Articles Posted in Asset Planning

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Do you ever worry about how your beneficiaries will manage their portion of their inheritance when you pass away? One solution that allows you to still exert some control over your money–even after passing–is with a revocable living trust (RLT).”

A revocable living trust is created with a written agreement or declaration that names a trustee to manage and administer the property of the grantor. As the grantor, or creator of the trust, you can name any competent adult as your trustee, or you can use a bank or a trust company for this role. The grantor can also act as trustee throughout his lifetime.

Investopedia’s article from last fall entitled “Should You Set up a Revocable Living Trust?” explains that after it’s created, you must re-title assets—like investments, bank accounts, and real estate—into the trust. You no longer “own” those assets directly. Instead, they belong to the trust and don’t have to go through probate at your death. However, with a revocable living trust, you retain control of the assets while you’re alive, even though they no longer belong to you directly. A revocable living trust can be changed, and any income earned by the trust’s assets passes to you and is taxable. However, the assets themselves don’t transfer from the trust to your beneficiaries until your death.

2.6.20Property deeds are used to convey real property from a grantor (seller) to a grantee (buyer). For a deed to be legally operative, it must include the identification of the grantor and grantee, and the adequate description of the property.

Property deeds can be classified into several categories. Investopedia’s recent article entitled “Understanding Property Deeds” explains that a property deed is a written and signed legal instrument that is used to transfer ownership of real property from the then-owner (the grantor) to the new owner (the grantee).

Every state has its own requirements, but most deeds are required to have some essential elements to be legally valid:

8.2.19Yes, it is old-school, but if your family is on the traditional side, headed up by a breadwinner dad who runs the finances, then you need to make plans to ensure that your family will be okay, if something should happen to you.

This advice also applies to mothers who are the main breadwinners and run their family’s finances, even though the title of this Forbes article is “How Fathers Can Make Sure Their Families Are Financially Protected.”

Do you have enough life insurance? Be sure you’re adequately insured, so your family won’t struggle to pay the bills without your income. Many employees only have enough life insurance from work to cover a year’s worth of salary, which may be enough for some families. However, if your spouse can't make the mortgage payment on their own, and if they would be unwilling or unable to sell the home, you might want to at least make sure you have enough life insurance to pay off the mortgage. Once you know how much you need, buy a low-cost term policy for the maximum length of time you might need the coverage.

7.22.19It’s not how much you earn, but how much you keep that makes the difference in lifestyle and retirement. Keep more of your hard-earned money, by making fewer money mistakes.

Some of the most common money mistakes cost thousands of dollars. All you need to do is pay attention to avoid them, says Motley Fool in the article, “5 Money Mistakes You Probably Don't Even Realize You're Making.” See if any of these sound familiar and take control of your financial health today.

No clue to recurring charges. Unless you regularly review your credit card bills, you can easily miss monthly charges that you don’t need, like not cancelling a gym membership. Some automatic monthly charges increase over time, which you won’t notice unless you’re checking those bills.

7.9.19If you are among the millions of Americans who prefer to lease a car rather than buy it, you have obligations that are spelled out in the lease agreement. That contract and the laws of your state direct what happens, when a lease owner passes away.

What if the salesman at the car dealership shakes your hand and says don’t worry about a thing when you ask if your spouse is responsible for a lease if you die? Check the fine print, advises nj.com in the article “What happens to my car lease when I die?” There are a few parties to that contract, including the car dealership, the financing company and the person leasing the car.

Remember that a vehicle lease is a contract, so if you're the executor who’s managing the deceased person's affairs, you should review the terms of the vehicle lease. In some instances, death may be classified as an "early termination" of the lease, and payment obligations may continue.

6.7.19Asset titling is the sticking point, where many estate plans fail. The best plan can be undone, if assets are not retitled or accounts are not funded.

Retitling assets means just that—changing the name of the asset, whether it’s a deed to a home or a name of an insurance policy. If assets are not retitled to conform to the estate plan, they won’t be protected or won’t be distributed as you and your estate attorney had planned.

Forbes’ recent article, “For Estate Plan To Work As Intended, Assets Must Be Properly Titled” notes that with the exception of the choice of potential guardians for children, the most important function of a will is to make certain that the transfer of assets to beneficiaries is the way you intended.

2.6.19While there’s a time limit on this great opportunity for tax-free giving—2025, unless Congress makes some changes—this is a good time to take advantage of minimizing your tax liability through generosity. There’s a new big break for top-dollar wealth transfers, thanks to the new tax law.

Basic rule: the more you give away, the smaller your estate and, therefore, the smaller your tax liability. If you’ve got a lot of wealth, this is a good time for you and those you want to make gifts to. The sooner you exploit this, the more you can give. It means that there’s less of a chance your estate will have to write a check to the IRS.

The Street’s recent article, “This Is the Golden Age of Tax-Free Gift Giving,” says the federal government has taxed estates since 1924, and as recently as 2001, the threshold when taxes kicked in was $675,000. This exemption level from taxation has been increased ever since. However, a large increase came from the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which took effect in 2018. The Act doubled the exemption level and indexed it to inflation. Anything above the new limits is taxed at 40%. It is $11.4 million for singles and $22.8 million for married couples in 2019.

9.26.18Some believe that Meghan McCain and her siblings will follow their father’s legacy of service. Questions about the estate he left behind are mostly known, as his family’s holdings were revealed by the opposition when he ran for the presidency.

The challenge about John McCain is less about his estate, than it is filling the void created by his absence in Washington.

Wealth Advisor reports in its recent article, “Tradition, Money, Dynasty: Can Meghan Keep the McCain Legacy Alive?” that there are several family trusts passing Cindy’s family property down from her parents to the McCain descendants. Those trusts hold the houses, her family beer business and various assets that are worth close to $200 million.

2.9.17Inheritances by their very nature, create many mixed emotions. While you are grateful for the inheritance, you are grieving, which is a painful experience that impacts decision-making skills.

Perhaps the most important thing to know when you are grieving the loss of a loved one and expect to receive an inheritance, is not to make any big decisions. While an inheritance may change your life in a financially good way, as reported in The Reading (PA) Eagle Business Weekly’s recent article, “What to do and what not to do with your inheritance,” you are in a state of emotional crisis. Financial planning and big financial decisions will need to be made, but nothing needs to be done immediately, except for settling the business of the estate, if you are the executor. Here are some dos and don’ts to keep in mind:

What not to do with an inheritance

8.8.16Passing your home to your heirs can occur in a number of ways, depending upon your situation and your family. It’s not a do-it-yourself project—even in the simplest cases.

If you own a home and want to leave it to your loved ones, there are steps you need to take to ensure that your wishes are achieved. According to Fox News, “You're Going to Die—Here Are the Best Ways to Deal with Your Home,”, inheriting a collection of 80s Transformers action figures won’t have a big impact on your heirs, but a sizable asset like a house will.

Here are a few ways to help prepare now.

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