Approximately half of America’s population over the age of 16 is unmarried. While much of the discussion involving estate planning focuses on married couples, this topic is just as important for a single person. In fact, many times it is even more important that a single person have a well-coordinated estate plan. This is because the default laws governing estates often work poorly for people without a spouse and may not adequately provide for a significant other or unmarried partner. Having a cohesive and well-drafted estate plan will ensure that you protect and provide for those you truly care about upon your death. Read More
So you have done the hard work of establishing an estate plan. Good for you! However, you still have serious work to do to ensure that the strategy you have selected will maximize your peace of mind and protect your legacy.
Estate plans should be like living, breathing creations that reflect the changes in your life. Your life can and will change due to new births, children getting older, and other shifts in the family; changes to your investment portfolio, career and business; and changes to your health, where you live, and your core values. Likewise, external events, such as new tax legislation passed in your state or the development of a novel financial instrument, can throw your plan off track or open the door to new opportunities. Read More
People often set up bank accounts or real estate so that they own it jointly with a spouse or other family member. The appeal of joint tenancy is that when one owner dies, the other will automatically inherit the property without it having to go through probate. However, joint ownership can also cause unintended consequences and complications. Read More
A will puts you in charge of directing others on your wishes and distribution of assets upon your death. Without a will or other estate plan – referred to as intestacy – you have no control and your state’s rules determine who gets what after your death. Even if you have a trust, jointly owned property, or have named beneficiaries on your insurance, a will is important, even as just a “backup” plan. Read More
People often set up bank accounts and real estate so that they own it jointly with a spouse or other family member. The appeal of joint tenancy is that when one owner dies, the other automatically inherits the property by right of survivorship, without the property having to go through probate. Joint ownership of property is perceived to be easy because bank accounts can be opened as joint accounts and when buying real estate, title can simply be taken as joint tenants. Read More