estate planning http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8328/all en-US How to Liquidate a Loved One's Estate http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-liquidate-a-loved-ones-estate <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-liquidate-a-loved-ones-estate" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/unpacking_boxes_at_her_new_home.jpg" alt="Unpacking boxes at her new home" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>When someone you love dies, at first, you may only be able to think about the emotional things: How you will miss them, how different your life will be without them, and maybe, if they were suffering, a sense of gratitude that their pain has ended.</p> <p>Unfortunately, most of us also have to deal with logistics when someone in our family departs this world. If you are named executor of the estate, the heirs have the right to expect you to turn over their inheritance in a timely manner. Part of settling an estate is dealing with the personal possessions of the deceased. Often this must be done before the house or condo can be sold, or the lease terminated, and the estate closed out. The more possessions the departed owned, the more difficult this task can be. Some triaging is in order.</p> <h2>Before death</h2> <p>If your loved one is elderly, it's a good idea to encourage and help them to dispose of clutter and organize their possessions as an ongoing project. Focus on how discarding piles of old newspapers could make their home safer, or on how those clothes from the 1940s might be appreciated by the high school theater department. A wonderful project to do with an elderly loved one is to organize old photos, because there may be people in them that you can't identify without their help. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-holding-onto-too-much-stuff-is-a-burden-for-your-loved-ones?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Holding Onto Too Much Stuff Is a Burden for Your Loved Ones</a>)</p> <p>While doing these projects, if it feels right, you can gently inquire about any items they might be saving for particular family members, which is especially helpful to know if the person <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will?ref=internal" target="_blank">hasn't created a detailed will</a>. The process may be frustrating and time consuming &mdash; after all, they may have had this stuff since before you were born, and it can be understandably hard to part with such things. But the more you can do with the cooperation of the property's owner, the easier things will be after they're gone. You run less risk of accidentally disposing of important papers or family treasures.</p> <p>Sometimes the decluttering process is prompted by a move. When my elderly cousin had to move into assisted living, my family and I gradually cleared out the house she had been living in for decades. While she wasn't able to help us on site, we were able to set aside possessions we thought she might want to keep, bring them to her new home, and have her make decisions. Many of the old photos and letters we found were great conversation starters during our visits, especially when her memory began to fail.</p> <h2>Immediately after death</h2> <p>If your loved one was living in their home up until the day they died, you may need to check on the home immediately after leaving the hospital, to make sure it's secure and safe. Of course, if your loved one had pets, they must be attended to and rehomed without delay.</p> <p>Within the first week, you'll want to clear out the kitchen to prevent problems with pests, mold, and odor. Clean out the refrigerator and get the trash out of the house. Discard or give away any nonperishable pantry items.</p> <p>If you have not already done so, you may also need to immediately look for items to be used in the funeral. If your loved one is not being cremated, you may need to retrieve a nice outfit for the body to be dressed in. It's common to display photos, awards, and other mementos at funeral services, as well. If you're writing the obituary, you may find useful information in the home, such as school yearbooks or scrapbooks. Any record of military service is important to gather, so that your loved one can receive the posthumous honors they are due.</p> <h2>After the funeral</h2> <p>A few years ago, my family lost an uncle who was the last of his generation. After the funeral lunch, we gathered in his home and experienced the strange feeling of being allowed to roam through his rooms uninvited. I suspect even my eldest aunts felt a bit like naughty children. We were all sad, but it was also a little bit &hellip; fun.</p> <p>On your first visit to start sorting through the home of the deceased, take a deep breath and look around so you can remember how the home looked when they lived there. Remember that while the task you are undertaking will be difficult and sad, it may also be exciting, because you could uncover letters and other relics from the past that may help you come to know your loved one better than you ever did when they were alive.</p> <p>Here are a few steps to make the task of clearing out their belongings less stressful.</p> <h3>1. Sort through it all</h3> <p>There are two ways to sort through the personal possessions in the home of the deceased. One way is to comb through everything yourself, which can be exhausting. The second way is to hire an estate sale company to sort through everything for you. Many reputable estate sale companies offer sorting and trash removal as part of their service. In fact, they advise that you throw nothing away, because you might inadvertently chuck something of value. I actually tossed an old automobile company shareholder brochure into the trash while sorting through my relative's home, only to have second thoughts and retrieve it. It ended up selling for $20. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies?ref=seealso" target="_blank">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</a>)</p> <p>In exchange for preparing and conducting the sale, the estate sale operator keeps a percentage of the proceeds, and may also charge fees. Such an arrangement could save you a lot of work. However, keep in mind that if you don't sort through the home yourself, you may miss items of sentimental value that you didn't know were there. The sale operator may promise to set aside any family photos and documents, but they won't know as well as you know what you would want to keep.</p> <p>This happened to me. A few months after my cousin's estate sale was over, I was online researching her obituary. Imagine my shock when I found, online, images of her original baptismal certificate and her parents' wedding certificate, written in Slovak calligraphy. These documents had apparently been sold on eBay, but I couldn't find the original listing so I had no chance to contact the buyer or seller. The most charitable assumption I could make was that the estate sale company had inadvertently sold these items that obviously fell into the &quot;sentimental value&quot; category.</p> <p>If you decide to do the sorting yourself, I have a few recommendations based on experience:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Bring a friend or family member along for help.</p> </li> <li> <p>Drag trash and recycle bins through the home as you work.</p> </li> <li> <p>Pack up boxes of papers to sort through in the comfort of your own home.</p> </li> <li> <p>Don't throw away anything old before checking its value. You'd be surprised what people buy on eBay!</p> </li> </ul> <h3>2. Make sure that heirs get a chance at keepsakes</h3> <p>Beyond any specific property named in the will, you probably want to make sure that everyone who was close to the deceased gets a memento to remember them by. This is tricky territory, because many decadeslong family fueds have started over granny's handmade quilts or even Uncle Joe's second-best TV trays. Some families may leave this task to the closest surviving relative.</p> <p>But if there are a number of survivors of equal status, you might need a more formally mediated approach. After my great uncle passed, my family used an interesting method of distributing property of both sentimental and practical value: a family auction. All the heirs walked through the house and bid on the items there, with the moderation of an auctioneer. Every dollar they paid went into a pot, later divided equally among them. You can do such a private auction before an estate sale, or in place of one. Another system is to run an auction with points instead of cash, with each relative starting with the same number of points.</p> <h3>3. Sell what can be sold</h3> <p>If you decide to hire an estate sale company, interview and research the candidates carefully. The online review website Angie's List reports that Auction Services listings, which include listings for estate sales companies, make up one of its most complained-about categories. Thirty percent of those reviews score a D or F from customers.</p> <p>Before a sale, you should remove anything from the house that the family intends to keep. Make it clear to the auction company what you're keeping, because they will base their prices on the amount they estimate they can make from the sale. If a sentimental item is too large for you to remove before the sale, make sure the sale company clearly marks it as not for sale.</p> <p>Assuming you do want an estate sale, it's not a given you'll find an estate sale company that will agree to work with you. If the house has a lot of stuff but no high-value items, many estate sale companies will refuse to take on the job because they typically earn their money by keeping a percentage of the sale's proceeds.</p> <p>In that case, you may be forced to run the estate sale yourself, list items in the local paper, or find a low-end operator to take the job on the cheap. Make sure to check the local regulations before advertising a garage sale.</p> <h3>4. Dispose of what can't be sold</h3> <p>Once you're down to items that no one in the family wants that also aren't worth enough to sell, your next step is to donate what you can to charity. Typical items in this category are: used clothing that doesn't qualify as vintage, worn furniture, and everyday dishes. The most expeditious way to get this stuff out of the house is to request and schedule a pickup with a local charity. Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity are three that commonly make pickups; your area may have these or others. If you don't find a charity that will pick up your items, you could pay movers to deliver the stuff to the nearest resale shop, or deliver it yourself.</p> <p>Try to avoid dumping stuff on the curb &mdash; some cities will fine you for this. If you can't get a charity to take the items, you could list them on Freecycle or advertise them on Craigslist as available for free. Also, some newspapers don't charge to print ads for free items.</p> <h3>5. Pay for junk removal if you must</h3> <p>If you're able to do the work of getting the junk out of the house, check with your local government offices to see if you can get a large trash receptacle parked at the curb or schedule a large item pickup for free or at a low cost. You can also check with your local home improvement store; some now sell large heavy duty bags or bins that you can fill with thousands of pounds of junk and call them to pick up. The bag option usually costs only about $150-$200, compared to about $300-$850 to rent a trailer-sized trash receptacle for a week and have it hauled away full. Cost really depends on your area and the amount of stuff you're tossing.</p> <p>The more expensive option is to pay a full-service junk removal company that will come into the home and remove everything you ask them to. These companies may charge $500 per truckload. On the upside, the work for you is minimal.</p> <p>Once you have removed, given away, sold, donated, or thrown away every last item in your loved one's home, you're ready to bring in a housecleaner for a thorough cleaning, and list the home for sale.</p> <p>This is a good time to devote some attention to the mementos that you decided to keep in your own home. Display knickknacks in a case, hang a framed photo on the wall, or get that ring resized so that you can see these precious things and be reminded of your departed loved one often.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-liquidate-a-loved-ones-estate">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-you-should-know-about-joint-checking-accounts">6 Things You Should Know About Joint Checking Accounts</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-garage-sale-items-that-sell-like-hotcakes">12 Garage Sale Items That Sell Like Hotcakes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-sell-your-house-despite-your-messy-kids">How to Sell Your House Despite Your Messy Kids</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Banking Family cleaning death in the family declutter estate planning funeral losing a loved one Fri, 20 Apr 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2130996 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways to Safeguard Your Financial Future With Just $200 http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-safeguard-your-financial-future-with-just-200 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-to-safeguard-your-financial-future-with-just-200" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/wining_the_lottery.jpg" alt="Wining the lottery" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Sometimes it is a series of small decisions that can make a big difference in our lives. This is certainly true when it comes to protecting our financial assets.</p> <p>Building a high net worth isn't just about generating wealth. It's also about protecting what you have and avoiding disaster. Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to put armor around your finances that won't cost you a lot.</p> <p>Check out these ways to safeguard your financial future for $200 or less.</p> <h2>1. Get renters or homeowners insurance</h2> <p>You can protect nearly all of your belongings from theft, fire, and many other bad events by paying a monthly insurance premium that is often less than $200. Homeowners insurance can protect you from lawsuits, disasters, and other things you might not expect. If you don't own the place you live, your belongings can be protected for less than $20 a month with renters insurance.</p> <p>Bad things can happen. We all want to pinch pennies, but insurance is an expense we should all try to budget for if we want to avoid financial tragedy. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-you-definitely-need-renters-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons You Definitely Need Renters' Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get life insurance</h2> <p>If you are married and your spouse earns an income, would you be able to make ends meet if they suddenly passed away?</p> <p>Life insurance will replace any lost income, and it's not very expensive to have a policy. With term life insurance, you pay a fixed monthly or annual premium to be covered for a specific amount over the course of a specific term. For example, you might purchase $1 million in coverage for a 20-year term. In most cases, you can get a very good life insurance policy for under $200 per month. