Posts Tagged ‘Estate Planning’
Preparing your estate plan can feel like a daunting task, but once your estate plan is completed, it is a comfort to know that just in case something happens to you, your family is protected. Many young families preparing an estate plan are focused on the distribution of assets to their children and who will be handling it. What young families also need to consider is what important family values they would want passed on to their children. Appointing a guardian is the first step. Choosing someone who shares your core values and life priorities ensures that your values will be implemented. Many times the guardian of your children will not be the same person best suited to handle your children’s finances. This financially responsible person is known as a trustee. If your children’s guardian and trustee are not one in the same, you should make sure your plan appoints a trustee who will work well with your guardian and who is aware of your child’s needs. Your estate plan should document your core values and goals for your children so that both your guardian and your trustee are able to carry out your wishes. This plan is an evolving document and will change as your family grows and your values change. You should make sure to review your plan frequently (at least every 5 years) to reflect changes in your family, family relationships and growth of your children.
In the short term, adding a joint tenant could be convenient however, in the long run it could cause family ripples. For a good read on this topic, see a recent article by Forbes.com:
Top 5 Reasons To Beware Of Joint Ownership Between Generations
Celebrities are not the only ones to make mistakes with their estate planning. It happens to people all across the country on a regular basis. The end result — just like with the rich and famous — often is an ugly and expensive family fight in court. One of the most common estate planning mistakes that people make is joint ownership.
For the most part, we’re not talking about when a husband and wife have joint bank accounts or the title to their home is held in both of their names. While not ideal for estate planning, this is quite common and can often be used without problems, except in many second-marriage situations or large estates that may suffer adverse tax consequences… < continue reading at Forbes.com >
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article discussing the essential points of the estate plan. The above image accompanied the article and is a helpful visual about the necessary items needed to prepare your “Death Dossier”. To read the article, please click on the following link: 25 Documents You Need Before You Die.
Naming a beneficiary for anything is always difficult. When naming a beneficiary, or beneficiaries, on a retirement account it is important to properly name them to insure that assets, in this case your retirement account, passes to your beneficiaries without the need for probate (click HERE to the read an earlier post on why you want to avoid probate). You want your beneficiaries to have the opportunity to either “roll-over” your retirement account into a new retirement account or to stretch out the retirement account distributions over the life expectancy of the beneficiary. The “roll-over” option is mainly used if your beneficiary is a spouse and the stretch out option is mainly used if the beneficiary is a child (the use of “child” refers to ones adult child). In some cases the IRA owner may want to name a trust as a beneficiary in order to control the distribution of the retirement assets after his or her death.
Naming a trust as a beneficiary may present its own problems, such as exposing your retirement assets to immediate taxation upon your death and resulting in the loss of the “roll-over” and stretch out option. If you want to name a trust as a beneficiary, help your beneficiaries avoid undo frustration and seek the advice of an estate planning attorney.
Probate is the court supervised process for (1) gathering, inventorying and appraising the decedent’s assets, (2) determining and paying the debts of the decedent (3) paying the decedent’s taxes and (4) distributing the assets of the estate to the identified heirs. Avoiding probate is usually desirable because probate can be confusing, expensive, time consuming and can take a number of years to complete, delaying the distribution of property to the heirs. In Southern California, it is estimated that Probates take 1 year to 18 months to complete. And, it could take even longer due to state mandated furloughs, which periodically close the courts during the normal scheduled work week.
Click here if you missed:
Estate Planning 101: Breaking Down the Documents
Estate Planning 101: Why Should I Have an Estate Plan?