Tips for Making Any Retirement Goals Stick

Planning ahead for your retirement is important in conjunction with your estate planning. A study by Fidelity Investments recently identified that up to one-third of people hope to make financial resolutions they can stick to. 

There are six different tips that you can follow to ensure that your retirement goals stay on track. These include:

  • Breaking your goal into smaller chunks.
  • Learning where you currently stand by assessing how much money is already in your retirement account and how much more you will need to accomplish your estate planning goals. You can use Fidelity’s retirement score calculator to assess your retirement savings needs as they stand now.
  • Write down your goal and post it somewhere that you can see it every day. Research shows that this increases your chances of success.
  • Share your goal with a person you trust, like a relative, spouse, trusted advisor or close friend.
  • Track your progress and make it into a game. Checking your savings on a regular basis can help motivate you to continue with the progress you’ve already made.
  • Put your savings on auto pilot by signing up for an automatic withholding out of your paycheck, either through an arrangement with your financial institution or through your 401(k) plan at work.

Employing all of these tips together dramatically increases the chances that you’ll be successful when setting a new retirement goal. Staying on top of your retirement planning will allow you to envision the future more successfully and have less anxiety about the prospect of leaving the workforce.

Why You Need Advanced Planning If You Are an Art Collector

Being an art collector can be a hobby that you work on over the course of your life. Many art collectors discover, however, that their children may not be interested in the valuable collection that has been amassed. This presents the unique quandary when it comes to estate planning for the art collector. As with any other major type of collection, advanced planning can be extremely beneficial because it gives you the most opportunities to determine the best way to pass on your assets. Gifting to charity or museums are common things that an art collector might consider but having this documented years in advance will give you a clear perspective over how this impacts your state and benefits others. art collection estate planning

Consulting with an estate planning lawyer is strongly recommended if you have a large art collection. Special considerations must be applied to any large collection of materials particularly art which may have amassed a great deal of value over a long period of time. Considering the current capital gains environment, talking to a lawyer who is experienced in helping you determine a plan for passing on these materials is strongly recommended. This gives you the greatest peace of mind and the clearest plan about which museums or other organizations can benefit significantly from your donation and how this impacts your own tax implications as well.

Any other special collections you need to include in your estate planning? Schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer as soon as possible to discuss the benefits of thinking well in advance about your planning opportunities. Your art likely holds a special place in your heart and thinking carefully about the best way to manage it going forward gives you more opportunities to approach your planning with an open mind.

Here’s What to Cover in Your Mid-Year Estate Planning Analysis

It’s the middle of the year which seems like a great time to mentally check out and go on vacation. However, it’s appropriate to conduct a mid-year estate planning checklist. Having a consultation with your New Jersey estate planning attorney is one way to ensure that all of your materials are still on track and cover your unique needs from an estate planning perspective. Review any trust agreements and your existing will. 

Over the course of a year and even in the last six months, your professional and your personal life could have changed dramatically. The next step is to consider whether the fiduciaries you’ve named are still appropriate. Significant responsibilities are aligned with your trustees and executors so they should be people that you trust. Likewise, review your financial powers of attorney and determine whether the beneficiary designations listed on your retirement accounts and your life insurance policies are still appropriate.

Any existing insurance coverage should be evaluated. If major life changes have occurred such as the birth of a child or a divorce, it may be appropriate to update some or all of your estate planning materials. One big mistake that people make is failing to fund a trust. During your mid-year estate planning review, you may wish to discuss your opportunities to fund a trust with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer.

Talking to an attorney early on will help you identify your short term as well as your long-term plans as it relates to your estate. Passing on as much wealth as possible to a future generation or to charities may be one of your goals for minimizing taxes and determining appropriate vehicles for passing on this material are common reasons why you may wish to consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer.

New Study Shows that Retirees Give Adult Children up to $6800 Every Year

 

Under the gift tax, certain amounts of money can be given as an individual or as a married couple without the consequences of direct taxes. Whether this was a formal part of your estate plan or not, it can be one way that you help to support children as well as move assets outside of your estate while you’re still alive.