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here's How to Choose</a>)</p> <h2>3. Contribute to a retirement account</h2> <p>If you open a Roth IRA, you can contribute up to $5,500 each year and invest in almost anything. Since money contributed to a Roth IRA is taxed upfront, all future withdrawals are tax-free. If you have $200 a month, this will get you nearly halfway to that maximum contribution. A $200 monthly contribution over several decades could result in $1 million or more when you retire.</p> <p>You may also choose to contribute to a 401(k) plan if your employer offers it. Let's say you're earning $40,000 annually, and set aside and invest $200 per month, or 6 percent of your income. And let's say your employer matches half that. That comes out to $3,600 annually, which can grow to well over a million when you retire. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/401k-or-ira-you-need-both?ref=seealso" target="_blank">401K or IRA? You Need Both</a>)</p> <h2>4. Craft a will</h2> <p>Having a will is especially important if you have a family and a lot of assets. A will offers guidance as to who gets your financial assets after you pass away, as well as who is responsible for any dependent children you leave behind. If something happens to you, you need to know that the people who care about you will be taken care of. The good news is that it's fairly easy to write a will and it can be done cheaply.</p> <p>LegalZoom and similar online services will allow you to file a will for as little as $69. Even if you go through an attorney, you may only spend a few hundred dollars. A will is a good investment, because without one, your family members may be stuck with astronomical legal bills to sort out the ensuing confusion after your death. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What Happens If You Don't Leave a Will</a>)</p> <h2>5. Meet with a financial adviser</h2> <p>For $200, you are unlikely to get a financial adviser to meet with you regularly or manage your investments themselves. But, there are fee-only advisers who would charge that much for an hour or so, which is enough time to get some basic advice and determine if you are on the right track financially. Periodic meetings with a fee-only adviser can help you develop a simple financial plan and identify a few good investments. These sessions could pay for themselves easily in the long run. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-occasions-when-you-should-definitely-hire-a-financial-advisor?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Occasions When You Should Definitely Hire a Financial Adviser</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-ways-to-safeguard-your-financial-future-with-just-200&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Ways%2520to%2520Safeguard%2520Your%2520Financial%2520Future%2520With%2520Just%2520%2524200.jpg&amp;description=5%20Ways%20to%20Safeguard%20Your%20Financial%20Future%20With%20Just%20%24200"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Ways%20to%20Safeguard%20Your%20Financial%20Future%20With%20Just%20%24200.jpg" alt="5 Ways to Safeguard Your Financial Future With Just $200" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-safeguard-your-financial-future-with-just-200">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-rules-every-working-adult-should-know">10 Money Rules Every Working Adult Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-should-ask-your-financial-adviser-at-your-annual-meeting">What You Should Ask Your Financial Adviser at Your Annual Meeting</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance $200 estate planning financial advisers health insurance homeowners insurance life insurance protecting the future retirement Mon, 26 Mar 2018 09:00:06 +0000 Tim Lemke 2114256 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/gavel_and_a_last_will_and_testament.jpg" alt="Gavel And A Last Will And Testament" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are no guarantees when it comes to the number of years everyone gets on this earth. You may plan to live well into your 90s, but circumstances &mdash; and your health &mdash; can change very quickly. This is why it's important not to put off the uncomfortable but necessary work of planning your estate.</p> <p>Not sure where to start? Ask yourself these five key estate planning questions.</p> <h2>1. Why haven't I created a will?</h2> <p>You might not be rich, or even old, but that doesn't mean you don't need a will. A will is for anyone who wants to leave behind assets to loved ones or specify who should raise their children if they die.</p> <p>That last point is especially important. If you are a parent of young children, you need to spell out in a will who should take guardianship of your sons or daughters should you unexpectedly pass away. If you don't, the courts will make that decision for you. Don't leave this up to chance. Draft a will and include these instructions. If you already have a will but you've had a major life change since you wrote it, it's probably time to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will?ref=internal" target="_blank">update your will</a>.</p> <p>It's best to work with a legal professional when drafting your will. A professional can help you list clearly who gets what assets. If you want to leave your home to a loved one after you die, you might need to take the extra step to create a trust, too. This can get complicated, so again, it's best to work with an attorney. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Here's What Happens If You Don't Leave a Will</a>)</p> <h2>2. Do I have enough life insurance?</h2> <p>Life insurance is a necessary financial protection for your loved ones. If you should pass away unexpectedly, would your spouse be able to afford the monthly mortgage payments? Would your children be able to remain in the home in which they've grown up?</p> <p>Life insurance can help ensure that your loved ones don't have to worry about paying their bills after you die. Upon your death, your life insurance will give an agreed-upon payment to your beneficiary, who can use that money to cover anything from mortgage payments to college tuition.</p> <p>There are two main types of life insurance: term and whole. Term life insurance is less expensive but still provides solid coverage. With this type of insurance, you pay a premium for a certain number of years, perhaps 20 or 30. If you die during this time, your policy pays out. Once that term expires, you'll need to buy a new policy if you want to maintain life insurance coverage.</p> <p>Whole life insurance is usually more expensive, but you don't have to worry about renewing after a term ends. Instead, you pay a premium every month &mdash; or every year &mdash; for the rest of your life. There is no end limit on the premium. The policy will pay out when you die.</p> <p>How much life insurance do you need? That depends on your situation. Do you have young children dependent on your income? Does your spouse work? Are all your children young adults who are earning livings of their own? You'll want more life insurance coverage the younger and more dependent on your income your loved ones are. Your life insurance payout should at least cover the debt you owe for your mortgage, car, credit cards, and education. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here's How to Choose</a>)</p> <h2>3. What do I want to do with my home?</h2> <p>One of the biggest assets you might have is your home. A home, though, can be a problem after you die.</p> <p>If you've paid off your home and own it, you'll have to determine what you want your survivors to do with that residence. Do you want to leave your home to a child? That can be a tough decision if you have more than one child. Or do you want your children to sell the home and split the proceeds? Make sure you specify in your will what your preference is for dealing with your home. This can help prevent tension among your survivors.</p> <p>If you haven't finished paying off your house, your options may be more limited. Funds from your estate may be used to pay off the debt you owe to your mortgage lender. But if your estate doesn't have enough money to cover this, your home might have to be sold, especially if none of your survivors want to take on your remaining mortgage payments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-may-need-a-revocable-living-trust?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why You May Need a Revocable Living Trust</a>)</p> <h2>4. Will anyone know how to find my key documents?</h2> <p>Where do you keep your most important financial documents? Do you have a designated place for everything, from your will, to your tax returns and bank statements, to instructions for your funeral?</p> <p>Wherever that place is, you need to make sure that your loved ones know where to find these important papers. Having a will doesn't help if no one can find it. And making sure that your next of kin know exactly where your checkbook, bank account statements, and past tax returns are stored can ease the burden they'll face when trying to move on from your death. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a>)</p> <h2>5. Who will care for your pets?</h2> <p>Do you share your home with a beloved pooch, cat, or parakeet? What would happen to these companions if you should pass away?</p> <p>If you want to make sure that your pets are cared for after you pass, leave instructions. You can include this information in a will, especially if you are going to leave your pets to a family member. You might want to also set up a savings account or leave a sum of money that will help cover the costs of caring for your pets, as a way to ease any burden on family members.</p> <p>If you have no one to care for your pets after you die, you might specify in your will that you'd like your animals donated to a pet-care organization. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-you-need-to-include-pets-in-your-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Reasons You Need to Include Pets in Your Will</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F5%2520Estate%2520Planning%2520Questions%2520Everyone%2520Should%2520Ask.jpg&amp;description=5%20Estate%20Planning%20Questions%20Everyone%20Should%20Ask"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/5%20Estate%20Planning%20Questions%20Everyone%20Should%20Ask.jpg" alt="5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-before-you-remarry">8 Money Moves to Make Before You Remarry</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance beneficiaries children dependents estate planning funerals last will and testament life insurance pets will Mon, 05 Mar 2018 09:00:07 +0000 Dan Rafter 2110678 at http://www.wisebread.com Here's What Happens If You Don't Leave a Will http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/testament_gavel_and_sacks_with_dollar_sign.jpg" alt="Testament gavel and sacks with dollar sign" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>According to a recent Caring.com survey, 58 percent of Americans currently do not have a will. For those with children under the age of 18, the numbers are even worse &mdash; only 36 percent of these parents and guardians have a will, meaning a full 64 percent of people who are taking care of minor children have no end-of-life plans in place.</p> <p>Americans are really falling down on the job when it comes to estate planning in part because we just don't want to think about our own mortality. And it can be hard to worry too much about what will happen to our assets after we're gone since we won't be around to see it.</p> <p>But dying intestate does have some pretty serious consequences, even though you won't be the one experiencing them. Here's the sobering truth about what happens if you don't have a will in place when you die. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>The state will make decisions about your minor children</h2> <p>Who gets to make decisions about your young children if you're not around? For most two-parent households, it's easy to assume that there will always be one parent around even if illness, accident, or bad luck strikes the other. But what if you are a single parent, a divorced parent, or a parent in a blended family? Or what if &mdash; heaven forbid &mdash; something should happen to both parents at once? In that case, dying intestate would mean your state of residence will be making choices about your children's well-being, rather than you.</p> <p>Even though the odds are in favor of parents living to see their kids reach adulthood, having a will in place can offer you peace of mind. It allows you to decide who will take care of your kids, rather than leaving it up to others to decide. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>Your stuff will go to your next-of-kin</h2> <p>Let's say your closest living relative is your odious brother. You've never been close to him, and he's been nothing but abusive your entire life &mdash; but the last straw was when he made it clear that he disapproved of your long-term relationship with your live-in girlfriend, who is the love of your life.</p> <p>If you die without a will, he will inherit everything, even if you want your assets to go to her.</p> <p>The state assigns inheritance based on degree of familial relationship, since there is no other fair way of determining what you would have wanted. So even though you swore you'd never speak to your brother again, he will still be your sole heir if you die intestate.</p> <p>This is a particularly tough problem for unmarried life partners. Without either a will or the legal status conferred by marriage, the death of one member of such a couple can be devastating to the surviving partner. Such survivors can lose out on everything from financial assets their partner intended them to have, to the very roof over their heads if the house they shared is part of the decedent's estate.</p> <p>Even uncoupled individuals need to worry about this aspect of dying without a will. A never-married individual with no children may wish to leave all their worldly goods to a favorite charity. But without a will, the estate will go to your nearest relative, who might be someone you have never met. Better to have a will in place and know that your money will enrich the charitable institutions you care about, rather than have an estranged relative be glad you're dead. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a>)</p> <h2>An executor will be assigned to your estate</h2> <p>After you pass away, someone needs to be in charge of the logistical details of your estate. That position is known as &quot;executor,&quot; and their duties include:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Managing your assets until they can be distributed to your heirs.</p> </li> <li> <p>Terminating your accounts and credit cards.</p> </li> <li> <p>Notifying banks and government agencies of your death.</p> </li> <li> <p>Paying debts.</p> </li> <li> <p>Paying continuing expenses with estate funds.</p> </li> <li> <p>Paying your final income taxes.</p> </li> <li> <p>Supervising the distribution of your property.