Trusts and Estates

Curbing Taxes on Inheritances

Inheriting appreciated assets from your deceased spouse can bring a host of financial complications at the time of life when you already have too much on your mind. Here’s the math to know how to be prepared – and maybe save on taxes.

Estate Planning: The Heirs

The murkiest part of estate planning is to discuss when and how to distribute your assets to your heirs. This process requires a series of considerations and trade-offs to avoid emotion-laden family problems.

Up to now in our series of articles we focused on numbers, which are objective and straightforward. But when it comes to this final set of issues, things get gray because emotional factors drive decisions now. There is no correct answer on how to distribute your estate.

Bad Decisions in Old Age

What if you lose your mental capacity in later years and make irrational financial choices? How can you safeguard your assets from that threat?

After three decades as a financial planner, I see more and more clients reach, not just retirement, but their final years. An issue that becomes especially important at this stage of life is how to protect your financial resources from an unexpected threat – yourself.

Estate Planning: Dividing It

When you die, who gets your money? Your kids, you’d think. But before the money reaches your heirs, the government and creditors take their share first.

Now that you know the estimated amount you have to give, most of the math is over. The rest of the calculations have to do with who gets what proportion of your assets.

Estate Planning: Your Worth

The decisions you make now about where your assets go after your death can affect people’s lives profoundly. This three-part article walks you through some of the basic issues involved with estate planning. This initial part is figuring out how much your estate is worth.

Most people avoid thinking about, let alone planning for, their death. And yet making arrangements can be a liberating experience. Relieving your families of the burden of having to do it for you is also a demonstration of consideration, kindness and love.

Protecting Special-Needs Kids

More than 56 million Americans have some type of disability, according to the Census Bureau. Autism, for example, affects one in 50 children. For parents of a child with a disability, the great fear is: “What happens when we’re gone?” One answer: Set up a trust for the child. Here is how.

To support a special-needs child during and beyond your lifetime requires truly special planning. Not only are there more costs and uncertainties but also heavier emotional weight.

Why to Review Beneficiaries

At some point in your life you probably started a new job, applied for life insurance, started a retirement account or opened a bank account. Remember the forms asked you to name a beneficiary, both primary and contingent, telling the account custodian to whom your account passed if you died? Time’s passed and those names you scribbled now loom large in your estate plans.

Selling Your Life Policy?

Selling your life insurance policy so that someone else can collect on it when you die? The thought of it is uncomfortable. Life settlements, formally known as viatical settlements, often elicit a great deal of emotion, but they might make sense if you can’t afford or don’t want your insurance anymore. Trouble is, the payouts usually are a fraction of the policy’s death benefit.

Safeguarding Your Digital Info

What happens to all your online accounts when you pass away? In this age where we manage all financial matters online, a digital control plan with a list of accounts and passwords saves your loved ones unnecessary hassles.

My best friend died two years ago. I still miss him. We had a mutual pact. I had a sealed envelope and an encrypted hard drive in my friend’s gun safe eight miles away from my home office. He had a sealed envelope in my safe in my garage.

Asset Caregivers’ Guides (Pt.2)

Our first article touched on two guides from the Federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for novice financial caregivers. Here we look at the second pair of guides in the series “Managing Someone Else’s Money” if a friend or family member asks you to help with major money matters.

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