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Should You Create A Financial Plan for Living Alone Before the Death of a Spouse?

October 8, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

It can come as a significant shock if your beloved spouse passes away before you have had the opportunity to address a solo financial plan, and yet this happens to far too many widows and widowers every single day. Developing a financial plan in advance of the death of a spouse is important for protecting your best interests whenever possible. 

Most people who are married plan for their future with a spouse, not without one. But your decision to plan for a contingency could prove instrumental if something happens to your spouse suddenly.

A recent study, for example, found that more than half of widows did not have a plan for what would happen if either one of the parties to the marriage suddenly passed away. And the majority of retirees who are married share that did not have enough financial preparation to retire on their own if their spouse passed away.

Both members of a couple should consult with an estate planning lawyer to discuss spousal estate plans.

Getting help from a trusted and competent advisor is essential and putting together estate planning documents that address the vast majority of your concerns is important as well. An elder law attorney and an estate planning attorney can tell you more about how the documents you currently have and strategies currently in use, such as the reliance on a trust, can help you to articulate short and long-term plans. You may need to address whether or not you have enough life insurance. It is critical to get the necessary amount of insurance in case of a premature or unexpected death. A financial professional can determine through several different methods, whether or not you have enough life insurance, including an analysis of financial needs, capital retention or human life. The bottom line is that you need to understand what financial resources are available to you and how you may be eligible to tap into these if something were to happen to you or your spouse suddenly. Scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable elder lawyer is the first step.

Did Aretha Franklin Die Without A Will?

October 2, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

You might not assume that your own estate could qualify as celebrity news after you pass away, but there are key takeaways hidden in the do’s and don’ts of most celebrities. Some purposefully chose not to settle their estates with proper strategies in advance, and plenty of those cases end up being legal battles for many years to come. The more wealth and assets inside the estate, the more important it is to plan.

 

Court filings that were made on August 28th indicated that queen of soul, Aretha Franklin passed away without a will; posing many different questions and concerns over conflict for her family members and would be beneficiaries. Plenty of celebrity passings have indicated estate planning problems or the dangers associated with lack of estate planning entirely. We can learn important lessons from these celebrities and avoid putting family members through challenges when you pass away. estate-planning-NJ

The estate of Aretha Franklin will be left for the courts to sort out in what will most likely be a proceeding held in a very public manner. This follows other celebrities prior to Aretha, such as Amy Winehouse and Prince, whose estate planning nightmares left years of probate administration and related conflicts for their family members. Even for people who have normal sized estates can put their family members in a difficult situation when a loved one passes away without a will.

This causes financial and tax related hassles that could have been avoided. Furthermore, family members who do not agree with a current version of a will or who argue that they should be entitled to more benefits can delay the probate administration proceedings significantly and make things much more difficult for all family members involved by arguing and continuing court proceedings for many years to come.

You can learn from the mistakes of these many celebrities by having a will in place and one that is regularly revisited with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer. An estate planning lawyer can make things easier for you as well as your loved ones by articulating the plan that addresses your individual concerns and needs.

 

Drawing a Connection Between Dementia and Financial Planning

September 27, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

It can be very difficult to understand the teamwork approach required to protecting yourself in the age of dementia. The very concept of financial or estate planning around dementia is a very complex matter since the development of the disease can vary from one patient to another. The way that the disease develops inside a patient’s body can be subtle or gradual and it can even develop abruptly in one person whereas slowly in another.

The symptoms of dementia and the diagnosis of dementia can leave loved ones feeling confused or even hopeless and the person who has been diagnosed with the condition may not realize the many ways in which his or her life is about to change.

Coping with these many mental and physical alterations mean that more mundane concerns like financial planning can be completely ignored. There are some important steps to take when you believe that dementia could be a risk. Financial professionals, designated decision makers, physicians, caregivers and elder care specialists can all provide some insight about how the person’s life might change in light of a dementia diagnosis. Since it can be impossible to understand just how quickly a dementia diagnosis can develop into a serious condition, you need to be prepared by considering the possibility early on when you notice the potential signs of dementia. estate-planning-dementia-planning

The sooner that you can consult with your physician and attorney regarding estate plans and necessary documents to have in place, the easier it will be to cope with an already difficult situation. If you do not currently have an estate plan but recognize the potential for a sudden incapacitating event or the diagnosis of an issue tied to cognitive decline like dementia, you need to take action sooner rather than later to protect yourself.

