Estate Planning At Any Age

Estate Planning At Any Age

By definition, estate planning is a process designed to help you manage and preserve your assets while you are alive, and to conserve and control their distribution after your death according to your goals and objectives. But what estate planning means to you specifically depends on who you are. Your age, health, wealth, lifestyle, life stage, goals, and many other factors determine your particular estate planning needs. For example, you may have a small estate and may be concerned only that certain people receive particular things. A simple will is probably all you’ll need. Or, you may have a large estate, and minimizing any potential estate tax impact is your foremost goal. Here, you’ll need to use more sophisticated techniques in your estate plan, such as a trust. To help you understand what estate planning means to you, the following sections address some estate planning needs that are common among some very broad groups of individuals. Think of these suggestions as simply a point in the right direction, and then seek professional advice to implement the right plan for you. Over 18 Since incapacity can strike anyone at anytime, all adults over 18 should consider having: A durable power of attorney: This document lets you name someone to manage your property for you in case you become incapacitated and cannot do so. An advanced medical directive: The three main types of advanced medical directives are (1) a living will, (2) a durable power of attorney for health care (also known as a health-care proxy), and (3) a Do Not Resuscitate order. Be aware that not all states allow each...
ANNUAL FINANCIAL TO-DO LIST 2013

ANNUAL FINANCIAL TO-DO LIST 2013

ARE YOUR DUCKS IN A ROW FOR 2013?   YOUR ANNUAL FINANCIAL TO-DO LIST Things you can do before and for 2013. What financial, business or life priorities do you need to address for 2013? Now is a good time to think about the investing, saving or budgeting methods you could employ toward specific objectives. Some year-end financial moves may prove crucial to the pursuit of those goals as well. What can you do to lower your 2012 taxes? Before the year fades away, you have plenty of options. Here are a few that may prove convenient: *Make a charitable gift before New Year’s Day. You can claim the deduction on your 2012 return, provided you use Schedule A. The paper trail is important here. If you give cash, you need to document it. Even small contributions need to be demonstrated by a bank record, payroll deduction record, credit card statement, or written communication from the charity with the date and amount. Incidentally, the IRS does not equate a pledge with a donation. If you pledge $2,000 to a charity in December but only end up gifting $500 before 2012 ends, you can only deduct $500.1 Are you gifting appreciated securities? If you have owned them for more than a year, you will be in line to take a deduction for 100% of their fair market value and avoid capital gains tax that would have resulted from simply selling the stock, fund or bond and then donating those proceeds. (Of course, if your investment is a loser, then it might be better to sell it and donate the money so you can claim...
MY REASONS FOR LIFE INSURANCE

MY REASONS FOR LIFE INSURANCE

IT’S SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST MONEY WHEN YOU DIE From my experience over the past 12 years, I’ve seen all sorts of reasons for not having life insurance. I’m healthy, I don’t need it. It’s too expensive. My family would help out. I’ll get it when I’m older.  Even worse, is those that say, I’ve been meaning to do that. Or, I’m pretty sure I have some at work. The truth is, that if you have family that relies on you to provide for them, life insurance is an absolute must. It protects your loved ones if the worst happened, and you weren’t  around tomorrow. It’s important. Important enough to take some time to make sure that you’re properly covered. It’s important because it can provide your family with a tool that gives them the freedom to deal with the loss of a spouse, a Mom, or a Dad.  It’s a tool that allows them to take extra time off work, seek counseling, go on vacation to get away for a while, or just the peace of mind of not having to worry about paying bills.  It’s so much more than just money you get when you die. A while back, a pretty amazing person that I know, went through a sudden loss of a spouse. She wrote the letter below to express her feelings and hoped that it might make an impact on at least one family, on the real value of planning and insurance. I am a new widow.  I am a young widow.  The love of my life, my wonderful husband, Martin, died suddenly on February 15, 2011.  He...