</p> </li> </ul> <p>When you write your will, you get to choose who will serve as executor to your estate. This is an important decision, since your executor will need to be trustworthy, will need to know you well enough to know where to find your important documents, and will need to be able to handle the sometimes considerable time commitment necessary to carry out all of the duties associated with the job.</p> <p>Without a will in place, however, the court will appoint someone to the position of executor. While the court will generally appoint a surviving spouse or other family member as executor, this can potentially be disastrous if the court-chosen executor is unable to handle the responsibility. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a>)</p> <h2>Probate may take longer</h2> <p>Probate is the legal process of determining the deceased's assets and liabilities and transferring title of those assets to the legal heirs. All estates over a certain dollar threshold must go through probate, but having a will in place can help speed up the process somewhat since it will take less work to identify and assess the deceased's property when it's already been specified in the will.</p> <p>There are several reasons why you might want to spare your heirs a prolonged probate process. To start, the cost of probate can be expensive. While small estates can avoid probate &mdash; and the definition of small depends on which state you live in &mdash; estates over a minimum dollar threshold will have to go through the process, and the cost of probate will be taken from the estate. This means dying without a will can cost your heirs.</p> <p>In addition, probate procedures are all public record, meaning anyone can learn more about your estate than you might want them to know.</p> <p>Finally, the process of probate can be incredibly frustrating. Just ask the siblings of legendary musician Prince, who died without a will in April 2016. More than a year after his death, the court is still trying to determine the specifics of the musician's $200 million estate, including everything from who is a legitimate heir to who owns Prince's back catalog of music.</p> <h2>Your will, or the court's way?</h2> <p>Your assets will be distributed after your death, whether or not you write a will. But without a will in place, it will be the courts deciding who gets guardianship of your children, who gets your assets, and who will take care of the logistics of your estate. Rather than put your loved ones through a difficult process that doesn't reflect your choices, take the time to write a will, and keep it updated throughout your life. Your family will be glad you did.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fheres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FHere%2527s%2520What%2520Happens%2520If%2520You%2520Don%2527t%2520Leave%2520a%2520Will.jpg&amp;description=Here's%20What%20Happens%20If%20You%20Don't%20Leave%20a%20Will"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Here%27s%20What%20Happens%20If%20You%20Don%27t%20Leave%20a%20Will.jpg" alt="Here's What Happens If You Don't Leave a Will" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets">Who Really Owns Your Digital Assets?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance courts dependents dying intestate estate planning heirs last will and testament next of kin probate Wed, 14 Feb 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 2103693 at http://www.wisebread.com Why You May Need a Revocable Living Trust http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-may-need-a-revocable-living-trust <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/why-you-may-need-a-revocable-living-trust" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/you_are_more_special_to_me_than_words_could_say.jpg" alt="You’re more special to me than words could say" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you are named the executor of someone's will, be prepared for a hassle. In most states, you will have to go through the probate process, which includes filing court documents and possibly attending hearings. Or, you could get lucky: If the deceased set up a revocable living trust, the process of executing their estate will be much easier.</p> <p>When I handled a relative's estate this year, the revocable living trust she had set up years earlier made the process so smooth that all I had to do was meet with an attorney and sign checks to the beneficiaries. It was less hassle than getting a mortgage or buying a car. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-things-youll-encounter-when-taking-over-a-loved-ones-finances?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Things You'll Encounter When Taking Over a Loved One's Finances</a>)</p> <p>But what is this mysterious document that makes the estate process so much easier for those left behind? Let's look at the details.</p> <h2>What is a revocable living trust?</h2> <p>A revocable living trust is an estate planning tool that people can set up to make the transfer of responsibility seamless both in incapacity and after death. They are &quot;revocable&quot; because you can revise them as your wishes or circumstances change.</p> <p>When you set up a trust, you designate someone close to you as your successor trustee, giving this person the authority to manage your finances if you become incapacitated or die. You transfer all or some of your property into the trust. You also list your wishes for how to distribute this property after your death, much like you would with a will.</p> <p>If you become incapacitated or die, the trustee simply needs to provide each of your banks or investment brokerages with a copy of the trust and their identification, and they will have the ability to write checks, sell investments, and make any other financial decisions as if they were you.</p> <h2>Why would I set up a revocable living trust?</h2> <p>When you die, the trustee will have the freedom to carry out the wishes you wrote in your trust without court supervision. This makes the process a lot less onerous. It also preserves the privacy of your heirs, since unlike with court proceedings, the amounts you bequeath and who you leave them to are generally private. In a way, setting up a living trust is a favor you do for your executor and for those you wish to leave bequests to.</p> <p>But a living trust can also help you while you are among the living. For instance, if you have a stroke and are unable to manage your finances for six months, the trustee could step in and make sure your mortgage payments and other bills get paid out of your checking account. Once you recover, you could take control once again.</p> <p>If you don't recover and end up passing away, your trustee will already have their name on your accounts, making the process of writing checks to beneficiaries easy.</p> <h2>How would I set up a revocable living trust?</h2> <p>The first thing you would do is visit an attorney, preferably one who specializes in estate planning. The attorney can write the trust document, and walk you through the process of transferring your assets into the trust. You'll also have to choose who you want as your successor trustee, plus a backup in case they can't do it when the time comes, and notify those people. If you don't want to name someone you know as trustee, you could turn to a company to carry this out for you.</p> <p>Your attorney can advise you on which assets should go in the trust and which should not. For instance, placing an IRA or 401(k) account in a trust can cause problems and/or confusion with what taxes are owed.</p> <h2>Will having my assets in a trust be a hassle?</h2> <p>You won't notice any difference in your day-to-day financial life once your financial assets are transferred to your trust. It's all still your property. Since you are the trustee, you can write checks, sell stock, or make any other financial moves you would have previously done.</p> <p>Some other assets, however, might be more trouble to add to a trust. Some attorneys advise against adding your home and car to the trust, especially if you think you will sell these and buy new ones during the course of your life. If you do end up adding such assets, you might have to occasionally provide a copy of the trust or fill out extra paperwork.</p> <h2>When do I need to worry about this?</h2> <p>Of course, you never know when life will end, but most people are advised to start thinking about a living trust after the age of 55. If you start one before then, and hypothetically live another 50 years before your successor trustee takes over, you may end up wanting to change your trustee. Estate laws and the size of your estate may change so much that your trust doesn't make sense anymore.</p> <p>Even if you wait until you are older, the process, which does take some money and effort, may not be for everyone. If your estate is small or you plan to leave all of your assets to your spouse, it may not be necessary.</p> <h2>What if I change my mind?</h2> <p>As stated earlier, &quot;revocable&quot; means you can always change your mind. If you decide you don't want your assets in a trust anymore, or want to create a different kind of trust, you can transfer ownership of all the assets in the trust back to your own name. Once the trust is empty, you create a dissolution document stating that the trust no longer exists.</p> <h2>Will a living trust shelter my assets from nursing home bills?</h2> <p>If you need long-term nursing care, you might be surprised to learn that Medicare will generally not cover it. You will be expected to liquidate your assets and pay for your own care. And only when your own assets have been exhausted will you qualify to have Medicaid pick up future bills.</p> <p>If your assets are in a revocable trust, you are still expected to use them to pay nursing home bills. There is another kind of trust that can shelter assets from these expenses, called an irrevocable trust; however, this is a complicated strategy and requires careful consideration and consulting with an attorney who specializes in such planning.</p> <h2>Once I have set up a trust, is my estate planning done?</h2> <p>You may be surprised to learn that even after detailing how you want your assets to be distributed in the trust, you will still need to create a will. This is generally called a &quot;pour-over will,&quot; and the point of it is to cover any assets that you may have neglected to transfer to the trust.</p> <p>It's also important that parents with minor children have a will, since this is where you appoint guardians to raise your kids in your place if you die. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a>)</p> <p>Estate planning can also involve decisions such as purchasing insurance policies and naming beneficiaries for those policies and for your retirement accounts. Some people also include prepaying funeral expenses in their estate plan; planning the funeral in advance is certainly a big favor you can do your heirs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for?ref=seealso" target="_blank">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhy-you-may-need-a-revocable-living-trust&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhy%2520You%2520May%2520Need%2520a%2520Revocable%2520Living%2520Trust.jpg&amp;description=Why%20You%20May%20Need%20a%20Revocable%20Living%20Trust"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Why%20You%20May%20Need%20a%20Revocable%20Living%20Trust.jpg" alt="Why You May Need a Revocable Living Trust" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-may-need-a-revocable-living-trust">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Don&#039;t Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance assets attorneys beneficiaries estate planning last will and testament property revocable living trusts trustees Mon, 15 Jan 2018 09:30:09 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2086416 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Times You Need to Update Your Will http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mother_and_father_at_home_with_newborn_baby.jpg" alt="Mother And Father At Home With Newborn Baby" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you have a will, you're already one step ahead of most people. According to a recent survey by Caring.com, 60 percent of U.S. adults don't have a will or a living trust.</p> <p>But simply creating a will isn't enough; you must also update it every time you reach a major life milestone. After all, your assets and beneficiaries can change several times long before you reach old age. If you were to pass away before those changes are reflected in a will, your assets may not be distributed to your heirs in the way you had intended. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <p>If you've recently gone through one of these big life changes, it's time to sit down and update your estate plan.</p> <h2>1. Marriage</h2> <p>A will that designates what goes to your spouse will make things easier on them when you die. Joint property ownership is automatically turned into complete ownership by the surviving spouse after one spouse dies, and that can't be changed by a will. However, the surviving spouse will need a will to direct what to do with the house after <em>they</em> die.</p> <p>Also, some things may not automatically go to your spouse as a beneficiary if you haven't updated your will. For instance, say you receive an unexpected inheritance just before you die, such as the house of a long-lost relative. Is that joint property with your spouse? Not if it isn't listed in your will. Such assets could go to probate, which is why it's better to have an updated will.</p> <p>What if you and your spouse both die at the same time and neither of you have a will? Other trusts such as life insurance policies and retirement plans will have named beneficiaries. The home will automatically go to those people without requiring a will. But everything else will end up in probate court if there are no wills. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>2. Divorce</h2> <p>A marriage adds a person to your life who should be added to a will; in a divorce, you may want to remove that person from your will. Do you want to leave your grandmother's jewelry to your ex-wife? Many people would say no.</p> <p>You may also want to update your will after a change in relationship with any other member of your family. Maybe the executor of your will who you named years ago is no longer of sound mind and capable of doing such duties. Or maybe someone you've left a large asset to has died. These are all reasons to update a will.</p> <h2>3. Children</h2> <p>When a child is born, it creates a potential new heir. A will can declare who you would want to be the guardian of your minor children upon your death. Otherwise, if you don't have a will and have young children, your surviving spouse may have to go to court to be appointed guardian of the children's property, according to Sherman Silverstein, a law firm in New Jersey.</p> <p>If a husband and wife die simultaneously without wills, the state may take over the care and support of minor children, and name relatives or someone else to take over their care, according to Silverstein. That's why it's important for both parents to have wills.</p> <p>If there are certain assets you want give to your children, you also need to spell this out in a will and make sure it's regularly updated. Without one, state law may divide your property between your surviving spouse and children against your wishes. If property is left to minor children, a guardian must be named to administer the property for them. It could be someone who is raising the children or someone else. