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If you fall into the baby boomer generation or you’re caring for an aging parent who is, you’re part of a nationwide shift that will alter the focus from retirement planning to end of life care in the next few decades. As baby boomers transition into retirement, their initial concerns tend to be about the best way to maximize retirement income. Over time, however, the concept of long-term care planning becomes critically important. Currently, 43 million Americans fall into this portion of the baby boomer generation that is kept busy with retirement planning decisions. Although these are certainly worthwhile, it’s important not to skip over considerations...
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In order to put the proper elements in place for your succession planning, you should be in tune with critical metrics for the business. There are several different factors that you should explore with regard to your succession planning. If you’re an owner of a business, here’s the steps to take before you create and implement a succession plan. Make sure you are knowledgeable about these metrics first, as it can help determine the direction of your planning. 1. How many positions have been filled by succession candidates already? If there are open positions, consider filling them by highest priority. A critical position can prove challenging...
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Even though it might seem overwhelming and confusing, there are six key steps you can take to have a solid estate plan in place before you exit the U.S. Here’s what to do when you’re planning to leave. Review Your Estate Plan in Full You’ll become subject to local laws about estates when you establish residency somewhere new, but you’ll still fall under the guidance of U.S. tax laws. Understand Residence and Domicile Rules Just because a document works in one country doesn’t guarantee the same in your new country. Make sure you get insight from your estate planning attorney when it comes to trusts. Be Aware of Double Taxes Estate taxes...
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It’s so common for small business owners to love their work so much that they it might not even be on their radar to think about retirement. As a recent inc.com article points out, though, you might be tempted with an offer you can’t refuse at any point in your business. Are you prepared if someone offered you a buyout? Even if retirement is not on your radar right now, you should always be thinking about the long term. Since it could take several years to put a succession plan in place, here are five key steps to take to ensure you’ve thought about all the details big and small. #1: Start Training a New Team or Manager It’s never too soon to...
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Have you ever heard the phrase “the best offense is a good defense”? It doesn’t matter how intelligent you are or how in tune you are with business, this often gets overlooked when it comes to protecting your wealth. Consulting with an estate planning specialist can help you identify the best way to protect your assets from the following threats: Employment discrimination Sexual harassment accusations Trademark infringement lawsuits Breach of contract allegations Malpractice claims Faulty products Liability claims like slip and fall accidents Workers’ compensation claims Vehicle accidents...
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Usually, it’s Medicare that gets the bulk of news coverage, but Medicaid is still quite confusing for many people. Here are some of the most common misconceptions about Medicaid. You Must Be Poor to Get It Medicaid helps people qualify for long-term care, and it’s true that you cannot have more than a specific amount of assets to qualify, but there are some exempted assets. Consult with your elder law specialist to learn more. Medicaid Is Unnecessary Since Medicare Will Cover My LTC Medicare only covers up to 100 days of skilled nursing care, so it’s not permanent. Medicaid is more likely to help a patient over the lung run. Transferring...
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A common misconception holds that living trusts are only for the very rich. The belief may stem from history; in the 16th century Britain kings often controlled their lords’ power by seizing and distributing their lands as they died; the structure of a trust allowed circumvention by deeding property to the church, with the understanding it would later revert to the proper heirs. By measure of the 2010 Survey Of Consumer Finances only 1.3% of Americans have received monies through a trust. Yet, the median amount is a moderate $285,000, and with as little as $100,000 the benefits can be significant: The lengthy and slow probate process can...
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Last week on the blog we discussed how, when done properly, Medicaid planning is just a piece of the estate planning puzzle rather than an underhanded way to skirt government regulations. Unfortunately, there’s still quite a perception out there that Medicaid planning is somehow dubious and trying to capture as much of the government’s money as possible. The crackdown on Medicaid planning opportunities isn’t really new, since Congress tightened the penalties for giving away money to qualify back in 2007. The average cost of a nursing home in America is $75,000 per year, and it’s even higher in New Jersey and along states along the Northeast. That being...
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Although there are certainly trends in business succession, this doesn’t always mean that the general approach is the best one. Planning ahead and carefully considering the implications of any one choice is the best way to approach this delicate subject. In the past, it would have been assumed that it’s best to keep the business in the family by passing it along to the oldest child. While there are certainly situations where this is true, it doesn’t mean that it should be your default option. If you’ve seen the hit drama on Fox called Empire, you’ll recognize that succession planning is often more complex than you’ve expected. Communicating with your...
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After years of education and hard work, physicians might feel as if they have been exposed to major risk as their wealth finally starts to grow. Physicians have unique needs and should always consult with an estate planning specialist who is familiar with these risks. There are several steps that any physician might consider in the process of asset protection. These include retitling assets into another person’s name (although this does not always provide the highest layer of protection), establishing offshore trusts, creating partnerships or companies, investing in qualified retirement plans, and taking advantage of any applicable homestead laws. ...
