How Does My Annuity Fit Into My Estate Plan?

Selecting the right type of annuity for yourself is no small feat.  Of course, you’ve put in the research and planned with your financial advisors.  But, you might still be wondering what happens to those annuity payments upon your death. In addition to their benefits as a financial tool for your goals, annuities can have a positive impact on your beneficiaries after you’re gone — but only if you take smart estate planning steps to make sure your wealth ends up in the right hands. Types of Annuities Your annuity type affects how things pan out after your death.  In [...]

By |2021-09-14T15:29:07+00:00December 3rd, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , |0 Comments

Cryptocurrency and Estate Planning: What You Need to Know

Cryptocurrencies have been making headlines as of late, with more and more investors wanting in on this digital currency.  Cryptocurrencies are attractive because they are unregulated, decentralized, and anonymous.  While secrecy is useful in some areas of life, when it comes to estate planning it can lead to disaster.  Indeed, your entire cryptocurrency investment can essentially disappear into thin air the moment you pass away or become incapacitated.  If you have not taken the proper steps to plan and protect these assets, your loved ones left behind have no way of accessing or recovering them. Cryptocurrencies Explained Cryptocurrency is a [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:48:14+00:00March 7th, 2019|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Retirement Planning for Business Owners

For many employees, saving for retirement is usually a matter of simply participating in their employer’s 401(k) plan and perhaps opening an IRA for some extra savings. But, when you’re the owner of a business, planning for retirement requires proactivity and strategy.  It’s not just the dizzying array of choices for retirement accounts, there’s also planning for the business itself.  Who will run the business after your retirement?  Additionally, your estate plan must integrate into your retirement and business transition strategy. Owners of businesses (like employees and everyone else) want to make sure they will have enough money in retirement.  [...]

Rewarding Your Employees by Giving Them the Business

Retiring from your business can a tough decision.  To ensure that what you have built continues on, there needs to be a plan for succession.  For some people, they have spent years grooming a child or other family member to take over, wanting the business to stay in the family.  Others look to sell to a third party for a quick way out that will also give them a nest egg for their next phase of life.  However, there is a third option–transferring the business to your employees.  If you like the idea of transferring your business to long-time faithful [...]

Should Your Child’s Guardian and Trustee be the Same Person?

If you have overheard any discussion about estate planning, you have likely heard the words “guardian” or “trustee” tossed around in the conversation.  When it comes to estate planning, who will be ultimately in charge of your minor child is an important decision that requires consideration of many factors.  Although there is no substitute for you as a parent, a guardian is essentially someone who steps in as a parent, assuming the parental role and raising the child through adulthood.  A trustee, on the other hand, is in charge of managing the financial legacy that has been left behind for [...]

How to Pick a Trustee, Executor, and Agent Under a Power of Attorney

While the term fiduciary is a legal term with a rich history, it very generally means someone who is legally obligated to act in another person’s best interests.  Trustees, executors, and agents are all examples of fiduciaries.  When you pick trustees, executors, and agents in your estate plan, you’re picking one or more people to make decisions in your and your beneficiaries’ best interests and in accordance with the instructions you leave.  Luckily, understanding the basics of what each of these terms means and what to consider when making your choices can make your estate plan work far better. Trustee [...]

Five Considerations When Selecting a Guardian for Your Children

There is no question that having children changes everything — and estate planning is no exception.  If you and your spouse pass away or become legally incapacitated, and arrangements were never made in the event of such an emergency, your minor child or children will have to be placed with a new family.  Not surprisingly, such a drastic change can be a disruptive process for minor children — even if they are placed with members of your family.  If you choose a guardian for your child in your will or other estate plan documents this difficult time can go much [...]

By |2021-09-21T17:58:28+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: Estate Planning, Guardianship|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Protecting Your Children’s Inheritance When You are Divorced

Consider this story.  Beth’s divorce from her husband was recently finalized.  Her most valuable assets are her retirement plan at work and her life insurance policy.  She updated the beneficiary designations on both to be her two minor children.  She did not want her ex-husband to receive the money. Beth passes away one year after her divorce.  Her children are still minors, so the retirement plan and insurance company require an adult to be appointed to receive the inheritance Beth left behind.  Who does the court presumptively look to serve as the caretaker of this money?  Beth’s ex-husband who is [...]

How to Fix 5 Common Estate Planning Problems

Not surprisingly, most people loathe reviewing their estate plan because it can be both confusing and daunting.  Others do not want to think about death and avoid the topic altogether.  If you already have put an estate plan together, you are ahead of the curve as many people do not have one.  If you do not yet have an estate plan, there is no better time than now to sit down and get one in place.  In either scenario, below are five common estate planning mistakes and how to fix them so that you are fully protecting your family. You [...]

