Are Your Documents Following the Same Script? Basics of Beneficiary Forms and Estate Planning

In the event of your untimely death, the manner in which your beneficiaries — or those people who receive your assets from your estate — are determined is highly dependent on how your property is titled. Generally, property with title includes vehicles, boats, airplanes, real estate, bank accounts, savings bonds, life insurance policies, retirement accounts, and stock certificates. If you die without a will or a trust and haven’t used any beneficiary or transfer on death options, state law will determine who inherits property with a title. On the other hand, property without a title, such as jewelry, antiques, art, [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:51:29+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: Design, Estate Planning|Tags: |0 Comments

How to Leave Your Life Insurance and Retirement Plan to Your Minor Children

Your children are your pride and joy.  It is no surprise that at some point or another, every parent likely becomes concerned about who will care for a minor child or children if one or both parents die or are incapacitated.  From a financial perspective, many parents turn to life insurance in an effort to take care of their family in the event of death.  While it is true that life insurance is a particularly helpful financial tool to protect your loved ones, it is just as important to consider how to leave the proceeds to your minor children.  Beyond [...]

The One Thing Every New Grandparent Must Do As Soon As Possible

Congratulations on welcoming the newest addition to your family.  Being a new grandparent changes everything — including how you approach your finances — and is one of the most joyous occasions in life.  The excitement of a new baby — and all of the firsts that come with this bundle of joy — can grab all of your attention and focus.  That being said, there is one thing that every new grandparent must do as soon as possible that is often overlooked.  Specifically, every new grandparent should immediately create (or revise) an estate plan so that it includes your family’s [...]

Beneficiary Designations and a Blended Family: Why You Need to Think Before You Sign

Whether you are in your first marriage or have remarried after a divorce, blended families are a common part of modern society. That being said, it is important to understand that blended families and subsequent marries create important and unique issues when it comes to estate planning. You may need to account for a prior spouse who is still caring for minor or disabled children, and also possibly make sure your current spouse and any children you had together – and any step children – are also taken care of after you pass away. The good news is that estate [...]

3 Things You Must Do Once Your Divorce Is Final

The divorce process can be long and expensive.  However, the work does not end once the divorce decree is signed. In order to ensure that your assets and estate planning wishes are carried out in light of this major life change, there are three things you must do as soon as possible. Change Beneficiary Designation On Life Insurance A life insurance policy is a contract between you and the insurance company.  You designate the beneficiary (the individual(s) or entity who will receive the proceeds upon your death) and the insurance company will pay them when you die. Because the beneficiary [...]

3 Tips for Every New Homeowner

Congratulations on the purchase of your new home.  Whether this is your first home or an upgrade/downsize, the purchasing of a home is a big event in your life.  When these major life changes occur, it is important that you are properly prepared. Below are a few things for you to consider now that you finally have the keys to your new home! Update Your Address Now that you are in your new home, it is very important that you update your address with the appropriate entities.  Your local United States Postal Office will have a form you can fill [...]

The Pros and Cons of Probate

In estate planning circles, the word “probate” often comes with a starkly negative connotation. Indeed, for many people — especially those with larger estates — financial planners recommend trying to keep property out of probate whenever possible. That being said, the probate system was ultimately established to protect the property of the deceased and his/her heirs, and in a few cases it may even work to an advantage. Let’s look briefly at the pros and cons of going through probate. The Pros For some estates, especially those in which no will was left, the system works to make sure all [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:28:54+00:00December 1st, 2016|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Skyrocketing Probate Fees – Another Reason to Avoid Probate Court

As of July 1, 2015, Connecticut probate courts earned the dubious distinction of charging the highest probate fees in the U.S.  Amazingly, the Connecticut legislature voted to completely cut general fund support for the state’s probate courts for the next two fiscal years, thereby creating a $32 million deficit.  In order to cover the shortfall, the fees charged for settling a deceased person’s estate in Connecticut were significantly increased and the $12,500 cap on probate fees was eliminated.  To make matters worse, these changes apply retroactively to all deaths dating back to January 1, 2015.  As a result, it is estimated [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:40:17+00:00August 3rd, 2015|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Does Your Estate Plan Protect Your Adult Beneficiaries?

