Protect Your Legacy: Why Estate Planning Matters

Jeff Green |

One question I get asked a lot as a financial advisor has to do with estate planning. People always want to know: “Is estate planning something I actually need to do?” And in most cases, the answer is yes.

In the event that you pass away or you become incapacitated, the negative consequences of not having an estate plan can be significant. Estate and gift taxes, incorrect heirs, disputes among beneficiaries and expensive probate delays can hit hard during an already trying time for your loved ones.

Unfortunately, we have firsthand experience witnessing the repercussions of not having a proper estate plan. Which is why at Green Financial Group, one of our services is guiding our clients through the process of wealth transfer. And why I’m writing this article to share the details of why planning your financial legacy is so important.

Upholds Your Wishes

One of the key reasons for estate planning is to make sure your wishes are followed. Even after you’re gone, your estate plan serves as your voice. If you don’t have a well-defined strategy, the State can decide how your assets are allocated, which might not align with your goals. Naming beneficiaries for your finances, assets and possessions brings you confidence that your loved ones will inherit what you intend for them to have. 

This can be especially important if you have a blended family, particular charitable contributions you feel passionate about or special requests regarding family heirlooms or other physical items. 

Defends Your Loved Ones

In addition to ensuring your wishes are upheld, an estate plan can also give your loved ones confidence in their financial future. Think about the stress and confusion your family could experience if they have to handle financial uncertainty and legal matters on top of their grief over your passing. An estate plan addresses that uncertainty by precisely outlining how your assets should be divided. This can eliminate speculation and potential disputes.

By having an estate plan, you show your loved ones how much you care about them by providing practical support even after you’re gone.

Mitigates Tax Burden

Estate taxes can drastically reduce the assets you leave behind for your loved ones. An efficient estate plan can significantly lessen this tax burden. One strategy is to make use of trusts. You can exclude more assets from your taxable estate during your lifetime by moving them into a trust. This strategy can diminish the total amount that’s exposed to estate taxes. 

Making the most of lifelong gifting is another tactic. The IRS allows annual gifts of property or cash to persons up to a specific amount free of gift taxes (Source: IRS). By progressively distributing assets to your heirs and lowering their future tax liability, an estate plan can help you make the most of this exemption. 

Prepares for Incapacity

Life throws curveballs—no doubt about it. And sometimes that curveball can look like an illness or disability that makes it impossible for us to make decisions on our own. In situations like this, having an estate plan in place that includes incapacity provisions can help preserve your asset distribution wishes.

One of the key documents here is a power of attorney. This legal tool allows you to specify someone you trust to manage your finances in the event you become unable to manage your finances on your own. Bill payment, investment management and other financial decision-making can fall under this category. Depending on your comfort level, you can customize the power of attorney document to allow all-inclusive management of your finances or restrict it to certain tasks.

An estate plan can also take care of your healthcare preferences. A healthcare proxy or living will allows you to appoint someone you trust (called your healthcare proxy) to make medical decisions for you if you’re unable to do so. This could involve consenting to medical treatments, refusing unwanted procedures or choosing your end-of-life care options. By outlining your preferences in advance, you allow your medical care to align with your values and beliefs, even if you can't communicate them directly

Still Have Questions?

Organizing your affairs shouldn’t be prevented by the time-consuming tasks and intricate details involved in estate planning. Our team at Green Financial Group can help guide you through the estate planning process and introduce you to trusted estate attorneys within our network who regularly work with our clients. 

If you have questions about your estate planning choices, we’d love to hear from you. To schedule a complimentary 15-minute consultation, please call (713) 244-3030 or email

About Jeff

Jeff Green is a Financial Advisor and Founder of Green Financial Group, a wealth management firm and virtual family office located in the Galleria area of Houston, Texas, offering big-firm skills with a personal approach. In the financial industry since 1997, Jeff’s desire to put clients first and take care of them like family led him to launch his local independent practice in 2008. Green Financial Group exists to simplify each client’s financial world and provide comprehensive financial plans to help them enjoy the life they’ve worked hard for. Seeing the positive, sometimes truly life-changing, impact that smart, straightforward financial planning and investing can make in clients’ lives is the greatest reward of his job.

Jeff has a business degree in entrepreneurship from University of Houston. Prior to establishing Green Financial Group, he spent more than a decade at two major investment firms, where he crafted a wide variety of equity trading strategies and investment models for his clients. He thrives off helping to simplify his clients’ complex financial worlds so they can enjoy their golden years without worry. When he’s not solving clients’ financial problems, he enjoys spending time with his three sons, Vincent, Antonino and Gianni, and his rescue dogs, Abby and Sadie. He can also be found working out, hunting, fishing, cooking (he loves to fire up the grill!) or following his beloved UT Longhorns, UH Cougars or Houston Astros. To learn more about Jeff, connect with him on LinkedIn.

Please note: Any opinions are those of Jeff Green and not necessarily those of Raymond James. Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.