Ask Yourself These Three Questions Before You Develop Your Estate Plan

Explore three estate planning questions meant to help you develop an estate plan and secure your legacy.

Tips to Help You Get Started with Your Estate Plan

Many people are tempted to put estate planning on the back burner due to the discomfort associated with contemplating the end of life. It can be truly challenging to consider crucial matters such as the management of your assets or the guardianship of your children.

However, despite the discomfort or difficulty, we believe it’s essential to engage in the process sooner rather than later. Failing to properly build out your estate plan could mean you’re relinquishing your influence entirely, which may potentially lead to a scenario where your assets are subject to court intervention and divided according to a probate judge’s discretion. This is why we suggest crafting a comprehensive estate plan, and you can use the three estate planning questions below to get started.

Estate Planning Questions to Ask Yourself #1. How do I want to distribute my assets?

Often, individuals leave their assets to their surviving spouse when they have one. However, if you’re single or outlive your spouse, your focus may shift to the next generation. It is crucial to be as explicit as possible regarding your desires for the distribution of your assets, even if that means getting very particular about which assets go to which heirs.

Additionally, if you wish to donate a portion of your assets to causes you care deeply about, clearly outline how you want that process to unfold. Rather than leaving it to your heir(s) to decide the allocation of funds to different charities, if any, take charge of the decision yourself. Incorporating an intentional giving strategy into your estate plan not only relieves the tax burden on your heirs but also ensures that your philanthropic aspirations are honored even when you have passed away.

SEE ALSO: Life Transitions: When to Revisit Your Financial Plan


Estate Planning Questions to Ask Yourself #2. What are the financial perspectives of my heirs?

Each of us holds our own set of values and attitudes towards money. It’s possible that one of your heirs views a substantial inheritance as an opportunity to establish a solid financial foundation, which they intend to nurture and expand. By contrast, another heir might envision indulging in extravagant vacations or acquiring luxury items, such as a sports car.

Given these varying outlooks, it is crucial not to leave the task of dividing your estate to one of your heirs. Instead, it falls upon you to determine a fair distribution based on your understanding of each heir’s relationship with money, their aspirations in life, their commitment to philanthropy, and their level of financial responsibility. Although it may feel uncomfortable or tense to elucidate the reasoning behind your decisions, the more transparent you are, the fewer surprises and hurt feelings there will be in the future.

Estate Planning Questions to Ask Yourself #3. What does my family stand for?

Estate planning encompasses far more than safeguarding your assets or asserting your will. It serves as a means to communicate a profound message to your heirs, one that declares, “This is our family’s essence, and these are the principles we hold dear.” It is about shaping and preserving your legacy. This may involve utilizing your assets to establish a charitable organization or trust to be managed by your heirs. It could also entail incorporating videos or letters within your will that you leave behind as a testament to your values.

Considering your family’s mission statement can greatly assist you in this aspect of your planning. Some families may collaborate on crafting a mission statement that will guide the entire family toward leading a more generous and impactful life. The more your estate plan aligns with this mission statement, the more empowered your family will feel in honoring and upholding your enduring legacy.

SEE ALSO: What You Need to Know About an Inherited IRA


Using these estate planning questions to build a legacy that lasts.

Although building an estate plan may be uncomfortable, it’s crucial that you have your estate organized beforehand if you wish for your desires to be respected once you’re gone. Among the many advantages of having a robust estate plan, perhaps the most significant is the sense of tranquility it provides, knowing that your wishes will be carried out even in your absence, and that your loved ones will be provided for in the ways you wish them to be.

There’s a profound peace in knowing that your family will be cared for and your legacy will be safeguarded. It’s an important process to undergo, and it can be difficult to know where to start, but the above estate planning questions can help you begin to think about your preferences.

With so many details to consider in your estate plan, having a professional you trust in your corner can help you to best utilize all the options available to you. At Aviance Capital Partners, we work with each client to create a comprehensive estate plan based on their current financial situation and projected future wealth. If you have questions about your estate plan, please contact us today.

Aviance Capital Partners, LLC (“ACP”) is an SEC registered investment adviser located in Naples, Florida. Registration as an investment adviser is not an endorsement by securities regulators and does not imply that ACP has attained a certain level of skill, training, or ability. While information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, ACP does not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. Not all services will be appropriate or necessary for all clients, and the potential value and benefit of the ACP’s services will vary based upon the client’s individual investment, financial, and tax circumstances. The effectiveness and potential success of a financial plan depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the manner and timing of implementation, coordination with the client and the client’s other engaged professionals, and market conditions. The tax and estate planning information provided is general in nature, which should not be construed as specific financial planning or tax advice tailored to an individual reader. ACP suggests that readers consult a financial professional, attorney or tax advisory professional about their specific financial, legal or tax situation. Customized financial planning indicates that financial planning will be informed by the material financial and investment circumstances of the client, as communicated by the client to the adviser, but may not consider literally all aspects of a client’s financial affairs. Past investment performance does not guarantee future results. All investment strategies have the potential for profit or loss, and different investments and types of investments involve varying degrees of risk. There can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment or investment strategy, including those undertaken or recommended by ACP, will be profitable or equal any historical performance level. Additional information about ACP, including its Form ADV Part 2A describing its services, fees, and applicable conflicts of interest and its Form CRS is available upon request and at

For current ACP clients, please advise us promptly in writing, if there are ever any changes in your financial situation or investment objectives, if you wish to impose any reasonable restrictions to our management of your account, or if you have not been receiving at least quarterly account statements from your account custodian.

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