If you think you only need to create discretionary lifetime trusts for young beneficiaries, problem beneficiaries, or financially inexperienced beneficiaries, then think again.  In this day and age of frivolous lawsuits and high divorce rates, discretionary lifetime trusts should be considered for all of your beneficiaries, minors and adults alike. What is a Discretionary Lifetime Trust? A discretionary lifetime trust is a type of irrevocable trust that you can create while you are alive – in which case you will gift your assets into the trust for the benefit of your beneficiaries – or after you die – in which [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:44:24+00:00March 5th, 2015|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , |0 Comments

The Wrong Successor Trustee Can Derail Your Final Wishes

Today many estate plans contain irrevocable trusts that will continue for the benefit of a surviving spouse’s lifetime and then for the benefit of several generations.  Since these trusts are designed to span multiple decades, it is crucial to choose the right succession of trustees. Should You Name Family Members as Your Successor Trustees? Choosing the right succession of trustees for your irrevocable trust that is intended to continue for years is critical to its longevity and ultimate success. Initially you may think that a family member, such as your spouse, a sibling, or an adult child, will be the [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:46:14+00:00January 1st, 2015|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Who’s Going to Get It: Do You Really Know the Beneficiaries of Your Dynasty Trust?

Today many estate plans contain irrevocable dynasty trusts that will continue for the benefit of a spouse’s lifetime and then for the benefit of several generations.  Since these trusts are designed to span multiple decades, it is important that they clearly define who will be included as trust beneficiaries at each generation. Who Are Your Descendants? In the past the definition of “descendant” was straightforward:  A person who can be traced back to a specific ancestor through the same blood lines.  But the modern family now encompasses much more than just blood heirs: Adopted beneficiaries. In your trust, should the [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:46:27+00:00December 15th, 2014|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Year End Estate Planning Tip #2 – Check Your Beneficiary Designations

With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season.  One area of planning that many people overlook is their beneficiary designations. Have You Checked Your Beneficiary Designations Lately? Do you own any life insurance policies?  If so, have you named both primary and secondary beneficiaries for your policies? How about retirement accounts – are any of your assets held in an IRA, 401(k), 403(b) or annuity?  Or how about a payable on death (“POD”) or a transfer on death [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:47:21+00:00October 9th, 2014|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , , , , , , |0 Comments

Does Your Revocable Living Trust Reduce Your Estate Tax Bill?

Many people believe that once they set up and fund a revocable living trust, property held in the trust will avoid estate taxes after they die.  In reality, this may or may not be true depending on your choice of beneficiaries and the terms written into your trust agreement. Single Trustmakers and Estate Taxes If you’re single and you create and fund a revocable living trust, all of your assets held in the trust will be subject to estate taxes after you die if your beneficiaries are individuals.  In other words, if your beneficiaries are your children, your brothers and [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:47:45+00:00September 15th, 2014|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Discretionary Trusts – How to Protect Your Beneficiaries from Bad Decisions and Outside Influences

Leaving your hard-earned assets outright to your children, grandchildren or other beneficiaries after you die will make their inheritance easy prey for creditors, predators, and divorcing spouses.  Instead, consider using discretionary trusts for the benefit of each of your beneficiaries. What is a Discretionary Trust? A discretionary trust is a type of irrevocable trust that is set up to protect the assets funded into the trust for the benefit of the trust’s beneficiary.  This can mean protection from the beneficiary’s poor money-management skills, extravagant spending habits, personal or professional judgment creditors, or divorcing spouse. Under the terms of a typical [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:48:01+00:00July 21st, 2014|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , |0 Comments
Go to Top