Who Did You Name As Beneficiary

There are a multitude of mistakes that people make when it comes to putting together their wills. These includes naming of executors and custodians, trying to write their own wills, and not considering items such as liquidity. One of the colossal failures in estate planning I witness when people make their wills is not coordinating the will with the overall beneficiary designations they have chosen. Most people believe that the written will supersedes their beneficiary designations which is extremely inaccurate. When you name a beneficiary on a life insurance policy, a 401(k) plan, or an IRA, it is essentially a contract of law. This means that you could attempt to write in your will to leave your IRA to your brother, for example, but the beneficiary designation on the IRA says that 100% is supposed to go to your sister. Despite your wishes in the will, the IRA will go to the named beneficiary. Most beneficiary designation forms today allow ...

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Retirement Assumptions: What’s Your Legacy Goal?

When you are building out your long term retirement plan, a financial advisor will often have to make many different types of assumptions. I have authored numerous articles around this topic. You need to consider market downside risk, interest rate risk, inflation risk, liquidity risk, tax risk, sequencing risk, and several others. Often, one major mistake made around the discussion regarding building a quality retirement plan is actually having the end in mind. What do you want your legacy to be when you pass on? This is a crucial conversation to have at the onset of your overall comprehensive financial plan. Consider this for a moment. If you tell your financial advisor nothing, he or she will likely build out your retirement plan analysis by using a ‘death age’. From the conversations you have with your planner or from some default number in the financial planning software, you will arrive a set age usually in the 85 to 90 range. ...

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Personal Finance 101 – What Is A Buy-Sell Agreement?

For many business owners, the value of their business is one of the largest components of their overall net worth, and the business itself is the result of years of hard work and investment.  Most business owners want to preserve the built up value of the business for themselves and their family while also ensuring that the business legacy they have helped create continues for years to come.  The best solution is a well-considered Buy-Sell Agreement. A Buy-Sell Agreement is a contract entered by owners of a business that specifies when and how ownership in the business will be sold or transferred.  The agreement can be a stand-alone agreement or incorporated into a partnership or operating agreement for your business. Buy-Sell Agreements are not “one size fits all”, so careful attention should be given to the details. Most business owners have heard of the importance of a good Buy-Sell Agreement, but many push this planning to the “back burner” to ...

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4 Reasons Why Gen X’ers Shouldn’t Plan On Receiving An Inheritance

At 41 years old, I fit into that whole segment of the population called Generation X.  The media classically defines this generation by people who were born between 1965 and 1979.  For those that fall within these age brackets, I think you better start planning not receiving much of an inheritance.   I don’t say this because your parent’s bumper sticker says “I’m spending my children’s inheritance”, but really because of 4 things I see happening over the next twenty years that may spend it for you. Your parents have reached the age of 65 – According to the Center for National Health Statistics (www.cdc.gov/nchs), men who reach the age of 65 have a normal life expectancy of 82 years old.  For women it is even better with the average female who turns the age of 65 having a normal life expectancy of 85 years old.   With social security in sore need of a major overhaul and Medicare costs continuing to ...

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Personal Finance 101 – How do I protect assets for my kids?

How do I protect assets for my kids after my spouse and I die? If your kids are still minors, then the laws in your state likely prevent them from owning property until they reach a certain age (usually 18), so a legal representative must be appointed to manage the assets left to the kids. There are a couple options you can choose from that can protect assets for the kids. First, you can nominate a “Conservator” (sometimes called a Guardian for property) to manage assets on behalf of any minor children inheriting property from you. You can nominate the Conservator in your Last Will and Testament, or, if you don’t have a Will, the courts will appoint a Conservator since someone must manage property for the minor children. While the assets are held by the Conservator, they are generally protected from creditors, but state laws can also limit how easily the assets can be accessed for the benefit of ...

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Personal Finance 101 – This Week: Do I need a Living Trust?

First, a Living Trust is a trust you set up to hold your property and to govern the use and distribution of your property during your lifetime, during any period when you are incapacitated, and even after your death (when it acts much like a Last Will and Testament). You can amend or revoke a Living Trust at any time during your life making it a very flexible planning tool. Due to their broad scope and flexibility, Living Trusts are often viewed as one of the most comprehensive estate planning documents. But do you really need a Living Trust? If you answer YES to any of these questions, you may want to consider one. 1. Do you own property in multiple states? After you die, your family or other legal representatives must go through the probate process in each state where you own property in your name. The time, hassle and expense of probate in multiple other states can be ...

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Did You Just Receive An Inheritance?

At some point in your life, you may receive an inheritance when a family member or loved one passes away.    One of the questions we often get asked about revolves around how to make smart money moves when this type of event happens.    Here are some of the things I would recommend considering if money or property is bestowed upon you. 1. Do Nothing For 60 Days –  When people inherit property, investment assets, or collectibles far too often I see people immediately buy themselves something or sell assets too quickly.    Make sure you take a complete inventory of everything you received, revisit your financial plan, and just simply build yourself a due diligence period before making any concrete decisions.   Allowing this time to pass will give you the ability to make more fact based than emotional decisions. 2. Understand Tax Implications –  Based upon the size of the overall inheritance, you could potentially owe estate taxes which will be ...

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