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family's Estate</a>)</p> <h2>4. Death of an heir</h2> <p>If an heir dies before you do, anything left to them upon your passing could be in flux if your will isn't updated. Without any named heirs, property may pass to the state instead of to friends and relatives.</p> <p>If your spouse dies before you while any of your children are still minors, you'll want to update your will so that you can direct relatives and friends to select a guardian that they agree upon in case of your death. You also may want to direct the probate court to make the selection in the case that the relatives and friends you named can't agree on a guardian.</p> <h2>5. Real estate purchase or sale</h2> <p>Buying or selling a house is a major life event and can be a reason to celebrate. It can also be a reminder that it's time to update your will.</p> <p>As stated above, joint ownership of a home will pass on to your spouse if you die without a will. But other circumstances, such as your spouse also dying, can create the need for a will when you own property.</p> <p>If you're moving out of the state where you executed your will, check with an attorney in your new state to see if the will is still valid. State laws for wills can vary, and you shouldn't assume yours meets the requirements in your new state.</p> <h2>6. Major adjustment to investment portfolio</h2> <p>If your estate has had a substantial increase or decrease in value, then it's time to update your will. This can include your stocks increasing substantially in value, the sale of a major asset, the founding of a business, or anything else that has a big impact on your finances. You may want to change how much you give to one beneficiary over another, for example, or leave a new business to your daughter who is interested in it.</p> <p>Whatever life events come at you &mdash; and whenever &mdash; it's a good idea to review your will every year. A will is meant to disburse your assets according to your wishes. And those wishes may not be so easy to follow if your will has old information.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Times%2520You%2520Need%2520to%2520Update%2520Your%2520Will.png&amp;description=6%20Times%20You%20Need%20to%20Update%20Your%20Will"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Times%20You%20Need%20to%20Update%20Your%20Will.png" alt="6 Times You Need to Update Your Will" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/aaron-crowe">Aaron Crowe</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will">Here&#039;s What Happens If You Don&#039;t Leave a Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-financial-moves-to-make-when-a-loved-one-dies">12 Financial Moves to Make When a Loved One Dies</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance assets children death dependents divorce estate planning heirs homeownership last will and testament marriage update wills Thu, 07 Dec 2017 09:30:06 +0000 Aaron Crowe 2063303 at http://www.wisebread.com When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/family_property_life_and_health_insurance_concept.jpg" alt="Family property, life and health insurance concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Life insurance is a crucial way to protect your family if you should suddenly pass away. The payout from a life insurance policy can help your loved ones continue to pay a mortgage and other large bills they may not otherwise be able to afford.</p> <p>Life insurance is so important that few people ever decide to terminate their policies. But are there times when canceling a life insurance policy actually makes sense?</p> <p>The surprising answer? Sure. It all depends on who continues to rely on your income and who doesn't.</p> <h2>Your children</h2> <p>When deciding whether to cancel a life insurance policy, don't focus solely on your age. Yes, the odds are higher that once you get older (past retirement age), you won't have as many people relying on the money you are making today. With fewer people depending on you financially, it might make sense to cancel your life insurance policy and save the money you are spending on premiums.</p> <p>Life insurance is most important when you are worried about providing your children with a financial safety net. When your children are young, they need the financial protection that a life insurance policy provides. After all, they won't be working or generating their own income.</p> <p>But when your children become adults, they might no longer need the payout that your life insurance would provide them if you should die. Canceling a policy designed to protect your kids is usually a sound financial move once these children become adults who are working and providing for themselves.</p> <h2>Your spouse</h2> <p>What if your life insurance policy is also a form of protection for your spouse or partner? That might change your decision to cancel, even as you get older.</p> <p>Say you die at the age of 65. Would a payout from a life insurance policy provide that extra bit of financial protection to your spouse or partner? Would it help ensure that this person won't struggle with finances after you die?</p> <p>If the answer is yes, canceling your life insurance policy may not be the right move. You may want to hold onto that policy, even as you inch closer to retirement age. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a>)</p> <h2>Getting a better plan</h2> <p>There are other reasons to cancel your life insurance. Say you are no longer happy with your current plan; maybe the monthly premiums seem too high.</p> <p>If you shop around and can find a plan that provides enough coverage at a lower price, canceling your existing policy is not only OK, it ranks as a smart financial move.</p> <p>Just be sure to compare your existing policy with your potential new one carefully. Yes, a new policy might be cheaper &mdash; but it might also not provide the same amount of coverage. Make sure to do your research before canceling any life insurance policy.</p> <h2>You've already paid for your biggest expenses</h2> <p>Life insurance is supposed to be a financial safety net for your loved ones in case you suddenly die. But what if you've already paid off your mortgage? Your spouse or partner won't need a payout from your life insurance policy to cover that bill. What if you've already paid for sending your children to college? Life insurance isn't necessary to help cover this big expense, either. So why not cancel your policy if those big expenses are already in your past?</p> <p>You can take the money you were spending on life insurance premiums and save it for retirement, add it to your emergency fund savings, or invest in the stock market.</p> <p>Of course, this type of plan only works if you actually will take the money you were spending and do something financially savvy with it. But canceling a life insurance policy when the big bills are paid can be an effective way of putting your dollars to better use.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwhen-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWhen%2520Dropping%2520Your%2520Life%2520Insurance%2520Is%2520the%2520Right%2520Decision.jpg&amp;description=When%20Dropping%20Your%20Life%20Insurance%20Is%20the%20Right%20Decision"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/When%20Dropping%20Your%20Life%20Insurance%20Is%20the%20Right%20Decision.jpg" alt="When Dropping Your Life Insurance Is the Right Decision" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dan-rafter">Dan Rafter</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-dropping-your-life-insurance-is-the-right-decision">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-should-single-people-get-life-insurance">When Should Single People Get Life Insurance?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/term-vs-whole-life-insurance-heres-how-to-choose">Term vs Whole Life Insurance: Here&#039;s How to Choose</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Insurance beneficiaries canceling children dependents estate planning expenses life insurance mortgages Tue, 14 Nov 2017 09:31:05 +0000 Dan Rafter 2051050 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/mom_is_the_best.jpg" alt="Mom is the best" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I recently had the honor of helping an elderly family member during her final years and carrying out her wishes after she passed on. My relative was a savvy planner &mdash; she had worked for years as an executive secretary, one of the most responsible jobs available to women of her generation. It came as no surprise that she had carefully planned for some of her end-of-life expenses.</p> <p>After handling the financial side of my loved one's final years, I made the following decisions to make things easier &mdash; and more affordable &mdash; for those who must someday do the same for me.</p> <h2>1. Make an estate plan</h2> <p>If I learned one thing from handling my relative's estate, it was this: A revocable trust will save your executor time and money. A revocable trust is a legal entity to which you can transfer all or some of your property, such as investment and bank accounts or real estate. When you first establish the trust, you are the trustee; meaning you control the assets in the trust, and you also name a successor trustee who would take control of the trust if you become incapacitated or die. You can also name beneficiaries in your trust, just like a will, to receive the remaining assets after your death.</p> <p>The beauty of a trust is that many assets do not have to go through probate once you die; in contrast, many assets only listed in a will do still have to go through probate. Because my relative had set up a revocable trust, within months of her death, her heirs had deposited their checks, and the whole process was wrapped up with very little legal expense. If she hadn't set up the trust, I would likely still be working through the probate process and running up attorney fees.</p> <p>Your estate plan can also include life insurance and a will to cover any assets you didn't transfer to the trust, such as personal property or your car. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family's Estate</a>)</p> <h2>2. Consider long-term care insurance while you are still young enough to get it</h2> <p>When my loved one was no longer able to live independently at home, I was naive enough to think that Medicare would pay for her to live in an assisted living facility or a nursing home. Not true! <em>Medicaid</em> pays for many seniors' nursing home care, but only once they've depleted most of their own assets and income. Each state has strict rules that generally prevent seniors from giving their money away in order to qualify for Medicaid support.</p> <p>What this means is that if you need to spend your final months or years in a home, and you didn't buy long-term care insurance, you will pay for it out of pocket, possibly spending everything you hoped to leave to your heirs.</p> <p>It's a tricky financial decision, because long-term care insurance is expensive; you'll pay $1,000 a month or more (potentially much more) for a policy that will cover the high expenses of nursing home care. And of course, you could pay insurance premiums for years and never spend a day in a nursing home.</p> <p>The American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance pinpoints the mid-50s as the best age to buy this product. That's for two reasons: One, premiums go up based on age, and in the 60s they start going up 6 to 8 percent per year. Two, you can lock in a discount for good health when you first apply, and you are more likely to experience age-related declines in health after your 50s. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-long-term-care-insurance-worth-it?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Is Long Term Care Insurance Worth It?</a>)</p> <h2>3. Prepay funeral expenses</h2> <p>It sounds downright eerie to sit down in an undertaker's office and plan your own funeral. But it's a kind thing to do for your next of kin. One reason to pay for a burial plot or urn storage and service now is that this spends down money that might otherwise be paid to a nursing home. If you're in a home for years before you pass, there might not be any money left for your funeral, leaving your heirs in the position of having to pay for it themselves.</p> <p>The other nice thing about prepaying these expenses is that, if you're a no-nonsense frugal person, you can buy your casket at Costco or arrange to rent one for your viewing and save your heirs from feeling guilted or upsold into paying for a more lavish send-off than you would have wanted.</p> <p>By planning when you are of sound mind and body, you also give yourself the luxury of making price comparisons and shopping wisely; something your heirs may not be emotionally ready for or have the time to do once you're gone.</p> <h2>4. Make charitable gifts while you're still alive</h2> <p>Especially if you have a robust income in your later years, don't make your favorite charities wait until you're gone to receive the support you'd like to give them. You can cut the taxes you owe on any income you receive by making charitable gifts each year.</p> <p>This move can also save your executor a little time and money. When my loved one passed, her attorney wrote letters to all the charities she wanted to leave money to, and eventually I had to write the checks. It wasn't a big deal, but it's one more little thing you could do yourself to spare your heirs the trouble. If your estate is large enough that your heirs might have to pay estate tax, giving money away in your lifetime could make a big difference. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-giving-to-charity-is-good-for-you?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Ways Giving to Charity Is Good for You</a>)</p> <h2>5. Consider passing wealth to the next generation during your lifetime</h2> <p>Only the heirs of very large estates &mdash; currently over $5.49 million &mdash; will need to pay estate tax. But if this is your situation, you could save your heirs the tax by making regular gifts of up to $14,000 per person, each year.</p> <h2>6. Make your will very clear</h2> <p>First of all, <em>leave a will</em>. If you don't have time to work with an attorney to transfer your assets to a trust, which does take time, for now at least write that will so that your heirs have something to go on if you die unexpectedly. If you don't leave a will, your estate will be settled by the court, a much more expensive and time-consuming process for your heirs.</p> <p>Make sure that your heirs have the final and correct versions of all documents and that there are no older wills floating around. This could save endless legal fees, especially if you have written someone out of your will. Don't let any relatives or acquaintances expect an inheritance they're not getting. People who expected money in a will but didn't get it could sue your heirs, making their lives miserable and wasting the inheritance on legal fees. