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June 2014 Archives

Does your estate plan include your online assets?

Do you use Facebook, Paypal or eBay? Do you store photographs, music or other personal files “in the cloud”? Do you receive paperless statements from your bank or investment accounts? These are just a few of the many ways that people use the Internet every day to store information and manage their affairs. Unfortunately, these online assets are often overlooked when it comes to estate planning. 

Plan for debts as well as assets to avoid unpleasant surprises

A big part of estate planning is deciding how to distribute assets such as real estate, savings accounts, personal possessions and other valuable property among the people and organizations you wish to benefit. In order to avoid cutting into those gifts, however, it is also important to consider how your debts and liabilities may affect your heirs.

5 Steps to a Financially Secure Retirement

Research shows that more than half of us will underestimate how much money we will need to live on in retirement, primarily because most of us also underestimate how long we will live.  But with the average life expectancy at an all-time high and rising, pre-retirees need to get a realistic grip on planning for a financially secure retirement.

Wide Age Disparities in Married Couples Create Unique Estate Planning Challenges

Estate planning for married couples can always yield a few surprising differences, but when a decade or more in age separates the couple, it can add a few more wrinkles into the mix, including:

How to Plan for an Unexpected Early Retirement

According to the Census Bureau, there are more Americans aged 65 and older now than at any other time in U.S. history.  Unfortunately, many of these older Americans have also been forced to retire due to the Great Recession and an inability to find new jobs. 

Be Sure to Provide for Incapacity in Your Estate Plan

The conservatorship process can be an expensive and emotionally trying time for family, as proceedings are a matter of public record and are not kept private.  While going to court to appoint a conservator may become necessary to protect someone's assets or health, it can be one of the most unpleasant legal procedures.

How to Give to Charity - and Yourself -- With a Pooled Charitable Trust

Giving to charity via a trust is not only for the wealthy; you can get the emotional and tax benefits of donating just a few thousand dollars by participating in a pooled charitable trust.

Why Seniors Need to Be Careful With Deed Transfers

It is not uncommon for elderly homeowners to transfer their homes into the name of a child (or children) in hopes of reducing estate taxes, avoiding probate or to protect the home in case of long-term care claims.  However, this can be a clumsy - and potentially disastrous -- way of trying to accomplish these important estate planning goals.

Use a Will to Express Your Wishes, No Matter How Strange

Some of the most unusual stipulations in wills have to do with pets inheriting an entire estate, how someone's body will be handled after death (cremation or burial would both be too ordinary for some), and, in some sad cases, children or grandchildren being "cut out of the will."

Estate Planning: 3 Options for Dealing With Your Stuff

The late comedian George Carlin had a famous routine about "stuff" where he called our homes "just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff!"  But to most of us, our stuff is more than just stuff, it has sentimental as well as monetary value, especially when it comes to jewelry, art collections, antiques and so on. 

The young and childless need estate plans, too

Many people never give a second thought to planning their estates until they have children or reach middle age. However, estate planning is important at any age to ensure that your wishes are followed out should something unexpected occur.

Estate planning is about more than just your will

When people think about estate planning, they often equate it with writing a will. Although a will is indeed an integral part of any estate plan, it is by no means the only thing to consider. Other things that you should be sure to discuss with your lawyer when planning your estate include a living will, healthcare proxy and power of attorney. If properly prepared and executed, these documents function along with your will to ensure that your wishes are carried out to the fullest extent possible.

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