The support provided by an experienced estate planning or elder law lawyer can help to clarify many of the different issues you might not even have considered prior to speaking to a professional. Elder and estate planning lawyers who’ve worked with patients in this situation before would be familiar with many of the common obstacles, concerns and questions that you might bring to the table when trying to plan. Consulting with an attorney as soon as possible after receiving the diagnosis is instrumental, particularly if the disease were to develop rapidly.

 

Make a Plan to Manage Your Loved One’s Digital Estate

September 18, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Within an estate, some of the most important assets you want to list might be physical. But they also could be harder to tap into, especially if those assets are digital in nature.

Think about your own digital presence- how many accounts do you have online, and how many of these have personal or sentimental personal information stored there? Do you have a way for your personal representative or executor to get access to these materials, and quickly? If not, you need to consider incorporating the digital aspects of your estate in your overall planning process.

More estate planning lawyers are including digital assets, passwords, and instructions in overall estate plans. These help to ensure your appointed persons can take action and quickly if something were to happen to you. Preserving or memorializing your digital accounts might be very important to you.

The process of closing out someone’s estate can be overwhelming or even confusing if you’re not fully prepared but digital assets can further complicate this situation. The emotional and taxing process of settling a deceased family member’s estate is already difficult in and of itself. Visiting probate court, sorting through personal possessions, distributing assets, and notifying agencies are just a handful of the tasks that must be completed. However, you must now also consider what to do with a person’s digital estate as far as determining which personal memories and photos to keep and how to store critical financial information. Some people who have already gone through the step of establishing a digital will can make this process much easier for an executor.

Social Media Networking Global Communications Connection Concept

However, far too many people who pass away do not have a digital will established already. Email providers and social media companies may have their own means of assisting an executor to settle someone’s digital estate. Examples of companies that have done this already include Google, Facebook, Apple, Amazon, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Yahoo.

Make sure that you keep a recorded copy of what you wish to do with your digital assets and the various storage information necessary for an executor to tap into this quickly. In the event of an emergency situation, such as an unexpected loss of a loved one, being able to find these critical documents can make this difficult process that much easier. The support of an experienced estate planning attorney is strongly recommended to verify that you’ve considered all critical issues in closing out a loved one’s estate.

 

Aretha Franklin’s Death Highlights Estate Planning Concerns

September 12, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Every time that a celebrity passes away, it provides an important opportunity to understand their estate planning dos and don’ts. All too often, even those celebrities who have access to the most professional resources and could certainly benefit from the tax opportunities associated with estate planning, far too many of these people make mistakes that leave their loved ones behind to suffer the consequences. 

When Aretha Franklin passed away in August from advanced pancreatic cancer, it appears that she left no trust or will, despite the fact that the estimated value of her estate is around $80 million, and this includes the rights to several of the songs that became famous under her name. Her four sons have listed themselves as interested parties associated with the estate, but one of those sons indicated that the decedent passed away without a will. The estate’s personal representative might be Franklin’s niece and more information is likely to emerge regarding her estate planning or lack thereof it. The entertainment lawyer working for Franklin said that for years, he had tried to get her to put together a trust, since it would have kept matters of her estate private and kept the family out of probate. Furthermore, he said that it would have helped to expedite things if she were to suddenly pass away and the lack of a will or trust can lead to a much higher chance of contest and disputes surrounding estate planning. Franklin was known for being extremely private, which makes the fact that she did not engage in traditional estate planning processes that much more confusing and unexpected.      

How Long Does It Take for Your Estate to Be Settled?

August 29, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Whether you’re serving as an estate administrator or thinking about appointing a person just to serve in this role, you should be familiar with the fact that every estate is unique, and it can take various amounts of time in order to settle an estate. The more work you do in advance by hiring an experienced estate planning attorney can greatly help your loved ones, as well as the person appointed to serve in the role of personal representative. The complexity of your estate will also dictate how quickly it can be effectively settled. It does not take long to settle simple estates.

