Many people face a very difficult situation when a loved one passes away. They often deal with grief, loneliness, and sometimes anger. Unfortunately, the process of managing and distributing that person's estate and assets doesn't make the situation any easier.
When people think about protecting assets and providing for family in their estate plan, they often think about real property and end-of-life care decisions. These are certainly critical to protect, but there are other elements of an estate plan that warrant protection, even though they are intangible.
The situation: Our client retired, then went through a divorce. After remarrying, he submitted a beneficiary change form to his retirement plan administrator, naming his second wife as the new survivor beneficiary of his retirement account. The plan administrator never communicated that this change could not be made after his retirement date, which had long since passed. After he passed away, the benefit was paid to the first wife, but mailed to the second wife. It was then that they realized there was an error in the administration of the plan that needed to be addressed.
When people think about estate planning, they typically think about the plans that protect properties, investments, and inheritances for children.
The recent federal tax overhaul has had a significant impact on the estate tax.
Financial matters are a critical component to every estate plan, but there are numerous non-financial decisions that should also be made. If you are the parent of minor children, it's time to think about nominating a guardian.
News channels have been reporting the massive rise in the popularity and value of cryptocurrency, for example "Bitcoin." Cryptocurrency is virtual money that is not backed by the government and is typically not held by banks or other traditional financial institutions.
Many people overlook the importance of estate planning. According to a recent study from BMO Wealth management, 52 percent of American adults do not have a will, 40 percent have not discussed their estate with their family, and only 28 percent are aware of their parents' wishes regarding their estate.