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Einstein on Saving and Investing & Why People Today May Not Care

October 11, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Raymund Rasco @ 11:42 am

Albert Einstein stated that “compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it; he who doesn’t, pays it.”

Most Americans know the benefits of saving and investing early to take advantage of compounding, yet many (if not most) of them don’t.

Why is that?

 There’s not just one answer as to why Americans are not investing, but there are some reasons which are given more than others. Most often, the reasons/excuses I hear from clients are:

1) My expenses are just too high. I don’t have anything left over after my expenses to save and invest.

2) I don’t trust the financial industry enough to invest.

3) The market is inflated and it is due for a correction.

4) I cannot emotionally handle the volatility of the market.

I’m not one to dismiss anyone’s reasons for not investing in the market. However, the downside of not investing, and particularly, not starting early, are well-documented. To address each of the items above:

 1) If your expenses are too high and you don’t have anything left over after your expenses to save and invest, start with a smaller, disciplined approach. Treat saving for investing as if it was a tax. If the government was taxing you 25%, you could not come up with an excuse that you don’t have enough for those taxes. If you treat investing as something which is not discretionary, but more like an obligation like taxes, you can deduct a small amount from your paycheck or bank account directly to have it invested as part of a disciplined approach. 

This strategy is used most often by employees and their 401(k)s or their health insurance. It works because there is no “pain” associated with having to take money out of your account – it was never deposited there in the first place.

2) The financial industry has earned its share of criticism in the media – and much of it is well warranted. The trick is to get yourself in front of a financial advisor whom you can trust. Most often, this is not going to be your local bank or insurance agent.

Ask for referrals and try to find someone who is independent (that is to say, someone who is not obligated to serve the interests of their employer). Ask if they are a fiduciary 100% of the time. If they are a fiduciary, they are required to act in your best interest. If they’re not a fiduciary, they are held to a lower standard-suitability. Even the best hearted people in the industry sometimes have conflicting goals due to mandates by their financial brokerage employer. 

One piece of advice a client has given me: “if they have a football stadium or a professional sports arena named after them, chances are they’re not independent.”

3) Is the market inflated? Maybe. Or maybe not. The point is if you make sure that you are invested with the right mix of risk and reward, your investment horizon should be dictating whether or not such a correction (if and when it happens) does not impact your lifestyle. 

A 30-year-old investing today can take a substantial amount of risk, particularly with their retirement accounts, because they’re expected to work for a longer period of time. A 55-year-old may need to adjust their risk downward, thereby not subjecting themselves to market fluctuations as much. Even during our most recent financial crisis, from 2007 to 2009, if you held your course and didn’t overreact, today your money would be more than doubled. That’s even if you got in days before the big drop.

The point is: you can’t time the market – nobody has done so consistently over multiple periods, so don’t try. Make sure you stay within your risk zone and rebalance as necessary.

4) Everything sounds great on paper, particularly when it’s backed up by evidence – but the reality is, we are human beings. And you’re entitled to your emotions. It’s important to discuss with your financial advisor how comfortable you are with receiving a statement that shows losses.

As an example, when you exercise strenuously or challenge yourself learning a new skill, there is short-term pain and even some frustration in order for you to get the positive results you’re seeking. Sometimes it might be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. If it’s causing you stress or anxiety, it is probably because you may not know, or may need to be reminded of, the positive results you’re seeking. Knowledge will help with emotional volatility most of the time.

Sometimes, knowledgeable even do that for you. In that case, it’s time to make sure that the risk you are taking is appropriate and necessary. It also helps identify different risk pools – knowing that you have an emergency fund which is adequate, and sometimes more than adequate, can help with the emotional impact involved with investing.

Lastly, if you trust your advisor and you have the right person at the helm, you may not want to check the market on a regular basis. Intraday, intra-week, and intra-month fluctuations have been happening since the beginning of the market. So long as you know you have a long-term goal, there’s no need to suffer anxiety from these short-term fluctuations that may never impact you.

What You Should Know Before Applying for Institutional Medicaid

October 9, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 8:15 am

If you’ve already sat down with your estate planning lawyer in New Jersey and still have questions about what Medicaid will pay for when it comes to long term care, advanced planning can help to address many of your concerns and questions directly.

If you need to go to a specialist’s office or a doctor, Medicare will most likely pay for these services, whereas Medicaid will pay second by covering co-payments, co-insurances, and deductibles.

However, when going into a nursing home for long term care, it is important that you understand how Medicaid operates. There are a few things you should know before initiating an application for institutional Medicaid. These include:

  • That you will still be able to keep a small portion of your income as a personal allowance although this amount varies from one state to another and should be discussed with your estate planning lawyer.
  • The program will look at you and your spouse’s individual situation when it comes to counting your assets and your income.
  • Medicaid has a look back period in most states of up to five years, meaning that the state will count any assets that you transferred in the few most recent years when determining your eligibility.
  • You’ll need to discuss with your elder law attorney how owning your home could potentially impact your Medicaid eligibility and coverage.       

If you want more information about how to plan for Medicaid applications in the future, speaking to a dedicated estate planning attorney.

Life Insurance Before and Post-Divorce: What to Know

October 8, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:09 pm

You have probably planned your life carefully up to this point and put in time and energy with your former spouse to drop a will and establish trust to organize your estate after you pass away.

Hire an estate planner to use life insurance with estate plans

Together you’ve probably put insurance policies in place for life, health and disability and made decisions about the guardianship of your children should anything happen to you before the children are old enough to care for themselves. With all of these planning opportunities you have already taken advantage of, it can be frustrating to realize that the only thing you didn’t plan for was divorce.

Your estate plan must be amended and updated following a divorce to ensure that your wishes are truly protected during the process of separation and divorce. Life insurance is one such component of your plan that probably requires some amendments. Be clear on how the life insurance is paid for and what it guarantees. Any person who owns the policy is, therefore, responsible for keeping the policy active and enforced and for paying premiums. The same person also exercises the authority to change beneficiaries.

If your ex passes away prematurely, life insurance could become an important component of your divorce settlement to verify that you and your family are paid for.

Life insurance can also help to guarantee the continued flow of child support or alimony or both as outlined by the divorce settlement. It is strongly recommended that you have a trust established as the owner of the life insurance policy to avoid gaps and pitfalls in insurance coverage planning that could arise during and after a divorce. Schedule a consultation with an experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyer to further discuss how this affects your case.       

Create Your Estate Planning Amendment Plan

October 7, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

There are many different reasons that you might wish to amend your estate planning documents and this can include various different aspects, such as new beneficiaries, changes to your trust or changes to your will. In order for these updates to be effective, they must be done properly.

Otherwise, this can lead to not just disappointment for you and your potential heirs, but even litigation down the road. Changing your will, for example, must be done through a specific process, such as executing a new will that formally revokes the old will or formally destroying the previous will.

Evidence of previous wills can increase the chances that your case will end up in front of a probate court for litigation over contest related to the will.

Updating your death beneficiary designation forms, however, requires an entirely different process. Even if you have already updated your will to ensure that this process accurately reflects what you intend to accomplish with your estate planning, updates to your will do not automatically reflect onto your death beneficiary forms.

You will need to contact your life insurance company or your retirement brokerage company, for example, to update the forms formally in their system and you will also want to receive confirmation that those updates have been made.

Amending your estate planning forms is important anytime that you have a major change in your life, such as a divorce or a remarriage. Failing to update these forms means that the associated companies are legally responsible to follow through on those most recently filed with your information.       

Who Are the Stakeholders Involved in Business Succession Planning?

October 3, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

You’ve probably taken a long view approach to establishing and founding your business. Growing a company is probably one of the greatest achievements of your life, but if you’ve failed to consider the other potential stakeholders who could be influenced if you had to leave the business either by your own choice or involuntarily, you could be exposing the business, its legacy and treasured family members and employees to unnecessary risks.

Think carefully about who will be able to run your business after you leave. One advantage to taking this process into consideration earlier than in a crisis situation is that you have plenty of time to pass along the necessary skills to assist each person with the job at hand.

There are three primary options for stakeholders to consider in business succession planning; an independent purchaser, employees and family members. Independent purchasers can include a strategic or a financial buyer. Employees could purchase through structures, such as an employee stock ownership plan and can help minimize risk by easing your transition out of the company.

