"As a neologism, I hope it endures, because it reminds us of how
precious our time is -- and that it's important to plan wisely,"
says Gorton, a veteran certified public accountant and financial
planner and head of
Gorton Financial Group.
"Unfortunately, after some have listed
their items and even checked a few things off, they forget about one
important item that really counts after they've 'kicked the bucket'
-- their will."
Only about 40 percent of adults in America have a will, which is
probably due to people not wanting to be reminded of their own
mortality and that life will go on without them, he says.
"But what's the alternative? If you die without one, the state
decides what becomes of your property, without regard to your
priorities," says Gorton, who also advocates that his clients make
use of a written income plan, a living document that helps organize
financial priorities. "Why not enjoy the fact that a will is an
instrument of power? You get to decide who gets what," he says.
Since so many adults don't have a will, many don't understand how
they work. Gorton breaks down wills into four basic parts:
Most wills begin by naming an executor, the person responsible
for carrying out the wishes outlined in the will. Duties include
assessing the value of the estate, gathering the assets, paying
inheritance tax and other debts if necessary, and distributing
assets among beneficiaries. It is recommended that you name at
least two executors in case your first choice is unable to
fulfill the obligation.
Guardians -- A will allows you to
designate a guardian for your minor children. Whomever you
appoint, you will want to make sure beforehand that the
individual is able and willing to assume the responsibility. For
many people, this is the most important part of a will, because
if you die without naming a guardian, the court will decide who
takes care of your children.
This section enables you to identify people or organizations to
whom you wish to give gifts of money or specific possessions,
such as family heirlooms or a car. You can also specify
conditional gifts, such as a sum of money to a young daughter,
but only when she reaches a certain age.
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estate encompasses everything you own, including real property,
financial investments, cash and personal possessions. Once you
have identified specific gifts you would like to distribute, you
can apportion the rest of your estate in equal shares among your
heirs, or you can split it into percentages. For example, you
may decide to give 45 percent each to two children and the
remaining 10 percent to a sibling.
"You're not legally required to have a professional write a will
for you, but I highly recommend you get certified help because these
documents are often contested by people who are unhappy with the
decisions you made," Gorton says. "After working a lifetime for your
assets, you deserve to have them go where you want after you're
gone, and your family will be grateful to you for not leaving them
with the headache of trying to sort out your estate."
Jeff Gorton is a certified public accountant and financial
planner specializing in individual tax and retirement planning. He
is also an investment adviser with AlphaStar Capital Management, an
SEC-registered investment adviser, and has a life and health
insurance license. Gorton works with individuals and their families
to create and protect their financial legacies. He specializes in
working with retirees in the areas of tax planning, benefits,
retirement planning, estate planning and safe money techniques. He
received his bachelor's degree in accounting from the University of
Oklahoma and worked for 10 years as the chief financial officer for
a large retail organization, overseeing their accounting, benefits
and 401(k) retirement plans.
[Text from file received from
News and Experts]