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There are many changes happening in the world on a daily basis, not the least of which has to do with technology. Laws and social issues also highlight the importance of staying on top of your planning. For these reasons, estate planning requires flexibility and regular review. There are several primary reasons why flexibility has such high value in the estate planning realm. Standard irrevocable trusts could be modified to designate an individual empowered to make changes in the future, for example. Moving from old to new trust regulations is one more example of making the most of changing times but still staying aware of possible risks. Tools like...
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When Congress finally passed the American Taxpayer Relief Act at the beginning of 2013, everyone was hopeful that the years of uncertainty about estate tax numbers was finally coming to an end. If President Obama gets his way, though, it’s likely that estate tax reform isn’t over yet. GRATs could be a big target here, since they allow someone to put funds into an irrevocable trust and still keep the right to get distributions back over the course of term. The grantor gets an annual annuity for a fixed period while beneficiaries get the rest at the end of the term. The current administration is hoping for a long 10 year term as well as some gift tax...
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Whether you’re an individual setting up your plans for your loved ones to receive assets after you pass away or a business owner trying to work through the basics of succession planning, this process goes far beyond just creating documents. One of the most common steps skipped in this process has to do with what happens after you have your valid documents. If your loved ones can’t find them after you pass away, this could generate a lot of confusion or even disagreements between family members who are concerned about the most recent and valid versions of your materials. Working with an estate planning attorney is a good first step, but even if you...
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Standard estate planning advice goes that you should at least have a will for estate planning purposes, but it’s imperative that you understand the importance of updating such a document, too. All too often, we encounter clients who have created a will but done so 10 or 20 years ago. The reason that this is an outdated document is because your life has probably changed significantly over the course of that time, meaning that plans you had a decade ago are no longer relevant for your future. It’s also worth mentioning that tax laws have changed over that time, too. Even in the event that your document is still valid, this doesn’t guarantee that your...
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A multi-generational IRA is one that allows an individual’s retirement plan to be “stretched” to first-generation beneficiaries as well as subsequent heirs. This is why it has gotten a nickname as the “stretch IRA”. There are some situations when it makes good sense to offer these assets to your loved ones, especially if you don’t anticipate needing access to those funds during your own retirement. A beneficiary younger than you will be able to stretch out of the life of the IRA by taking required minimum distributions over the course of his or her life. This allows money to stay inside the IRA with the potential for continued growth that reaps the...
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For some reason, there’s a belief out there that Medicaid planning is against the law or in some way trying to circumvent the system. The reality is that this is not true at all. In fact, many attorneys and individuals invested in the Medicaid planning process have an expert level of knowledge about government regulations and the importance of working within these guidelines. Despite the fact that Medicaid planning can occasionally get a bad reputation as being unethical, the majority of people dedicated to this cause are committed to ethics and actually make the most out of planning within government guidelines. Those who plan to qualify for Medicaid...
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Although you won’t be around to witness it, a will dispute can be extremely frustrating for your family members. To the extent that you can, it’s a wise idea to set yourself up for success by limiting the opportunities for a will contest to emerge. Using a checklist is a good way to increase the chances that your will considers all possible options and is developed with the end in mind. If these details are adhered to, there is a reduced chance that your will could be contested down the road. Will contests tend drag out in court, causing unnecessary costs and increasing tension between family members. By taking care now, you stand to help your family members...
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When it comes to options for planning your estate, the revocable trust tends to be more flexible than other tools. You can change it over the course of your life or even destroy it if you want, which appeals to people who are not sure whether they want their wishes to be permanent. If you have an alternative goal of protecting assets as well, you should contact an estate planning attorney for other choices to do this, as a revocable trust is likely not the kind of solution you need for that goal. There are five key benefits to using a revocable trust: Keeping assets within the reach of immediate family members (as opposed to future spouses,...
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Think you don’t need estate planning because you’re not married or have no children? It’s a mistake to skip over this vital process, because every person should evaluate five possible tools that can help plan for the years ahead. These five documents are just the basics and it’s recommended that you meet with an estate planning attorney to determine if any additional documents would benefit you. Healthcare power of attorney: This empowers another individual to make healthcare decisions for you if you can’t. Power of attorney: This is key for singles, since you might need someone else to act on your behalf in the future if you become unable...
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When you own a home, you open up the possibility for multiple heirs to argue over the property in the future. This could happen because one heir wants to keep the property to himself or herself. This could necessitate a new mortgage loan or a cash-out refinance. A home is a significant asset and probably one of the biggest purchases (if not the biggest) you’ll make in your lifetime. If you don’t plan ahead carefully, family members could end up battling one another over the asset. You need to spend time thinking about whether any of your family members would like the home and what estate planning tools you can use to make this happen. This calls...
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