Finally, family members might or might not be the answer for what you intend to accomplish with business succession planning, but you should discuss this carefully with a knowledgeable business succession planning attorney who is very familiar with your individual goals and plans for the company.       

Have You Disability Proofed Your Estate Plan?

October 1, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 4:37 pm

Your estate plan includes important components such as a will, to help distribute your assets if and when something happens to you. But one of the most overlooked aspects of planning for incapacity during your life has to do with a lack of knowledge surrounding what it might be like to live with a disability. Living with a disability could interrupt your opportunity to work in your current profession.

How Would a Disability Impact Your Work?

Research from the CDC shows that one in four adults in the United States live with a disability. Mobility disabilities are most common for those outside of the younger adult age categories. Younger adults are most likely to suffer from cognitive disabilities. This one in four number breaks down to 61 million Americans who have some form of a disability that impedes their major life activities.

Most people either have a disability or know someone who has one during the course of their life. Combine these disability facts with the statistic that only 48% of adults in the United States have enough expenses to cover three months of living without any income, means that it is more important than ever to look into potential incapacity planning.

Other studies have found that approximately half of US adults have shared that they wouldn’t be able to pay an unexpected $400 bill without selling something or taking out a loan to do so. The chance of missing work due to injury or illness is much greater than most people recognize. In fact, of today’s 20 year olds, more than one in four can expect to be out of work for a minimum of one year prior to reaching the normal retirement age. This makes it important to consider incapacity planning and disability planning in your overall estate planning picture.       

Do Rising Healthcare Costs Called for Updated Trusts?

September 30, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

One of the biggest concerns at the top of minds for retirees are being able to afford potential decades of life post-retirement and preparing for soaring healthcare costs.

If you were savvy enough to put together a trust in the past to help protect your beneficiaries, now might be the time to revisit that trust if it’s revocable. You might need some of the assets placed inside for the purposes of paying for healthcare needs, but decisions like this should not be made lightly.

Trusts that were more recently drafted might warrant a review to limit expenses where possible in light of the fact that so many baby boomers and future retirees are likely to need long-term care at some point.

According to some studies, healthcare costs have doubled the rising rate of inflation over the course of decades, putting them front and center for those approaching estate planning. Even one serious accident or chronic illness could make it difficult or impossible for someone to return to work. The costs for those incidents are much higher, too.

In a study published by Fidelity in 2017, the average couple will spend $285,000 in retirement on healthcare expenses alone- and that study left out long-term care expenses. For high net worth families, that number is higher and closer to $1 million.

Given the complexities of modern estate planning, such as trying to account for longevity and the rising number of people in second or third marriages, trusts must be considered carefully. The language inside trusts could consider how healthcare expenses factor into the big picture. If you’re trying to provide for your loved ones and have specified healthcare expenses as one approved cost inside an irrevocable trust, for example, consider what that means. Does a wellness retreat count? A special diet program?

And beware the common practice of setting up a dollar cap on what a beneficiary can spend on healthcare. While that number might seem reasonable now, remember the statistic above about how quickly healthcare costs are outpacing even inflation. Depending on when your beneficiary taps into the trust power, that number might be far less effective at helping them cover major costs.

If you have created an older trust you can revoke or amend or haven’t created one yet, now might be the right time to set up on trust per beneficiary to ensure that all of a trust’s assets are not spent just by one beneficiary in a healthcare crisis.

Got a Stepfamily? Don’t Forget Them in Your Estate Plan

September 25, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

Today’s families need the support of dedicated and knowledgeable estate planning lawyers. With second or third marriages and blended families, estate planning calls upon professionals to help design unique and meaningful plans based on the structure of the family in question.

A good estate plan can help to avoid conflicts when you have children from previous marriages. Whether you intend to include those children in your estate plan or not, it’s important to discuss your family dynamics and goals with a lawyer.

One of the most complex situations in estate planning is when two parties who have recently marriage each have children from previous marriages. Since most married couples will leave everything to their new spouse, this means that children from a prior marriage might not have inheritance rights. A stepparent receiving all of the assets from their partner might choose instead to divide these assets among their own children or children from the most recent marriage.

Thankfully, there are estate planning tools at your disposal that help to ensure your estate plan reflects your individual concerns. These can include:

  • Using a trust that helps to support the spouse during the remainder of his/her lifetime, after which point the assets will transfer to the children
  • Leaving something directly to your children in the will
  • Purchasing life insurance and listing your children as beneficiaries
  • Divide up your family heirlooms and document these plans in your estate documents before something happens to you

If you’re struggling with whether or not your past estate planning documents can be amended or whether you need a lawyer to draft new ones, it’s a good idea to speak with a lawyer about the process and to schedule a time to sit down and discuss these concerns directly.

How Do I Know if Medicaid Will Pay for My Nursing Home?

September 24, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

Are you concerned about the rising costs of long-term care? You’re not alone. A growing portion of the population in the U.S. will need some form of long-term care support in the future and very few people have planned for how they will pay for it.

Most people are under the belief that Medicare pays for long-term. Medicare’s services do not provide for long-term support and therefore anyone who needs a stay in a nursing home or assisted living cannot rely on this as a primary funding source. Medicaid, however, could help to support some of the costs of long-term health needs, but potential patients should be prepared in advance for how to qualify.

Medicaid is a joint federal and state program, but it administered at the state level. Not all nursing home facilities, however, will automatically accept Medicaid. You need to do your research in your area to determine what applies to your situation.

Facilities that do take Medicaid payments will need to be licensed through the state in order to qualify for payments through that program and will therefore also be subjected to regular inspections to meet federal standards. States have their own income requirements as it relates to what the applicant can own prior to getting Medicaid.

Simply transferring assets to a family member or friend is not recommended due to the use of a lookback period; if the state finds evidence of your attempt to transfer to friends and family simply to qualify for Medicaid within a time period immediately before your application, this could lead to a penalty and qualification issues. This is why you should always discuss your plans directly with an attorney first and ensure you’ve considered all the most common concerns in the Medicaid application process.

Two Kinds of Advanced Directives

September 23, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

Did you know that there are two ways you can explain your wishes should something happen to you and you are unable to advocate for yourself? Most people overlook some of the estate planning tools designed to help you while you’re still alive, but these can be the most important when loved ones are stepping in to make decisions for you.

Advanced directives are important for everyone, since a sudden accident could mean that your family ends up facing the difficult situation of deciding on your medical care. It is very important that if you have specific wishes or concerns surrounding your medical care that you communicate them to your family in the written form with an advanced medical directive.

The first kind of advance directive is known as a living will. It details the preferences you have for various types of life-sustaining treatments. You can articulate whether you want to be on support like respiration, cardiac resuscitation, or tube feeding.

A power of attorney, on the other hand, allows you to name the person who can make medical decisions for you if you cannot, for any reason, speak up for yourself. You can also create a separate power of attorney if you want to name someone to have control over your financial decisions and a different person to be appointed with these medical agent powers.

If you’re torn between the two and have someone you trust to make these choices for you, the power of attorney might be more appropriate since you can’t easily predict every situation that might come up.

Certain family members, however, might not feel comfortable making these decisions for you, especially if it relates to life-prolonging care. The difficult situation of being concerned about you could even be amplified by other family members or loved ones who disagree with the decision made by the power of attorney agent.

Our office can help you discuss and draft a power of attorney document. Schedule a consultation today with our firm to learn more.

Are You One of the Many Adults Who Find Finances Daunting?

September 18, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

Thinking ahead about your future requires careful and complex consideration of a variety of issues. A recent study by Unum shows that many adults find their finances daunting and therefore, forget to take action steps that can help to protect them or their loved ones.

According to this study, around 38% of adults in the United States state that their ability to manage their finances is very poor, poor or average. Another 40% stated that they did not know if they had a life insurance policy or openly acknowledge that they didn’t have one in place.

Given that a top cause of anxiety for many of these survey respondents was thinking about what would happen to their family members should they die unexpectedly; it can be very overwhelming to approach this process on your own.

Scheduling a consultation with an estate planning attorney, however, can help give you clarity on the action steps that are most important to take when thinking about protecting your future and the future of your loved ones.

An estate planning lawyer can help to remove some of the mystique or confusion around the process and give you powerful tools for next steps. Ignoring your opportunities to plan can set you up for failure in the future if something were to happen to you. Knowing the people you can turn to and count on in a time of need is critical; having the estate planning documents to support that is vital as well.

