Many people mistakenly believe that a simple Will is all the estate planning they need. However, it is very likely you may need more than a Will to cover your all assets. A Will does not cover all types of property. This is a list of five items your will cannot cover or address. Survivorship property: If you own property in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship with a co-tenant, your Will does not determine ownership and succession rights. Instead, the surviving joint tenant … [Read more...] about 5 Types of Assets A Will Does Not Cover
If one of your loved ones has a substance abuse problem, an inheritance may make the addiction worse or even kill him or her. At the least, the inheritance is likely to be squandered. For anyone who has an addiction such as drugs or alcohol, it is best to pass the inheritance in trust, not outright. How Outright Inheritances Work Outright gifts pass into your beneficiary’s individual name. They are within your beneficiary’s full control, to be spent any way he deems appropriate. This … [Read more...] about The Addicted Beneficiary: A Problem and a Solution
Even in the best of times, people are always looking for ways to save money. During tough economic times, like we have seen over the past few years, finding ways to save money becomes even more important. Cutting corners when it comes to estate planning, however, is not one of the ways you want use to cut costs. Let’s look at just one example of the bad estate planning that results when trying to save money by “do-it-yourself” estate planning. Imagine the following scenario. You decide that … [Read more...] about Transferring Ownership of Your Home–An Example of Bad Estate Planning
Parenting is a tough job--and it doesn’t end when your children become adults. Tough decisions are still required to be made even after your children reach adulthood, like how to treat them under the terms of your estate plan. As a parent, your first reaction is likely that you will treat them all the same, of course! This is, unfortunately, a common estate planning mistake. None of your children are the same so why must they be treated the same in your estate plan? This does not mean you should … [Read more...] about Common Estate Planning Mistakes: Treating All Children the Same
No way! Married people need estate plans. Some folks think that because they own assets jointly with a spouse, they don’t need an estate plan. In fact, joint ownership is called a “poor man’s estate plan.” In reality, it should just be called a “poor estate plan.” Joint tenancy ownership is riddled with perils. Likely, the most serious peril is the unintentional disinheritance of your children. Sadly, it happens too often because of joint ownership. This is what can happen when you … [Read more...] about Married People Don’t Need Estate Plans, Right?
For most people, the most difficult decision when creating an estate plan is how to distribute assets. Sometimes, however, the more difficult decision is what to do about a problematic beneficiary. For example, if you have a beneficiary who has a drug or alcohol addiction, should you gift them part of your estate or is that essentially throwing the assets away? To offer some guidance, we'll explain how to protect the inheritance of a beneficiary with an addiction. The Cost of … [Read more...] about Protecting the Inheritance of a Beneficiary with an Addiction
In previous newsletters, we have discussed both so-called “529 accounts”, which are a type of tax-efficient education savings accounts and ABLE accounts, which are a relatively new type of account that can be established to provide additional resources for persons receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits. While each account is for a different purpose, they do share some similar features. Due to a recent law change, it is now possible to make limited transfers from existing 529 … [Read more...] about Interaction between Education Savings (“529”) Accounts and ABLE Accounts
As we advised in last month’s newsletter, the “Secure Act” was part of a larger law that passed with (rare) bipartisan support in late-December 2019. It was effective January 1, 2020, for most purposes. This is the second in a series of articles on the Secure Act. The first article looked at the basics of the Secure Act. This article examines planning strategies for dealing with the Secure Act. As laid out in the first article in the series, the Secure Act requires more rapid distributions of … [Read more...] about Planning for the SECURE Act
If you’re like most people, you may be startled to learn that your will won’t do what you think it should do. A will is effective for naming guardians for minor children, naming an executor, and directing assets titled in your individual name or payable to your estate. A will may not control all property because of the way most property is owned. For example, consider Marv’s will. Marv’s will provides that all of his assets go to his children upon his death because he spouse, his second … [Read more...] about When a Will Helps and When it Doesn’t Help
The most significant action of Congress in 2019 relating to retirement and estate planning was the late December passage of the “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019”, commonly known as the “Secure Act”. It was signed into law shortly thereafter and is effective January 1, 2020, for most purposes. In this and future newsletters, we will look into the provisions of the Secure Act and also some strategies to maximize benefits and minimize problems created by this … [Read more...] about CONGRESS PASSES THE SECURE ACT: HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU?