Estate Planning







Estate planning is the collection of preparation tasks that serve to manage an individual's asset base in the event of their incapacitation or death, including the bequest of assets to heirs and the settlement of estate taxes. The advisors at Mason & Associates recognize the importance of having your legal documents in order at the time of need and are committed to helping you execute them in a timely manner. Most planners will recommend an estate plan, but few are as involved as Mason & Associates. By attending the first appointment with you and staying in constant contact with your estate planning attorney, the Mason & Associates team helps clients execute the estate plan by updating beneficiary designations (TSP, FEGLI, IRA, and Life Insurance) and changing ownership of accounts to comply with the documents created by your estate planning attorney. A proper estate plan will include the following documents:

  1. Financial Power of Attorney (FPOA)
  2. Medical Power of Attorney – state specific (MPOA)
  3. HIPPA Releases – state specific
  4. Living Will – state specific
  5. Authorization of Agent for disposition of remains
  6. Last Will and Testament

It is imperative that every individual execute the preceding documents. Additional documents may be added as necessary. During our annual reviews, we’ve determined that many people believe that executing a will is estate planning. In reality, if proper estate planning techniques are used, your will could actually control nothing! Many have a preconceived notion that a trust is imperative in order to avoid the inheritance tax or to make sure assets pass efficiently to the next generation. Although a trust is a useful instrument, it is not always necessary and can add a layer of complexity to an otherwise simple plan. The advisors at Mason & Associates and either your estate planning attorney, or one that we partner with, will review your estate planning needs and help you determine if a trust-based plan or a will-based plan will best achieve your goals.

Mike, Ken, John, and Tommy will help you understand what the will controls and what it does not. Your largest asset, your defined benefit pension, can only pass to your spouse or child by filling out retirement applications correctly. The majority of wealth is accumulated in TSPs, 401(k)s, and IRAs that pass to beneficiaries by beneficiary designation. If the beneficiary designation says that person A shall inherit TSP, it takes precedence over the will that may bequeath the TSP to Person B. The following designations trump one’s will:

  1. Beneficiary Designations: TSP, IRA, 401(k), 403(b), 457, and etc.
  2. Beneficiary Designations (Transfer on Death – TOD) non retirement accounts
  3. Beneficiary Designations (Payable on Death – POD) bank assets
  4. Beneficiary Designations: Life Insurance
  5. Joint ownership
    1. Tenancy by Entirety (TBE)
    2. Joint Tenants with Right of Survivorship (JTWROS)
    3. Joint Tenants
  6. Operational Agreements of Business Entities