Your Estate Plan Isn’t Complete Unless You Have Discussed These Five Documents

September 17, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:54 pm

Every so often it’s helpful to sit down and review your existing estate planning documents. Ideally you will have stored a copy of these with your estate planning lawyer and also have copies for yourself. Regular review of your existing estate plans can help you to determine when you need to incorporate additional planning goals.

The five key documents that should at least be considered in your conversation with an experienced estate planning lawyer include a durable power of attorney, a will, an advanced medical directive, a letter of instruction, and a living revocable trust.

A durable power of attorney assists you if you become mentally or physically incompetent to handle financial matters. A will is a desirable cornerstone of your estate plan if you are over age 18. Advanced medical directives give instructions about medical treatment you would want if you are unable to speak for yourself and a letter of instruction as a non-legal and informal document that is used to express your preferences and thoughts in conjunction with other estate planning tools. Finally, a revocable living trust could be something you discuss with your estate planning lawyer.

Once you become incompetent, pass away, or resign, a successor trustee will be there to administer aspects of the trust. Schedule a consultation with an attorney today so that you can learn whether or not these estate planning documents are necessary for you.       

Do You Really Need Life Insurance in Addition to a Will?

September 16, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

If you don’t have any children and are currently not married, there’s a good chance you think you don’t need life insurance. If your first thought was that life insurance can help your family members pay for funeral expenses and you’re not concerned about that, you might have skipped the application and verification process for life insurance.

You’ll still want to consider life insurance, however, for plenty of other reasons, like funding your children’s education or the payment of debts. Regardless of your individual situation, there are plenty of reasons you might have avoided life insurance but should now consider it. Research from a national financial organization shows that less than 60 percent of people in the U.S. have life insurance and that many of those who do have a policy don’t have enough coverage to protect them and their loved ones.

Considering life insurance as part of the bigger financial picture can help you navigate complexities with your estate. Some of the ways that you can use estate planning include providing money to the people you love, using a universal life policy as additional retirement income, getting access to money if you get sick depending on your policy’s riders, protecting your company, and leave a legacy.

Providing a standard of living for you and your loved ones is a common goal for plenty of Americans. Having a way to support your family members gives you peace of mind and ensures that they have one less thing to worry about in the wake of your passing. Life insurance policies are paid through a claims department after your family has provided the proper documentation. This means that they can focus on other aspects of managing your estate, particularly for your executor or personal representative.

If you want to support yourself with a universal policy and also verify that your loved ones have a plan for the future, set aside time to speak with an experienced NJ estate planning lawyer today.

Neel Cruise Karaoke

September 12, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Raymund Rasco @ 3:47 pm

I’ve been told in the past that it’s easy for me to discuss Estate Planning, Elder Law and Financial Planning with my loved ones because I do it for a living. “You don’t even need to leave your ‘comfort zone’ to discuss it.” So I am now leaving my comfort zone and putting my money where my mouth is. I left my ‘safe space’ a year ago, and now I am doing it again by sharing a video of it with you and the world (explanation below.)

I get it. Telling someone important to you that:

  • they need to take care of their health care documents because you want to know their wishes,
  • their tax situation needs to be reviewed because you think they might be paying too much,
  • or you want to know how to pay for their long term-care, can be very difficult and awkward.

You know what’s even more awkward? Trying to have a conversation with a sibling about Mom’s care when you don’t know what Mom wanted. Or finding out that you will have to use most of your assets for your spouses care. Or realizing your adult children never named a guardian for your grandchild because you never asked if they had completed their Plan? I don’t have to tell you which has the more tragic outcome: having an uncomfortable conversation now, or waiting for event to happen and regretting never having had the conversation.

So here’s where I am putting it out there and showing you my awkwardness, but first a quick background: Last summer we went a cruise with about 50 family members. It was fantastic. I’ve always enjoyed singing, but I’ve never done it outside of a small group of extremely close friends. But I decided one night, to sign myself up for karaoke. It was to be in front of a room of strangers or the family members. I’d have to face my family for the rest of my life, and I would have to stand & perform in front of strangers, but I did it. You can probably sense my discomfort in the video, I was still shaking for a half-hour after doing it. But I am happy I did it. If for no other reason than to prove a point today.

Now I’m sharing the video with you (and everybody else on my mailing list.) But then it’s your turn. But you don’t have to do it alone: we can help you with the potentially uncomfortable dialogue about your or a loved one’s planning. Just reply to this email & we’ll make it happen. Click below to schedule your free call with me. 

And in case you know anyone from “American Idol” or “The Voice” – feel free to forward it to them & let them know they can schedule a call with me too 😉

Have a great day,

Neel

My Child Has a Disability. What Do I Need to Consider with Estate Planning?

September 11, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:53 pm

As you grow older and are concerned about the future of a child with disability, the future can seem overwhelming or even daunting. Thankfully, sitting down with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer gives you the chance to ask important questions and to articulate a plan that is aligned with your individual needs.

Start by creating a letter of intent. This is a formal letter of instruction that includes details for your friends and family members if you become unable to act due to a disability yourself or pass away.

Details about your online financial accounts and passwords in addition to any personal details that someone might need to step into your life to care for your loved one with disability should be included. This can include strategies used for calming, daily routines, medications, therapist and other important contact information.

Scheduling a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer will help you to understand the vision of what you want your loved one’s future to look like. It can be well worth it to sit down with a dedicated lawyer who is familiar with the specific issues of estate planning.

Putting together an estate plan with a special needs trust enables you to distribute property and funds in a way that does not interrupt or completely block the government funding that your loved might rely on for support. It is important to consider all the various aspects of planning ahead for your loved one’s future and enabling someone else to step in and take quick action if need be.       

Lessons from the Jeffrey Epstein Estate: Creditors First

September 9, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:08 pm

A significant legal battle could hold more information for others approaching the estate planning process. The last will and testament of Jeffery Epstein was dated August 8th, just a couple of days before he was found dead in his jail cell.

Over $577 million in total assets, including collectibles and fine arts are expected to be inside his estate and the estate shares information about the creation of a trust to hold that property. When managing anyone’s estate, expenses and debts are typically paid first, followed by spousal transfers and charitable transfers once appropriate estate taxes have been paid. This particular estate is likely to be embattled in litigation for a long period of time to come given that creditors will be first in line.

This includes any plaintiffs who received a judgment in their favor against the estate will be eligible to get paid prior to any property passing through to the heirs. Creditors have to be satisfied first before any meaningful assets can be moved to a remainder person. Five different properties were included inside the will of Jeffery Epstein across Paris, the Virgin Islands, New Mexico and Florida.

Depending on whether or not his estate qualifies for the state level tax, this could lead to considerable revenue for New York. If you are concerned as you approach the estate planning process and want to consider steps in asset protection planning that could add a layer of risk mitigation in the future, schedule a consultation with a trusted attorney today.       

Can You Simplify Managing Your Loved One’s Estate?

September 4, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:26 pm

We all know in the back of our minds that at some point in our lives we might have to sort through a loved one’s estate. And yet there’s no way to prepare for the emotional onslaught that you might experience in dealing with grief. That process can be overwhelming and can make it that much harder to navigate probate and other administration tasks. If you’re the executor, you need to be prepared for all the necessary tasks that unfold in managing an estate.

The executor’s role is mostly financial and it begins with cataloguing all the assets in the estate. From there, the executor must pay off debts and taxes and then distribute the remaining amount to beneficiaries and heirs.

However, plenty of in-family executors will feel obligated to do more. If the estate of the person who passed away was substantial and complicated, it can be helpful to hire a professional executor to help with the tasks. Any families in which there’s the potential for infighting could be the perfect option for using a professional executor. If your role as the executor in a loved one’s estate puts you smack in the middle of conflict.

If the estate is indeed complicated, some parts of it might pass through probate whereas others, like assets inside a trust, don’t. Knowing the difference and keeping a general tally of the progress across different projects is important, especially for accounting purposes. An expert hired from the outside can help you keep an accurate inventory and prepare for probate, if necessary.

The support of an outside professional executor, such as a lawyer or corporation, can streamline the process for you. As a loved one, you have enough to worry about. While you want efficient management of the estate, this should not come at your personal expense during your time of grief.