However, if it’s beyond more than just a 401(k) and a house that is being given to family members, you need to be prepared by having estate planning tools and strategies like a living trust. The first steps involved in probate administration are to get the will admitted as the last will of the decedent and having the executor personal representative be appointed by the surrogate.

Image of a business work place with papers on the table

This usually does not require an appearance in front of a judge so long as the original will has been submitted, is shown to be valid and there are no disputes like a will contest. The proposed executor will then visit the county surrogate’s office and prepare the necessary paperwork. These usually are ready in less than a week. However, there can be complicating factors if it is difficult for the executor to gather the necessary materials.

Some assets will not be processed through the probate process to begin with, such as retirement accounts and life insurance policies. This is because beneficiary forms are used by these individual companies for the person to fill out and have passed on directly to the beneficiaries. However, other assets need to be included in an inventory and also processed in relationship to claims that have to do with creditors or taxes. The estate administrator has to process all of this material before the assets can be distributed to the relevant beneficiaries of the estate.

If you have questions about the process of probate administration and how estate planning tools and strategies such as living trusts can be used to help keep many of your assets outside of probate, you need the support of an experienced estate planning lawyer from beginning to end.

Use A Solid Foundation for Your Estate Plan

August 15, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Teamwork is necessary for the comprehensive estate plan that will accomplish the vast majority of your goals. If you don’t have appropriate estate planning tools in place, your loved ones could be the ones to deal with the consequences. Work with a team of professionals who understand how your estate can be affected by your investments, your taxes, and your retirement income plan.

Business – meeting in an office, lawyers or attorneys discussing a document or contract agreement

This gives you peace of mind that your estate plan is well thought out and all-encompassing. There are multiple steps that you should consider when putting together a thorough estate plan. These include:

  • Looking at your existing will and trusts to determine whether these need to be updated.
  • Putting together a balance sheet of all of your liabilities and assets.
  • Collecting any personal data about you, your family and your personal belongings.
  • Evaluating all estate tax options.
  • Determining the best way to distribute benefits inside your retirement plans.
  • Determining what liquid assets you have that could meet possible estate taxes and expenses.
  • Computing liabilities related to asset protection, gifts, income tax liabilities and estate tax liabilities.
  • Determine the best method to get rid of your share of community property.
  • Thinking about things like the unlimited marital deductions.

These tasks are just some of the most basic and instrumental elements of comprehensive estate planning and of course, your experience will vary based on your individual goals, the structure of your family, and other critical issues linked to the estate planning process. Make sure that you consult with an attorney who is committed to applying your unique situations into your estate planning documentation.

All the right paperwork can be gathered, organized, and reviewed on a regular basis by a lawyer. Remember that as your life circumstances change, so too should your estate plan. New tax laws, marriages, divorces, children, or grandchildren can all prompt you to rethink your existing strategies.

Art Collecting and Estate Planning 101

August 9, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

For those art collectors thinking about passing on their most valuable collection to others when they pass away, valuation and organization of this collection is strongly recommended. One way to pass on artwork is extremely risky. This refers to the matter of simply putting post-it notes on the artwork on the wall to explain who gets what. This approach, however, could represent that a significant portion of the value of the estate goes towards estate taxes. 

Estate taxes might not be an issue for many since the federal estate tax and gift tax exemption is $11.89 million per person. However, if an art collector accumulated a great deal of artwork, ignoring the overall value could cause problems later if it is not appropriately reported. You could pass on penalties, tax fraud, unexpected estate taxes and fines to the person who receives the art, in addition to prolonged IRS proceedings. Since the statute of limitations for tax fraud is limitless, you need to understand the possible complications well in advance. Even if artwork comes in at a value well below the estate tax exemption amount, clarity and organization regarding the disposition in the value of the individual artwork plays an important role in keeping the peace among your beneficiaries. The first step in this process is to make an inventory. List out each piece of art and its recommended value. Hire an art appraiser who has extensive experience in the field if you want to verify that the information is correct. It is not a good idea to attempt to ballpark the value of art. Rather it is much more effective to use an actual art appraiser and keep documentation from this process.

