estate planning

Advice on Avoiding Probate

Many people have heard of probate, and those who have heard of the word likely know that they want to avoid it. You also might be uncertain about why you should avoid probate, as well as what probate entails. Unfortunately, if probate is not properly anticipated, it can be unexpectedly costly as well as time-consuming. Here are some reasons why it can prove advantageous to create assets that bypass probate as well as the downside of what the process entails. What Probate Means Probate is the legal process that occurs after someone passes away. Overseen by a court, probate is a multi-step process. The probate process involves establishing in court that a deceased person’s will is valid and then identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property. Subsequently, property is assessed to determine its value. Afterward, any outstanding debts or taxes are paid off. Lastly, the remaining assets in the deceased person’s estate will be distributed either according to the terms of a will or according to state law if no will exists or a will has not been established as valid. The probate process involves a substantial amount of paperwork as well as the appearances of lawyers.  The purpose of [...]

2021-10-18T20:43:54+00:00Tags: , |

Tips to Reduce the Risk of an Estate Planning Crisis

Regardless of what assets you currently, it is a good idea to consider having some legal documents written to address what will happen when you become incapacitated or pass away. All too often, family members are left in a frantic and undesirable situation after a loved one passes away or has a medical crisis. The following are some helpful steps that you can follow to avoid creating an estate planning crisis for your loved ones. Created a Detailed Trust One of the best ways to avoid family disagreements after your passing is to create a living trust, which is a legal document that appoints a trustee, which is someone who will be responsible for your assets when you pass away or become incapacitated.  If you decide not to create a trust, the chances are much greater that your loved ones will end up in a disagreement about who should be responsible for managing your assets. When these matters must be resolved by a court, it results in additional fees for your estate. Your loved ones will have to wait much longer for a resolution and to collect any assets you have left for them.  If you choose to establish a [...]

2021-10-18T20:39:18+00:00Tags: |

What You Need to Know About Qualified State Tuition Plans

If you or a loved one plans on contributing money to the education of a child or grandchild, a qualified state tuition plan is an excellent idea to make the most out of your contribution. Each state has certain plans that address how you can tackle contributions including savings plans and prepaid tuition plans. The Role of Section 529 Saving plans involve tax-sheltered contribution techniques which are permitted under the Internal Revenue Code’s Section 529. These plans receive favorable income tax treatment provided withdrawals are used for permissible reasons. Another attractive feature of 529 plans is that they combine five years of annual exclusion gifts to one year. This ability lets the person who creates the 529 plan give minors an early and significant start toward paying for college.  The contributions to 529 plans must be made in cash. If you select an option to make five years of annual exclusion gifts, you will not be able to make other types of contributions to the plan or any other annual exclusion gifts until another four years have passed.  Oklahoma is just one of many states that permit investors to utilize 529 plans. The Internal Revenue Service also now permits the [...]

2021-10-01T19:53:35+00:00Tags: , |

What We Learn From Celebrities Who Have Failed to Estate Plan

At the time that he passed away, the award-winning actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had a limited estate plan. He only had a will that mentioned establishing a trust for his eldest son. Desiring his children to never become spoiled by large trust funds, however, Seymour Hoffman left the remainder of his estate to his girlfriend. Hoffman is far from the only celebrity who has made estate planning mistakes in recent history. Over the last few years, countless stories have emerged of actors, athletes, musicians, and other celebrities passing away without estate plans. Because estate planning laws must be followed by everyone — even famous people — intestate estates are ultimately distributed in a way that the deceased individual did not intend.  While you may not be a celebrity, there are some notable lessons to be learned from them about why you must make sure to adequately document your assets and establish an estate plan.  Crisis Planning It is a good idea to obtain the assistance of family members to help you navigate a crisis. Estate planning addresses what will happen if you are temporarily or permanently incapacitated as well as what will happen after you pass away. If you are [...]

2021-09-09T15:17:45+00:00Tags: , |

Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Estate planning is one of the most difficult aspects of navigating the financial planning process. Among other complexities, no one likes to face the possibility that they will one day no longer be alive. Estate planning, however, is a critical process if you want to make sure that your assets are divided in the manner that you desire. MISTAKE: Not Estate Planning at All One of the most widespread problems with estate planning is that some people fail to engage in the process at all. There are various reasons why people decide not to engage in estate planning, such as the process’s complexity, a desire to avoid confronting mortality, and assuming that estate planning is unnecessary. In reality, most people can benefit from at least some type of estate planning.  MISTAKE: Believing You Do Not Have Enough Assets Many people fall into the trap of thinking that estate planning is only for people with a large number of assets. While it is true that some estate planning strategies should only be utilized by those with the largest estates, mostly all people can benefit from creating an estate plan. If a person does nothing else, writing a will is one method [...]

