For many investors in stocks and bonds, estate planning is about as exciting as watching paint dry — and as enjoyable as a root canal. And that’s before you get the bill. But what’s all that better investing for if it isn’t to build a financial estate for yourself, your heirs and your favored causes?
The inherent complexity of the estate-planning process should do nothing to detract from its importance and occasionally counterintuitive aspects. (Did you know that sometimes it’s best to say no to an inheritance?) So it’s nice to know that getting information on that and literally thousands of estate-planning issues is easy and free.
As you might guess from its moniker, Estate Planning Answers provides answers to estate-planning questions. The site is operated by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed in 2005. Among its distinguishing characteristics is an impressive breadth of financial-planning subjects covered in a well-focused manner.
All the information on the site is relatively accessible, especially given the arcane nature of financial planning itself. Answers generally run about 1,000 words each and are divided under a handful of subheads. Though the site issues the usual disclaimer that information isn’t intended as a substitute for professional advice, it nonetheless provides a strong push down what can be a long and intimidating road.
Though the site contains a prominent Find an Accredited Estate Planner ad (type in a ZIP code to find one near you), the information I perused seemed objective. Of course, that doesn’t mean that answers to estate-planning questions are simple or necessarily what you’ll want to hear.
But you’ll almost certainly be better off for having asked them.