Articles Tagged with minor children

A couple came in that had been referred by another financial advisor. The couple had a teenage child and wanted to make sure that their “legal affairs were in order” because they had done no estate legal planning in the past. We will be setting up an estate program for this couple to make legal matters easy or nonexistent when one spouse dies, and then making sure that guardians and trustees are named for their minor child should something happen to the parents before the child is an adult.  The simple goal to protect and organize is accomplished.

Planning for unfortunate situations is a real concern for families.  Rather than relying on good fortune and the law of averages, prudent families plan for contingencies.  While the time and expense of estate planning seem like a “not fun” endeavour, dealing with the mess of having no plan in place is a difficult and expensive process for those left behind.

In this case, our “Essentials Plan” was put in place.  A set of legal documents to provide guidance and authority for this family and their trusted agents in the event of an unfortunate event.

Designating a Guardian for Your ChildrenYour children are the most important people in your life and protecting them is your top priority. Designating a guardian for your children is an important step in protecting your children. While we do not want to consider the possibility that we might not be alive to see our children grow up, designating a guardian is an important estate planning step that we all must consider to ensure that our children will be cared for should the unthinkable happen.

When Designating a Guardian, Know the Person

We cannot stress enough how important it is that you know the person you are choosing as the guardian for your children. You might think this is something that does not need to be said when counseling a person on designating a guardian for his or her children; however, when we say, “know the person” we mean “spend time with that person.” It is not enough that the person you are choosing as a guardian is someone who is close to you — you need to really “know” that person. Continue reading

The Final Step in the Estate Planning Process – A Family MeetingIntheden

Possibly one of the most difficult steps in the estate planning process is the final step – to have a family meeting to discuss your wishes and instructions. Your attorney has advised you on what estate documents you need to accomplish your goals and you have executed those documents; however, your family needs to understand your wishes to avoid problems after your death or incapacitation. Having a revocable living trust, irrevocable trust, business succession plan, will, living will and/or a power of attorney are only the first steps in the estate planning process. Making sure your family knows what to do upon your death or incapacitation is the final step.

Organizing a family meeting that fosters an open, honest discussion is very important. Explaining your plans will help prevent confusion, hurt feelings and misunderstandings upon your death or incapacitation. This final step in the estate planning process is vital because it allows you to express your feelings and reasons for how you have established your estate. It also gives your family an opportunity to ask any questions they may have about your final wishes.

Minor Children as Beneficiaries

No parent wants to think about leaving their minor children behind in the event of a tragedy; however, because terrible things do happen, it is better to be prepared. Estate planning ensures that your children will be taken care of in the event of your death. Estate planning also ensures that you are in control of the decisions regarding your child’s future. If you fail to plan, a stranger, who does not know anything about your children, will make the decision for you.

Naming a legal guardian is not sufficient to handle the financial aspect of an inheritance. Most parents believe that if they name a guardian for their children in their Will, this will be sufficient to provide for their children after their death. However, a guardian does not have access to your child’s inheritance.

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Making Awkward Financial Discussions Easier for Everyone

Do you have someone in your life such as a spouse, a parent, your child or a close friend that is making unwise financial decisions that are destructive or unproductive? Most of us have someone like this in our lives. We want to help that person achieve financial well-being but we do not know where to begin. It may seem impossible to help them get on a good, solid financial track without appearing condescending or judgmental. It is not our intent to put our loved ones on the defensive or to make them feel inadequate but we cannot stand by and watch them continue to make their financial situation worse.

Two Key Financial Concepts You Need to Teach

If you can impart any financial wisdom to your loved ones, there are two key concepts you should try to teach them. Through these two concepts, you can help them understand wise money management and key financial principles.

Living within your financial means allows you to have more money for high-priority purchases and discretionary spending; and, Having discipline to correct your bad money behaviors and habits leads to financial security.

Learning to Live Within Your Financial Means Usually Corrects Bad Behavior
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Inherited IRA – How Do I Protect This Valuable Asset?

The composition of a probate estate has changed over the past few decades. Just 40 years ago, the family home was the most valuable asset most parents left to their children. Today is much different. It has become rare to see a young couple purchase a home, put down roots and stay in that home for 40, 50 or 60 years. We live in a transient society where our jobs and lives require us to move several times before our retirement. Therefore, the concept of the family home being the bulk of an inheritance is outdated.

Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA) and other forms of retirement accounts have become one of the largest assets parents are leaving to their children. As individuals plan for retirement much earlier than before, IRAs have been growing and increasing in value for decades before the person reaches retirement age. By the age of 70.5 when an individual is able to withdraw these funds without penalties, the IRA may very well be the most valuable asset the individual owns.
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Most women do not consider estate planning until they are married; however, it is important for women to have an estate plan in place regardless of whether they are married or single. Many women have children without being married; therefore, it is extremely important that they consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure that their children will be taken care of in the event of their death or incapacity. However, even for single women who have no children, estate planning is something they should consider to ensure their final wishes are carried out in the event of their death or incapacity. Below are several estate planning issues that women should discuss with an attorney.

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“On Your Case”: Top legal matters women face in love and life

Estate Planning Tips for Young Families

When we are young, we think that we have all the time in the world to do “adult” things such as planning for retirement, saving for a home, preparing for a family and planning for emergencies. Planning for our death is not even on our radar as we do not consider that a remote possibility because we are young, healthy and in the prime of our life. However, we go to sleep one day and wake up with three young children, a mortgage, two car payments and more responsibilities than we could ever imagine.

By the time we being to think about estate planning, we are too tired, too busy and do not have a penny to spare to pay an estate planning attorney. The fact is that we should never be too busy to plan for our eventual death. Estate planning does not have to be expensive for young families because they can begin with just the essential documents necessary to protect their children in the event of their death and continue to build upon their estate planning foundation as their finances, assets and circumstances continue to change and improve.

Travel Smart: Update Your Estate Plan Before You TravelTravel1

Are you planning a big trip this year? If so, you may have already began jotting down your travel to-do list to make sure that you do not miss anything for your big trip. Planning your wardrobe, checking travel arrangements and making reservations for meals and entertainment are probably high on your list. However, you should also take note of several estate planning “to do” items that should also be checked off your to-do list before you leave on your trip. Reviewing your estate plan before you leave will give you the peace of mind you want on your trip knowing that should something happen, your loved ones will be protected and provided for in your absence.

1. Stop procrastinating. If you have been putting off until tomorrow what you can do today, the day has arrived. Make an appointment with an estate planning attorney to discuss the estate planning tools that best suit your needs. Make sure that you do this well in advance of your trip so that everything is in order before you leave.

Avoid Estate Planning Mistakes to Protect Your Loved Ones

No one likes to think about the end of his or her life; however, it is something that we all must face. In part, we do not want to think about the loved ones that we are leaving behind when it is our time say goodbye. It is because of your loved ones that you should think about estate planning. Estate planning protects your loved ones during a time when they are emotional and may not be thinking clearly. By taking steps now to ensure that your estate planning is up-to-date and includes all of the necessary estate planning tools, you can make it easier for your loved ones in the event of your premature death. Below are the most common estate planning mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Not having an estate plan or a final