Few people think of estate planning as a fun activity. In fact, most people put it off as long as possible. It's a bit like scheduling a dentist appointment: you know you should do it, and that it's good for you, but you end up coming up with one excuse after another not to make the call. You will do it tomorrow, you tell yourself, or maybe after the kids go on summer vacation. You will get to it eventually... just not today. There are a few common reasons why people delay estate planning.
After you make your last will and testament, all the hard work is done, right? Not exactly. Although making your will is an important step, it is just as important to make sure you store this critical legal document safely. You should also make sure certain key people, such as your executor, know where to find your will. With this in mind, here are some of the worst places to keep your will.
Leaving an adult child out of a will is a personal decision that is often fraught with emotion and difficulty. It is perfectly legal to disinherit a child, however, it is a big decision. As with any decision of this magnitude, it's important you're doing it for the right reasons. Here are a few things to consider.
Many people take a "set it and forget it" approach to estate planning. This is, they think their work is done once they make a will and other important estate documents. What few people realize is that an executor isn't just tasked with locating your will when you die. Your executor must also gather all your financial documents, including bank statements, retirement account information, life insurance documents, and other paperwork. Depending on the decedent's level of organization, this can be a daunting and sometimes even an impossible task.
No one wants to be the one to step in and tell mom or dad that it's time to stop driving. Driving is an activity that symbolizes independence and mobility. Because of this, some seniors tend to drive far longer than they should. On the other hand, you want your parent to be safe. You also want to ensure the safety of other drivers on the road.
When an elderly loved one requires ongoing care and assistance, it's common for family members to disagree about caregivers, the type and frequency of care, and whether the older loved one should remain at home or live in a residential care facility. Additionally, many families delay making these important decisions until an aging loved one is critically ill or unable to live independently. In these stressful times, family conflicts are far too frequent. The following disagreements are among the most common.
According to a 2014 survey cited by Forbes, fifty-one percent of Americans between the ages of 55 to 64 don't have an estate plan. In many cases, people scramble to put together an estate plan in the face of a sudden health crisis. Other times, they wait until they are seriously ill or debilitated to plan. Both scenarios can lead to problems.
When a trustee becomes incapacitated or dies, a successor trustee must take over. This makes the successor trustee responsible for fulfilling all of the trustee's obligations, including maintaining records of any income the trust receives and keeping records of any expenses paid. In certain cases, a successor trustee must also file income tax returns and open a bank account on behalf of the trust.
Today, many comprehensive estate plans include living trusts. Prepared properly, a living trust is a powerful estate planning document that allows you to change it throughout your lifetime. If you neglect to fund your trust, however, the trust may actually be completely ineffective. For your trust to work the way you intended, you need to "fund" it.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 15 percent of Americans report having been married more than once. Whether you're remarrying for the first or the fifth time, it's important to create an estate plan that protects your assets and your loved ones. Here are a few things to consider: