Joe Sanchez

Joe Sanchez is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner and earned his Bachelor of Science in Finance from the Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona. He also holds the Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor designation from the College for Financial Planning. Joe started his career in Tucson, Arizona, at one of the nation’s leading [...]

Your estate includes your valuable possessions and crafting a well-defined estate plan is crucial for preserving your legacy and ensuring your family’s financial security. Whether you’re initiating an estate plan or revising an existing one, Pure’s Financial Advisor, Joe Sanchez, CFP®, AIF®, leads you through each step, so you can navigate the process with assurance and clarity.

  1. Inventory Your Assets
  2. Determine Beneficiaries & Wishes
  3. Create Legal Documents
  4. Update Beneficiaries & Assets to be Retitled to the Trust
  5. Review and Update Regularly

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Today I will be sharing with you a simplified approach to estate planning, drawing upon five essential steps. Your estate describes all of your possessions, and a clear estate plan will save your family time and money in the long run. Whether you’re just considering establishing a plan or looking to refine an existing one, these steps will help you navigate the process with confidence.

Step 1: Inventory Your Assets

This could be in the form of a Net Worth Statement. This includes everything you own: your home, investments, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, valuable possessions, and any business interests you may have. You’ll need an estimate of the value of each item. Creating a comprehensive list ensures that nothing is overlooked when it comes to distributing your assets according to your wishes.

Step 2: Determine Beneficiaries & Wishes

After you determine what is in your estate and inventory your belongings, you will want to evaluate your family’s needs. You’ll often know who your beneficiaries are and judge the protection you want for your assets and your family after you pass away. This also connects to how much freedom you would want them to have with their inheritance and whether your assets would be passed through specific bequests, simple percentages, or a combination. If there are unique situations, like special needs children or complex family dynamics, these should be considered before drafting the plan.

Step 3: Create Legal Documents

This is generally done with an attorney (with costs ranging from a few thousand, to much more, depending on the complexity). This could potentially be done at a lower cost through web-based services for simple situations. These include: Last Will & Testament, Trust, Financial and Healthcare Powers of Attorney, and advanced directives.

Last Will & Testament

This document is used by the courts to determine the proper asset distribution and to select a guardian for any minor children. Without it, a judge may make these decisions contrary to your wishes. A will designates an Executor whose duties include asset inventory, property sale, tax payments, and distribution to beneficiaries.


A trust is generally established to avoid the court process (also known as probate), reducing estate administration time, overall costs, and providing privacy. When all assets have been moved into the trust, the will may not end up being used. This document can also help to safeguard assets from creditors and lawsuits and can impose conditions on your beneficiaries to access their inheritance. Most couples or individuals choose themselves as the initial Trustees but designate a successor trustee who will handle their assets at their passing or at other predetermined points (these include illness or incapacity). Depending on your goals and circumstances, you may choose to establish revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, or other specialized trusts to meet your needs.

Financial & Healthcare Powers of Attorney

These allow the designated person to make financial or medical decisions on your behalf. This could include renting out your home, taking distributions from your retirement accounts, or paying for your care from your bank account. For medical needs, it could be used to make a decision on a surgery or the use of various medical solutions. These do not need to be the same person but they can be and are meant to be used when you are not able to make these decisions yourself.

Advanced Directive or Living Will

Your estate plan extends beyond financial matters, providing guidance on end-of-life medical preferences if you’re unable to communicate. Living wills typically cover instructions for: life-prolonging treatments, artificial life support, pain relief, food and water administration, do-not-resuscitate orders, religious beliefs and organ donation plans. A living will is meant to aid medical teams and family in unclear situations. This can be provided to your primary care physician for easy access and inclusion in medical records.

Step 4: Update Beneficiaries & Assets to be Retitled to the Trust

This step involves updating beneficiary designations on accounts such as life insurance policies, retirement plans, and payable-on-death accounts. Reviewing and updating these designations regularly ensures that your assets are distributed according to your current wishes. It’s often a good idea to have your financial advisor and estate attorney communicate on the topic to ensure that the plan is implemented cohesively and items that should be included in your trust are appropriately retitled.

Step 5: Review and Update Regularly

Estate planning is not a one-time event but rather an ongoing process that requires regular review and updates. Life events such as marriage, divorce, births, deaths, and changes in financial circumstances can necessitate revisions to your estate plan. Periodic reviews with your estate planning attorney or financial advisor can ensure that your plan remains aligned with your goals and wishes. Estate planning doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these steps, you can protect your legacy and provide for your loved ones with confidence.

Unsure on how to incorporate your estate plan in your overall retirement planning? Take advantage of Pure’s free financial assessment and get your questions answered.

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• Investment Advisory and Financial Planning Services are offered through Pure Financial Advisors, LLC, a Registered Investment Advisor.

• Pure Financial Advisors LLC does not offer tax or legal advice. Consult with your tax advisor or attorney regarding specific situations.

• Opinions expressed are subject to change without notice and are not intended as investment advice or to predict future performance.

• Investing involves risk including the potential loss of principal. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in periods of declining values.

• All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy.

• Intended for educational purposes only and are not intended as individualized advice or a guarantee that you will achieve a desired result. Before implementing any strategies discussed you should consult your tax and financial advisors.

CFP® – The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification is by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. To attain the right to use the CFP® designation, an individual must satisfactorily fulfill education, experience and ethics requirements as well as pass a comprehensive exam. Thirty hours of continuing education is required every two years to maintain the designation.

AIF® – Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation is administered by the Center for Fiduciary Studies fi360. To receive the AIF Designation, an individual must meet prerequisite criteria, complete a training program, and pass a comprehensive examination. Six hours of continuing education is required annually to maintain the designation.