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 [...]

Finding the Right Fit: Questions for Prospective Wills and Trusts Attorneys

It goes without saying that estate planning is incredibly important and is more than just having a will or a trust.  Estate planning offers a sense of security for you and your loved ones that your wishes will be carried out.  With such an important and personal endeavor, selecting the right Wills and Trusts Attorney is crucial. Doing your homework, familiarizing yourself with the options and asking questions will be critical to getting someone who’s actively looking out for your interests. There are several key factors you should consider when interviewing potential attorneys and ultimately deciding which one to hire. [...]

By |2021-09-21T18:22:27+00:00August 23rd, 2018|Categories: Estate Planning, Trusts, wwPROBATE|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

How Often Do You Update Your Estate Plan? More Often Than Your Resume?

How Often Do You Update Your Estate Plan? More Often Than Your Resume? A resume is a “snapshot” of your experience, skill set, and education which provides prospective employers insight into who you are and how you will perform. Imagine not updating that resume for 5, 10, or even 15 years. Would it accurately reflect who you are? Would it do what you want it to do? Likely not. Estate plans are similar in that they need to be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in your life so they can do what you want them to do. Outdated estate [...]

By |2021-09-21T18:23:03+00:00July 16th, 2018|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: |0 Comments

How to Share the Memories and History of Family Heirlooms with Your Estate Plan

How to Share Family History and Heirlooms with Your Estate Plan The best time to share your family history with loved ones is right now, before the memories are forgotten. The coming holiday season is a great opportunity to reminisce because you’ll probably have your loved ones nearby. While you can always pull aside children and grandchildren for a chat about family history, did you know you may also be able to use a personal property memorandum in your estate plan to pass along special memories and stories about specific items that are meaningful to you and connect your family [...]

Planning for the Future Without a Crystal Ball

Planning for the Future (Without a Crystal Ball) Creating a will, trust, or any type of estate plan has always involved dealing with an uncertain future.  Consider that just 20 years ago in 1997, the estate tax had an astonishing 55% rate with only a $600,000 exemption.  Back then, tax-driven estate planning was a mathematical necessity for a large segment of the population. Fast forward to 2017.  Not only do we now have a generous $5.49 million exemption and a lower 40% rate, we also have renewed emphasis and action from the President and Congress on repealing the estate tax, [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:14:31+00:00July 16th, 2018|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Does My Estate Plan Need to Include My Vacation Property?

Does My Estate Plan Need to Include My Vacation Property? Yes! If you own a vacation home, timeshare, investment property, or any other asset outside of the state where you are domiciled you must make sure it’s included in your estate plan. If you fail to include these in your estate plan, or fail to have an estate plan at all, your heirs will encounter issues, and usually the expense and hassle of court costs, when inheriting these assets. Because state laws vary, your principal residence may even be divided one way in your state home while other properties – [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:14:39+00:00July 16th, 2018|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , |0 Comments

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

Who Needs an Estate Plan? If you’re reading this, you need an estate plan. Why? The short answer is “Everyone, age 18 and older needs an estate plan.” It doesn’t matter if you are old or young, if you have built up considerable wealth or if you are just entering adulthood —you need a written plan to keep you in control and to protect yourself and those you love. The Key Takeaways Every adult, regardless of age or wealth, needs both a lifetime plan and an after-death estate plan. Planning for incapacity will keep you in control and let your trusted loved ones care [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:19:28+00:00July 16th, 2018|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: |0 Comments

Declare Your Independence from Court Interference!

While the rest of the nation celebrates its independence on July 4th, you can rest assured that you too can declare independence for your family — from court interference.  Life can be unpredictable.  Whether it is a financial issue, the birth or adoption of a child, sickness or incapacity, it is important to be prepared with proper estate planning.  In fact, failure to put together a comprehensive estate plan can leave you and your loved ones at the mercy of the court when it comes to distributing assets or caring for a minor or sick family member. Estate Planning Basics [...]

How That “Simple” Fix Can Really Cost You and Your Family

Joint Tenancy Pitfalls: The ‘Simple’ Fix that Can Leave Your Family Broke There are many ways to own your assets. When you die, it is only natural that you want your family to share in the bounty of your hard work. As a way to simplify the transfer process and avoid probate, you may be tempted to add a child or other relative to the deed or bank account utilizing the ownership type of joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTwROS).  However, while this type of ownership delivers a lot of potential benefits, it may also be masking some dangerous pitfalls. [...]

By |2021-09-21T19:23:47+00:00February 15th, 2018|Categories: Estate Planning|Tags: , , , |0 Comments
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