You’ve worked too hard to build a legacy that isn’t distributed according to your wishes. Protect your family and your legacy by implementing a well-defined, documented, and targeted estate plan. Let’s connect soon to discuss how Johnson Investment Counsel can help you leave an impactful and lasting legacy for your loved ones.