Long-term planning should be viewed holistically. One phase of your life leads into another and everything culminates with your eventual passing. So retirement planning and estate planning are naturally intertwined into a long-term financial plan.
No sports teams is going to take to the field or the court without any type of a game plan. The game of life is much more serious than any single sporting event, but unfortunately far too many people go through life without following any type of coherent plan.
The first step is to sit down with a financial planning attorney to put an initial plan in place. Once you are working within an intelligently constructed framework you are traversing a clear-cut path that leads to financial strength during your senior years.
However, you must be aware of the ever-changing financial landscape as you are proceeding over the years. Things change within your own life and throughout society as a whole that can make adjustments necessary.
For example, you could find that your financial position has improved to the extent that your estate would be subject to the federal estate tax. This would make revisions to your estate plan necessary.
Changes to the tax code can also have serious legacy ramifications. For example, next year anyone with assets exceeding $1 million in total value will be exposed to the federal estate tax unless steps are taken to gain estate tax efficiency. (For the rest of 2012 the exemption stands at $5.12 million.)
Long-term planning is the key to a secure future and a robust legacy. If you are currently going through life without any type of strategy in place you may want to take action sooner rather than later.