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>7. Make provisions for valuable property</h2> <p>Have you ever heard stories of homes sold with cash or jewelry hidden in the walls or buried in the backyard? It has happened to families I know, when elders hid items of value and forgot where they were hidden.</p> <p>Even if valuables aren't literally hidden in the walls, they may be lost in the shuffle. In many an estate, sorting through a lifetime's worth of possessions is a huge burden on the heirs. Your heirs may simply turn your home over to an estate sale service and let them deal with it. If that happens, valuable items might get sold for less than they are worth. There is also the risk of hiring an unscrupulous estate sale planner who sells valuable items without giving the family a fair cut. Valuable keepsakes could even be thrown away along with old paperwork and used clothing.</p> <p>If you have jewelry or other items of high value, it would be a wonderful idea to gift them to family members while you are still alive, or sell them to a reputable dealer if that is your wish. If not, keep your belongings organized and labeled, and let loved ones know where any valuables are kept.</p> <h2>8. Sell your home if you're no longer living in it</h2> <p>If you have moved to a senior community or assisted living facility, have relatives assist you in selling your home as soon as possible. This will save you &mdash; and later your heirs &mdash; the expense of keeping up the home while no one is living in it.</p> <p>After your death, when the heirs are busy with your funeral and settling the rest of the estate, they may not have time to sell the home for months. In the meanwhile, costs can really add up: insurance, heat, electricity, lawn service, snow removal, maintenance. And if something happens to your empty home such as pipes bursting or squatters moving in, it could dissipate the value of this asset you worked so hard to acquire.</p> <h2>9. Spend it yourself</h2> <p>If all this advice bums you out, here's an antidote: Enjoy what you have earned while you are alive. Take a trip. Hire some help. Get that new car you've been wanting. You don't owe your heirs a thing. While you don't want to leave them with debts, dying broke is a wonderful thing because it means you literally didn't leave anything on the table.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F9%2520End-of-Life%2520Cost%2520Savings%2520Your%2520Survivors%2520Will%2520Thank%2520You%2520For.jpg&amp;description=9%20End-of-Life%20Cost%20Savings%20Your%20Survivors%20Will%20Thank%20You%20For"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20End-of-Life%20Cost%20Savings%20Your%20Survivors%20Will%20Thank%20You%20For.jpg" alt="9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/carrie-kirby">Carrie Kirby</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/should-you-set-up-a-trust-for-your-child">Should You Set Up a Trust for Your Child?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will">Here&#039;s What Happens If You Don&#039;t Leave a Will</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family attorneys estate planning final costs funerals heirs inheritance last will and testament long term care insurance survivors trusts valuables Thu, 02 Nov 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Carrie Kirby 2041364 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/happy_woman_holding_keys_to_her_new_house.jpg" alt="Happy woman holding keys to her new house" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You bought your first home. This is an exciting conclusion to what was likely a long and winding road. As you are unpacking your boxes, settling in, and decorating your new digs, there are some smart money moves you should make immediately to keep the good times rolling.</p> <h2>1. Adjust your last will and testament</h2> <p>Now that you have a new home, you need to update your will. In this time of excitement, updating a will might feel like putting a damper on the fun, but it's critically important. You need to be responsible for protecting the future of your loved ones and your home. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2>2. Get rid of PMI as fast as you can</h2> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-is-private-mortgage-insurance-anyway?ref=internal" target="_blank">Private mortgage insurance</a> (PMI) is a necessary fee for most people who buy a home with less than a 20 percent down payment. This can be a significant expense, sometimes costing thousands of dollars each year. Do whatever you can to get to that 20 percent equity mark so that you can drop the PMI payments.</p> <h2>3. Make a plan to pay a little extra every month</h2> <p>At the beginning of a mortgage, you are mostly paying interest and very little principal with every monthly payment. That ratio of interest to principal will decrease eventually, but it will take a few years.</p> <p>To more quickly pay down your mortgage, set aside a little extra every month for your mortgage payment. Why? Anything you pay above your monthly payment goes directly against the principal. (Just be sure those extra payments are going to principal; check with your mortgage lender.) The faster you reduce your principal, the faster you will pay off your home. A lower principal will also make it easier to refinance the mortgage down the line if you choose to do that in the future. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/whats-faster-for-mortgage-payoff-100-month-extra-or-1-payment-year-extra?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What's Faster for Mortgage Payoff: $100/Month Extra or 1 Payment/Year Extra?</a>)</p> <h2>4. Replenish your emergency funds</h2> <p>Many people use a substantial part of their cash savings, if not all of it, when they buy their first home. It&rsquo;s crucial that you begin to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-fast-ways-to-restock-an-emergency-fund-after-an-emergency?ref=internal" target="_blank">rebuild this emergency fund</a> as soon as you can.</p> <p>An emergency fund is necessary if you lose your job for any reason, have unexpected bills, or if you need to do emergency repairs on your home. Experts in the consumer finance field have varying opinions when it comes to how much to set aside in an emergency fund, but many suggest having three to six month's worth of expenses saved. Some more conservative advisers even suggest saving up enough to cover one year of expenses. Consider your lifestyle and personal risk profile to find the best target amount for you.</p> <h2>5. Reconsider your life insurance policy</h2> <p>Now that you have this beautiful new home, you will need to make sure the mortgage can be covered by your life insurance. You don&rsquo;t want your heirs to struggle to figure out what to do in the event that an unforeseen circumstance occurs.</p> <p>How much insurance do you need? Generally, the guideline for life insurance is 10 times your annual income plus any large debts like a home mortgage. Talk to your insurance company and/or financial adviser to get their perspective, and make any necessary adjustments. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>6. Change your locks and install deadbolts</h2> <p>Safety is a huge part of homeownership, and it has financial implications. As soon as you have the keys in your hand, contact a locksmith to get all of the locks on your doors and windows changed, and install deadbolts on doors where you currently don&rsquo;t have them. The previous owners likely gave copies of their keys to neighbors, friends, family members, the dog walker, or people who did work on the home. You don&rsquo;t want those people to have access to what is now <em>your </em>house. You may also want to consider a home security system.</p> <p>All of these safety measures may provide a financial deduction on your homeowners insurance. Contact your insurance company to find out if you qualify for a reduction in your rate. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-times-to-update-your-homeowners-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Times to Update Your Homeowners Insurance</a>)</p> <p>There is a desire to rest on our laurels after completing the purchase of a home. You should definitely bask in the glow of new homeownership, but this is also a time to remain financially vigilant. Remember that when it comes to your personal finances, remaining responsible and forward-thinking is the key to lasting success.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2F6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2F6%2520Money%2520Moves%2520to%2520Make%2520After%2520Buying%2520Your%2520First%2520House.jpg&amp;description=6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/6%20Money%20Moves%20to%20Make%20After%20Buying%20Your%20First%20House.jpg" alt="6 Money Moves to Make After Buying Your First House" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-money-moves-to-make-after-buying-your-first-house">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-best-neighborhood-features-for-new-families">5 Best Neighborhood Features for New Families</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-safeguard-your-financial-future-with-just-200">5 Ways to Safeguard Your Financial Future With Just $200</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-money-moves-to-make-after-you-pay-off-your-mortgage">4 Money Moves to Make After You Pay Off Your Mortgage</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Real Estate and Housing emergency fund estate planning first house homeowners insurance homeownership last will and testament life insurance new house private mortgage insurance safety Thu, 28 Sep 2017 08:01:06 +0000 Christa Avampato 2027477 at http://www.wisebread.com Who Really Owns Your Digital Assets? http://www.wisebread.com/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/sporty_woman_taking_a_break_after_running_outdoors.jpg" alt="Sporty woman taking a break after running outdoors" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Throughout your life, you accumulate a wide variety of assets, including cash, real estate, and vehicles. But you've also probably been collecting assets of the digital kind &mdash; whether that be music downloads, frequent flyer miles, or cryptocurrency. When you put so many of your hard-earned dollars into virtual goods, there are some important considerations to keep in mind if you want to pass them on to your heirs.</p> <h2>What are digital assets?</h2> <p>Many people think of digital assets as digital copies of things that you purchase online, such as music or ebooks, but there are other types of digital assets. They include things that you store in virtual storage systems, such as Dropbox or iCloud. Some examples are photographs in your Flickr account, financial documents in your Box account, and bitcoins in your Coinbase account.</p> <p>Social media accounts are also digital assets. Even if they don't have any monetary value, the contents may be something you want to bequeath to your heirs.</p> <p>It can be easy to assign a dollar value to some digital assets, and difficult for others. The dollar value of an online-only savings account, for example, is as straightforward as it gets. On the other hand, a photo collection of the first 10 years of your son's life could be worth several thousands of dollars to you and nothing to the average Joe.</p> <h2>Taking care of your digital assets</h2> <p>Here are some best practices for taking care of your digital assets once you're no longer in the picture.</p> <h3>1. Read the fine print of your user agreement</h3> <p>Just because you hit the &quot;Buy now&quot; button for a digital file doesn't really mean that it's yours. Unlike physical books, CDs, DVDs, or vinyl records, purchasing digital works grants you no ownership rights. Most companies just license you the right to access and use the song or video.</p> <p>For example, if you read Amazon's Conditions of Use, you'll find that &quot;Amazon or its content providers grant you a limited, nonexclusive, nontransferable, non-sublicensable license to access and make personal and noncommercial use of the Amazon Services.&quot; In Amazon's Music Terms of Use, it also notes that your account can't be shared or transferred: &quot;You may not share your Amazon.com username and password with others or use anyone else's Amazon.com username and password.&quot;</p> <p>In other words, you don't own the asset and you can't get around that fact by giving your account password to anyone else.</p> <h3>2. Double check if digital assets can be in your will</h3> <p>If you haven't already, you need to create a last will and testament. But whether you can include a particular digital asset in the will depends. Not only must you actually own the digital asset, but also you must be able to transfer it.</p> <p>Every company treats digital assets differently. For example, let's take a look at three cases of transferring airline frequent flyer miles upon death:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Air Miles Canada allows you to transfer ownership of air miles at no charge when an account holder has passed away.</p> </li> <li> <p>American Airlines' AAdvantage program indicates that &quot;mileage credit is not transferable&quot; even to estates, successors, or assigns. However, American Airlines includes a clause that it may make exemptions upon its sole discretion and payment of any applicable fees.</p> </li> <li> <p>Delta SkyMiles clearly outlines that &quot;Miles are not the property of any member&quot; and may not be transferred under any circumstances, including death.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>3. Store a repository of all passwords</h3> <p>This is key. While your executor (the person executing your estate after your die) will need your login credentials to access your digital assets, they will have no legal authority to access your passwords under most state jurisdictions.</p> <p>So, plan to leave a letter to your executor with the usernames and passwords of the accounts that you would like to pass on to beneficiaries. While a simple letter containing the account information can do the trick, there are also several digital alternatives. Some digital services that allow you to pass on digital assets are Password Box's <a href="https://www.passwordbox.com/legacylocker" target="_blank">Legacy Locker</a> and <a href="https://www.youdeparted.com" target="_blank">YouDeparted.com</a>.</p> <h3>4. Take advantage of existing programs</h3> <p>Some companies are already taking steps to plan your digital afterlife.</p> <ul> <li> <p>Google's <a href="https://www.google.com/settings/u/0/account/inactive" target="_blank">Inactive Account Manager</a> allows you to instruct Google to transfer data from several services, including Google+, Picasa Web Albums, and YouTube to specific individuals after three to 12 months of inactivity.</p> </li> <li> <p>Facebook can &quot;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/help/150486848354038" target="_blank">memorialize</a>&quot; an account after its owner has passed away.</p> </li> </ul> <h3>5. Designate a beneficiary for all financial accounts</h3> <p>All types of banking and investment accounts provide you the option to designate a beneficiary. Without a beneficiary, your account will most likely end up in probate. While some states may grant your family some protection, designating a beneficiary well in advance is the best way to make sure that your digital moneys reach the right person(s).