Understanding Financial Powers of Attorney – Are They a “License to Steal”?

Understanding Financial Powers of Attorney – Are They a “License to Steal”?

A financial power of attorney is a valuable legal document that ensures that your financial matters will continue to be handled – should you become incapacitated and unable to do so yourself.  However, placed into the wrong hands, these documents can become a license to steal. Understanding Financial Powers of Attorney – Are They a “License to Steal”? In your power of attorney, you’re called the “principal” and the person you select to have authority over your finances is called the “agent” (or “attorney-in-fact”). A general power of attorney allows your selected agent to do everything that you could do with

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Life (and Death) Happens: Why a Plan Is So Important

Growing up as the youngest of seven children I was surrounded by many maternal figures. The age difference between me and my oldest sister is sixteen years. In addition to the love from my parents, my siblings made sure I had everything I needed – everything except a plan for the unthinkable. At 10 years old, life was “normal.” I was doing well, going to school and hanging out with my friends. My childhood home was in the suburbs of Palm Desert, Calif. My siblings and I really didn’t want for anything. My father owned his own contracting business and

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How to Avoid Probate Litigation After Death

How to Avoid Probate Litigation After Death

    If you have given any thought about to whom you want to give your belongings after your death, you will likely hire an estate lawyer to draft legal documents to carry out those intentions.  Because of the formality of the estate planning process, we all somehow assume that we can easily check that difficult task off our to-do list after we sign those documents. How to Avoid Probate Litigation After Death But Not So Fast! If you haven’t told your family your specific intentions, or discussed with them what possessions they would like to receive, they may not follow

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Money Perils Facing Widows

Tips for those grieving and those who wish to help

A fascinating, unsettling survey shows that many widows run into serious financial difficulties after their husbands die — and the problems go far beyond not having enough money to live on. Money Perils Facing Widows Mathew Greenwald & Associates’ Survey of Recent Widows raises red flags that all couples over 50 should know and deal with before it’s too late for them. That’s particularly true if the husband handles most of the household’s investments and financial planning. Money Perils Facing Widows What the Survey Discovered The survey, conducted for the Women’s Institute for a Secure Retirement (WISER) and funded by the American Council of Life Insurers, interviewed

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General Estate Planning Tax Issues

General Estate Planning Tax Issues

Estate planning is that unique time when death and taxes come together. The game plan for many people is to give more of their money to their heirs when they pass and less of it to the government. Here’s a simple overview so you can be in the know. General Estate Planning Tax Issues The federal government assesses a tax on the assets or things you own that are transferred to others. If the transfer occurs while you’re alive, any tax applicable is called a gift tax. If it happens after your death, it’s called an estate tax, which is where

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Why Have An Estate Plan?

Why Have An Estate Plan?

A recent study showed that in today's economy, more and more people see estate planning as "discretionary" - something that can be put off until times are better. Unfortunately, disaster doesn't know the difference between a bullish or bearish stock market, an employed versus unemployed person, or a younger individual versus an older individual. Simply put, the benefits of having a current, up-to-date estate plan far outweigh what happens if you don’t. Let's start with addressing what an estate plan does. An estate plan helps to document your preferences and instructions with regard to your financial affairs and more in

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Last Will and Testament Importance

Last Will and Testament Importance

Did you know that only 35% of Americans have a Last Will and Testament, and only 29% have financial or healthcare power of attorney documents?  Some reasons offered by the study for not having these important documents are listed below: Last Will and Testament Importance 1 in 5 people (20%) thought that their assets would automatically transfer to their spouse or family Another 20% thought it was too expensive 11% didn’t believe it was necessary 9% thought it just took too much time Dying Without a Will Each state has its own laws that govern what happens to your property and your

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Death and Family Hunt for Hidden Assets

Saving Money After Retirement

Where are you hiding assets? Are they stored away in a locked trunk in your attic? Are they located in boxes stacked on the back wall of your moldy basement? Or did you pile your valuable art and antiques in an off–site storage unit located two towns over from your house? Death and Family Hunt for Hidden Assets Do you have several passbook bank accounts from various banks scattered in the four towns you once lived in or three 401K Plans from prior employment? Have you hidden jewelry in tattered shoeboxes in the back of a third floor closet or in

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Include Next Generation in Estate Planning Process

Include Next Generation in Estate Planning Process

Include Next Generation in Estate Planning Process If you think you have run out of things to talk about with your adult kids, how about a worthwhile chat about incapacity and death? That’s certainly going to get their attention and a photo worthy reaction…usually a wide-eyed look that says “it’s time to head for the hills!” Include Next Generation in Estate Planning Process   We need, however, to ensure that our next of kin are fully prepared and understand what we want should we become incapacitated or die. There are many things we can all do to help the next generation.

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