Articles Posted in Family

1.26.20Some people think once the children are all grown up, with spouses and children of their own, that they don’t need life insurance. However, it can play a valuable role in protecting the family and transferring wealth.

With estate tax exclusions at levels that make them a non-issue for most Americans, the practice of purchasing second-to-die life insurance policies to prepare for estate tax costs has faded.

However, IRAs, 401(k)s, and other accounts are still 100% taxable to the individuals, spouses and their children. The stretch IRA options still exist, but they may go away, as Congress may limit stretch IRAs to a maximum of 10 years.

11.14.19The succession plan works for your business in the same way an estate plan works for your personal life. It protects the business, outlining your wishes and plans for it to continue, or sets up a means of passing it to the next owners, whether they are family members or buyers.

Business owners who plan to use the proceeds from the sale of the business to fund their retirement have the right idea. However, with only 25% of private business owners actually having a succession plan in place, those retirement plans may not work the way they thought. Without a plan in place, the owners, their businesses and their families are at risk.

The Houston Business Journal’s recent article, “Three tips to employing establishing a strong succession plan,” takes up this matter for discussion.

5.1.19Balancing careers, children, college funds and aging parents present the same-old scenario, but this time to a new generation with a different value system.

Members of Generation X, who straddle a fairly wide age range, from late 30s to early 50s, are feeling the crunch of being responsible for their children and their parent’s needs. How will they ever get a handle on their savings for their own retirement?

U.S. News & World Report reminds us in its article “Essential Strategies for Generation X” that with the right strategies, Gen Xers can find a money-life balance.

4.3.19It seems like families need to spend more time discussing estate plans and their finances, especially if they are blended families, to prevent major disruptions.

For the second consecutive year, family conflict was named as the biggest treat to estate planning by estate planning and elder law attorneys and other professionals attending this year’s annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning.

The survey, conducted by TD Wealth, found that nearly half (46%) of respondents said that family conflict was the biggest threat to estate planning in 2019, followed by market volatility (24%) and tax reform (14%).

12.20.18Remember that estate planning is not just for the wealthy, and now that the federal exemption is so high, not just for the billionaires either. Estate planning is also much more than a will.

Your estate plan has a lot of work to do for you, both while you are alive and for your family when you have passed. A good article that explains it all comes from Investopedia, “How to Get Your Estate Plan on Track.” There are three key objectives that your estate plan needs to do:

  • End-of-life health care decisions are documented in a legally binding document;

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.

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