</p> <p>You can change the beneficiary of your account as many times as you need. Every time that you go through a major life change, such as marriage, birth of a child, or retirement, you should revisit who your beneficiaries are.</p> <h3>6. Check your local and state legislation</h3> <p>In 2014, Delaware became the first state to sign legislation (<a href="http://www.dehousedems.com/press/rep-scotts-first-nation-digital-assets-bill-becomes-law" target="_blank">House Bill 435</a>) granting families the right to the digital assets of loved ones who become incapacitated or pass away. The law includes a wide rage of digital assets, including computer programs, audio files, images, and more. It's reasonable to expect similar legislation to appear in other states.</p> <h3>7. Instruct your beneficiaries to still give it a shot</h3> <p>Even when the company has a reputation of not budging and an airtight user agreement, tell your beneficiaries to try anyway. You never know when a company may make an exception. Airlines, in particular, are often willing to work with survivors who want access to a spouse's frequent flyer miles.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fwho-really-owns-your-digital-assets&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FWho%2520Really%2520Owns%2520Your%2520Digital%2520Assets-.jpg&amp;description=Who%20Really%20Owns%20Your%20Digital%20Assets%3F"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Who%20Really%20Owns%20Your%20Digital%20Assets-.jpg" alt="Who Really Owns Your Digital Assets?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/damian-davila">Damian Davila</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/who-really-owns-your-digital-assets">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-what-happens-if-you-dont-leave-a-will">Here&#039;s What Happens If You Don&#039;t Leave a Will</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Technology bitcoin books cryptocurrency digital assets downloads estate planning frequent flyer miles heirs last will and testament music rewards video Wed, 27 Sep 2017 08:30:12 +0000 Damian Davila 2025920 at http://www.wisebread.com Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/blue_ballpoint_pen_and_a_last_will_and_testament.jpg" alt="Blue ballpoint pen and a last will and testament" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's a task no one likes to think about: With everything going on in our lives, do we really want to add our own mortality to the list of our concerns? As unpleasant as it may be to consider, having a will is a critical way to take care of your family should you pass away. It will also ensure that your wishes are carried out in a way that aligns with your values. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <p>For most of us, it's a fairly straightforward process. We have the options of free online kits, using a service like <a href="https://www.legalzoom.com/sem/ep/last-will-and-testament.html?kid=a32c64dc-b16f-422e-bdfd-cc47896bf276&amp;utm_source=google&amp;utm_medium=cpc&amp;utm_term=+wills_on_line&amp;utm_content=204280076284&amp;utm_campaign=EP_%7C_LWT&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjw5PDLBRB0EiwAh-27Mu9zeexWTPYuaCbSnpbP3828RuJ0dJ0x4mT0AbnOJHtPkqJltQzFlxoCaGMQAvD_BwE" target="_blank">LegalZoom</a>, or consulting with an attorney. No matter which option you choose, here are some common mistakes to avoid when creating a will.</p> <h2>1. Not giving anyone responsibility</h2> <p>When a will is executed, there must be a person assigned to settle the will when the time comes. This person is known as an executor, and that person makes sure that your wishes are carried out exactly as you intended. It's very important for you to select a responsible person you trust, and get that person's permission to name them as the executor. This is not something you want to be a surprise.</p> <p>Also, you may want to strongly consider naming a second executor in the event that something happens to the first person you name, or if he or she is unable to serve as executor for any reason. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family's Estate</a>)</p> <h2>2. Not taking care of the kids</h2> <p>If you have children, it's critical that you select who will become their guardian(s) and communicate that to the named guardians as well as to other family members. I have seen this become a bone of contention before and after someone's passing, and it's a heartbreaking ordeal for everyone involved. Unfortunately, the people who suffer most in the battle are the children. It can be a difficult thing to communicate these wishes to your family, but it is far easier to deal with that difficulty now than to have a potential custody battle unfold after you're gone.</p> <p>You must also consider how to give your assets to your children if they are still minors. This is a very complicated financial and legal issue, though there are a number of different options that you can put in place to properly take care of it. Creating trusts or accounts under what's known as the Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) are avenues worth exploring.</p> <h2>3. Not knowing your state laws</h2> <p>Wills are state-specific and different states have different laws for them. The state that executes your will should be the state where you claim legal residence even if you have homes or spend significant amounts of time in different states. FindLaw provides a clear overview of <a href="http://statelaws.findlaw.com/estate-planning-laws/wills.html" target="_blank">laws that govern wills</a> in the different states.</p> <h2>4. Not signing the will or having a witness</h2> <p>You've done all of the work to create a will. Make sure to sign it and have a witness sign it in accordance with your state's specific laws. If a will is left unsigned by you or a witness, there is a high risk that it won't be honored. Also bear in mind that you must be of sound mind and body, and you must create this will without being threatened or pressured by someone else to do so. If either of these points could be disputed, a legal battle could ensue before the will is executed.</p> <h2>5. Not making it accessible</h2> <p>Make sure your completed and signed will is easily accessible when the time comes, particularly by your executor. There are a few options for this. You can keep it in a secure location such as a safe in your home or a safe-deposit box. You may also choose to provide a copy of your will to your attorney, accountant, or financial adviser if you feel comfortable doing so. Though you are not required to file your will with the court or place it into public record, some courts may provide the option to store it for you. This last possibility is a good option if the court in your local jurisdiction allows it.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"><a data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-count="above" data-pin-tall="true" data-pin-save="true" href="https://www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fdont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FDon%2527t%2520Make%2520These%25205%2520Common%2520Mistakes%2520When%2520Writing%2520a%2520Will.jpg&amp;description=Don't%20Make%20These%205%20Common%20Mistakes%20When%20Writing%20a%20Will"></a></p> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <h2 style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Don%27t%20Make%20These%205%20Common%20Mistakes%20When%20Writing%20a%20Will.jpg" alt="Don't Make These 5 Common Mistakes When Writing a Will" width="250" height="374" /></h2> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/christa-avampato">Christa Avampato</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-make-these-5-common-mistakes-when-writing-a-will">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-4"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-estate-planning-questions-everyone-should-ask">5 Estate Planning Questions Everyone Should Ask</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-may-need-a-revocable-living-trust">Why You May Need a Revocable Living Trust</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-end-of-life-cost-savings-your-survivors-will-thank-you-for">9 End-of-Life Cost Savings Your Survivors Will Thank You For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-times-you-need-to-update-your-will">6 Times You Need to Update Your Will</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Family assets beneficiaries estate planning executor last will and testament minors state laws will Tue, 19 Sep 2017 08:30:10 +0000 Christa Avampato 2021475 at http://www.wisebread.com 9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/senior_couple_on_a_vacation.jpg" alt="Senior couple on a vacation" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For an increasing number of Americans, moving abroad to enjoy retirement is an enticing idea. There are lots of reasons that lead people to make this choice, including better weather, cheaper health care, and an increased standard of living at a lower cost. But it's not a decision to be taken lightly. There are a number of important considerations that retirees sometimes overlook. Here are nine things you must know before retiring abroad. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a>)</p> <h2>1. U.S. tax laws are still applicable</h2> <p>Some retirees are under the impression that if you skip the country, the IRS somehow magically stops requiring you to file your income taxes. However, regardless of where you decide to live in the world, if you remain a U.S. citizen, your worldwide income is subject to U.S. taxes. Failing to pay your taxes is a serious offense with sometimes dire consequences that aren't worth risking, and ignorance is not a mitigating factor. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Don't Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a>)</p> <p>If you are a U.S. citizen or green card holder who lives outside of the U.S. for 330 days during any period of 12 consecutive months, you may be able to apply for the Foreign Earned Income Exclusion. This allows you to exclude from your taxable income a certain amount of income that you earn abroad. The exclusion amount changes each year as it adjusts for inflation. For 2017, the amount is $102,100.</p> <p>So, if you live abroad for 330 or more days in 2017 and earn under $102,100, you may not have to pay taxes. This exemption is not automatic and you must apply for the exclusion. Check the <a href="https://www.irs.gov/individuals/international-taxpayers/foreign-earned-income-exclusion" target="_blank">IRS website</a> for more details. Keep in mind that even if you don't owe any money, if you meet certain&nbsp;<a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/irs-tax-return/does-everyone-need-to-file-an-income-tax-return/L7pluHkoW" target="_blank" data-saferedirecturl="https://www.google.com/url?hl=en&amp;q=https://turbotax.intuit.com/tax-tips/irs-tax-return/does-everyone-need-to-file-an-income-tax-return/L7pluHkoW&amp;source=gmail&amp;ust=1514074683386000&amp;usg=AFQjCNGERu7j_5a_3kBuVCza9HsJjRGCvw">income and status requirements</a>, you are still required to file a U.S. tax return every year.</p> <p>In addition to U.S. taxes, you'll need to find out if you're subject to taxes in the country you move to. Check with local tax authorities to learn more. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-that-welcome-american-retirees?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Countries That Welcome American Retirees</a>)</p> <h2>2. Medicare doesn't cover you outside the U.S.</h2> <p>The first thing to be aware of is that, except in rare instances, any medical expenses you incur when you're not in the United States cannot be paid for with Medicare. That said, it may still be worthwhile to sign up for Medicare Part A (hospital coverage) because it is free. If you plan to move back to the U.S. or make frequent trips back, it may also be worth paying the premium for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor visits and outpatient care. To determine whether this will be of benefit to you, you should thoroughly check the information provided on the <a href="https://www.medicare.gov/people-like-me/outside-us/outside-us.html" target="_blank">Medicare website</a>.</p> <p>Keep in mind that health care is often much less expensive in other countries. Mexico, for example, is more than 50 percent cheaper for doctor visits, prescription drugs, and health insurance. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-almost-anyone-can-afford-to-retire-in-mexico?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How Almost Anyone Can Afford to Retire in Mexico</a>)</p> <h2>3. Currency fluctuations may affect your bank balance</h2> <p>Even if your monthly income remains the same, the amount that this translates to in your local currency may go down. This is entirely dependent on the strength of the U.S. dollar at any given time, which could have a large impact on your finances, particularly if you're on a fixed income.</p> <p>Remember, however, that this could also work in your favor if the dollar strengthens against your local currency, allowing you to purchase more of the local currency. Though you can't control currency fluctuations, you should have a contingency in place for if and when they do happen. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/retire-for-half-the-cost-in-these-5-countries?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Retire for Half the Cost in These 5 Countries</a>)</p> <h2>4. You can probably get Social Security &mdash; and maybe more</h2> <p>You can still receive Social Security payments in most countries around the world but it's important to check the <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10137.pdf" target="_blank">list of excluded countries</a> before settling on a location. If you've lived and worked abroad for part of your career, you may also be able to combine retirement credits from the U.S. and another country where you worked, for a larger benefits payout. The other country must be among more than two dozen that has a <a href="https://www.ssa.gov/international/" target="_blank">reciprocal agreement</a> with the U.S.</p> <h2>5. You need to put a plan in place for when you die</h2> <p>There are two main considerations for putting a plan in place for the event that you pass away while you're abroad. First, you should know that the U.S. State Department will not pay for the return of your remains or ashes. Second, different countries have different regulations around what happens to your assets.</p> <p>You need to have funds in place if your wish is to have your remains repatriated to the U.S., as this can be a costly and time consuming process. You should make yourself familiar with local succession rules, as some countries won't automatically honor your wishes for assets that lie within them unless you have an eligible will.</p> <h2>6. You can probably still vote in the U.S.</h2> <p>Just because you no longer live in the U.S. doesn't mean you don't take an interest in the U.S. political situation. In the vast majority of circumstances you are still eligible to vote absentee in federal primary and general elections. In some states, you're even able to vote for state and local office candidates and referendums.