pexels-photo-955389-300x200Do not buy into the myth that estate planning is only relevant for wealthy individuals who need tax planning. A comprehensive estate plan is an easy way to make sure your wishes are followed should you become incapacitated, and upon your death.

One of an estate planning attorney’s main responsibilities is ensuring that clients understand the importance of addressing these matters before they become an issue, reports the New Jersey Herald in the article “The importance of putting plans in writing.”

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accounting-calulator-paper-tape-1241883-640x480-300x225The Queen of Soul did not have an estate plan, a will or a trust when she died from pancreatic cancer recently, according to news reports. That’s especially surprising, said Investment News in the article “Aretha Franklin estate echoes planning problems of Prince,” since her estate has already been valued at as much as $80 million.

Franklin was not married, so the estate will pass to her four children. It’s similar to the situation that occurred when Prince died unmarried and without a will in 2016.

Had she been married her estate would have passed tax-free to a spouse and there would have been planning opportunities available at that time. Continue reading

pexels-photo-1128317-300x251No one likes to consider the prospect of tragedy striking, especially when children are young, but according to this article in the Lodi News Sentinel, “Planning for what comes last,” estate planning is especially important for families just starting out. When the children grow up, estate planning is important to protect the children, making their lives easier, when the time comes to pass assets along.

Think of an estate plan as a gift for the next generation, as is making funeral plans in advance. You can’t assume that your adult children will know what you want for your funeral and you don’t want them to have to make decisions during a time of great sadness. Continue reading

Trust-300x225You might think of a trust as something for wealthy people who want to dispose of high-end assets, like art work, collectible cars or businesses.  However, just like everyone needs an estate plan regardless of their asset level, says The New York Times in the article, “Life After Death? Here’s Why You Should Have a Trust,” many people who are not wealthy could benefit from having a trust. Continue reading

pexels-photo-941555-300x200This article from Money, “This is The Single Best Way Divorced Women Can Secure a Successful Retirement,” begins by noting the frequently referenced “divorce gap.” This was documented in 2008 by a professor at the University of Essex, who found that women who divorce see their income fall by more than a fifth, while the men they divorced see their household income rise by about a third. A more recent study offers more nuanced scenarios, with a more positive outlook. Continue reading

retirementThere is a longstanding 4% rule of thumb that was developed in the mid-1990s, outlining how much a person could safely withdraw from retirement savings each year and still have a nest egg to last a lifetime (aka 30 years).

Scratch that rule, advisors are now saying, because there are too many other factors to consider. The old 4% rule, reports Forbes in the article “Here’s How to Refresh Your Retirement: The 4% Rule of Thumb,” doesn’t work anymore, in light of increasingly high healthcare costs, jobs that can be done well into one’s later years and a longer life expectancy. Continue reading

hands-walking-stick-elderly-old-person-300x200When you don’t have kids or close family members, making decisions about an assisted living facility can be lonely and daunting, often leading people to delay planning. For many people, says Financial Planning in a recent article “Planning challenge: aging clients, no kids, assisted living required,” just the thought of moving into an assisted living facility, means they are entering a dark tunnel or, as some say, heading into God’s waiting room.

The challenge is often the same for people whose adult children live far away or those who are not involved with their family. In coming decades, more Americans will find themselves in a similar situation, according to a 2013 study by AARP’s Public Policy Institute. Continue reading

dependent-dementia-woman-old-70578-300x225A Jamaica man was charged with tricking his 101-year-old neighbor into handing over the deed to his house last week. A trio of Maspeth thieves pleaded guilty to posing as grandchildren and even recruiting kids to rob senior citizens’ homes in July. In Flushing, a man allegedly begged an elderly victim to wire him $41,000 to post non-existent bail in the Dominican Republic. These are just three out of many elder abuse cases that have made their way to the Queens (New York) County Criminal Court in recent weeks, reports the Queens Daily Eagle in its article “Nuanced Directives, Power of Attorney Can Stem Elder Abuse.” These cases of elder abuse, fraud, and predation are reflective of a far larger problem. Continue reading

money-finance-wealth-currency-68148-300x228Retirement is a balance between enjoying your golden years, taking good care of your health and balancing your finances, so you don’t run out of income too early. However, as reported by MD Magazine in the recent article “Four Big Retirement Threats and How to Protect Yourself,” there are challenges ahead, some of which you can control, others requiring preparation. Continue reading

digital assetsEstate planning must now include intangible assets that didn’t exist just a few years ago, as well as those that have been around since people started owning private property. Today, says Forbes in the article “Estate Planning for Crypto And Other Digital Assets: What You Need to Know,” there are new kinds of property and new laws that govern them.

Some of the old rules still apply and you need a trust or a will. One of the things in that trust or will, needs to be naming a trustee or executor who will be in charge of ensuring that your assets are distributed, according to the wishes you state in your trust or will. When it comes to digital assets, things get a little tricky. Continue reading