Articles Posted in Estate Planning

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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!

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By Beth Dance

I have a vivid memory of adjusting my dad’s bow tie before we strolled down the aisle. For many brides, the ceremonious event of having your dad walk you down the aisle is emotional. That wasn’t me. I am very stoic, just like him.

When he walked me down the aisle and into the arms of my husband, he very distinctly and directly said to him “you take care of my baby,” to which I simply smiled. After all, my dad would in theory, still be there to take care of me, no matter what. A dad doesn’t just stop being dad once the formal “I do” is exchanged. Even still, I appreciated the sentiment and knew he’d always be there to guide me through life as needed.

AdobeStock_117960530-300x199You’ve been blessed to find a love for a second time. Congratulations!  A new (re)marriage can bring the joy of finding a loving partner twice in a lifetime and the promise of happy times to come.

So, it’s no wonder that amongst newly remarried couples sticky topics such as finances and blending of family dynamics can easily get pushed to the side.  After all, who wants to be distracted from the bliss of their new marriage to talk about who inherits what and how much?

But, addressing estate planning decisions is not something that should be put off – especially if you have just gotten remarried. When it comes to finances and inheritance, the best policy always combines honesty, clarity, and a proactive approach.

Brendan-mug-shot-e1595015692932-281x300By Brendan Daly

I last saw my father on February 25th at his condo in Rhode Island. We had a wonderful day together—he showed off his new Subaru in a slightly harrowing ride, where he coasted through stop signs (aka the “Rhode Island slide”)—and I took my leave of him as he stood at the door waving while I drove away. When Dad didn’t make the 7:30 Monday morning Mass, his friends knew something was wrong, and I soon received a call at work that he had passed away at home.

I couldn’t process this news because I had just seen him. He looked healthy and was in good spirits. I inspected his bike to ensure it was safe for his planned rides with the “Old Spokes Club.” And he had just bought a new car. My father was the most frugal person I’ve ever known, and he would never have purchased a new car if he thought he might soon depart this world. He even left a plate of cooked spaghetti on the kitchen counter that he planned to eat for dinner–after attending to his last chore of taking out the trash. So none of us, including Dad, expected his sudden passing.

AdobeStock_332064938-300x200Even the most well-resourced and well-known people can get estate planning wrong.

The recent headlines about the dispute over the validity of Lisa Marie Presley’s Will is just the latest in a long list of stories involving celebrities in the entertainment industry whose last wishes have created a lot of contention amongst their families. 

The short version of the story is that Lisa’s mother, Priscilla Presley, is contesting her daughter’s living trust (which is standing in for a Will since Lisa Marie did not file a separate Will). 

AdobeStock_502074078-300x169Giving gifts is a nice thing to do for a friend or family member, but, as the saying goes, “no good deed goes unpunished” – at least when it comes to the IRS.

The federal government imposes a gift tax that is currently 40%. And if you live in Connecticut, your gift may also be subject to the one-and-only state-level gift tax in the country. Lucky you.

The good news is that because of the annual and lifetime gifting exemptions as well as several categories of gifts that are not subject to the gift tax at all, the majority of Americans will rarely (if ever) have to pay a gift tax. 

AdobeStock_230069977-300x236It’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.

AdobeStock_209957900-300x200It may be hard to believe, but the fact is, millennials are all grown up. They are buying homes, starting families, and caring for aging parents. Also, they are—at 22% of the population—the largest living generation in the U.S.

In 2021, Trust & Will did a proprietary study involving 22,850 millennials. The results included many insights into how and why people ages 25 to 44 are creating estate plans.

For instance, while many respondents created a Will or a trust for the usual reasons (34% said that becoming a parent was the inspiration, and 17% said that the pandemic was what made them take action), others are taking a non-traditional approach to estate planning.

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Prince, Marvin Gaye, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Bob Marley, Billie Holiday, Barry White, Sonny Bono, Tupac Shakur, Amy Winehouse, John Denver, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin.

Certainly, an impressive who’s who list of music royalty that sadly left this world far too soon. However, this wildly talented group also had another thing in common – they all died without a proper estate plan (specifically a Will) in place – or in some cases, no estate plan at all!

These are not isolated cases. According to a Gallup Poll, more than 1/3 of Americans with an annual household income of $100,000 or more do not have a Last Will and Testament, and a staggering 54% of all adults have no Will!

AdobeStock_263018522-1-300x200Whether you’re talking professional or college sports, season tickets for popular sports teams are usually very hard to come by.

And, once someone acquires season tickets, they aren’t likely to give them up. In many instances, fans literally have to wait for someone to die before they can move up the waiting list for available seats.

When someone has waited a long time and paid a lot of money to get their hands on those coveted tickets, it’s not surprising that they might also like to keep them in the family, even after they’ve gone to that big stadium in the sky.

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