</p> <p>You will need to <a href="https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/abroad/legal-matters/benefits/voting.html" target="_blank">submit a new Federal Post Card Application</a> each year in order to qualify, and you should do so at least 45 days before an election. But from there it's a simple process. You'll be able to submit your vote either by mail or electronically depending on where you're registered.</p> <h2>7. You might not like it</h2> <p>Unfortunately, the reality doesn't live up to the dream for some retirees relocating abroad. There are so many factors to consider that it's almost certain that issues will arise that you've not even thought about, from financial problems to culture shock.</p> <p>It's best to try a place out for a while before taking the plunge and relocating your whole life. Even if it's a location you know well from having visited over the years, residing somewhere permanently is different from vacationing there. Just bear in mind that it may not work out as you hoped.</p> <h2>8. Relocation can be extremely expensive</h2> <p>When it comes to calculating just how much it's going to cost you to live in a foreign country, it's important to include relocation costs. Shipping possessions like furniture can be costly, but not transporting them may also be expensive if you have to buy new items when you arrive.</p> <p>If you have pets there may be <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/features/travelwithpets/index.html" target="_blank">vaccinations and quarantine</a> periods that you have to shell out for, as well as separate transport costs. In addition, your own visa application could be expensive and complicated depending on the location. Look out for those hidden costs.</p> <h2>9. Things will be different</h2> <p>It's stating the obvious, but no matter how familiar the country is that you're retiring to, things will be different from the U.S. Everything from the local customs, to what groceries you can get in the supermarket will be new.</p> <p>You'll more than likely be away from close friends and family and there will probably be a sharp adjustment period. It's important not to underestimate the effects this could have on your happiness when making what will be one of the most significant decisions of your life.</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/9%20Things%20to%20Know%20Before%20Retiring%20Abroad.jpg" alt="9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nick-wharton">Nick Wharton</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-claim-social-security-benefits-while-living-abroad">How to Claim Social Security Benefits While Living Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-countries-where-you-can-retire-for-1000-a-month">5 Countries Where You Can Retire for $1,000 a Month</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-these-expenses-spoil-your-retirement-abroad">Don&#039;t Let These Expenses Spoil Your Retirement Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-airline-rewards-programs-for-trips-to-europe">The Best Airline Rewards Programs for Trips to Europe</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Retirement Travel abroad currency estate planning international laws mediare overseas politics social security taxes voting Mon, 11 Sep 2017 08:30:05 +0000 Nick Wharton 2017865 at http://www.wisebread.com Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves? http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/piggy_bank_hammer_137432908.jpg" alt="stop putting off these adult money moves" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>You are not a kid anymore. It's time to start acting like an adult, especially with regard to your money. Procrastination won't help you on the path to financial freedom, so it's time to grow up, and examine whether you've been avoiding these adult money moves.</p> <h2>1. Bolstering your emergency fund<strong> </strong></h2> <p>When you are young, you may not need a lot of extra cash on hand. After all, you may feel like your life is simple enough that very few emergencies would result in financial ruin.</p> <p>As you get older, though, there are more costly events that can crop up. You may own a home and face major, unexpected repairs. You may have children with unexpected medical needs. And because your overall expenses are higher, you'll be hurt more if you or a spouse loses their job.</p> <p>While it's important to invest for the long-term, it's also crucial that you keep enough cash on hand to cover emergencies. At least three to six months' worth of income is a good rule of thumb. Without this savings, you may find yourself in debt or tapping into retirement savings to get by. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-new-reasons-you-need-an-emergency-fund?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 New Reasons You Need an Emergency Fund</a>)</p> <h2>2. Tracking your money</h2> <p>When you're young and living large, you have no idea where your money is going. You are too busy having fun to worry about it. But now you're an adult, and it's time to actually assess what you are spending your cash on.</p> <p>It's impossible to budget and save if you have no idea where to cut expenses. To begin tracking your money, analyze your bank and credit card statements to view all of the purchases you've made. Enter these into a spreadsheet, or use an account consolidation website such as Mint.com to help you. Once you start tracking, you'll have a good idea of where you've been wasting money and where you can start cutting down on your costs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/build-your-first-budget-in-5-easy-steps?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Build Your First Budget in 5 Easy Steps</a>)</p> <h2>3. Sticking to a budget</h2> <p>Once you get a handle on where your money is going, it's time to develop a system that will allow you to save money. The only way to avoid debt and save for the future is to keep expenses below what you earn. This may mean making tough decisions and reducing nonessential spending.</p> <p>You may have to eat out less. You may need to cancel your cable TV or baseball season tickets. You may need to forgo that trip to the Caribbean. Set a budget for groceries each week, drive less, and clip more coupons. None of this is fun, but it's what adults do if they want to achieve financial freedom.</p> <h2>4. Getting your credit card debt under control</h2> <p>Early on in life, your credit card debt may just seem like a number you can hide from yourself. But at a certain point, it's something that truly impacts your ability to build wealth and obtain financial freedom.</p> <p>When your debt is high, this impacts your credit score, which in turn impacts what you will pay for things like a mortgage and auto loan. In essence, debt can become a downward spiral of pain if you don't nip it in the bud early. Be an adult, and start paying down that credit card debt.</p> <p>Try to go after the debt with the highest interest rates first, then go from there (otherwise known as the avalanche method). Begin using cards more sparingly and rely instead on good old cash as much as possible. Soon, you'll see your credit score rise and your overall financial picture will look much rosier. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-fastest-method-to-eliminate-credit-card-debt?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Fastest Method to Eliminate Credit Card Debt</a>)</p> <h2>5. Saving for a home</h2> <p>Homeownership isn't for everyone, but there will likely come a time in your life when it makes sense to build equity in real estate rather than spend money on rent. Owning a home gives you a sense of pride, a sense of stability for your family, and is a good financial move in the long run &mdash; as long as you can manage the monthly payments.</p> <p>To make a sensible home purchase, traditional expertise has advised saving enough money for a down payment of at least 20 percent. So if you are eyeballing a $250,000 home, for example, that means amassing $50,000 &mdash; a sizable amount. While you aren't required to put 20 percent down, doing so can help you avoid having to pay private mortgage insurance, or PMI, until you build up equity in your home. Saving for a down payment is not an easy task, and may take many years, so it's best to start as soon as possible. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-easy-ways-to-start-saving-for-a-down-payment-on-a-home?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Easy Ways to Start Saving for a Down Payment on a Home</a>)</p> <h2>6. Investing toward retirement</h2> <p>The notion of saving for your 60s might seem ridiculous when you're in your 20s. But you can't put off retirement savings forever, and this procrastination can really hurt you down the line. The earlier you start saving, the more money you will have when it's time to leave the workforce.</p> <p>If you're into your 30s or 40s and have little saved for retirement, you need to start socking money away right now. Take advantage of your employer's 401(k) plan and any of your company's matching contributions. You can also open an individual retirement account (IRA). Max out these accounts, if possible. The sooner you start investing, the more time your money has to grow. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-retirement-planning-steps-late-starters-must-make?ref=seealso" target="_blank">7 Retirement Planning Steps Late Starters Must Make</a>)</p> <h2>7. Saving for your kids' education</h2> <p>It's hard to imagine saving for college when you have no children yet, or your kids haven't even left elementary school. But with college costing tens of thousands of dollars, and getting more expensive every year, you shouldn't put off saving for too long if you plan to help your children with some of the expense.</p> <p>It's possible to begin saving before your child is even born, and there are many investment accounts, including the popular 529 college savings plans, that offer great tax advantages to those that save for education. It's not wise to save for college costs at the expense of your own retirement, but if you have the ability to put aside money for both, do it sooner rather than later. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-smart-places-to-stash-your-kids-college-savings?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Smart Places to Stash Your Kid's College Savings</a>)</p> <h2>8. Getting properly insured</h2> <p>Proper financial planning isn't just about accumulating wealth, but protecting it. The best way to protect your assets is by insuring them at appropriate levels. Do you own a home? Make sure you have homeowners insurance to protect the structure and everything inside. Do you and your family members have health insurance to protect against illness or injury? And do you have life insurance so that your family will be financially OK if something were to happen to you?</p> <p>Insurance can sometimes seem like a waste of money if you don't use it. But when something bad does happens, you'll be massively grateful you have it. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-why-life-insurance-isnt-just-for-old-people?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Reasons Why Life Insurance Isn't Just for Old People</a>)</p> <h2>9. Crafting a will</h2> <p>Do you know who gets your assets if you unexpectedly pass away? Do you know who will take care of your children if you are no longer around? Have you given any thought to whether you'd like to be kept on life support if you are the victim of an accident? These are unpleasant things to think about, but they are important considerations.</p> <p>In the absence of a will or other documents that outline your wishes, family members may be left to make challenging decisions. The money and assets you wished to pass on to specific relatives may not be passed on according to your plans. Writing a will may not seem like a crucial thing to do when you are young, but it becomes more important as you get older, expand your family, and accumulate assets. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-you-need-to-know-about-writing-a-will?Ref=seealso" target="_blank">What You Need to Know About Writing a Will</a>)</p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <div align="center"> <script async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></div> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Are%20You%20Putting%20Off%20These%209%20Adult%20Money%20Moves-.jpg" alt="Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-reasons-why-financial-planning-isnt-just-for-the-wealthy">6 Reasons Why Financial Planning Isn&#039;t Just for the Wealthy</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-best-free-financial-learning-tools">9 Best Free Financial Learning Tools</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/dont-let-outdated-money-advice-endanger-your-money">Don&#039;t Let Outdated Money Advice Endanger Your Money</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-minute-finance-create-financial-goals">5-Minute Finance: Create Financial Goals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-rules-every-working-adult-should-know">10 Money Rules Every Working Adult Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance budgeting college costs debt down payments education estate planning investing life insurance money moves retirement saving wills Fri, 18 Aug 2017 08:00:05 +0000 Tim Lemke 2005241 at http://www.wisebread.com 7 Critical Money Mistakes People Make in Their 40s http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_calculating_budget.jpg" alt="Couple Calculating Budget" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The younger you are, the more time you have to bounce back from a financial mistake. As you inch closer to those retirement years, however, and as financial obligations expand, it's increasingly important to safeguard the assets you have &mdash; and to prepare for costly expenses that inevitably crop up as youth glides into middle age.</p> <p>The experts agree: Even 40-somethings who feel confident about their finances are likely to make a few money mistakes. Which are the most common? Here, the financial pros tell all.</p> <h2>1. An expensive home remodel</h2> <p>The average cost to remodel a few rooms is upward of $37,000, according to data compiled by Home Advisor. It could cost even more &mdash; as much as $125,000 &mdash; depending on the size and location of the home.</p> <p>Michael Frick, president of Promenade Advisors LLC, thinks that money could be much better spent by paying down an existing mortgage. &quot;Forty-somethings need to realize that retirement is only 20 to 30 years away in most cases,&quot; he said. &quot;Do they still want to have that large mortgage payment while they are retired on a fixed income? Will they even have enough retirement income to continue making those payments?&quot;</p> <p>Even worse, he added, is that many homeowners finance those pricey home renovations by borrowing from their existing home equity or &mdash; even worse &mdash; by raiding their 401(k) funds. The added monthly payments from a 401(k) loan can crimp the amount of money available to boost retirement savings during critical, high income-earning years.</p> <h2>2. Prioritizing kids' college over retirement savings</h2> <p>Most kids today expect their folks to pony up for the full cost of college, no matter which institution they choose. So says a 2016 <em>Parents, Kids &amp; Money</em> survey released by investment firm T. Rowe Price. Most parents want to comply.