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Estate Management Checklist Tip: One key difference between a will and a living trust is when they take effect. A will takes effect when you die; a living trust takes effect when you execute it, and begins to operate when you transfer assets to it. Do you have a will? A will enables you to specify who you want to inherit your property and other assets. A will also enables you to name a guardian for your minor children. Do you have healthcare documents in place? Healthcare documents spell out your wishes for health care if you become unable to make medical decisions for yourself. They also authorize a person to make decisions on your behalf...
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With more than 47.5 million individuals affected by dementia worldwide and 7.7 million new cases annually, research is targeting ways to prevent or limit the impacts of the disease. Researchers in Finland believe they have identified four ways to stave off the mental decline that is becoming more common with older age. The study involved 1,260 people between the ages of 60 and 77. The participants were put into a gym program, an eating regimen based on a Nordic diet heavy in fish, and brain training over the course of two years. Researchers found that at the end of two years, those participating in these activities scored 25 percent higher than their...
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If you are concerned about an individual growing older, such as a parent, long term care insurance can provide a lot of benefits in addition to your peace of mind. Long term care insurance, when purchased at the right time, can safeguard against the skyrocketing costs of a long term care event. Long term care insurance gives individuals the financial security that they will not be destroyed by the need for long term care. The policy will activate after an initial waiting period, providing critical support so that the impacted individual can focus on recovery. One important thing to realize about long term care insurance is that individuals beyond a...
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How you think about your retirement has a big impact on the way you approach succession planning. There are two common misconceptions that business owners might have about retirement, both of which can throw off the purposes of your business succession planning. First of all, let go of any ideas that you have where you see retirement as death. Many small business owners avoid succession planning because they have difficulty grappling with the idea of not working someday. Perhaps it’s because you feel that your identity is tied to working, but this is big reason why so many business owners miss out on the critical benefits associated with succession...
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It’s been said time and again that you should evaluate your documents and estate plans on an annual basis. Of course, this is good practice. You should keep these things in mind when scheduling your annual appointment with your estate planning attorney. Step 1: Review Your Life Insurance or Purchase It Does your life insurance policy still meet your needs? Has your term policy expired and generated a need for more coverage? Do you need a supplemental policy in addition to what you already have? These are all questions to consider annually and at each major life event. Step 2: Look Over Your Will This is usually the primary estate planning document...
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You may have personal and sentimental collectibles that you have cherished for a long time, but your family members may not feel the same way about this one. It’s all too common that an individual inherits a family member’s collection of items and feels unsure about what to do with these collectibles. Especially if your loved ones don’t cherish the collection as much as you, it might be a good idea to plan ahead and try to find someone who will love the items. While money seems easy to divide in comparison, a collection can be a real challenge. The first step to take if you have any kind of collection is to get it appraised. You might be surprised to...
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According to CNBC , the baby-boom generation and are approaching retirement has been a threat for decades. These days, however, it’s easy to see how the many individuals retiring on a daily basis is influencing our economy as a whole. Every month, more than 250,000 Americans reach age 65. Nearly 20% of this group reports that they are presently retired, which is an increase from the 10% of individuals aged 65 entering retirement in 2010. These numbers also have implications for small businesses. It’s expected that around 10 million small-business owners have plans to close or sell their businesses within the next decade. These business sales will be...
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Being a family business owner is often challenging and also rewarding. In this position, there are important questions you should answer about the future of your business. This is certainly true when it comes to passing on the business interests to the next generation with minimal tax impacts. A will, annual gifts, and trusts can all be used to some extent for this purpose. Let’s walk through this third option. In order to minimize the tax implications for the next generation, you could transfer the holdings for the family business into a trust. A revocable trust, for example, would allow you to designate the owner as the trustee as well as the grantor....
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According to research from the American Institute of CPAs, clients are sharing concerns about retiring with enough money. This is, in fact, the leading concern that clients to their financial advisors. Secondary concerns included how much should be withdrawn from retirement accounts and the rising costs of healthcare, all of which play into critical issues faced during and after retirement age. Planning ahead can be done successfully when you work with a team of knowledgeable professionals to create a comprehensive approach. With regards to financial and estate planning, you may have common goals across both spheres. Protecting the wealth that you have...
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When you are getting married for the second or third time, there are important things you need to consider related to your estate planning. Since remarriage is only on the rise, prepare to avoid these common mistakes by working directly with an estate planning attorney. Mistake #4: Not Updating the Will A remarriage is a big life change and one that warrants an update in your will. You may need to include new family members like the spouse and his or her children in your will, so it’s worth a review. Along the same lines, make sure the language in your will is clear. When you make a reference to “my children”, what does that actually mean? Likewise,...
