Posts Tagged Estate Planning

Eight Factors to Consider When Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

Eight Factors to Consider When Choosing a Guardian for Your Children

Who should raise your children if for some reason you or your spouse is unable to do so? It’s not an easy question to answer, but if you have young children, it is a topic you most certainly should address in your estate plan. Otherwise, a court will decide, and their decision will probably not be the same as the one you would have made, and may not even be in the best interests of your children. Some of the most important issues to consider when choosing a guardian include: Does the prospective guardian have a genuine interest in your children’s well-being? Does the prospective guardian share your values? Can he or she handle the role physically and emotionally? What about financially, if you cannot provide him or her with enough assets to raise your children? Does the prospective guardian already have children of his or her own? Will he

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How to Avoid Challenges in Your Will or Trust

How to Avoid Challenges in Your Will or Trust

Although you may have taken the time to create well structed wills and trusts, there are some common challenges which may present themselves upon your passing. Disputes amongst beneficiaries can result in bitter family relations, costly court proceedings and financial devastation. The following are some proactive measures you can take to avoid common challenges and ensure your documents accomplish your intended goals. Treat children equally: Certain family dynamics may have you questioning whether your assets should be divided equally. However, to avoid potential complications, equal distribution may be a wise decision. If you have two children, leave each half of all assets. Setting up a trust for a child with bad spending habits can be a useful tool to help protect and manage their assets. This way, a designated trustee will have the responsibility of managing assets for their benefit. The trust may specify how assets can be utilized, establish

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Navigating the Intersection of Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Financial Security

Navigating the Intersection of Elder Law, Estate Planning, and Financial Security

As we journey through life, we accumulate experiences, wisdom, and assets that shape our legacy. For many Americans, the golden years of retirement represent a time of reflection, relaxation, and enjoyment of the fruits of their labor. However, this stage of life also brings with it unique challenges and considerations, particularly in the realms of elder law, estate planning, and financial security. May is National Elder Law month. Elder law encompasses a broad spectrum of legal issues that affect seniors, ranging from healthcare and long-term care planning to guardianship and protection against elder abuse. As individuals age, they may face complex decisions regarding healthcare directives, powers of attorney, and eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid. Navigating these waters requires careful planning and foresight to ensure that one’s wishes are respected, and their interests are protected. At the heart of elder law lies the intertwined concepts of estate planning and

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Choosing the Right People to Help with Your Estate Plan

Choosing the Right People to Help with Your Estate Plan

When it comes to estate planning, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is choosing the individuals who will help you manage your affairs when you either lose capacity or pass away. These individuals, often referred to as your “agents”, “personal representatives” and/or “executors,” will play a crucial role in ensuring that your wishes are carried out and your assets are distributed according to your plan. Choose Someone You Trust: The most important factor in choosing your personal representatives is trust. These individuals will have access to your financial accounts, personal information, and legal documents, so it’s crucial that you trust them to act in your best interests, in accordance with your wishes. Consider family members, close friends, or trusted business associates who have a history of being responsible and reliable. Consider Experience and Knowledge: Estate planning can be complex, and it’s helpful to choose individuals who have some

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Estate Planning vs. Tax Planning: Know the Advantages & Disadvantages

As we are in the midst of tax time and are navigating the complex world of financial planning, it can be easy to get overwhelmed by the various strategies and terminology used in the industry. Two terms that are often used interchangeably are “estate planning” and “tax planning.” While both strategies are important components of a comprehensive financial plan, they are not the same thing. Estate planning is the process of creating a plan for the distribution of your assets after you pass away. This can include creating a will, establishing trusts, naming beneficiaries for retirement accounts and life insurance policies, and making decisions about end-of-life care. Tax planning, on the other hand, is the process of minimizing your tax liability through strategic financial decisions. This can include taking advantage of tax deductions and credits, contributing to tax-advantaged retirement accounts, and creating trusts or other structures that offer tax benefits.

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Stay Ahead of the Storm and Plan Ahead this Winter

Stay Ahead of the Storm and Plan Ahead this Winter

    An estate plan is like a warm blanket on a cold night – protecting your loved ones and your assets. Winter sports such as skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, and ice hockey can be a fun and exciting way to spend these cold months. However, it is important to remember that these activities come with an element of risk. Accidents can happen, and it is important to be prepared in case the worst occurs. As the winter months approach, one way to protect yourself and your loved ones is by having an estate plan in place. An estate plan is a set of legal documents that outline how you want your assets to be managed and distributed after your death. Having an estate plan is essential for ensuring that your wishes are carried out and that your loved ones are taken care of after you are gone. There are

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Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Rich and Famous – It’s Necessary!

Estate Planning Isn’t Just for the Rich and Famous – It’s Necessary!

    As we enter the time of year when the entertainment industry recognizes and celebrates the best in film, television, and music, it is a time of glamour and excitement as celebrities flock to the red carpet for their biggest award shows of the year. As many may not realize, there are many celebrities who have passed away without having an estate plan in place. One example is Prince, the iconic musician who died in 2016 at the age of 57. At the time of his death, Prince did not have a will or any other estate planning documents in place. As a result, the distribution of his $200 million estate was left in the hands of the courts. The probate process was long and complicated, and it took more than two years for his assets to be distributed according to Minnesota state law. The process was further complicated

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What to Do When a Loved One is Diagnosed with Dementia

What to Do When a Loved One is Diagnosed with Dementia

  A dementia diagnosis is a traumatic time for any family. Dementia happens slowly and progressively over time. In the early stages, some symptoms are often thought of as just signs of aging. Beginning signs can be as simple as losing car keys, forgetting where the car is parked, or even forgetting to turn off the oven. Unfortunately, dementia is incurable and progresses over time. It is important to have difficult conversations sooner than later. There are a few things you can do to protect your loved one during this challenging time. Gather Financial Documents There are several advantages to having all financial documents in one place during an early diagnosis of dementia. Dementia patients usually have difficulty remembering where they put things. It is important to not only put all financial documents in one place, but to also make copies and have them kept with a trusted member of

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The Proper Planning Mix For Blended Families, Continued

The Proper Planning Mix For Blended Families, Continued

Last time we looked at planning for blended families in general terms. Now let’s discuss some specific trusts that you might want to consider. One such trust, which provides an excellent form of asset protection, is called a Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trust (QTIP). The QTIP trust can generate income for the benefit of the surviving spouse during his or her lifetime. When the surviving spouse passes away, the QTIP’s assets can be distributed between mutual and prior children according to the wishes of the previously deceased spouse. In addition, if the children from the previous marriage are young, assets from the QTIP Trust can be held in another trust for the children, under the control of an independent trustee. This can prevent the assets from falling under an ex-spouse’s control. You might also want to consider a Long-Term Discretionary Trust (LTD Trust) to administer your children’s inheritance, with a

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The Proper Planning Mix For Blended Families

The Proper Planning Mix For Blended Families

Planning for blended families can present unique challenges, in part because the interests of a current spouse and any mutual children often conflict with the desire to provide for one’s children from a previous marriage. For example, if all of an estate’s assets are left to the new spouse, the children from a previous marriage may not be provided for in the manner the deceased spouse would have wanted. After all, there is no legal obligation to support stepchildren. Furthermore, the surviving spouse might, upon his or her death, leave all of the assets to his or her children, thereby excluding the children of the spouse who passed away first. Similarly, if assets are left only to prior children at the death of their parent, there may not be enough assets remaining in the estate to provide for the current spouse or family. Even with a harmonious blended family, failure

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