Any large items or special collections in your estate deserve extra attention. If you don’t put in the effort for your beneficiaries on these items, the problems all fall to your loved ones. You might be doing unnecessary harm or causing confusion that can be eliminated with just a few meetings with your estate planning lawyer. If you’re not yet sure that what you have qualifies as a collection, consider carrying out the valuation process and talking to your lawyer.

 

Don’t Make Estate Planning A Legal Maze

August 6, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Does your estate planning need to be difficult? It doesn’t, but that’s one of the main reasons why people put it off. You deserve to have an estate planning lawyer who can help you with understanding each step and keeping you informed as your life and planning needs change.

There are many different complications to having an estate plan, but thankfully, working directly with an estate planning attorney can help minimize the challenges and confusion you experience. Health care and estate plans seem something like a legal maze.

This can become even more difficult if you have existing family drama. There can be feelings of anger, mistrust, shame, and confusion, that come with concerns related to health issues, the aftermath of a loved one’s death or finances. Having your affairs in order in case something catastrophic happens, including the possibility of developing a disabling illness or a condition, is good no matter what your age.

A woman wearing a dress trying to make her way through a large maze.

Many people come to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney when they are in their 50s through their 70s, when children have moved out of the house, and when mortality concerns are at the forefront. The primary reason for doing this at that point in time is because many people aren’t comfortable discussing mortality, but furthermore, don’t realize that they could have benefited from estate planning all along.

Older adults have unique issues as it relates to estate planning, including guardianship, probate asset protection planning, and dealing with Medicaid. However, estate planning for blended families can be notoriously complex and is one common way in which many people experience pitfalls in the estate planning process and discover it too late after an issue has emerged.

Late in life marriages also require estate planning help. If one partner brings a significant amount of wealth into the marriage but the other party has few assets, this could be problematic if the party with fewer assets ultimately requires expensive long-term care. Since Medicaid will evaluate all of the couple’s assets in determining whether or not that party qualifies for assistance, both individuals might have to use their own personal assets in order to pay for the health care cost. Scheduling a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney can help you avoid many issues.

 

Having the Difficult Financial Discussion with Your Parents

August 1, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Adult children might want to shy away from having a conversation about finances with their parents, but plenty of research shows there are negative side effects of not having this conversation at all. Approximately one-third of parents over the age of 60, for example, say that they have never discussed their needs for later in life with their family, including beneficiaries, inheritance plans, critical documents or designated representatives. Adult children often worry that these conversations will lead to conflict or make it seem like they are only after their parents’ money or are curious about matters that the parents might consider personal. Starting with one conversation is the best way to approach financial and estate planning. Having the talk about finances is helpful for avoiding elder abuse as well as protecting your adult parents from scams. NJ estate planning

According to research conducted by True Link Financial, elder abuse and scams contribute to the loss of more than $36 billion every single year. The right conversations about finances with your loved ones verify that an appropriate response plan is in place in the event that someone suddenly becomes disabled and is unable to make decisions for themselves. Furthermore, you will understand the signs of a scam or elder abuse so that you can take action quickly against the person who might be trying to take advantage of your loved ones.

Carving out time for a family meeting when all children are present is the right way to approach this process and begin with the basics, as launching into advanced estate and financial planning considerations can be difficult. Look at discussions from a group perspective about the end of life goals you might be considering and asking parents about theirs.

While it might seem uncomfortable, broaching serious topics is necessary, and always try to leave any judgment you have at the door because it is already difficult for your loved ones to have these conversations, to begin with. When you pull yourself out of the process and instead allow your loved ones to open up at their own pace, you will find that it is much easier to have these conversations and to understand your parent’s goals.

 

Routine Estate Planning Check-Ups Should Happen Regardless of The Political Climate

July 26, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

People are always looking for good reasons to put off the process of estate planning, but one of these shouldn’t be the current political climate and the fact that it seems to alter and change relatively quickly. While it’s certainly true that you need to be informed about estate planning and tax planning issues, largely because of the fact that the political climate is constantly updating, routine estate planning check-ups should occur regardless.

