When working with individuals seeking guidance from the Kentucky Baptist Foundation, we are often asked for suggestions on how best to begin a person's estate planning process. We suggest using the following four steps as a framework for organizing your thoughts.
PEOPLE: The people in your life are central to the planning process. List those individuals you are now financially responsible for and those you would like to assist in the future. This is also the place where you could list your church and other Christian ministry causes as part of your "family."
PROPERTY: Next, we suggest listing your property. Think of everything you own, including financial assets and tangible property. Begin with income from all sources (salary, investments, rental property, etc.). Also include any current balances in pension plans, individual retirement accounts (IRAs), 401K plans and other retirement plans. Beside each asset, list its current value. Next to its value, list its cost. Finally, note whether it is owned outright or with others.
PLANS: Your plans begin to take shape as you review the list of persons and consider how you wish to provide for them. Study the various assets you listed to determine which ones may match the needs of each person or charitable cause you identified as important to you.
PLANNERS: At the top of the list of planners will often be an attorney and an accountant. Your attorney drafts your will and other legal documents. Your accountant, in consultation with your attorney, can provide valuable advice on tax matters as well as other estate planning issues. Others who may participate include life insurance professionals, financial planners, real estate professionals and trust officers.
The Kentucky Baptist Foundation is honored to work with individuals seeking how best to organize their planning goals to achieve their personal and charitable objectives, to support their families, their church and other Baptist causes.
Richard Carnes is president of the Kentucky Baptist Foundation