Articles Tagged with brookyln estate planning

We try to provide readers with helpful tips and hints to make the estate planning process easier and more comprehensive regardless of an individual’s financial situation. Consistently, one of the most important aspects of successful and comprehensive estate planning is communication. While engaging in estate planning is an important step, making sure your loved ones and heirs understand your estate plan as well as the reasons for your decisions is a crucial component of making sure your estate plan is solid and will fulfill your wishes. Recently, Marketwatch.com featured an article that highlights some tips on you can approach talking about your estate plan with your family.

The Importance of Communication

Your loved ones and heirs are the most affected by your estate plan and the events that lead to it. If you spend the time, money, and energy involved in creating an estate plan that addresses your goals and the needs of your heirs then it only makes sense to communicate that to them.

As important as talking about estate planning is, almost nobody will tell you that doing so is easy. In fact, talking about estate planning is usually pretty difficult. We have written about many different approaches to talking to your heirs about your estate plan, but communication is an extremely important part of estate planning and works both ways. A recent article from The Week may help you find ways to approach talking to your parents about your inheritance. One of the most important things to remember is that even with a difficult topic like this, discussions about these things typically end on a good note. The following tips can help you strike the right chord when approaching estate planning with your parents.

Timing Is Key

The article points out that some individuals might be inclined to have discussions about serious family topics like inheritances during holiday visits. However, experts warn that it is important to remember that holidays are often already a stressful time for everyone and trying to have a serious discussion about something as important as estate planning might be rather difficult during these times. It could even end up striking the wrong tone and making any future discussions about the topic that much more difficult and unpleasant.

One of the primary purposes of responsible, comprehensive estate planning is to make sure that you are able to distribute as much of your estate as possible to your chosen heirs. After all, you worked hard for a lifetime to build your estate and most people engage in estate planning to make sure as much of their estate survives as possible. A recent article from The Motley Fool reminds us of the role Roth IRAs can play in making sure that the inheritances you leave to your heirs do not fall victim to unexpected taxes. This is especially true in today’s world where there is a great deal of uncertainty as to the direction of our nation’s tax system.

Roth IRA Basics

A Roth IRA is an individual retirement plan that allows you to put a certain amount of money into it each year. The money you contribute to a Roth IRA will already be taxed. That means that qualified withdrawals from the Roth IRA will be tax free when you start to take them. Roth IRAs might even provide a tax credit for some of your contributions depending on a number of factors regarding your individual circumstances and financial situation. The earlier you make the choice to start a Roth IRA, the better as a Roth IRA must be active for at least five years prior to your death in order to escape federal income taxes.

When the United States Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage, it opened up a lot of doors that had been closed to many people in society. However, it also created a significant amount of new legal concerns for same-sex couples. With marriage, a host of new questions and responsibilities have arisen. Not the least of those concerns is responsible, comprehensive estate planning. While comprehensive estate planning is crucial for all individuals regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation, it is an extremely important consideration for same-sex couples that may not have had an estate plan in place.

Potential Issues

An article from the Cleveland Jewish News points out that same-sex couples – especially unmarried same-sex couples – could still face a host of legal hurdles when it comes to the death of one person in the relationship. These concerns could include issues involving health care and power of attorney, which make it extremely important for unmarried couples to make sure documents addressing these concerns are in place should they be needed. Without these documents, there may be laws in place prohibiting an unmarried same-sex partner from making important financial and health-related decisions if an individual becomes incapacitated or otherwise unable to make such decisions on their own.

An earlier post on this blog provided an overview of using beneficiary designations as part of your estate plan. Recall that beneficiary designations are a way to transfer property automatically upon the death of the asset owner outside of the probate process. This post is part II of that discussion, and include some of the pros and cons of using beneficiary designations, as well as a few special considerations related to certain forms of beneficiary designations.

Pros and Cons of Using Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations can be a simple and effective mechanism to transfer your property in much the same a will or trust distributes your property. The advantages of beneficiary designations include the ease in which it can be set up and the speed and in which the beneficiary receives the asset. Also, the owner of the asset has flexibility to designate any of combination of shares to any number of primary and contingent beneficiaries. Beneficiaries may be individuals, trusts, charities, or the property owner’s own estate by way of its personal representative.

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