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Checklist: 5 Financial Decisions to Consider Before December 31

 This week, before the year ends, consider these 5 financial, retirement and tax actions you may need to take before it’s either too late or very costly for your family. And if you have living parents in their 70s, make sure you cover these considerations with them this week. 

 

01 - Review Your Investments to Harvest Losses This Year

If you have investments in a taxable account (including cryptocurrency investments), you may want to consider selling off any losers to offset any gains you have made. Selling losses can help reduce your tax liability for the year, if you have any capital gains, and then you can carry forward investment losses to offset capital gains in the future. 

If you are sitting with cryptocurrency losses that you haven’t recognized yet because you haven’t sold your cryptocurrency due to wanting to stay in the market for when crypto goes back up, you can have the best of both worlds. Sell your cryptocurrency  now before...

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Protect Your Aging Loved Ones From Undue Influence

 Following the death of a loved one, close family members are sometimes surprised to learn that they didn’t receive the inheritance they were expecting, and that the deceased instead left most of their estate to an individual they only recently met, who wasn’t even a relative. While it’s not always the case, in some situations this can mean your loved one was taken advantage of by a bad actor, who manipulated them into cutting out close family members from their plan and leaving assets to the bad actor instead.

This is called "undue influence," and it’s not only unethical, it’s illegal and considered a form of elder abuse. Given the growing number of seniors, the prevalence of diminished capacity associated with aging, and the concentration of wealth among elderly Baby Boomers, we’re likely to see a serious surge in the number of cases involving undue influence in the coming years.

Undue influence can have a disastrous effect on your...

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How To Pass On Family Heirlooms & Keepsakes Without Causing A Family Feud

 

When creating an estate plan, people are often most concerned with passing on the “big things” like real estate, bank accounts, and vehicles. Yet these possessions very often aren’t the items that have the most meaning for the loved ones we leave behind.

 

Smaller items, like family heirlooms and keepsakes, which may not have a high dollar value, frequently have the most sentimental value for our family members. But for a number of reasons, these personal possessions are often not specifically accounted for in wills, trusts, and other estate planning documents. 

 

However, it’s critical that you don’t overlook this type of property in your estate plan, as the distribution of such items can become a source of intense conflict and strife for those you leave behind. In fact, if you don’t properly address family heirlooms and keepsakes in your estate plan, it can lead to long-lasting disagreements that can tear your family apart....

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4 Tips For Talking About Estate Planning With Your Family Over the Holidays

Vacations and Holidays Are the Perfect Time for Families to Talk About Estate Planning

If you are spending the upcoming holiday with older family members, this is actually a great opportunity to talk about planning with them. While there are few “perfect” times to talk with parents about their estate plan, the relaxed times you spend together on vacation or downtime during the holidays can be one of them. You have the benefit of having everyone together sitting down in one place. So take advantage of that!

Here are some tips on how to bring up this critical conversation:

Find a good place to start.

One of the best ways to ease your parents into a financial discussion is to bring up your own.  Tell your parents that you were looking into your own estate plan and wondering if they had already executed their own.  You can let them know that you have learned that the different types of plans require very different levels of effort from the executor and cost from...

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Are You Clear About How Your Parents Estate Plan Will Impact You?

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,...

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