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It’s often the case that the most critical conversations are some of the most challenging ones to have. If you plan on discussing long term care with your parent or family member this year, it can help to be prepared. After all, this conversation will need to resolve many questions including how the care will be funded, who will be granted decision making responsibilities, and how your loved one will fund the associated costs.

# 1 – Do Not Hesitate to Have this Conversation

There are some vital statistics to understand about the care of an elderly loved one, First, no matter how many children a person has, one child is often tasked with providing the majority of care. Additionally, the challenges faced by adult caregivers has been long recorded. After all, caregivers commonly work long hours. Due to these challenges, it is in your best interest to have an estate planning conversation with your elderly loved one as soon as is reasonable.

If you like murder mysteries and went to the movies this holiday season, there’s a good chance that you saw the film, Knives Out. So far, the film has brought in 70 million dollars in ticket sales and received substantial critical acclaim. Behind the story that makes this film intriguing is a backdrop of estate planning. While the film gets some things correct about estate planning, it gets other things wrong. 

# 1 – “Will Readings” Are Not Common 

During a critical scene, the surviving family gathers to hear the deceased patriarch’s will read. During this reading, an estate planning attorney sits behind a text and reads out the terms of the deceased man’s will. In reality, while many believe that there is a “reading of the will” after a person passes away, this does not occur in real life. Some people are surprised and others even disappointed when they find out will readings don’t exist.

Several facets of estate planning law have made this an excellent time to create a powerful estate plan. After all, low-interest rates and high exemption thresholds for things like estate taxes and lifetime gives have allowed more people to pass on wealth in a powerful way. Congress also passed legislation at the end of 2019 that substantially changes estate planning for retirement accounts. Due to these and several other factors, it is worth reviewing the terms of your estate plan this year. This article discusses just some of the things you should consider when reviewing your estate plan in 2020.

# 1 – Low-Interest Rates Make Some Transactions Ideal

Interest rates are currently lows, which offers many estate planning advantages for families with high net worths. So far in 2020, the Internal Revenue Service imposes minimum interest rates between 1.6% to 2.07% based on the type of transaction involved. 

Irrevocable trusts provide the trust’s creator with certain protections. Despite the advantages that these trusts provide, trust creators must give up any control over assets that are placed within the trust. This article reviews 4 important things you must remember about irrevocable trusts in case you intend on making them part of your estate plan.

# 1 – How Irrevocable Trusts Function

Irrevocable trusts refer to trusts where the terms cannot be modified or altered after they are finalized. Instead, the person who creates the trust transfers their ownership of the assets in the trust to the control of the trust. Many estate plans make use of irrevocable trusts in combination with other estate planning documents. Placing assets in an irrevocable trust means that the assets are not subject to estate taxes. These assets are also shielded from creditors. In understanding how these trusts function, it helps to know what three parties are involved:

In December 2019, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act was launched. Among the changes introduced by the Act, one of the most notable developments is that stretch IRAs have been eliminated. “Stretch” IRAs let a beneficiary gradually withdraw the balance from an IRA throughout that person’s life. As such, the Act will result in substantial changes for people who want to pass on assets in retirement accounts to their children. 

# 1 – Despite Tax Ramifications, Consider Roth Conversions

Due to the SECURE Act, many people are considering Roth conversions. This option is most suitable for people who earn high incomes. Roth conversions are worth consideration because, under traditional IRA models, distributions from these accounts are taxed as ordinary income at a high rate. Roth conversions, however, can also reduce the amount of an estate that is exposed to taxes. Roth conversions do not come without their risks. For example, Roth conversions are taxed on conversion, which can present a challenge.

Even the most cautious and informed people sometimes end up making estate planning mistakes that result in unintended consequences for loved ones. A trust might have become outdated due to the introduction of new laws. Or, unforeseen life events might have left a person’s estate planning goals impossible. As a result, it is vital to understand that it is possible to remedy these problems. This article reviews some of the ways in which estate planning mistakes can be remedied.

Irrevocable Trusts Can Sometimes Be Revised

One of the hallmarks of irrevocable trusts is that they cannot be revoked. In some situations, however, these trusts can be modified. For example, the trust might allow the trustee or beneficiary to make modifications to the trust’s terms in certain situations.

Many people think that retirement involves doing nothing. In reality, if you want to make sure that you avoid legal and financial complications, substantial consideration must be made during the retirement period. This involves handling Medicare issues, filing for Social Security, and navigating tax and distribution-related nuances. This article reviews some important issues to consider when reviewing retirement issues.

# 1 – Aim for a 5% Return

Even people with a large amount of savings discover that they end up having much less after paying withdrawal taxes. The best way to plan around taxation issues is to aim for a return of about 5% from your investments. While it can be tempting in retirement to focus on a conservative portfolio of assets, it is in most people’s best interest to diversify their portfolio. 

If you have a pet, you likely have a plan for the pet in place in case you go on vacation or out of town. You might even have created an estate plan to designate a certain person to take care of the pet in case something unexpectedly happens to you. Many people, however, fail to create an estate plan to address a situation where they become incapacitated and no longer able to take care of the pet. As a result, this article reviews some helpful strategies to follow when planning for the care of your pet when you are no longer able to do so.

Realize the Importance of Adequate Planning

The best place to begin planning for your pet is with an understanding of what would happen to the animal if you did not have an adequate insurance plan in place. The likely result is that a court would appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf. This individual would subsequently be authorized to make decisions for the care of your pet. Unless you trust this person to do what is right with the animal, there is always a chance that the individual might decide that it is in your best interest to get rid of the animal. Consequently, it is a good idea to create an estate plan to make sure that the animal receives adequate care.

A 401(k) rollover occurs when a person directs the transfer of the money in their retirement account to a new plan or IRA. The most common period when people decide to rollover 401(k) is when they either change jobs or retire. One of the most substantial challenges in rolling over a 401(k) is deciding whether it’s a good idea for you. If you make a bad choice, you can end up facing some substantial obstacles like running out of funds and not being able to afford daily living expenses.

Options besides Rolling Over a 401(k)

One of the most important things about 401(k) rollover is understanding that it is not your only option. Besides a 401(k) rollover, some of the other options that you might consider include: directly rolling over a 401(k) to a new employer’s 401(k) or not transferring a 401(k) to an IRA but leaving the old 401(k) in place. The best estate planning advisors will be able to tell you what strategy will work best in your situation.

Estate planning is a complex process. For many people, estate planning is overwhelming and results in many unanticipated costs. For other people, it is frightening to accept that they too will one day pass away. Despite how you might feel about estate planning, there are several important estate planning documents that every person should have including an advance healthcare directive. Health care directives play an important role in allowing a person to specify their choices for caregivers in case of illness or mental incapacity. In some cases, these directives also contain instructions about a person’s body should be handled following death. While they play an important role, statistics reveal that a large number of people are still deciding to not include advance healthcare directives in their estate plans. This article takes a brief look at why these directives are important as well as recommends some steps in creating one.

The Growing Importance of Advance Health Care Directives

Trusts and wills have existed for centuries, but health care directives are a new type of estate planning document. These documents first appeared in 1976, but by 1992 all 50 states had laws allowing advance healthcare directives. One of the reasons why advance healthcare directives have grown substantially in number is that they allow us to have certain control over certain issues related to estate administration and our death. One key feature that many health care directives feature is the ability to choose a third-party to act as an agent in case you become incapacitated. Besides making decisions while you are incapacitated, an agent will often also make sure that your wishes are carried out after your death.

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