According to the US Government Administration on Aging, “70% of the people who turn 65 can expect to use some form of long-term care during their lifetimes.” Also, according to the Administration on Aging, “one-third of today’s 65 year-olds may never need support, but 20 percent will need it for longer than 5 years.”
So, based upon the skyrocketing costs of long-term care, and the odds that two-thirds of us may someday need long- term care, should we plan ahead? The answer is YES.
When talking about families and inheritance, studies show that while financial assets are important, family values and family history take the driver’s seat. Most people treasure family stories and life lessons regardless of their age, financial situation, or race. A simple case would be comparing the reactions of siblings on two topics: a family legend or a new car. Chances are, the stories of the new car will stop after one month while the family stories will continue to be told and enjoyed for decades. This is because family stories, family values, and life lessons learned by members of the family are integral to its legacy.
A very recent study though shows that millennials think of inheritance as a “bonus” but expect to get that bonus – and are expecting large sums of up to $100,000. However, they are willing to lower that figure because many parents are already helping their adult children financially with student loans and other expenses.
An article published on www.Marketwatch.com reported that one in three Americans will “blow their inheritance” because they are not prepared to handle it. In fact, those who inherit money tend to spend it quickly and one-third end up with negative savings two years later.
Parents have a responsibility to teach their children money management so any windfall they get will be spent wisely. Inheritance, while a “bonus,” should not be just “fun money.” In today’s economy, a $1,000,000 inheritance does not even guarantee a comfortable retirement for a couple beyond their fifties. Continue reading
Asset protection planning, no matter what anyone tells you, was never meant to be a tax avoidance tactic. Asset protection planning is a legal option for planning your wealth in advance of a claim or the threat of a claim.
Asset protection planning is used to improve your bargaining position, make options available for settling claims, and avoid litigation – not to escape paying your taxes or debts or hiding your wealth from certain people.
And while there are some who insist asset protection planning is a form of cheating, this is only a perception because the truth is: There are some who try to use this option to cheat and lie, but it does not make it right and eventually they get caught.
If you are a farmer or a rancher, you are hardworking and dedicated. Your farm or your ranch is more than just a way to make a living — it is your legacy. You have spent your life building something that you can be proud of and that you want to pass down to your children so that they can preserve what you have built and they can continue to provide for themselves and their families. Unfortunately, if you do not make an estate plan, your land and your assets may be liquidated cutting your legacy short and ending your family’s unique lifestyle choice.
Estate planning is important for everyone but especially for those who own their own business such as farmers and ranchers. If you avoid making or updating an estate plan, your assets will be subject to state intestate laws. Instead of you deciding how your estate will be settled upon your death, the courts will make that decision for you. Below are three common estate planning mistakes farmers and ranchers make and how to avoid them.
Estate planning is an important topic for everyone. Accidents and serious medical conditions can arise suddenly and it is important to be prepared. The need for effective end-of-life planning impacts everyone, even the rich and famous. Celebrities help highlight the need to prepare your Wisconsin estate planning documents. Take for example Stieg Larsson, author of the highly successful Girl With the Dragon Tattoo trilogy. Hollywood’s recent movie adaptation of the novel grossed more than $140 million. Unfortunately, Larsson died suddenly at age 50 from an unexpected heart attack. The author never prepared a living trust or will. Consequently, a lengthy legal battle over his $40 million estate ensued between his girlfriend of 32 years, with whom he shared a residence, and his family. Larsson’s estate was eventually awarded to his relatives.
Years later, Larsson’s family is still engaged in a court battle with his girlfriend over an unpublished novel that is allegedly in her possession. Larsson could have avoided the legal battle between his loved ones simply by preparing a living trust or will that clearly expressed how he wanted to divide his assets. By creating your Wisconsin living trust or will, you decide who receives your property and other assets upon your death. If you fail to provide for your loved ones in a trust or will, Wisconsin courts will distribute your estate according to Wisconsin intestacy laws, which may exclude certain people you would have wanted to include.
It is also crucial to create a health care power of attorney and a financial power of attorney well before any medical issues arise. If you are unexpectedly incapacitated, a health care power of attorney allows the individual you select to make any necessary medical decisions for you without heading to court. Making end-of-life medical and financial decisions can be tough on family members and often results in fighting. For example, although the late Etta James prepared a financial power of attorney that designated one of her sons as her decision-maker in 2008, her husband of 42 years challenged the document and claimed it was created after she became incompetent from dementia. Eventually, her husband and her sons reached an agreement regarding James’ care, but this does not always occur. You can protect yourself and your loved ones from legal battles by appointing medical and financial decision-makers well ahead of unexpected medical situations.
Estate planning is an essential tool to ensure your money and other assets are transferred pursuant to your wishes upon your death. If you are bequeathing money to a loved one in your will, it is important to keep in mind that large sums of money can be quickly and easily squandered. Financial advisers who work with individuals who suddenly receive a windfall say the money often vanishes quickly. Proper estate planning and the use of wealth transfer tools can ensure the financial well being of your family is protected. Continue reading
Seniors are facing several financial issues as they near retirement age — they are living longer and they are entering retirement with more debt. The financial crisis left many people struggling with debt. For those close to retirement, that debt may still be lingering. To make matters worse, seniors are entering retirement owing student debt and many owe substantial mortgage payments. For many seniors, the financial obligations result in working well beyond retirement age. For others, the debt is too overwhelming to handle on their own. They need a way to protect retirement funds while getting rid of the debt.
Using Retirement Funds to Pay Debts
December 31 is quickly approaching, and many people use this time as an opportunity to reflect on the year that is nearly complete. These reflections may include new additions, losses, accomplishments or struggles. One way, though, in which your year-end reflections can provide significant value is by reviewing those changes in your life that have potential impacts on your estate plan, and ensuring that your plan is current, reflecting your life and goals as they now exist. If it has been more than three years, we recommend that you undertake a review of your plan.
Perhaps you’ve married, divorced, lost a loved one to death, gained a new family member or reconnected or reconciled with a long-lost loved one. Many people may recognize the need to update a will or trust to change their asset distribution provisions consistent with their new state of your affairs. Be aware, though, that this is not the only part of your plan that requires consideration. Your plan also includes successor trustees of your trusts and executors of your will. Are the people you named to those important roles when you signed your documents still the ones you prefer to perform those tasks?
Additionally, your plan likely includes a financial power of attorney, a health care power of attorney, a living will and perhaps other documents. Each of those documents names persons or entities who hold a special position of trust, regarding the management either of your wealth or your health care. As with your trustees and/or executors, you should consider whether the ones you’ve named are still your preferred agents.
You and your spouse may believe you have plenty of time to plan for your future; however, you never truly know how much time you have or what may happen tomorrow. Losing a spouse or your spouse become incapacitated is a traumatic experience. This experience can be much more difficult and stressful if you and your spouse have not taken steps to protect your family. It is important that both spouses understand the reason or estate planning and the need to ensure that your estate plan is comprehensive and up-to-date.
Below are the most common excuses people give for not beginning the estate planning process sooner.