Articles Tagged with planning

Probate obstacles can start with being able to locate and notify all “persons interested.” Everyone must be notified before the probate can begin. An investigation and special hearing would have to take place in order to have a probate move forward if not everyone has been made aware.

“Persons interested” are the people named in a will as beneficiaries, and the Personal Representative. But, the persons interested also include all people who would inherit if there were no will (according to the law of intestate succession). This means that even if a will was left that said “Everything goes to my sister Laura,” interested persons would include all of the people who would inherit if there were no will. This could be parents and all other siblings including any unknown half-siblings from a father who disappeared when the decedent was a small child. It could also include nieces, nephews and cousins.

probateAs you can see, when families are not close, or when a person is very old and the last surviving sibling, it is often difficult to trace a family tree and locate a missing interested person.

Another obstacle people may face in probate is the fact that the courts are located in the county seats. This can mean travel for some people who find travel difficult. Sometimes people are intimidated by going to the court in order to file documents or to figure out which documents need to be filed, etc.

A third barrier in the probate process is knowledge barrier. People need to know about the taxing of estates, court procedures, court processes and the probate process in order to make this happen smoothly. As many people go through probate only once in their lifetime for a loved one, they don’t have time to spend learning all of these particular pieces of knowledge that they need to know.

Lastly, is the fact that people who are dealing with these matters are probably not their best after they have lost a loved one. Sometimes they don’t have the patience or the time to deal with the intricacies involved in the probate process.

What Actually Happens During The Probate Process? Continue reading

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The Most Important Thing You Can Do For Your Aging Parents

How to Ensure Your Parents Don’t Lose Their Home, Bank Accounts, & Assets To Long Term Care Costs

A friend relayed a story that is one I hear all too often when it comes for caring for aging parents.

According to multiple money experts, America is facing a retirement crisis. Many do not have enough savings and Social Security benefits will not be able to cover the cost of living of most Americans in retirement. Unfortunately, many people prefer not to talk about death so they refuse to think about estate planning for the welfare of those they leave behind.

Yet, death is inevitable and whatever you own should be protected to ensure that the people you love are taken care of according to your wishes. According to Greg Stevens of Cabot Wealth, “everyone needs a will.” He adds that the will should be updated regularly. This is one way to transfer wealth and assets, health care, and other proxies smoothly to the next generation. Continue reading

According to estimates, if you are 61 years old now, the average annual cost of long-term care when you are 79 years old is likely to be: 1) over $180,000 per year for nursing facility care; 2) over $69,000 per year for assisted living care; and, 3) over $80,000 per year for in-home care.

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.

1334532_ambulance.jpgIn 2009, approximately 42 million people in the United Stated regularly provided care to an adult who required assistance with daily activities. Another 61.6 million provided care at some point during the year. As the nation’s population ages, more Americans will likely be required to assist aging or disabled parents and other loved ones. Unfortunately, caregivers are not always authorized to make medical decisions for the people they provide assistance to.

One of the easiest and most important steps an individual can take is to create an advance care directive. An advance care directive will generally include a durable power of attorney, a living will, and name a health care proxy. A durable power of attorney will designate an individual to make financial decisions for an incapacitated person. A living will provides instructions for care at the end of a person’s life and will normally specify whether artificial measures such as life support should be used. A health care proxy is similar to a power of attorney except it designates someone to make medical treatment decisions for a person who is no longer able to make such decisions or communicate with doctors.

Understandably, discussing an aging parent’s medical wishes is not always easy. By creating an advance care directive, an individual may be able to alleviate some of the decision-making burden often placed on family members such as children. Oftentimes, loved ones may disagree with one another regarding an individual’s care, or children may have a difficult time making tough medical decisions for a parent. An advance care directive can eliminate emotional obstacles and prevent a caregiver from being required to petition a court for decision-making authority through a guardianship or conservatorship.

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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.

safeDepositBoxA 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.retirement trust

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.

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Top 5 Universal Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

As the saying goes, “Death and taxes are something you simply can’t ignore.” Both are inevitable and although most people understand this phenomenon and in turn, prepare by paying their taxes on a quarterly or yearly basis and others set up their estates to ensure that their affairs are in order and their families are protected when they make their transition. For many, however, death is simply too scary, safeDepositBoxpainful and heart wrenching and many people choose to not even think about it. Most realize that they will eventually pass on and have a general mental vision of what they want to happen to their estate but, for one reason or another, they fail to write it down or even when they do, they don’t keep it regularly updated. In fact, studies as recent as the last quarter of 2015 show that only 34% of Americans have a drafted will, while 69% have considered it but delayed doing anything concrete. Continue reading

How to Take Care of Your Most Valuable Asset – You

Many people don’t realize that material wealth is not the only wealth they have. Part of a person’s assets include skills, expertise, health, experiences, and talent. Taking care of these is just as important as taking care of your physical, tangible assets.

How to Take Care of Your Intangible AssetsUsing Bankruptcy to Protect Retirement Funds and Other Assets for Seniors

Your intangible assets can be taken care of just as much as you would your savings, retirement fund, and properties.

Invest in health, life, property, liability, and professional insurance.

Invest in your health by going to the gym or starting a fitness program. Get enough sleep and watch your diet. Make it point to see your doctor and dentist regularly. Preventive medicine is far better (and cheaper) than trying to fix the bigger, more serious health problems.

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Traveling? The Eight Estate Planning Must-Dos before Departure

airplaneIn 2014, the World Health Organization revealed that globally, there were 1.24 million road deaths, 1,320 deaths from airplane crashes, 78 deaths from train crashes, and over 4,000 deaths from motorcycle accidents. Statistically, though, motorcycle travel is the most dangerous, while train and air travel are safer.

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