Articles Posted in Family

10.29.18Your legacy is far richer than your assets and possessions. Planning to pass on a legacy to your family becomes more rewarding, when it includes non-tangibles, like values and treasured family stories.

Who wants to think about death, dying and bank accounts? Not too many people do. That’s why so many of us tend to put off creating or updating our wills. However, taking a different approach, breaking up the task into four key components, and including more than the assets you’ve accumulated over a lifetime can make planning your personal legacy rewarding. The Street’s recent article, “Planning Your Legacy: More Than Just Finances,” explains how this works.

Pillar 1: Values and Life Lessons.  People can forget to provide for some of the most valuable gifts that can be passed on to the next generation of family members, which are experiences and memories. Your years of life encounters have given you a wealth of life lessons and knowledge you can pass on to your heirs. Document your memories, relationships, and any important lessons you want to preserve.

10.19.18The roles are reversed when parents age. You can’t count on them to take the lead in having discussions about money, health, aging and other concerns that come in the later years.

When you were a kid, your parents were in charge. Now your parents are older, and you must be the adult in the room. Embracing that role, with thoughtfulness, will make it easier for you and your parents as you address the issues that come with aging. As recommended in the article “How to Have Difficult Conversations With Your Aging Parents” from Next Avenue, having these conversations will help you all avoid some of the uncertainty and stress in the future.

Here are the conversations you need to have:

7.3.18Watching Anthony Bourdain travel the lesser known corners of the world and relish exotic foods and people was fascinating.  However, that same approach does not work well, when it comes to more mundane matters, like estate planning.

What Anthony Bourdain’s family could have used was a disaster plan, based on his adventures that made for great television, as reported in Wealth Advisor’s recent article, “Anthony Bourdain Left Loved Ones In Limbo But The Heirs Will End Up Better Than Michael Jackson’s.” To date, there has not been any information about his estate. No attorney, advisor or agent has stepped up to convey any information to the public.

Although his life revolved around his personal participation in every venture, there’s no indication that the work can continue without him.

2.27.18Planning your own funeral sounds morbid, but if you think of it as a gift that alleviates pressure and decision making for your loved ones during a very difficult time, it might make it easier to move forward.

Usually the call comes to the estate planning attorney from a child or close family friend: did Mrs. Jones leave any documentation behind about her wishes for her funeral, did she want to be cremated, or what kind of memorial service did she want? In most cases, there are no instructions, and the family must make quick decisions and hope that they have done what their loved one would have wanted.

Inside Indiana Business’ recent article, “The Gift of Pre-Planning a Funeral” explains that if your wishes are documented, it can help eliminate your family’s stress during a highly emotional time. A 2017 study by the National Funeral Directors Association found that while 66% of Americans believe that pre-planning is important, only 21.4% had actually completed the exercise.

1.19.18Estate planning is not just for people who live in mansions. Quite the opposite! Everyone needs to have an estate plan to protect themselves while they are living and to protect loved ones when they pass.

Having an estate plan can eliminate confusion, expensive delays and overall bad outcomes, according to an article appearing in The Martha’s Vineyard Times, “Estate planning.” Think of it as a way to communicate your wishes and cushion your family during a really tough time.

Work with an experienced estate planning attorney. If you’re a couple, you each need to have your own will to say who gets your property following your death. In many instances, the spouses select each other.

12.12.17Parking a “granny pod” in the backyard may be the best way to have aging parents near, but not under, your own roof.

Finding suitable and affordable housing for aging parents is a real challenge for many families. A senior lifestyle community may be too expensive, but living on their own may be risky for them and worrisome for adult children. AARP reports that about 23 million Americans are caring for their elderly parents, but may not be able to or want to have their parents move in with them.

Older adults relocating to be closer to relatives, may soon have another alternative: a "granny pod" or micro-house. These small homes are designed for accessibility, but are compact enough to fit in a backyard.

Fire safetyWith the holidays fast approaching, it's a great time to think about keeping grandparents—and their grandchildren—safe at home.

In the U.S. today, multigenerational living is on the rise, due to the higher cost of housing, student loans, and the more challenging career path faced by younger adults today. Money isn’t the only driver; many families enjoy having several generations under the same roof. Our longer lifespan means more families are providing care for elderly family members. And these grandparents and great-grandparents might babysit even while receiving help with their own care needs—a win-win for many families.

If yours is one of the over 4 million inter-generational households, it’s important to consider the safety needs of both children and the elderly. This includes fire safety, say experts from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). “Home is a sanctuary for these families. But let’s not forget that home is the place where people are at greatest risk of fire.”

6.21.17Unintended consequences can occur when dividing up real property, which is often harder to distribute than investment accounts or savings accounts. Planning for real property division must take into account the different circumstances of your heirs.

You may have envisioned a time in the future, when your children and grandchildren enjoy the same lakeside home as you have for years after you’re gone, and are pleased with the idea of leaving the family vacation home to the next generation. But think again, says a recent article in Financial Planning, “Save clients from tax pitfalls, family strife when passing on that lake cabin,” because your vision may not translate into reality.

Some of the kids may be attached to the family vacation home and want to keep it. If possible, the best solution is a buyout among the siblings. That’s not as simple if finances don’t allow it, and the sentimental siblings are forced to sell, resulting in hard feelings. Another option is to put the vacation home in an irrevocable trust to remove it from the estate.

5.26.17An estate plan does a lot more than distribute your assets among family members and organizations that share your values. It also protects you and your loved ones. That’s why everyone needs an estate plan, especially if you have minor children.

It’s amazing that some people still think they don’t need an estate plan. According to an article in Trust Advisor, Why An Estate Plan Is Beneficial,” a small estate needs the protection that an estate plan can offer against unnecessary expenses and ensures that personal, financial and charitable goals will be fulfilled. There are four key reasons why everyone needs an estate plan:

  1. Stipulating Care for Yourself. This includes a healthcare proxy, power of attorney and living will that states how you want to be cared for, if you become incapacitated.

5.25.17Britney Spears five dogs enjoy the same quality of life as she does, but without a pet trust, if anything happened to her, their lavish lifestyle would be at risk.

Pet trusts are no longer the exclusive province of the rich and famous, but a recent article in Trust Advisor reports that while Americans spend lavishly on our pets, they are still considered property and don’t have legal status or protection. According to “Britney Spears Pet Fetish Feeds New Estate Planning Craze,” whether you’re talking about protecting Britney’s pampered pooches or just an average American pet, you’ll need a pet trust to protect companion animals, if you become incapacitated or pass away.

While most of us want to ensure that our pets have loving care, rumors of the expense of Britney’s dogs gives us a view of some of the upper limits—or lack thereof—of how much modern pet pampering can cost. Britney spends about $30,000 a year on her dogs. This is enough to support over 100 typical American pets. One haircut for one of her dogs would feed an average animal for a year.

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