It is a common assumption that your last will and testament determines who gets your stuff when you die. What you may not know is the vast majority of your assets may be transferred to others regardless of the instructions in your will.
A good estate plan is every bit as useful during your lifetime as it is at your death. No matter your age or how much (or how little) money you have, there are three essential estate planning documents you should have.
Knowing which assets to give away to your beneficiaries can save your estate and your beneficiaries big tax bills, even if you have a small net worth. If you plan on making a gift to charity from your estate, you can be even more tax savvy with your giving.
One of the most common estate planning mistakes is a plan that is implemented incorrectly. Your estate plan is only worth the paper it is printed on unless you follow through on titling your assets correctly and updating your beneficiary designations.
If you own real estate in different states, you may be leaving a mess of nightmarish proportions for your executor (the person who oversees and distributes your assets when you die). Here’s how to reduce the headache.
It may surprise you that proceeds from retirement accounts and insurance policies are not divided according to the terms in your will. Instead, these assets pass directly to the beneficiaries you named on the account.
When you give to charity, you make an investment. By doing a little homework, you can be sure your gift makes the best possible return on investment. While giving is its own reward, giving wisely seems to double that reward.
Donor Advised Funds offer the charitably inclined new flexibility for managing gifts to charity. By funding an account, donors receive an immediate tax deduction for their contribution and gain the flexibility to direct payouts to charity on their own timetable.
Without a financial plan, your investments are controlling your dreams, not the other way around. You need a blueprint for your financial dreams to come true. That blueprint in sound financial planning is called an Investment Policy Statement (IPS).