Letting your estate planning documents lapse in terms of their accuracy could mean big consequences for you if you were to become incapacitated or challenges for your family members if you were to pass away suddenly. 

It is important to always update wills and health care documents specifically. The individuals named in these documents may no longer be accurate if details in your life have changed. Physicians, such as a health care agent, guardian for the minor children, power of attorney, trustees on the testament to your irrevocable trust, trust protectors or trustee appointers should all be carefully considered and evaluated at least on an annual basis.

If your relationship has changed with any of the people named, if your life situation has changed, if the life situation of any of those people has changed such that they would no longer be available, interested or capable of carrying out the roles or if all of the people that are mentioned are not geographically appropriate, these issues should be used to update your estate planning materials. Furthermore, you will need to look into issues such as whether or not the amounts left to each beneficiary are still appropriate, how your relationship with each beneficiary has unfolded or needs to be updated and are any of the beneficiaries at risk when it comes to inheriting assets. When you account for all of these issues on an annual basis, you can be sure that your estate planning includes many of the most common issues that people overlook and issues that expose them and their family members to difficulties.

Anthony Bourdain’s Will Could Be Open to Legal Dispute

July 18, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

A trust was initially created for the daughter of the celebrity chef who recently passed away. However, if the divorce wasn’t finalized, the ex-wife may be eligible to obtain one third of the estate. Details from his will reveal that his estate may be not have been as large as many people expected.

Documents were filed recently with Manhattan’s Surrogate Court, estimating that the estate was worth approximately $1.21 million. Some people estimated that he was worth as much as $16 million.

The 11-year-old daughter of Anthony Bourdain was listed as the primary beneficiary and the trust established will distribute assets to her when she is 25 and 30 years old and she will then be able to act as the balancer when she turns 35. Since Anthony Bourdain’s daughter is still a minor, a guardian will be selected by the court to ensure that the inheritance is safeguarded. Trusts that pay out over a period of time are extremely popular for young beneficiaries to ensure that they do not face the challenges of getting a big inheritance all at once. 

A beneficiary can benefit from the assets that are inside over the long run and this information can be especially helpful and valuable for someone who is thinking about drafting a trust.

A will can be contested if it appears to have been procured through undue influence or if the person signing it was not capable of understanding the act or the will itself, among other reasons.

Although Anthony Bourdain’s will might become subject to passing up majority of the assets inside to his wife from whom he was separated, this is an important lesson for people to sit down with their experienced estate planning attorney to verify that any separated spouses are excluded from these documents and that legal details have been addressed.

 

What Makes Baby Boomer and Millennial Women Different with Regard to Wealth Planning?

July 16, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Whether it’s planning for your own retirement or even setting aside time to think about your legacy plan with your estate, you need to ensure you have a lawyer to support you. Women in particular must be concerned about long-term needs because they often live longer and must factor in these additional years.

Far too many women are unprepared for retirement and especially for the risk of long-term care needs down the road. If their spouse passes away, the challenges can amplify.

 

A study recently completed by RBC Wealth Management indicated that there has been a major change in the attitude about wealth shared between millennials and the baby boomer generation. Approximately half of boomer women who participated in the study said that they took the lead on financial planning, whereas up to 72% of millennial women were responsible for this area of their households. This trend was consistent across charitable giving, will planning and day to day banking.

Friends Together at Beach

The wealthier the household, the higher the chances were that a woman was leading the financial planning and was actively involved in the legacy and estate planning. For those households that had greater than $5 million in investable assets, women were the primary decision maker. Key differences also recorded in the study between the two generations were shifts away from thinking about money as a method of providing security, and instead towards the opportunity to do more for the world. Approximately 41% of boomer women said they intended to pass on their wealth to their children, whereas only 15% of millennial women responded the same.

A total of 65% of women classified as millennials felt that it was their responsibility to use their wealth to benefit society at large compared with only 52% of women in the boomer category. Women who are wealthy as millennials are much more likely to have developed their wealth on their own when compared with boomer women. If you have recently found yourself in the position of needing the services provided by an experienced estate planning attorney, now is the time to schedule a consultation to talk about leaving behind a legacy, asset protection and other important issues connected to estate planning.

 

What to Know About Telling Your Kids After You Have Done Your Estate Planning

July 9, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Tags: — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Estate planning is a very personal process but because of that, many people choose to put it off until it is too late. Thereby, leaving their family members to try to pick up the pieces after a financial disaster caused by someone’s mental or physical incapacitation or sudden death. For these reasons, it’s important to at least have a conversation about the benefits of estate planning and how you’ll break the news about what you decided to your kids. 

Many people are confused about just how much information they should give to their children about estate planning and whether or not these documents should have copies made and given to the kids. There is no one-size-fits-all answer about how much information should be shared with children since every person’s circumstances are different. Many people share a lot of information with their clients.

Most people who meet with a probate lawyer after a person has passed away within their family already know what’s in the estate plan but might not have copies of the critical documents. Usual recommendations from estate planning attorneys are to keep the estate planning documents in a secure, accessible and safe place.

These documents are extremely important and they may be needed someday and in the heat of the moment, you want to ensure that everyone has access to them.

Giving copies of these estate planning documents to an experienced estate planning attorney and advising key family members who may be stepping in in the event of an incapacitation or sudden death, about how to find this information, can be instrumental in minimizing the challenges typically associated with estate planning.

If you have a plan developed well in advance and things are organized in a clear and easy to locate manner, you are that much more likely to be effective with communicating these goals to family members and enabling them to find this critical information when the time comes about. Bear in mind that your decision about how much to share with your family members regarding your estate plan is ultimately up to you and that many people choose customized decisions based on how comfortable they feel with the relevant family members.

You can ask questions of your estate planning attorney to help figure out what may be in your best interests.

 

Buzz Aldrin Case Had Highlights Importance of Having Estate Planning Documents

July 2, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

A recent lawsuit filed in Florida was brought forward by an astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, who claims that his children have inaccurately accused him of having dementia and have made it impossible for him to manage his own financial affairs. Two of his children and his former business manager are being sued after he claims that they misused his credit cards and transferred money outside of an account without his permission. 

The primary basis for the two children who brought their own legal case is that they allege he is suffering from delusions, paranoia, memory loss and confusion. They both requested that the court appoint them as legal guardians, claiming that the assets being spent by Aldrin were disappearing at an alarming rate and that he had been cohorting with new friends who are attempting to alienate him from his family members.

In this situation, the Florida courts put together an evaluation panel to determine the mental status of Aldrin. Although it remains to be seen how the Aldrin case will unfold, this is an important lesson for those people who are contemplating putting together their estate planning documents, since someone else may be allowed to request legal guardianship over your case by alleging that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Being classified as mentally incapacitated could enable people you don’t want making decisions on your behalf to have all of the power relating to your finances or medical care.

This is why it is so important to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney to verify that you have the legal documents empowering the right people in the role of power of attorney and for your health care directives. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself.

Don’t Leave Out Estate Planning When You Are Separated

June 28, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

 

A legal separation presents immediate problems if you put your estate planning documents on pause and don’t take the time to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Even if you’re still determining the future of the marriage, leaving the possibility open that your spouse can make decisions on your behalf can be quite problematic. 

Divided couple are separated by white wall but holding hands

Separation does not automatically mean that spousal rights are extinguished entirely. If you want to ensure that someone other than your currently estranged spouse is able to take legal action on your behalf or even plan your funeral, you need to have a health care directive and other documents in place. The tragic deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade both illustrate the challenges of estate planning from the perspective of being separated from a spouse.

If someone is not legally divorced from an estranged spouse, this can present problems along into the future and ones that can be easily guarded against by scheduling a consultation with an estate planning attorney. When you get separated, you need to update all of your legal information and have a consultation with a lawyer about what issues need to be clearly and fully addressed in your estate plan.

