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Presented by MidAmerica Financial Resources. You can reach them at 618.548.4777 or greg.malan@lpl.com or on the web at www.mid-america.us

 

Will You Avoid These Estate Planning Mistakes?

Will You Avoid These Estate Planning Mistakes?

Too many wealthy households commit these common blunders.

Provided by MidAmerica Financial Resources

 

Many people plan their estates diligently, with input from legal, tax, and financial professionals. Others plan earnestly but make mistakes that can potentially affect both the transfer and destiny of family wealth. Here are some common and not-so-common errors to avoid.

 

Doing it all yourself. While you could write your own will or create a will, it can be risky to do so. Sometimes simplicity has a price. Look at the example of Aretha Franklin. The “Queen of Soul’s” estate, valued at $80 million, may be divided under a handwritten or “holographic” will. Her wills were discovered among her personal effects. Provided that the will can be authenticated, it will be probated under Michigan law, but such unwitnessed documents are not necessarily legally binding.1

 

Failing to update your will or trust after a life event. Relatively few estate plans are reviewed over time. Any major life event should prompt you to review your will, trust, or other estate planning documents. So should a major life event that affects one of your beneficiaries.

 

Appointing a co-trustee. Trust administration is not for everyone. Some people lack the interest, the time, or the understanding it requires, and others balk at the responsibility and potential liability involved. A co-trustee also introduces the potential for conflict.

 

Being too vague with your heirs about your estate plan. While you may not want to explicitly reveal who will get what prior to your passing, your heirs should understand the purpose and intentions at the heart of your estate planning. If you want to distribute more of your wealth to one child than another, write a letter to be presented after your death that explains your reasoning. Make a list of which heirs will receive collectibles or heirlooms. If your family has some issues, this may go a long way toward reducing squabbles as well as the possibility of legal costs eating up some of this-or-that heir’s inheritance.

 

Leaving a trust unfunded (or underfunded). Through a simple, one-sentence title change, a married couple can fund a revocable trust with their primary residence. As an example, if a couple retitles their home from “Heather and Michael Smith, Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship” to “Heather and Michael Smith, Trustees of the Smith Revocable Trust dated (month)(day), (year).” They are free to retitle myriad other assets in the trust’s name.1

 

Ignoring a caregiver with ulterior motives. Very few people consider this possibility when creating a will or trust, but it does happen. A caregiver harboring a hidden agenda may exploit a loved one to the point where they revise estate planning documents for the caregiver’s financial benefit.

    

The best estate plans are clear in their language, clear in their intentions, and updated as life events demand. They are overseen through the years with care and scrutiny, reflecting the magnitude of the transfer of significant wealth.

MidAmerica Financial Resources may be reached at 618.548.4777 or greg.malan@lpl.com www.mid-america.us

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Citations.

1 – detroitnews.com/story/news/local/oakland-county/2019/05/20/lawyer-says-3-handwritten-wills-found-aretha-franklin-home/3747674002/ [5/20/19]

Insurance Needs when Married with Children

Insurance Needs when Married with Children
Considering coverage for your household.

Provided by MidAmerica Financial Resources

 

A growing family, by definition, means growing financial obligations – both in the present and in the future. Raising children can increase your insurance needs and heightens the urgency for being properly prepared.

 

Auto. When a child becomes a new driver, one option is to add the teenager to the parents’ policy. You may want to discuss with your auto insurer ways to reduce the additional premium that accompanies a new driver.1

 

Home. You should periodically review your homeowner’s policy for three primary reasons.

 

A growing family generally accumulates increasing amounts of personal belongings. Think of each child’s toys, clothes, electronic equipment, etc. Moreover, household income tends to rise during this time, which means that jewelry, art, and other valuables may be among your growing personal assets.

 

The second reason is that the costs of rebuilding – and debris removal – may have risen over time, necessitating an increase in insurance coverage.

 

Lastly, with growing wealth, you may want to raise liability coverage, or if you do not have an umbrella policy, consider adding it now. Umbrella insurance is designed to help protect against the financial risk of personal liability.

 

Health. With your first child, be sure to change your health care coverage to a family plan. If you and your spouse have retained separate plans, you may want to evaluate which plan has a better cost-benefit profile. Think about whether now is the appropriate time to consolidate coverage into one plan.

 

Disability. If your family is likely to suffer economically because of the loss of one spouse’s income, then disability insurance serves an important role in replacing income that may allow you to meet living expenses without depleting savings.

 

Remember, however, the information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult a professional with legal or tax experience for specific information regarding your individual situation.

 

If you already have disability insurance, consider increasing the income replacement benefit since your income and standard of living may now be higher than when you bought the policy.

 

Life. With children, the amount of future financial obligations increases. The cost of raising children and funding their college education can be expensive. Should one of the spouses die, the loss of income might severely limit the future quality of life for your surviving children and spouse. Not only does death eliminate the future income of one spouse permanently, but the future earning power of the surviving spouse might be diminished as single parenthood may necessitate fewer working hours and turning down promotions.

 

The amount of life insurance coverage needed to fund this potential financial loss is predicated on, among other factors, lifestyle, debts, ages and number of children, and anticipated future college expenses.

 

Several factors will affect the cost and availability of life insurance, including age, health, and the type and amount of insurance purchased. Life insurance policies have expenses, including mortality and other charges. If a policy is surrendered prematurely, the policyholder also may pay surrender charges and have income tax implications. You should consider determining whether you are insurable before implementing a strategy involving life insurance. Any guarantees associated with a policy are dependent on the ability of the issuing insurance company to continue making claim payments.

 

Some couples decide to have one parent stay at home to care for the children full time. The economic value of the stay-at-home parent is frequently overlooked. Should the stay-at-home parent die, the surviving parent would likely need to pay for a range of household and childcare services, and potentially, suffer the loss of future income due to the demands of single parenthood.

 

Extended Care. The earlier you consider extended care choices, the better. However, the financial demands of more immediate priorities, like saving for your children’s college education or your retirement, will take precedence if resources are limited.

MidAmerica Financial Resources may be reached at 618.548.4777 or greg.malan@lpl.com www.mid-america.us

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities and advisory services offered through LPL Financial, a Registered Investment Adviser, Member FINRA/SIPC.
MidAmerica Financial Resources and Malan Financial Group are separate and unrelated companies to LPL.

Citations.

1 – cars.usnews.com/cars-trucks/car-insurance/average-cost-of-car-insurance [4/12/19]

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