Check out this first video of the FEPLG Vlog! We will be sprinkling vlogs into our regularly scheduled blog content. This week, Kristin shares why consolidation is key to successful estate planning.
For LGBTQ families there some considerations regarding estate planning that you need to review. Depending on your relationship status, if you have kids, the state of past relationships, and changes in pronouns all can affect your estate plan. Although the 2015 Supreme Court decision established that tax treatment for married couples will be the same whether same sex or heterosexual, it doesn’t mean everything regarding your estate plan was resolved. An article from Mass Mutual’s blog highlights why LGBTQ families should establish and/or review their estate plan in their article, “Estate Planning for LGBTQ Couples”.
Married or Not – On June 26, 2015 when the Supreme Court made the monumental ruling that the Constitution guarantees a right to same-sex marriage. Many rights were now opened to couples in the LGBTQ community. A lot of the complexity surrounding estate planning was removed. Regardless if you decided to get married and/or chose not to marry because you don’t feel they need to in order to express your commitment, there are various estate planning areas to review.
Before we dive into today’s blog post, we want to take a moment to thank our Veterans for their service. We deeply appreciate the sacrifices you have made.
We recently provided a guide to great aging and caregiver resources that are on Mass Gov’s website. In honor of November being National Veterans and Military Families Month, we wanted to direct you to the Veterans Affairs website, and remind you of a couple areas you should look into on there.
Right when you land on the homepage you will see great resources to explore: ones related to healthcare like refilling and tracking your prescription or messaging your health care team, and others related to education, disability and records.
We know your first priority in life is always to protect and care for your family. Yet, there may be a day, that you can’t predict when you are unable to do so. The best way to be positive your family is protected whenever that day comes is to have an estate plan.
Estate planning when done right is not about documents and wills, it’s about your family. And to truly take care of your family you need estate planning beyond documents, you need an estate planning attorney that goes beyond simply creating documents. They need to understand the client and their family dynamics, they need to understand each asset the client owns, who controls it if you are disabled and who will receive it upon death, and the client’s goals, wishes and dreams. The attorney must communicate in plain English how the plan will achieve this holistic planning. Most importantly, your plan can’t be static, as you go through life you will experience changes and so too should your estate plan.
We are becoming more and more tied to our phones as they become increasingly useful in our lives. We can use them for communication, banking, photographing, taking notes, keeping our car insurance ID cards, and more. While you may be a little wary of how entwined in our lives and smartphones are becoming, you shouldn’t count them out. There are many useful purposes phones can serve and one you might consider, especially if you are struggling to save for retirement, are budgeting and savings apps.
It is a commonly known fact that the state of retirement is not looking good for Americans, most have under saved. If you want to read up on some stats, check out this article from The Street. Saving is hard and so is planning for retirement. But as mentioned, your smartphone might be the tool you need to start getting ahead in savings. Here some apps you might consider using:
If you’ve done some reading on our blog already or have done your homework before reading this, you may already have a solid grasp on the benefits of comprehensive and quality estate planning. And at Family Estate Planning Law Group, we work to make sure each estate plan is customized to fit any given family’s needs. Sometimes, that involves specific types of trusts that fulfill certain functions.
For example, what if you or someone in your family has a dependent who needs persistent attention because of a physical, intellectual, or mental disability and they receive government assistance for income, health care, or housing? In that case, there needs to be a different legal mechanism to protect that assistance while also allowing them to receive estate assets. This takes the form of a special needs trust (SNT).
Parents of a child with special physical or developmental needs know that many of the simple, everyday functions we take for granted are more complicated for their children and come with associated costs to help them with their standard of living. This can be compounded by the child being unable to manage their own funds because of their condition.
Aging itself is difficult and is something many prefer to avoid thinking about. To compound aging complications, there are also many financial issues like outliving your retirement funds, financial exploitation, among other things. There are several unique financial issues that LGBTQ couples face. An article from Next Avenue, “Financial Considerations For LGBTQ Couples As They Age”, gives advice for aging LGBTQ couples.
The first piece of advice Next Avenue gives, is that while it is important for everyone to establish an estate plan, it is even more critical for LGBTQ individuals. You need a plan that clearly states how your assets are to be managed and by whom when you pass. You do not want to die and leave your partner unprotected from probate or from family members who feel they have a better claim to your assets than your partner. You will want to make sure that there is no questioning your wishes for your estate when you pass. If the plan is for you and your partner to take care of the other in the wake of one’s passing, you need to ensure there are provisions to care for the long-term needs. An estate plan that is always up-to-date ensures your assets are left to the beneficiaries of your choice.
Many retirement blog posts these days talk about the dire situation that America is in regarding retirement. According to a survey conducted by Barron’s:
- 27% of Americans (not retired) have borrowed against their workplace retirement plan
- 27% of have accepted penalties to take money out.
- 30% of millennials say their student loans are preventing them from saving for retirement
- The 45-year-old Gen Xer who wants to retire at 64, has $166,328 saved and needs to save $798,000 more over the next 19 years
- 47% of Boomers are full of regret for not saving sooner
- and so on
In an article we wrote recently, we discussed the emotional aspect of retiring early, and how when it comes time to retire, losing the structure and growth you experience from working can be an uncomfortable thought. One woman realized that when she was ready to retire early, she struggled because a lot of her self-worth was tied to being a worker. So, instead of focusing on the gloom and doom of retirement, today we want to share about some ideas for what you can do during retirement whether you are retiring early or later in life, so as not to lose the fulfilment that work brought.
Part of aging includes changes in health. While these changes may not be fun, there some great e-sources you can capitalize on to make taking care of yourself in your older years easier. Senior Planet points us toward some of the best eHealth sources, from websites to mobile apps, in their article, “Top eHealth Resources”.
Personal Health Records – There are a couple great tools you can use to manage all of your health information in one central location. You can store information like doctor visits, diagnoses, prescriptions, test results, and more online and be able to share your records with anyone. Having a central location for this information online means you can easily access it and show it to your doctor, a family member, the pharmacist, or whoever else it may be pertinent to share your records with. As Senior Planet points out, having your personal health records centralized and easily shared enables you, your family, and your medical professionals to work as a team. Senior Planet recommends Healthvault for your table, like an iPad. This is a free app. Or WebMD’s PHR (personal health record) for your computer.
If you own your own business, the thought of retirement might be just a fleeting one, and you may wonder if you will ever retire, whether that be because you are financially able or mentally willing. It is easy to be entrenched in the business and foresee yourself working well past the typical retirement age. Interestingly, family businesses make up approximately 90% of all businesses in America, yet, for those who own their own business, planning for succession and retirement may not be as high of a priority as you may think. An article from MarketWatch, “Can Self-Employed People Ever Actually Retire?”, offers some interesting insight regarding the self-employed retiring.