Asset Protection for the Entrepreneur

September 3, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

Many well-known career fields are often associated with important asset protection planning. From lawyers to doctors and others with substantial wealth, it’s important to think about how asset protection planning should expand into the world of entrepreneurship.

Don’t let your assets disappear- protect them!

It’s never been easier to start and scale a business. Every day there are new stories of people doing it from the comfort of their own home, building digital companies and scaling them to six and then seven figures.

Along the way, this entrepreneur might begin to translate some of those business achievements into other assets, like home and cars. But if these steps are undertaken without also considering the importance of asset protection, all it takes is one lawsuit to damage the assets you worked so hard to generate.

If you have a long-term view of your business, then asset protection planning is another important step you take to secure your growth in the company and ensure that the assets you’ve accumulated are used to support you and your beneficiaries.

Another key aspect of being an entrepreneur is having the documentation in place to protect you if you were to become disabled. A sudden disability can derail your company completely if you don’t have a plan in place and a way to allow someone else to make those key decisions for you.

The bottom line is that business owners and their companies cannot afford to be exposed to vulnerabilities like lawsuits or the sudden stop of company operations due to an accident or disability. Using estate and asset protection planning tools empowers the entrepreneur and the key staff members at the company with options should the need arise.

If your company is growing at a fast pace but you don’t have the documentation or asset protection tools like trusts in place, sitting down with the right asset protection planning lawyer is one of the most important things you can do to protect your interests and your future.

America’s “Forgotten Middle” in Long Term Care Planning

September 2, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:15 am

The baby boomer generation is bringing to light some of the most common challenges with long-term care and future planning. Since it’s expected that many people passing their retirement age might have to continue to work for financial reasons and then also need some form of health support like a nursing home or assisted living, studies show that plenty of older adults have no plan at all.

Many seniors will need LTC planning

It’s not a problem of limited facilities: in response to the trends in long term care, plenty of facilities and organizations have been created to help the elderly with their daily lives. But the costs associated with these facilities are out of reach for a broad portion of the population.

According to a recent report in Health Affairs, by 2029 there might be as many as 14.4 million seniors with middle-income status. More than half of them will have some type of mobility limitation, and one out of every five will require some sort of high-level functional support. Even though these statistics show that it’s likely plenty of this population will need either assisted living or long-term care housing, about half of them won’t have the resources to pay for it.

The housing market targeting seniors has experienced major growth and changes in the past few decades, no doubt in response to the baby boomer generation requiring more older age support. In total, around two million senior tap into the residence options provided by senior living and a good majority have functional dependence issues, high chronic illness rates, and complex medical concerns.

Without tools like long-term care insurance, which is expensive, a market with its own challenge like spiking premiums, and is best purchased years or decades before the care is needed, plenty of seniors will be exposed to challenges in paying for the care they need. Between those who have substantial resources and/or long-term care and those who easily qualify for Medicaid, there are plenty of seniors in between who have no access to care without planning.

Talking to an estate planning lawyer gives you care options and helps you map out a path to qualify for Medicaid in the future should the need arise.

What Can I Put in a Trust?

August 30, 2019

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:45 pm

Not all assets belong in a trust, and knowing the difference can help you make the right choice for your assets. The easiest way to figure out whether or not a trust can help you is to sit down with your lawyer and make a list of all the assets you own.

There are several types of assets commonly transferred into trusts. These include: life insurance policies, antiques and collectibles, business interests, investments and money market accounts, deposits inside credit unions and banks, realy property, and stocks.

The trust is only formally set up when you take these assets and transfer them into the ownership of the trust itself. It is at this point that these assets are truly owned by the trust and under the management of the trustee you have chosen.

Since trusts offer a lot of benefits, using one is a common way to ensure you’ve considered all your estate planning issues across the board. Benefits include passing on your assets without having them go through probate, putting aside certain assets for the care of someone in your family with special needs, establishing requirements for beneficiaries to meet before assets will be distributed, and creating a plan for managing your business or personal assets.

With many trust tools out there, it’s important to be well-informed. Not all trusts are created equal. Deciding what’s right for you and your intentions might look different from your neighbor or coworkers. Sitting down with an attorney in New Jersey who has experience in estate planning and using trusts will give you a better perspective on how to best leverage these tools.

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