Monthly Archives: January 2020

SECURE Act Results in Major Estate Planning Changes

In December 2019, President Trump signed a two-part bill that funds the federal government through 2020. Among the many parts of this bill is the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act. The SECURE Act results in major changes to rules related to individual and employer-sponsored retirement accounts and will likely result in many estate plans being substantially altered to incorporate retirement accounts. This article reviews some of the biggest changes that you should understand about the SECURE Act and how it might impact your existing estate plans. # 1 - Required Minimum Distribution Now Begin at 72 Before the SECURE Act, traditional IRAs and employer-sponsored plans were subject to Required Minimum Distribution Rules. Distributions from these plans often must begin by April 1 of the year after either the participant turns 70 and a half or the year in which the participant retires. Under the SECURE Act, distributions must be made after the participant turns 72 provided the individual has not reached the age of 70 and a half by December 31, 2019. This change allows people who do not require funds from their IRAs or retirement accounts to achieve an additional period of tax-deferred growth. #     Read More

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Common Mistakes That Will Damage Your Estate Plan

Each estate plan has its weaknesses, but the best ones take their shortcomings into consideration. The less well-written estate plans leave substantial weaknesses that can jeopardize the outcome of a person’s estate. The following reviews some of the most common estate planning errors that people made in 2019 as well as reviews what you can do to avoid making them. # 1 - Naming Yourself as a Sole Trustee There are legitimate reasons why people are often instructed to name someone other than the trust’s creator as a trustee. Each year, many estate plans end up susceptible to unjust influence because a person becomes incapacitated and surrounding loved ones have less than noble motivations. One of the best ways to make sure that your trust is fairly administered is to name someone capable of responsibly acting as a trustee. # 2 - Receiving the Wrong Advice (or None at All) One of the best places to begin creating an estate plan is by considering who you can utilize to best achieve your goals. Estate planning teams should often include elder law attorneys as well as financial advisors who can make sure that you make the best financial actions. When receiving     Read More

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Second Marriages and Estate Planning

Grey divorce refers to the end of marriages of people in their 50s and 60s. While it is true that the overall divorce rate in the United States has declined, the rate of divorce among this segment of the population is increasing. Another large group of older individuals is also finding love a second time around and getting remarried. If you are among the people getting divorced or remarried later in life, it is a wise idea to review your estate planning documents and make sure that they will still help you to achieve your goals.  The following will review some important factors that you should consider to ensure that your estate plan will provide for your loved ones. As you begin to structure your estate plan around your new marriage, it is a wise idea to remember that this type of estate planning is not done to be unromantic, but rather to reduce the risk that your estate ends up administered in a way that you do not desire. Trusts can Play a Valuable Role in Second Marriages If you want to both protect your assets and make sure that these valuables ultimately pass on to your loved ones,     Read More

Reasons to Think Twice About Using a Joint Account in Your Estate Plan

On your quest to create the best estate plan possible, at some point, you might have been told by someone that joint accounts are an invaluable estate planning tool. After all, joint ownership allows you to avoid probate. Instead, when you own property as a joint tenant, both property owners have equal ownership in the property. This means that when you pass away, any assets that are jointly owned pass automatically to the other property owner.  While joint ownership does work in this way, this type of property ownership also presents many serious risks. As a result, it is a good idea to be cautious when thinking about jointly titling property. Estate Planning Goals May Not be Achieved After you pass away, the joint owner will receive sole rights over any property that you own. This means that the joint owner will be able to use the funds or property in any way that he or she sees fit. Not to mention, creditors of the other party will now be able to seize your assets. Consequently, there are several ways that your assets might be used or spent before they can achieve any goals that you had for your estate     Read More

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