Most likely you’ve taken the first step. You’ve documented beneficiaries on all your financial investments (e.g. savings, stock holdings, life insurance, and annuities) and other valuable assets, such as your primary home, vacation properties/second homes and investment properties. That’s good, because beneficiary designations are important.
But, they need to be coordinated with up-to-date Wills, an understanding of how to minimize death taxes, reduce probate delays, and ensure specific wishes are met through financial and health directives. Where appropriate it may also be necessary to explore the creation of certain types of trusts to address specific needs such as spendthrift children or ongoing income for loved ones still living.
It is essential to utilize a coordinated plan where all your advisors - financial, tax, legal and insurance - make sure the critical elements of your plan work together. Even if you have taken the time to properly document beneficiaries on your financial investments (e.g., life insurance, annuities, stock holdings) and other valuable assets such as your primary home, vacation properties/second homes), it may not be enough to provide efficient distributions, eliminate family squabbles and reduce/eliminate unnecessary legal costs.
It’s also not a bad idea to nominate an experienced person as your “quarterback” to work with your other professionals to make sure what needs to be accomplished on your behalf is executed in a cost-effective manner.