Estate planning tips from Ask the Experts’ Maria Martinez-Siemel
Most of us are busy trying to accumulate assets to give considered thought to consider the importance of protecting what we have. An article from early this year on The Motley Fool investment website notes that a number of things can harm an investor more than a great return on an investment can help, and recommends that we take these four steps to protect our assets:
⋄ Get the right insurance coverage. Life insurance, disability insurance, auto insurance, homeowners insurance, health insurance and long-term care insurance are all ways you can protect your financial security by shifting most of the risk of an accident or unplanned event to someone else – your insurance company.
⋄ Delay Social Security benefits. One of the major benefits of Social Security is that it is one of the few sources of revenue that can withstand inflation and downturns in the stock market. Delaying benefits for at least until you are at full retirement age – and up to age 70 if possible – will maximize your payout and that of a surviving spouse.
⋄ Have an estate plan. Creating an estate plan helps you provide for your family in the most tax-advantaged way. Use tools like trusts to minimize taxes and avoid probate so your assets will pass automatically to your heirs without getting tied up in court (which costs money).
Another important aspect of estate planning is assigning powers of attorney and drawing up an advance medical directive so your wishes are respected when it comes to your health care.
If you are a business owner, choose the right structure. If you own a business, choosing the right business structure for personal liability protection and taxation can dramatically affect your financial circumstances.
You’ve worked hard for your money. Make sure it will be there when you need it.
About María Martínez-Siemel
Hello! I’m María Martínez-Siemel
I’m a lawyer who focuses on helping people make sure their families are taken care of. That means I do wills and trusts and long-term care planning for everyday folks.
I knew estate planning and elder law was what I wanted to do after I saw how incredibly important it is. When I was working at one of the large firms here in Albuquerque, a lovely couple with a blended family came in to update their business organization and to write up wills. Over the next couple of years they became close personal friends as well as clients.
One beautiful summer Saturday evening, they took their motorcycle to meet friends for dinner but never arrived. Five minutes from home, they were hit by a car. The husband died, leaving his two elementary-age children and their fitness business. His wife’s neck was broken and she suffered other major injuries.
Thanks to their willingness to plan, the kids were provided for, the business remained intact until a decision could be made about it months later, and the kids regularly see their stepmother even now. Without estate planning, she would have had no legal right to continue her relationship with them.
I still miss them. Helping them protect what they loved was one of the most important things I’ve ever done. I have seen first-hand how good planning is part of taking care of our families, and it is my privilege to help people do just that.
How to contact me
You may reach me at 505-288-5100 or find out more at siemellaw.com.