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A second marriage can be a time of excitement and celebration, but there are also important planning steps you need to take to ensure that you’re moving into this new partnership successfully. What follows are some of the most common mistakes you can make with regard to a second or third marriage and your estate planning. Mistake #1: Creating a DIY Will If you have a blended family, it’s all the more important to get professional legal help so that you can appropriately draft a will. Small mistakes can turn into catastrophes, so avoid the attempts to do it on your own and enlist help instead. Mistake #2: Skipping the Life Insurance Policy Life...
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A recent interview with Rob Lowe shows just how little most people are aware of the pervasive long term care issue in the United States. Lowe, like many adults in the early processes of caring for parents, feels “blindsided” by the depth of these needs. Just a few of the statistics that triggered the connection for Lowe include: The cost of care around the country in a nursing home or a living facility, could be $87,000 a year or higher 70% of those individuals above age 65 will require some type of long term care at least once Nearly 60% of Americans are not comfortable talking to their families about their long term care needs...
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With spring on the way (or hopefully on the way shortly), it’s a great opportunity to do your spring cleaning. Your home isn’t the only thing that might benefit, though, as you can do a few other personal items to ensure that the rest of 2015 is successful for you. Here are three easy tips to help you succeed. Review Taxes, Your Credit Report, and Your Budget You’re probably already in tax mode, so go ahead and request that free credit report to see where you’re at with regard to debts. Clear up any mistakes. Look at how well you’ve been meeting your 2015 budget so far this year. Is it time to adjust? What changes can you make? Review Estate Planning...
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Every business owner should have an asset protection plan, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed with day to day tasks and let this fall by the wayside. There are numerous reasons why it’s a good idea to start an asset protection plan, though, such as the fact that owning and operating a business can be very risky. What if your business defaults on an open vendor account, a mortgage, or a secured bank loan? If the debt is personally guaranteed by you as the owner, you might be exposing yourself to a lot of unnecessary risk. This doesn’t even cover the circumstances related to what happens if an employee does something negligent while carrying out company...
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​ In the majority of cases, a deceased person’s debts land in their estate for payment. If the amount of debt involved is substantial, however, it can be a shock for heirs to learn how much the size of the estate has been minimized due to debt payments. This is why more people are considering debt planning in the estate planning process. When you’re planning ahead, you can reduce a lot of confusion that might otherwise arise when you pass away. Limiting any confusion for your loved ones can go a long way for their emotional state, especially since they’ll be grieving your loss. Here are a few tips to get the most out of debt planning when you incorporate...
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If you’re ahead of the curve or right on time, you should be wrapping up your income tax preparation for the year. Being knowledgeable about where you or your business succeeded in the past year can be a wakeup call about revising your estate plan. Over the course of one year, a lot of things can change in a person’s life or a business. This might call for some changes in your asset protection planning or estate planning as well. This can be a very valuable exercise especially if you claimed new deductions from this past year- did you buy a house? Have a child? It might be time to reconsider your approach towards planning or to at minimum update your...
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One of the cornerstones of elder law planning involves a durable power of attorney that helps you safeguard against a possible inability to manage your own affairs. Many people are familiar with the benefits of having a will to allow smooth distribution of assets upon death. Others, however, skip out on planning for a possible disability that could render them unable to manage their personal, financial, and business affairs. While you’re aware of the benefits and are of sound mind, it’s a good idea to establish a durable power of attorney so that your interests are protected. A durable power of attorney allows you to name the person who will manage...
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Business owners are continually focused on managing risks, expanding the company, and enhancing profitability. As your company grows, it’s especially important to look at your vulnerabilities on a yearly basis to evaluate the plans you already have in place as well as future plans you may need. One of the primary reasons to do this every year is that your tolerance for risks you’ve identified in the past may have shifted, opening your eyes to new challenges. There are a few key questions you can ask during this annual assessment for risks and vulnerabilities, including: Have you taken any actions during the past year to reduce some common...
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In early March, Representatives Kevin Brady and Sanford Bishop introduced an estate tax repeal bill currently known as HR 1105. Although this isn’t the first estate tax repeal bill to appear as possible legislation, it’s quite likely to head to the House floor for a vote. It would be the first estate tax repeal bill in the last decade to make it that far. While the specifics of the text inside are not released yet, it’s anticipated that it would suggest amending the Internal Revenue Code to repeal generation-skipping transfer and estate transfer taxes. It’s also expected that a maximum 35 percent gift tax rate would become permanent alongside a $5 million...
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In the event that you or your spouse is facing a long-term care crisis and is concerned about spending down your assets quickly in order to qualify for Medicaid, it’s important to be aware of some of the potential pitfalls of acting too fast without carefully considering your options. Individuals who are not familiar with the Medicaid qualification process might think that it’s a safe bet to pass on assets to children in order to reduce the volume of assets linked to the individuals attempting to qualify. Passing on these assets to children may be done with good intentions, but it can actually do more harm than good if you’re not careful. One of...
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