</p> <p>Still, midlife is &quot;a period in which you should assess whether you're on track to fund the subsequent stages of your own adulthood,&quot; said Anthony M. Montenegro of Blackmont Advisors. As children age, &quot;it's not uncommon for parents to continue putting kids ahead of themselves &mdash; even at the expense of their own needs.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;One way to look at this trade-off is to ask yourself, 'Am I willing to delay retirement and keep working another five to 10 years to fund my children's college?'&quot; said Alex Whitehouse, president and CEO of Whitehouse Wealth Management. Plus, he added, a student who works to help pay for school will have &quot;skin in the game,&quot; which can create a greater appreciation for the value of the education.</p> <p>If there's an additional need for tuition funds, &quot;money can be borrowed through student loans,&quot; Whitehouse added. &quot;You can't borrow money for retirement.&quot; (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-saving-too-much-money-for-a-college-fund-is-a-bad-idea?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Saving Too Much Money for a College Fund Is a Bad Idea</a>)</p> <h2>3. Skipping the estate plan</h2> <p>&quot;The term 'estate planning' sounds like something old, rich people need to transfer their mansion and paintings,&quot; said Whitehouse. Still, anyone with basic assets they want to share with a loved one (or even with a chosen charity) should have, at minimum, a basic will.</p> <p>No one wants to consider their own eventual demise but, even so, &quot;lack of planning can lead to painful consequences for heirs, including a lengthy probate process, loss of control, and potentially even disinheritance,&quot; added Whitehouse.</p> <p>For a straightforward will, there are inexpensive online DIY options available like <a href="http://store.nolo.com/products/quicken-willmaker-plus-wqp.html" target="_blank">Quicken WillMaker</a> and <a href="https://www.legalzoom.com/personal/estate-planning/last-will-and-testament-pricing.html" target="_blank">LegalZoom</a>. An attorney can help create a more comprehensive estate plan or set up a trust.</p> <h2>4. Not saving enough</h2> <p>&quot;Lifestyle creep can be a major problem for those in their 40s. As they earn more, many families increase their spending on luxury items or dinner at expensive restaurants, rather than save the extra income,&quot; said Andrew Rafal, founder and president of Bayntree Wealth Advisors.</p> <p>Small spending increases can be detrimental because they tend to happen slowly over time, and tend to mirror pay raises, so it's easy to not take notice.</p> <p>Instead of spending those pay raises, Joshua P. Brein, president of Brein Wealth Management, suggests splitting the difference. &quot;I always say it's a good idea to give your savings a raise if you get a raise yourself,&quot; he said. &quot;If your savings habits don't match your increased income and instead stay small &mdash; even though your income grows &mdash; you could be underfunding retirement and falling behind inflation. When you retire, things will undoubtedly cost more than they do today, so save like it!&quot;</p> <p>Still, Brein still gives income earners carte blanche to spend half their raises. That means you can save more while also increasing your standard of living over time. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-money-moves-to-make-the-moment-you-get-a-promotion?ref=seealso" target="_blank">8 Money Moves to Make the Moment You Get a Promotion</a>)</p> <h2>5. Being underinsured</h2> <p>Many 40-somethings have children or other family members who are financially dependent upon them. Even so, &quot;many people in their 40s are underinsured,&quot; said Rafal. That means an unexpected injury, disability, or even death has the potential to torpedo even the most seemingly stable situation.</p> <p>Rafal recommends taking advantage of any group life and disability plans offered by an employer, but also maintaining personal policies that are opened outside of the workplace. &quot;That way you have the peace of mind that your family is properly insured even if you switch employers,&quot; he said. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-things-you-need-to-know-about-disability-insurance?ref=seealso" target="_blank">4 Things You Need to Know About Disability Insurance</a>)</p> <h2>6. A skimpy emergency fund</h2> <p>That three to six months' worth of expenses you set aside in your 20s may not be enough to replace your income today, if you were to need it. &quot;Pretty much everything you own today is more valuable than it was 10 or 15 or 20 years ago,&quot; said Charles C. Scott, co-creator of FinancialChoicesMatter.com and founder of Pelleton Capital Management. &quot;Your house is worth more. Your car is worth more. It costs more to take care of your health at this age than years ago, both because you're older, but also because health care costs are a lot higher.&quot;</p> <p>Many midlife workers fail to adjust their emergency safety cushion to account for those increased expenses and earnings. If an unexpected emergency were to arise, and you haven't recalculated in a while, a meager account balance may not stretch as far as expected.</p> <h2>7. Paying too much for investment advice</h2> <p>Lower investment fees and higher performance returns go together like peanut butter and jelly. That's according to the recent research paper<em> Predictive Power of Fees</em>, released by investment researcher Morningstar. Still, many investors, even the most intelligent ones, don't fully understand the investment fees they're paying.</p> <p>&quot;What you don't know could be greatly hurting you,&quot; said Matthew Jackson, president of Solid Wealth Advisors. Fee information is often hidden deep within a mutual fund's prospectus or annual shareholder report. If you don't know what you're looking for, the information can be difficult to find.</p> <p>Then there are the fees you're paying your financial adviser or broker. &quot;Take the time to learn exactly how much you are paying for advice. Often, commissions and fees are obscure and not easily understandable.&quot;</p> <p>The good news is that even &quot;the worst money mistakes people make in their 40s can be fixed rather easily,&quot; said Jackson. First, he suggested, get engaged with your money. &quot;Take the time to learn the basics. In the information age, it's never been easier to learn about asset allocation, maximum portfolio drawdowns, and portfolio volatility.&quot; In short, a little knowledge can go a long way. By learning a little, &quot;people in their 40s can avoid a lot of pain in their portfolios,&quot; Jackson added. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-surprising-truth-of-investing-mediocre-advice-is-best?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The Surprising Truth of Investing: Mediocre Advice Is Best</a>)</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/alaina-tweddale">Alaina Tweddale</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-critical-money-mistakes-people-make-in-their-40s">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-money-rules-every-working-adult-should-know">10 Money Rules Every Working Adult Should Know</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-goals-for-every-age">Saving Goals for Every Age</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-signs-your-emergency-fund-is-too-big">4 Signs Your Emergency Fund Is Too Big</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-to-safeguard-your-financial-future-with-just-200">5 Ways to Safeguard Your Financial Future With Just $200</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-you-putting-off-these-9-adult-money-moves">Are You Putting Off These 9 Adult Money Moves?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance 40s college funds emergency funds estate planning inflation life insurance midlife money mistakes retirement saving money Thu, 15 Jun 2017 09:00:10 +0000 Alaina Tweddale 1961115 at http://www.wisebread.com 8 Questions Financial Advisers Hear Most Often http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/business_communication_connection_people_concept.jpg" alt="Business Communication Connection People Concept" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>No one goes to a financial adviser if they already know everything there is to know about retirement planning and investing. So most people will, logically, come armed with a variety of questions when they meet with an adviser, especially if it is for the first time.</p> <p>Financial advisers say they hear many of the same questions repeatedly from clients looking to build their retirement savings or live large in retirement. Most of the questions center around the ability of clients to retire, or the information needed to build wealth in the hopes of retiring comfortably.</p> <p>This list of common questions for financial advisers was compiled with the help of Greg Hammer of Hammer Financial Group in Northwest Indiana, and Willie Schuette, financial coach with JL Smith Group in Ohio.</p> <h2>1. &quot;Can I retire?&quot;</h2> <p>This is really the ultimate question posed to most financial advisers. Clients want to know if they can afford to stop working. And if not now, when?</p> <p>A financial adviser will help you determine how much money you have and how much more you'll need, based on your life expectancy and retirement plans. Both Hammer and Schuette said they often have to break the news to clients that they need to keep working, but that's better than telling them after they&rsquo;ve retired that their money is likely to run out.</p> <h2>2. &quot;Can you help me avoid paying taxes?&quot;</h2> <p>The Internal Revenue Service can take a chunk out of your earnings, and often leave you with less cash than you originally planned. Financial advisers say they get a lot of questions about how to avoid a big tax hit, especially from retirees looking to preserve every dollar they have.</p> <p>Advisers field many questions about Roth IRAs, which allow investors to invest money and withdraw it tax-free upon retirement. Many investors turn to financial advisers for advice on the tax implications of converting traditional IRAs into Roth IRAs. There are also a multitude of other tax questions relating to municipal bonds, inheritance taxes, and tax deductions.</p> <h2>3. &quot;How can I preserve my money?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients are generally aware that they need to invest more conservatively as they get older to protect against market downturns, but aren't quite sure how. What's the right investment mix based on their age, their money saved, and retirement date? What's the best way to go about shifting away from stocks to cash and bonds?</p> <p>Hammer and Schuette say they get questions like this all the time, and are happy to walk clients through the best approach to keeping their retirement nest eggs secure.</p> <h2>4. &quot;When should I collect Social Security?&quot;</h2> <p>Retirees can begin collecting Social Security benefits as early as age 62, but will get larger monthly payments the longer they wait. Financial advisers will usually work with retirees to develop income sources that will allow them to delay collecting Social Security. But both Hammer and Schuette said their recommendations depend on the individual client's circumstances and financial needs. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-sobering-facts-about-social-security-you-shouldnt-panic-over?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Sobering Facts About Social Security You Shouldn't Panic Over</a>)</p> <h2>5. &quot;What's the deal with health care?&quot;</h2> <p>With Congress working to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, many clients are wondering how their health care may be affected. Financial advisers have received this question from retirees who are not old enough to collect Medicare, as well as younger clients who don't get insurance through an employer. Advisers say they will walk clients through the cost of health care and the proper plans, as well as assist with setting up things like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-an-hsa-saves-you-money" target="_blank">health savings accounts</a> and emergency funds.</p> <h2>6. &quot;I know I need life insurance, but what kind? And how much?&quot;</h2> <p>Financial advisers say clients usually know they need some sort of life insurance to protect their families, but are often bewildered by the offerings. There's whole and term life insurance, and policies with varying sizes, lengths, and premiums. An adviser can help find the right kind of insurance for each person and their unique situation. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-your-group-life-insurance-is-not-enough?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Why Your Group Life Insurance Is Not Enough</a>)</p> <h2>7. &quot;My spouse just died. What do I do?&quot;</h2> <p>Many people feel confident in their financial planning, until something changes in their life that throws things out of whack. A loss of a spouse or other major change cannot only be challenging emotionally, but it can drastically change a person's financial needs. There may be a sudden loss of income when a spouse dies, and there are endless concerns about taxes, life insurance, and even real estate.</p> <h2>8. &quot;How do I take care of my heirs?&quot;</h2> <p>For most people, the main financial goal is amassing enough wealth to last their full retirement, and there's not much consideration for the next generation. After all, saving for your own several decades of life after retirement is hard enough.</p> <p>But Hammer and Schuette say there is a segment of clients seeking the best approach to passing wealth onto to their children and other relatives. Financial advisers say that in these cases, the conversation centers not only on amassing wealth, but taking into account things like inheritance taxes, and performing full, in-depth estate planning.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-questions-financial-advisers-hear-most-often">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-ways-retirees-can-spring-clean-their-finances">8 Ways Retirees Can Spring Clean Their Finances</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-plan-for-a-forced-early-retirement">How to Plan for a Forced Early Retirement</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-things-to-know-before-retiring-abroad">9 Things to Know Before Retiring Abroad</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-costly-mistakes-diy-investors-make">9 Costly Mistakes DIY Investors Make</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/if-youre-lucky-enough-to-receive-a-pension-here-are-6-things-you-need-to-do">If You&#039;re Lucky Enough to Receive a Pension, Here Are 6 Things You Need to Do</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Investment Retirement estate planning financial advisers financial planning health care life insurance questions saving money social security taxes Fri, 02 Jun 2017 08:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1957430 at http://www.wisebread.com