Avoid These Financial Advisor Mistakes

June 14, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Selecting a financial advisor, much like choosing an estate planning attorney, is a very personalized process and one that must be done with extra special care. Identification that you have selected the wrong financial advisor could come with many problems. Poor communication, a generic approach that doesn’t take your unique concerns under consideration, and high fees are some of the most common complaints lodged against financial advisors. 

It’s much easier to avoid a mistake in the first place by selecting the right financial advisor, so there are three major things that you should never do when you are thinking about hiring someone to work with. The first is believing everything that an advisor says. Much like any other professional, it’s valuable to get insight from an advisor but you should not take everything they say as completely accurate.

Never enter an important relationship without a high level of trust. Another thing you should avoid doing is believing nothing that an advisor says. If you’ve already been disappointed by someone in the past, there’s no doubt that you’ll be hesitant about whether or not to believe what this current person is telling you. But disbelieving everything they say could be a mistake. Finally, don’t forget the difference between delegating to an advisor and doing some work of your own. Outside professional advice is extremely important in articulating a plan that addresses your individual needs, but it is equally important to ensure that you have done your homework on your end when your advisor gives you materials or suggestions.

Make Sure to Include Collectibles and Art in Your Estate Plan

June 5, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

If you have valuable collectibles or art that should be a part of your estate plan, make sure these are not accidentally left out. Unfortunately, many people don’t even realize the true value of the art they hold inside their estate. A recent study identified in 2017 that more than 80% of collectors did indeed view their art collections as a form of investment but unfortunately, even these high net worth collectors may not appropriately plan for the distribution of these very valuable assets. include art in your estate plan

Thinking well in advance about how you may accomplish particular estate planning goals must incorporate your unique collections. You may assume that your collection has greater sentimental value, but it might also have a financial value that could cause in-fighting among family members or other challenges, should you exclude it from your estate plan or leave confusing or unclear plans. The IRS classifies collectibles as rugs, works of art, antiques, any gems or metal with some exceptions, stamps or coins, alcoholic beverages with a high value or any other personal property that is tangible that the IRS may view as collectible.

There are two primary ways you may be able to distribute your collectible property; donating them to a charitable organization or leaving the assets to your heirs. In either case, you’ll want to ensure that you have the estate planning materials and strategies in place well in advance.

Planning and Organizing Will Be Key for Estate Planning

May 31, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Estate planning involves going one step beyond simply talking about the issues or thinking about how you might want your estate to be handled in the future. Planning and organization are the cornerstones of a successful estate plan and it’s very valuable to sit down with an outside party who can help to ensure that your plans accurately reflect what you intend. 

Many people have a common goal of wanting to make their estate as easily managed as possible because they don’t want their children and other loved ones to have any difficulties after they pass away. Therefore, wrapping up affairs with as few problems or conflicts is a common goal for most people.

The first thing to do is to have a plan and to have clear storage locations designated for each of these materials. Hiring an attorney may seem overwhelming or like it can be easily skipped, however, there are far too many pitfalls in the process of estate planning that could cause you numerous problems and leave your loved ones paying the price in the form of a disorganized estate. It’s much better to sit down and walk through one document at a time to verify that your documents reflect what you actually intend that they will be viewed as valid by the state.

Plan for the Best… and Worst

May 24, 2018

Filed under: Estate Planning — Neel Shah @ 9:15 am

Don’t put off the process of estate planning, such as articulating important agreements like a power of attorney or your will because you assume that the worst will not happen to you. Payment Options for Long-term care

This is a catastrophic mistake that could end up causing problems for your loved ones down the road. It is far better to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney today to ensure that your primary needs and concerns have been addressed.

The support of a dedicated attorney is extremely valuable when you find yourself in this situation. Looking ahead to the future means thinking about unanticipated events. A sudden disability or diagnosis of a medical condition tied to a car accident, for example, could represent significant changes in your life and you need to be prepared for how to address these. Having an estate plan or business succession plan, already stipulated in these cases, can make it much easier to adjust in the heat of a moment when you must be able to respond effectively and appropriately.

The support of an experienced attorney is highly valuable when thinking about how your estate plan will translate into individual actions. Schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer today.

You can make things easier for your family members and your own peace of mind by setting up a plan you can count on in the event of a worst-case scenario.

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