If you have a plan to pass on assets to your loved one, you may be eligible to take advantage of the gift tax exclusion and pass on assets while you’re still alive to minimize the potential complications and tax ramifications. It turns out that one study recently conducted by Merrill Lynch indicates that up to 48% of Americans at least aged 50 will overextend themselves financially in order to assist adult children with living a more comfortable life. The average amount the retirees are giving to their adult children is $6,800 per year. adult children

Of those individuals who were passing on money to their loved ones while they were still alive, nearly 80% of them felt that it was the right thing to do. Half of those retirees felt that giving money to family members was something they had an obligation to do. When compared with other family members, it was the adult children who came out receiving the most from a retired loved one when compared with parents, siblings, and grandchildren. If you have intentions to pass on assets to a future generation or if you have questions about the best strategies for doing so, you need to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney as soon as possible.

Various strategies can help you accomplish all of your estate planning goals, even giving to adult children in a way that is responsible and minimizes tax consequences.

Are You Making These Big Estate Planning Mistakes?

The most troubling aspect of mistakes made in the estate planning process is that it’s your beneficiaries who have to deal with the consequences of poor planning or no planning at all. Once you pass away, it is your loved ones who have to step in and manage your estate and any confusion associated with it. estate planning mistakes

The good news is that many of these mistakes can easily be avoided by consulting with an experienced estate planning lawyer early on. Having a relationship with someone you can trust can benefit you tremendously when you have questions about how your shifting life circumstances will influence your future.

Here are some of the most common mistakes that people make when it comes to considering the future of their own needs while they are still alive or passing on their assets and legacy after they pass away:

  • Not updating beneficiaries on life insurance policies or retirement accounts
  • Setting up a trust but failing to fund it
  • Using a do-it-yourself will that is not legally valid
  • Not telling anyone where the most recent version of your will is stored
  • Failing to consider how your assets may be impacted by long-term care needs in the future
  • Not thinking about estate planning and retirement planning as a joint process.

Setting up a meeting now with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can help you uncover the strategies that will help you accomplish your goals and give you the peace of mind that comes with advanced planning. Don’t hesitate to talk to an attorney who can help you navigate these complex and extremely important situations.

Two Part Post on Real Estate and Your Estate: Part Two

In general, probate refers to the legal proceedings by which your assets are analyzed and then distributed by the court. Everything that you own, including your land is distributed according to the MS intestate statutes. It can take up to one year for a probate case to make its way through the court system and it can also be extremely expensive as a result of this delay and the costs of an estate attorney. Probate is also a very public process which is one of the primary reasons that if you intend to pass on real estate to your loved ones, you should do so by using a will, trust, or other estate planning tool. real estate probate

Consulting with a lawyer sooner rather than later will give you a broad overview of all the things you need to consider in the estate planning process for your real estate. If you have a vacation property or a primary home, the most important question to ask is whether or not it is designated as tenancy-in-common or joint tenancy. In a joint tenancy situation, two individuals own the property with equal shares. This means that if one person passes away, the ownership of the property is automatically transferred to the other owner without a will. This is classified as right of survivorship. All that is necessary in order to retain ownership is to get a copy of the death certificate recorded for the deceased joint tenant.

Common tenancy, on the other hand, means that two or more individuals own a property in varying portions. Joint tenancy means that equal shares are maintained by individuals at the same time but common tenancy can occur where owners are added or removed from the property’s co-ownership.

Tenants-in-common do not have survivorship rights unless the deceased’s will classifies that his or her interest in such a property is to be divided amongst surviving owners. Otherwise the share of the property goes to his or her real estate and a will can direct where that share will go. After an individual inherits a property, he or she is subject to whatever mortgage exists. That person needs to put together a will as quickly as possible in the event that he or she were to become incapacitated or pass away. The heir can then choose to sell or to keep the property.

 

Will You Still Need Estate Planning if the Estate Tax is Abolished?

President Trump’s campaign platform expected an abolishment of the estate tax. This could lead some individuals to think that they won’t need estate planning in the event that he is able to follow through on his promises. The current estate tax sits at 40% and Trump intends to repeal it. The estate tax laws that were in place for 2017 were actually established four years ago. These allow exemptions of up to $5.49 million for an individual and $10.98 million for a couple in 2017. 