2021-08-26T20:35:43+00:00Tags: |

How to Tackle Estate Planning as a Married Person

Getting married is an exciting and memorable time in the lives of most people. As you prepare to get married or if you already have, there are likely some issues that you have only just begun to consider. There are some key details about estate planning that you should remember whether you recently got married or have been in a marriage for several decades. Be Open With Your Spouse One of the best places to begin when estate planning with your spouse is to be honest about your future and one another’s expectations. Not only does this include adequately planning for the future, but you should also make sure to address how you would like the situation handled if either one of you passed away.  Do Your Best to Equalize Estates People commonly overuse the marital deduction, which only ends up delaying the taxes that a person ends up facing. The spouse who is left with the couple’s estate should instead engage in some creative estate planning to reduce the amount of taxes that they will owe. Remember, a person can utilize the lifetime estate and gift tax exemption to pass some assets to a loved one without this amount [...]

2021-08-23T17:34:35+00:00Tags: , , , |

Helpful Estate Planning Tips for Clients with High-Net-Worth Estates

Regardless of the number of assets you own or your life situation, estate planning can be difficult. For high-net-worth individuals, however, estate planning can present some unique obstacles. Additionally, estate planning laws and taxes are constantly evolving, and it can be hard to keep up to date with these various changes. Here are some important estate planning tips to remember if you are an individual with a high-net-worth estate.  Recognize the Obstacles High-Net-Worth Individuals Commonly Face High-net-worth estates commonly encounter one of several estate planning obstacles. By understanding these challenges and planning for them in advance, it is often possible to avoid these hardships. Some of the obstacles you should consider include: Many high-net-worth individuals fail to revise the terms of their estate plans after major life events like births, marriages, and divorce. As a result, it is common for these individuals to end up with outdated estate plans.  If you own a business, create a detailed succession plan. While this might involve passing your business down to children, it could also involve a much more nuanced succession. Despite the value of adequate succession planning, not everyone takes these steps.  Because high-net-worth individuals often have a diverse set of income [...]

2021-08-16T20:04:06+00:00Tags: , |

Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid if You are in a Second Marriage With Children

Second marriages are often rife with challenges. Whether it is coping with the end of a marriage, rebuilding a career that was put on pause, or blending families, you will likely feel overwhelmed for a time, but it is still important to consider what will happen to your assets when you pass on. It is rarely possible to create an estate plan with which everyone in your family agrees, though. Regardless, you should still do your best to avoid some of the most common estate planning errors committed by people who enter into second marriages and who have children. Here are  some critical estate planning errors that you should avoid if you are in such a situation.  NOT Routinely Reviewing (and Revising) Your Estate Plan Unfortunately, some people never change their estate planning documents, even after major events like births, marriage, or divorces. In second marriages, this might mean that your first spouse is still named in your estate planning documents. By changing your beneficiary designations, you can make sure that your assets pass on in the intended manner. While you are reviewing estate planning documents and beneficiary designations, it is just as important to make sure that your medical [...]

2021-08-16T19:59:25+00:00Tags: |

Estate Planning Steps You Must Take After Your Spouse Passes Away

One of the most challenging moments in the lives of many people are the days and weeks following the loss of a loved one. If you find yourself in such a situation, it helps to understand what tasks you must achieve. This article reviews some of the most important things that a person must remember to do after their spouse passes away. Before taking any of these steps, however, you should make sure to collect financial records, bank accounts, tax returns, insurance policies, mortgages, debts, and other statements.  Close Bank Accounts When the Time is Right Some people postpone closing a bank account that is only titled in a deceased individual’s name. If you close a bank account that is receiving Social Security too soon, payments for the month of death might be reversed and lead to a negative balance.  Contact Your Spouse’s Life Insurance Carrier Before making a call to the company that holds your spouse’s life insurance, you should make sure that you have all of the necessary documents in order. You should also understand what benefit options are available because there is frequently more than one way that a surviving spouse can claim a life insurance benefit.  [...]

2021-08-16T20:04:31+00:00Tags: |

You are Never Too Young to Start Estate Planning 

Most people between their 20s to 40s think that they have their entire lives ahead of them. For this reason, most younger individuals do not engage in estate planning. Sadly, many older individuals hesitate to put together their estate plans. No matter how old you are, though, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from putting together a solid estate plan.  There are several good reasons why a younger person should have an estate plan in place that includes an advance health care directive, a durable power of attorney, and a will and last testament, for starters. In the hopes of convincing younger individuals to engage in estate planning sooner, the following are some of the tricky situations that can be avoided by adequately planning for the future today.  The Capacity to Choose One of the most common reasons why people decline to create a will is that they believe they do not have enough assets to justify needing a will and last testament in order to pass them on. Another common reason why people decline to create an estate plan is they are not married and do not have kids, so they believe it is not important [...]

2021-07-23T15:18:30+00:00Tags: |