Retirement Estate Planning Preview

FEBRUARY 13, 2014

What exactly is retirement estate planning? Tonight will be filled with inquisitive action items to get your mind thinking about a difficult subject most people do not want to think about or believe that they can put off until they retire.

Estate planning involves deciding how you want your assets distributed after you die or become unable to make your own financial decisions. It is important to have a basic estate plan in place regardless of your net worth. The benefits include getting to name the people to whom you wish to give your assets; you can arrange it so that taxes siphon as little as possible from your estate; and you have the satisfaction of knowing that your financial affairs are in order so you won’t bequeath a costly administrative nightmare to your loved ones.

Continue reading

Key Factors to Consider in Managing your Retirement and Estate

When retirement was far off in the future for you your investment strategy probably comprised of investing most of your money in stocks and mutual funds. You were in it for the long run and could ride the waves of the stock market highs and lows. As you reach retirement age the asset allocation rules change. An all stock portfolio may no longer make sense. A low-risk, all-bond portfolio might make sense for one person while assets spread out evenly across the three primary investment markets: stocks, bonds and cash maybe right for another. Each person and their circumstances are unique.

Continue reading

The Consequences of Failing to Fund a Bypass Trust

There is a widespread misunderstanding that if you and your spouse had set up a living trust, nothing needs to be done when the first spouse passes away except remove the deceased spouse’s name from bank accounts and real estate deeds.  If you were under this impression, you may be leaving a big headache for your heirs and subjecting half of your estate to 35 or 55 percent inheritance tax, unnecessarily.

Continue reading

Why do I need a HIPAA and CMIA authorization?

When the principal has an existing advance health care directive (AHCD) or power of attorney for health care (PAHC), the Authorization for Use and Disclosure of Protected Health Information (“HIPAA-CMIA”) document may be used as a stand-alone document to grant the agent rights over the health information and medical records of the principal, instead of executing a new AHCD or PAHC solely for that purpose.

Continue reading

Why a Basic Will is not Enough

There are a variety of tools from which you can construct your estate plan, including wills, life insurance, and trusts. It is important to discuss these tools with your tax and legal advisors.

Properly executed wills are the foundation of most solid estate plans because they designate how and to whom your property will be distributed after death. If you don’t have a will, you give up your right to distribute your property as you wish. Assets owned jointly or that have beneficiary designations, such as life insurance, annuities, or retirement accounts, are not controlled by your will. However, they are included in your taxable estate.

Continue reading

Irrevocable Trusts

There are a number of types of irrevocable trusts that can be used to make gifts to other persons with the assets under the control and management of a trustee.Gifts to an irrevocable trust are sometimes motivated by a desire to minimize federal transfer taxes or to shelter assets from the claims of future creditors and other claimants (including spouses in divorce cases and plaintiffs in civil lawsuits). To be effective for estate-reduction purposes, the trust must be irrevocable, and the trust’s settlor should not be a beneficiary of the trust. It is also best if the settlor is not a trustee, either.

Continue reading

Naming Life Insurance Beneficiaries: Part 2

Naming who should get the life insurance money after you die sounds simple, but designating beneficiaries can be complicated.  Mistakes are common and can be expensive.  Now that you have read “Naming Life Insurance Beneficiaries and The Ten Most Common Mistakes, Part 1,” just whom should you name as beneficiary?

Continue reading

Navigating the Maze of Trust Administration

Trust administration is a necessary process that occurs after the death of either one or both settlors. To protect the successor trustees, there are many things that must be done to ensure proper administration. Fortunately, working with an attorney, your investment advisor and accountant for trust administration is a straightforward process that will give the successor trustees a great peace of mind throughout the administration.

Continue reading

Third Party Special Needs Trust

A “Special Needs Trust” (SNT) is designed to help a disabled child who currently qualifies (or will probably qualify) for governmental disability benefits, such as Social Security Disability or MediCal, to keep those benefits while providing for any special needs. Many governmental benefits are tied to the financial resources of the receiving individual. Therefore, usual outright or in trust distributions to a child of the settlor or settlors who is receiving governmental benefits will probably disqualify that child from receiving the benefits until the assets from the distribution are almost exhausted. So, a Special Needs Trust allows the settlor or settlors to provide for a disabled child without disqualifying the child from the benefits.

Continue reading