Many families choose to spend their Thanksgiving Holiday volunteering at soup kitchens, food pantries, or other shelters. While this is a great time of year to do so, we know that these facilities are overwhelmed with volunteers during the holiday season and then in great need of volunteer and monetary support the rest of the year when families have gone back to their day-to-day lives. Volunteer work such as this is such a great way to teach your children gratitude, financial responsibility, and to recognize there are many in need this week and all year round.
Volunteering and giving are great opportunities to build family unity. Bob Graham, Founder of the Namaste Foundation has discussed that in his career as a CPA he worked with clients who had inherited wealth. “I noticed the tremendous insecurities many had,” says Bob. “They lacked confidence in their ability to earn money on their own and were fearful of losing money – almost to the point of being...
Life insurance products can be complicated to pick from and even more complicated to understand; especially when you’re up against sales pitches from the people selling them (who stand to make a lot of money off of your decisions). The first question to ask yourself is, “Do I have an obligation to provide income replacement for the people who depend on me?” This question could also be more along the lines of, "Do I want my loved ones to have an additional source of income to pay for household services or support if I am gone?" If the answer is “yes”, then you should have some kind of life insurance so that those people don’t have an additional worry.
The type of life insurance you should buy depends on your family goals and circumstances. The two main types of insurance you’ll hear about are "term" and "whole life."
Term insurance is just what it sounds like, for a...
Do your parents have an estate plan? Is it up to date? No matter how much you think you and your parents do or don't have, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to be asking these and several other questions. When your parents become incapacitated or die, their affairs will become your responsibility, and it will be impossible to ask them to clarify anything. So, if you don't know whether or not they have estate planning in place that will help you best support them, let us help you figure it out!
The Best-Case Scenario
In a best-case scenario, your parents have an updated estate plan, and they’ve walked you through it. They have provided an inventory of their assets that’s easy for you to find listing out everything they own, how it’s titled, and who it should go to and how. Ideally, it also includes directions on how to handle their non-monetary assets, and an audio recording or written stories that pass on their values,...
Even if you put a totally solid estate plan in place, it can turn out to be worthless for the people you love if it’s not regularly updated.
Estate planning is not a one-and-done type of deal—your plan should continuously evolve along with your life circumstances and other changing conditions, such as your assets and the law.
No matter who you are, your life will inevitably change: families change, laws change, assets change, and goals change. In the absence of any major life events, we recommend reviewing your estate plan annually to make sure it continues to work best for you and your family.
Additionally, there are several common life events that make updating your plan more important than ever to ensure you keep your loved ones out of court and out of conflict. Here's a quick guide to know when it's time to call and update your planning.
1) You get married: Marriage not only changes your relationship status; it changes your legal status. Regardless of...
Some people assume that because they’ve named a specific heir as the beneficiary of their IRA in their will or trust that there’s no need to list the same person again as beneficiary in their IRA paperwork. Because of this, they often leave the IRA beneficiary form blank or list “my estate” as the beneficiary.
But this is a major mistake—and one that can lead to serious complications and expense.
IRAs aren’t like other estate assets
First off, your IRA is treated differently than other assets, such as a car or house, in that the person you name on your IRA’s beneficiary form is the one who will inherit the account’s funds, even if a different person is named in your will or in a trust. Your IRA beneficiary designation controls who gets the funds, no matter what you may indicate elsewhere.
Given this, you must ensure your IRA’s beneficiary designation form is up to date and lists either the name of the person you want to inherit your...
When you hear the words, “trust fund,” do you conjure up images of stately mansions and party yachts? A trust fund - or trust - is actually a great estate planning tool for many people with a wide range of incomes who want to accomplish a specific purpose with their money.
Simply put, a trust is just a vehicle used to transfer assets, and trusts are especially useful for parents of minor children as well as those who wish to spare their beneficiaries the hassle of going to Court in the event of their incapacity or death.
And why would you want to keep your family out of court (known as avoiding probate)?
Perhaps you’d like to keep private the details of the assets you are leaving your heirs. Leaving assets via a will (that must go through probate to go into effect) makes your estate a matter of public record. A trust is a private document and distributes assets upon your death without the need for probate, which can tie up assets for a long period of time in court....
On September 13, 2021, Democrats in the House of Representatives released a new $3.5 trillion proposed spending plan that includes a wide array of changes to federal tax laws. Specifically, the Democrats proposed a number of significant tax increases and other changes to fund the plan, including increases to personal income tax rates and the capital gains tax rate, along with a major reduction to the federal estate and gift tax exclusion and new restrictions on Grantor Trusts that would basically eliminate such trust’s ability to be used as planning vehicles.
While the proposed legislation is still under consideration and far from being finalized, given the broad-reaching impact these changes stand to have, we strongly encourage you to contact us now if you would be affected by the proposed legislation should it eventually pass. With the exception of capital gains rate increase, which could go into effect on transactions that occur on or after Sept. 13, 2021, most of the...
On September 13, 2021, Democrats in the House of Representatives released a new $3.5 trillion proposed spending plan that includes a wide array of changes to federal tax laws. Specifically, the Democrats have proposed a number of significant tax increases and other changes to fund the plan, including increases to personal income tax rates and the capital gains tax rate, along with a major reduction to the federal estate and gift tax exclusion and new restrictions on Grantor Trusts that would basically eliminate such trust’s ability to be used as planning vehicles.
While the proposed legislation is still under consideration and far from being finalized, given the broad-reaching impact these changes stand to have, we strongly encourage you to take action now if you would be affected by the proposed legislation if it does pass. With the exception of capital gains rate increase, which could go into effect on transactions that occur on or after Sept. 13, 2021, most of the proposed...
Since the age of 16, when she burst onto the charts with her debut single, “...Hit Me Baby One More Time,” Britney Spears has been one of the world’s most famous and beloved pop stars. Yet despite her massive fame and fortune, Britney, who is now 39, has never truly had full control over her own life.
As most familiar with pop culture know by now, Britney has been living under a conservatorship for the past 13 years. Also known as “adult guardianship,” a conservatorship is a legal structure in which the court granted Britney’s father, Jaime Spears, and other individuals nearly complete control over her legal, financial, and personal decisions. The conservatorship was initially established in February 2008 after Britney suffered a mental breakdown, which resulted in her being briefly hospitalized.
A Total Loss of Control
Back in 2008, the court appointed Britney’s father and attorney Andrew Wallet as her co-conservators, as Britney was deemed...
Maybe you’ve heard that before investing in a professional service you should “get three estimates.” This is often wise advice, but it’s actually a bad idea when it comes to estate planning. Hear me out. This article explains why and how you can ensure you get the most efficient and affordable plan possible for your family without shopping estate planning lawyers the way you may think.
Let’s begin with why “getting three estimates” for an estate plan doesn’t work to actually get you what you want.
First and foremost, this recommendation assumes that you should be shopping for an estate plan based on cost and that you understand exactly what you are shopping for and how to evaluate those estimates.
Shopping for an estate plan based on getting the lowest cost plan possible is the fastest path to leaving your family with an empty set of documents (maybe in a beautiful binder, but not worth the paper they are written on) that...