Articles Posted in Estate Planning

AdobeStock_142240831-300x200It may seem odd to ask young parents to think about estate planning, but starting a family is actually the perfect reason to address some really important questions. After all, becoming a parent isn’t just about choosing names and picking out nursery colors. It’s about being wholly responsible for someone else—a child—for life.

While it’s difficult to even contemplate the unthinkable, it’s imperative that new parents plan for every possibility to ensure that their children are protected, cared for, and financially secure.

Since it may be a while since you traveled this road, here is an overview of the estate planning details young parents should address.

SocialSecurityWhat happens to your husband’s or wife’s Social Security benefits if he or she dies? Are you entitled to them as the surviving spouse?

In general, yes.

If your spouse who has passed had paid into Social Security long enough, you may be eligible to collect his or her benefits. These are known as Survivors Benefits.

AdobeStock_113836857-300x200It’s so confusing! HIPAA, Health Care Directives, Powers of Attorney. How does one differ from the others?

A HIPAA Authorization, a Health Care Directive, and a Health Care Power of Attorney can easily be confused because all three have to do with your permission about your medical care and medical information.

Plus, both health care directives (aka living wills) and health care powers of attorney are known as “advance directives,” which only adds to the confusion.

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The point of having an estate plan is to define your wishes about what happens to your money and property after you die. But an outdated estate plan can ruin those plans – in ways you may not be aware of.

What can happen if you don’t review and update your estate plan?

Here are the top three consequences of dying with an outdated estate plan and examples of how they can happen.

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Assigning and updating beneficiary designations for your retirement plans, life insurance policies, and annuities are tasks that notoriously get ignored. While the process itself is usually pretty straightforward — putting someone’s name on a form — the consequences of your choice can be fairly substantial. Don’t wait any longer!

Who to choose as beneficiaries

You can name any of the usual suspects as a beneficiary — your spouse, children, or other relatives. You can also name friends, trusts, charities, and even various institutions like colleges, universities, libraries, and so forth.

AdobeStock_102656552-300x200Most people are aware that there are steps you should consider to protect your assets from being liquidated to pay for long-term care. And to protect your heirs from the burden of heavy estate taxes upon your passing. However, are you aware of the related risks associated with the capital gains tax?

What is the capital gains tax?

The capital gains tax is levied on the profit you earn from the sale of an investment or property. When you sell an asset that has appreciated, the capital gain is defined as the difference between the “basis” (what it cost you to acquire the asset) and the selling price.

AdobeStock_129036669-300x200This is the second installment of a two-part series about the realities of and remedies for sibling rivalry over family inheritance. For more about what causes and complicates sibling rivalry, read Inheritance: The #1 Cause of Adult Sibling Rivalry.

In part one of this series, we learned just how prevalent and problematic sibling rivalry can be when it comes to dealing with issues of inheritance. Luckily, the secrets to avoiding these kinds of conflicts can be universally applied.

The Ameriprise research that indicated 70% of sibling conflicts arise over these kinds of issues also showed that — happily — 61% of siblings will attempt to talk through the issues. Unfortunately, Continue reading

AdobeStock_32607232-300x225This is the first in a two-part series about the realities of and remedies for sibling rivalry over family inheritance.

“Mom always liked you best,” Tommy Smothers used to say. Those five words make up one of the most recognizable catch phrases of the inimitable Smothers Brothers. Coined in the early 1960s, it captures — in a humorous way — the rivalry that is an almost ubiquitous part of growing up with siblings.

Most of the time, such rivalries fade over the years, becoming fodder for family ribbing around the holiday table. But when the passing of a parent drives siblings into the unfamiliar territory of dealing with an inheritance, those rivalries can rear their ugly heads in unexpected and sometimes heartbreaking ways.

AdobeStock_142240831-300x200Multiple generations living under one roof may seem like a concept from a time gone by or a practice from another part of the world, but it is actually a growing trend here in the states.

Before WWII, approximately 25% of Americans shared their homes with three or more generations. After the war, the percentage of multigenerational households began to decline and bottomed out at a meager 12% in 1980.

Today, however, the numbers of families choosing to combine households across two or more generations is on the rise. Continue reading

AdobeStock_69821783-300x206By Paul T. Czepiga

Let’s set the stage. You are a professional service provider and are concerned about professional liability exposure. Or you are engaged in a business that is high risk and you are worried about being sued.

So your lawyer said put all your assets in your spouse’s name.

Well, that generally works. But the solution creates its own problem, which is shown by the following example of a married couple. Continue reading

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