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Estate planning seminar to be held in Philip

The District Five Farmers Union will sponsor Estate Planning Services' popular seminar "Five Pillars of Estate Planning" at the Philip Senior Center on Saturday, September 4, at noon. Randy McKee of Black Hawk and his wife Carol present workshops to civic organizations and private groups all over the region. The workshop is free.

The seminar addresses the five pillars of a quality estate plan, including the types of documents needed, maximizing income and minimizing taxation, the right and wrong kinds of assets, avoiding insurance problems, solving the family feud, formulating a ranch or business succession plan and other critical topics.

McKee has been certified by both national accrediting agencies and is the first Certified Estate Planner in the upper Midwest. He is a nationally known and respected estate planner, most recently named as one of only five estate planners in the United States to serve on Senior Market Advisor magazine's national expert estate planner panel. McKee is also a member of the International Association of Registered Financial Consultants, the Society of Senior Market Professionals and the West River Estate Planning Council. McKee's popular "Effective Estate" column is read by thousands.

McKee said, "Of all the workshops we have presented, this one is the most popular for three reasons. First, it deals with every-day problems that are experienced by almost everyone. Second, the seminar content and the free hand-outs are very easy to understand; and thirdly, it's short – less than an hour long." At the end of the seminar the McKees will answer any questions attendees may have. Attendees will have an opportunity to order free, in-depth information on any or all of the subject material covered in the seminar.

For more information, call Myrna Gottsleben at 859-2273.

What is Estate Planning?

Providing an exact definition of estate planning is difficult. It seems that all sorts of professionals use their own definitions that are designed to fit the services they provide or the products they sell.

From a professional estate planner's perspective estate planning is the process a person uses to analyze their estate situation and take measures to control and produce desirable outcomes.

That may seem like a very broad definition and it is. We have to leave the definition broad because the nature of estate planning forces us to cover almost every aspect of a person's life.

Virtually every successful estate addresses five critical areas. I call these the Five Pillars of Estate Planning. These areas include what your documents do – or don’t do, maximizing income while minimizing taxation, managing and controlling assets, creating a solid insurance plan and properly dealing with all the people involved in the estate.

Each of these pillars can have a variety of factors that influence them. For instance when a person is no longer living, their assets have to go to someone - usually their surviving family members. So now we are dealing with every one of the pillars, but the people pillar becomes extremely important at this point.

The estate transfer can be accomplished in a manner that streamlines the process, saves taxes, manages assets for those who are unable to do it themselves and minimizes risks associated with family problems and infighting. If there is no planning – or even worse, poor planning - these factors can work to quickly erode away the wealth and produce undesirable outcomes.

Perhaps you have seen the devastating effects of family infighting or have seen an instance where a family had to sell to pay federal estate taxes. This is unfortunate because in many cases these problems are entirely avoidable - if people do some legitimate estate planning.

It is common knowledge among professional estate planners that most people literally spend more time planning their vacations than they do planning to produce desirable outcomes in their estate and financial plans. This is a national tragedy - especially when you consider that in the next ten years or so trillions of dollars in wealth will be squandered during the estate transfer process.

A legitimate estate plan delves into almost every corner of your life and examines almost every aspect of it.

Randy McKee is a Certified Estate Planner and Registered Financial Consultant who practices from his offices at Black Hawk, SD. The purpose of this column is to inform and educate you about the aspects of estate planning. The writer and publisher are not providing legal or accounting advice and do not intend to do so. If you need legal or accounting advice, you need to contact a competent specialist.