When a spouse passes away and leaves everything to their spouse, there is also no tax collected. This means that repealing the estate tax would only have significant implications for those individuals with a net worth higher than $11 million. This is why whether or not there is a federal estate tax in place, you will always need the essentials when it comes to estate planning. remember that estate planning is about more than what happens when it becomes time to pass on your property to individuals you love after you pass away.

It is also about establishing important documents like powers of attorney and healthcare proxies so that individuals are equipped to make decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated. With or without an estate tax in place, you will need to approach the estate planning process to consider your individual issues such as your personal property, management of your pets, assisting with special needs, planning for a child, handling your digital afterlife and many other issues associated with the estate planning process.

 

The Biggest Mistakes That Executors Make

Who you choose to serve as the executor of your personal estate is an important selection. It is one that needs to be made with careful planning and after a consultation with your estate planning lawyer. Unfortunately, executors can make mistakes in the management of your estate and this could add to additional frustration or anxiety for your loved ones after you’ve passed away.

This is why it is essential to identify someone who is not only comfortable with managing your estate but who will also have the interest to do so. Serving as an estate executor is an important responsibility. Some of the most common mistakes associated with executors include:

  • Not understanding the probate process and failing to hire an attorney.
  • Having no clear outcome in mind such as settling with heirs, maximizing the estate value, paying off the taxes or getting peace of mind.
  • Waiting too long to market your real estate.
  • Securing and maintaining real estate without understanding the responsibilities.
  • Choosing friends instead of experienced professionals to do the right job such as a probate administration attorney.
  • Not submitting paperwork or documents in an appropriate time period.

All of these can have significant ramifications for the beneficiaries of your estate. It is important that the person you select or choose as your executor has confidence in their own abilities to manage it and has the time and interest to do so.

 

Estate Planning From Inventory to Structure

Once you know that you need a solid estate plan to help you accomplish your goals, the next step is to conduct an inventory. You have to know what you have and what might be included in your estate before you attend a meeting with your estate planning lawyer. Many people find themselves overwhelmed by the prospect of putting together an estate plan, but the good news is that it does not have to be difficult. estate planning lawyer NJ09

Make sure you consider the following in putting together an inventory:

  • Recent statements from your brokerage, retirement, and bank accounts
  • All liabilities, including your mortgage
  • All physical assets like cars and jewelry inside your home
  • All your insurance policies, including info on death benefits and cash values
  • Reference all the locations of your safety deposit boxes

After meeting with your estate planning, you’ll have a better sense of what you need to do in order to make the most of your estate plan. It’s critical that you follow through since your estate plan is only as valuable as the structure and the follow-up you implement. This means that if you have set up a trust, you need to fund it properly. You need to make sure that any property you have mentioned in your estate plan has the right titles, too. These might seem like small steps, but they actually matter a lot if something were to happen to you. Taking the right action now makes it easier to stay on top of the necessary changes in your plan overall, too.

Ready to talk about how to make the most of estate planning? Schedule a consultation with a New Jersey estate planning lawyer now to learn more about what you need to know.

Estate Planning for Younger Families

Many younger families put off the process of engaging in estate planning or consulting with an attorney because they think they are too healthy, too young or simply cannot afford it. Others may have trouble thinking about what might happen to their family members if something were to happen to them. This is particularly true of parents of new children. NJ estate planning

While no individual is expecting to pass away while their family is still relatively young, planning for the possibility is responsible and can give you a great deal of peace of mind about what would happen to your family if something happened to you. Some of the most important steps involved in estate planning for a young family include:

  • Naming a guardian for your minor children
  • Naming a trustee or executor for your estate
  • Naming someone to manage your children’s inheritance
  • Outlining instructions for the distributions of your assets
  • Planning for disability
  • Reviewing your insurance needs
  • Having a plan in place that can be adjusted based on your individual concerns and needs

Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney will give you a place to turn when you have questions and ensure that you have an estate plan that is evolving with relevant state and federal laws as well as your unique family needs. Major family events such as the birth of a new child, a divorce or a remarriage can all trigger unique estate planning consequences and having an attorney who is already familiar with you and your family can help you adjust quickly so that your family is always protected. Planning ahead for disability as well as other health insurance concerns are some additional benefits of estate planning that go beyond thinking about what might happen when you pass away.