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Protect What You’ve Built

Updated: Feb 15, 2023

You are close to retirement and have worked hard to build a substantial nest egg. Your financial advisor has reviewed your asset allocation, planned retirement spending, addressed health insurance, and created a cash cushion to weather the recent COVID-19 market correction. You have a concrete financial foundation laid. That’s good!

However, like a housing foundation, the above steps cannot weather a storm and keep you insulated from unexpected events. You need to build a roof over your house.

To begin, step back to see the big picture. Look at your balance sheet and review your estate plan. 

  • Are you protected from lawsuits? 

  • Are the beneficiaries correct on your investment accounts and insurance policies? 

  • How is your real estate titled?

  • Is your will up to date, or is your former spouse still the executor of your estate?

Couple reviewing building plans for home. Foundation built. Walls are up. Doors and windows framed. Roof is framed but not protecting home yet.
Like building a home from the foundation up, you need to take steps to weather unpredictable events.

If any of these questions trigger an internal warning bell, consider these five scenarios. 

This is a great opportunity to protect what you’ve built.

Umbrella Liability Insurance:

Consider a taxable brokerage or investment account with $3 million. Plus your two homes with combined $1 million equity. You are wealthy today. But what is your exposure to lawsuits from a car accident or someone tripping on your front lawn? Review your umbrella liability insurance policy with your financial advisor and insurance agent. You may need $5 million of coverage to protect your assets.

Waiver for 401k Beneficiaries: 

You have $2.5 million in your 401k. You are currently enjoying your 2nd marriage, and your spouse owns a profitable decorator business. For estate planning purposes and to keep the peace in your family, you want your 401k assets to flow directly to your children from the first marriage. Contact your 401k provider and obtain the forms to name your children as beneficiaries. Your spouse will need to sign a waiver acknowledging this election.

Protect Your Wealth from Vacation Home Calamities: 

With the rise of AirBnB and VRBO, more families are renting their vacation home. Consider putting your vacation home in a limited liability company. The rental LLC limits the liability of your exposure in the event of physical injuries sustained by others while renting or visiting. It also protects you from judgments filed against LLC owners for lawsuits totally unrelated to the rental LLC (e.g. a suit related to your primary business activity and not the vacation rental). It is crucial to carry adequate liability insurance to supplement the asset protection afforded by the rental LLC structure. 

Fund Legacy Property for Great Grandchildren: 

If you desire future generations to enjoy the family home, consider taking out a life insurance policy with the proceeds available to pay future maintenance, property taxes, and insurance on the family vacation home. Consult with your financial advisor and estate planning attorney on the appropriate insurance amount and how to set up the policy owner and beneficiaries.

Update Your Will: 

When you made your will you probably thought you were finished with it and wouldn’t have to look at it again. However, there are many situations where updating a will is necessary. While the list is longer, some situations deeming a will revision include: marriage, divorce, death of a spouse or child, adding a new heir, changing guardian, change in estate value, purchasing real estate and moving states. If there have been changes within your family and the beneficiaries of your estate, contact your lawyer to update your will. 

While many of us are working remotely from home, this is a great opportunity to spend 30 minutes each day to protect what you’ve built.

Final Thought.

Need further guidance putting a roof over the financial foundation you’ve built so far? If you are 60 or over, have $2 million or more in investments, the Peak Wealth Planning team can assist.

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About the Author

Peter Newman is a Chartered Financial Advisor (CFA) and president of Peak Wealth Planning. He works with individuals nationwide that have accumulated wealth through company stock, ESOP shares, real estate, or running a business. Peter applies his unique background to help clients achieve their specific goals and enjoy peace of mind.

Peak Wealth Planning provides concierge services to meet your wealth management needs. Services include: financial planning, investment management, esop diversification, retirement income, insurance, and estate planning advice. Peak Wealth Planning is a fee-based financial advisor based in Champaign, Illinois, and Fraser, Colorado.


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