The One Thing Every New Grandparent MUST Do As Soon as Possible

Congratulations on welcoming the newest addition to your family. Being a new grandparent changes everything — including how you approach your finances — and is one of the most joyous occasions in life. The excitement of a new baby — and all of the firsts that come with this bundle of joy — can grab all of your attention and focus. That being said, there is one thing that every new grandparent must do as soon as possible that is often overlooked. Specifically, every new grandparent should immediately create (or revise) an estate plan so that it includes your family’s newest generation.

Having an intentional financial strategy for incorporating your new grandchild’s future in your overall estate plan is an important part of addressing your growing family’s needs. Read More

Three Tips for Protecting Your Important Legal Paperwork in a Natural Disaster

The past few years have been no stranger to natural disasters. From multiple earthquakes, back-to-back hurricanes, and raging wildfires, the United States and abroad have suffered serious natural disasters. These acts of nature can devastate your life and your family. Who knows what the coming years will bring?

In addition to creating a disaster preparedness plan for your family, be sure to protect your legal documents during these events. Below are several tips to follow so that you can ensure your important paperwork is safe if your home is damaged or destroyed in a natural disaster. Read More

Is now the time to remodel your old trust?

There are several reasons why you should update your existing trust or perhaps your entire estate plan. While estate planning documents do not necessarily have a shelf life, they may not fulfill your goals when your circumstances change. Of course, having estate planning documents that are up-to-date is critical, but how do you know when you should make changes?

It is important to note that just because you have a trust in place does not mean you are bound to keep it as is; this is even true if the trust was inherited from someone else. Indeed, there is more than one way to make necessary changes: sometimes you can establish a new trust or simply revise the terms of an existing trust. Finally, making changes to an existing trust – and other estate planning documents – can help you save money and costs, and it may allow you to make better investments decisions. Read More

Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ

Most people understand that having some sort of an Estate Plan is a good thing. However, many of us don’t take the steps to have an estate plan prepared because we don’t understand the nuances between wills and trusts – and dying without either.

Here’s what will generally happen if you die, intestate (without a will or trust), with a will, and with a trust. For this example, we’re assuming you have children, but no spouse:

1. Intestate. If you should die intestate, your estate will go through probate and all the world will know what you owned, what you owed, and who got what. Your mortgage company, car loan company, and credit card companies will all seek payment on balances you owed at the time of your death.  Read More

The Silent Threat to Your Estate Plan

It is common knowledge that everyone needs to have an estate plan in place. Commonly, the focus is on assets, taxes, and any changes to legislation that may affect the security of your loved ones in the event of your incapacity or death. What many often forget, however, is that changes in family dynamics and circumstances can threaten even the most well thought out estate plan. This silent threat can easily keep your estate plan from actually working when it is truly needed. Below are several situations where updating an existing estate plan or creating a plan for the first time is necessary to protect your loved ones. Read More

Giving Thanks With Your Estate Plan

Estate planning covers more than just financial matters. Indeed, many use their estate plan to pass along their values as well as their wealth. One way to do this is to give thanks with your estate plan, by designating charitable giving or specific gifts that will help ensure your legacy. It is important, however, to balance your income and the needs of your beneficiaries with the available tax incentives.

While the general purpose of estate planning is to ensure you and your family are taken care of when most needed, you do not need to contain your estate planning to financial issues. Indeed, many individuals use estate planning to pass along family history and traditions through their giving. An estate plan may specify how a beneficiary can use their inheritance such as for studying abroad, embarking on a particular trip, or other values that are important to the giver. In addition, you can choose to give to a qualified charitable organization in your will so that the gift is distributed upon your death or incapacity. Giving to charity during your life or after you have gone can help significantly reduce federal estate and gift taxes and allows you to support charitable causes that are meaningful to you. Read More