So, welcome to 2021! I wish each of you who reads this the very best that this Fresh Slate has to offer. At the same time, I also want to implore you get your financial house in order. Having advised families for over two decades, I have seen it all. Over the past two years, my family has had our share of challenging times. In late 2018, my wife Kathy was hit head on by a drunk driver and, by the grace of God and Volvo, she walked away. In 2019, my daughter Megan was diagnosed with retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer, and as of 9/18/19, she has been cancer free. This past week, Megan & Kathy were on the road to Philadelphia for a follow up visit with renowned oncologist Dr. Carol Shields. At 5:30AM, on the New Jersey Turnpike, somebody slammed into them at a high rate of speed on a pitch black highway. Both walked away. If 2020 taught us anything, life can change in a blink, so please have a plan.
For all their careful planning, never thought it could end this way
You may receive some estate planning advice that says “write a will, get it notarized, etc.” You already knew how to do that. What you need is solid financial advice before you get into the mechanics of creating the binding document that will achieve your goals. You should discuss your circumstances with a financial advisor and attorney before putting anything on paper.
I just want to say I love you, And make sure you feel it everyday
It is imperative to go into the estate meeting with your advisor ready to talk about the following items:
List your assets and liabilities - Get everything down on paper, including cars, homes, high value jewelry, stocks, retirement accounts -- anything you own that is worth a significant amount of money. Now, list your liabilities, debts, loans, mortgages, and business credit lines. You’ll also want to note insurance policies and other benefits.
List your goals for your estate plan - Think about how you want your assets distributed and to whom. Do you want to support your favorite charity in perpetuity? Do you want to help your grandkids through college? Do you want to consider including provisions regarding your care should you become incapacitated? Whatever your wishes, make sure you are very clear.
Consider your family structure - Do you have stepchildren and ex-spouses? Have you been caring for any foster children? Have you been caring for a grandchild, niece, or nephew? With the help of a financial planner and an attorney, you can structure a will or trust that accounts for everyone you wish to provide for. The more clear and specific you can be the better, as you will reduce the amount of confusion among your family. Otherwise everyone who thinks they deserve something from your estate may try to extract it in probate.
'Cause if today had been my last chance, it's just something I wanted to say
Revocable Trusts in Estate Planning
Not all the discussions have to involve the distribution of assets via a will after you are gone. You may also discuss setting up living wills and trusts. Your lawyer can create a document that will place your assets into a trust that you can control, or that you can turn over to someone else to control. While you are alive, you can change the terms of the trust.
You can specify in the trust what happens to your assets if you become incapacitated or you die. The trustee (the person to whom you ceded control of the trust) will make decisions on your behalf. Once you die, the trust becomes irrevocable. The trustee will distribute your assets and pay off any debt, much like a will.
There are many factors to consider when creating a will or trust. Before diving into the estate planning process, you should consult with a seasoned financial planner and estate planning lawyer. They will help you make sure you’ve covered all the bases and do much more than simply fill out paperwork.
Authored by: Rob and Liam Armstrong
"Sirens" Written by: Keith Moseley
Lyrics © Emi Music Publishing
Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind
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