Of all the investment tools in our country, annuities are one of the most often misunderstood. And because there are different types of annuities – fixed vs. variable for example – the confusion grows even more. But before you shy away from an annuity, know this: there are many benefits to this type of investing vehicle. Let’s look at some of the more common misconceptions about the fixed annuity. Fixed annuities are not a good investment if you are close to retirement. On the contrary, … [Read more...] about Understanding Fixed Annuities
Today’s society is all about “doing it yourself”, from building your own backyard deck to writing your own Will. And while many of these projects are great to try on your own, estate planning isn’t one of them. Estate planning can be very complex, and for this reason you will want to hire an expert attorney to help you with the process. Someone that is experienced in estate planning can help you through the process so that your estate plan is solid, and will actually do what it is suppose to do … [Read more...] about The Do It Yourself Estate Plan: Why It’s a Bad Idea
After the death of a loved one, the last thing you want to be forced to devote time and energy to is figuring out how to navigate the maze of probate. The term ‘probate’ refers to a legal process that is used to divide or dissolve a deceased person’s property and assets (or ‘estate’) when there are questions about its legal standing. In addition to being frustrating and confusing, the process of probate can be a needless drain on finances at a time when a family’s resources are stretched to the … [Read more...] about Simple Steps to Avoid Probate: Payable-On-Death Accounts
Among all the types of legal proceedings, the process of dissolving and distributing an individual’s estate after his or her death – commonly known as ‘probate’ – has developed a reputation for being particularly unpleasant, and with good reason. Although the process has been established by lawmakers with the best of intentions – namely, to create an equitable distribution of property and to ensure that the deceased’s wishes are being carried out, insofar as it is possible, in the estate … [Read more...] about Understanding Estate Planning Law: What is the Uniform Probate Code?
A guardian of a minor is an individual named by parents or by the court to take legal custody of a minor or their property or both. Normally, this is a task the parents face while drafting a will as part of their estate plan. But in the event of an emergency, who will care for the children? Many parents assume a family member or close friend will step up to the plate, and they often do – but what legal standing does this person have? Not much, and if parents are temporarily incapacitated, … [Read more...] about Short Term Guardianship: Who Will Care for the Children?
Upon your death, your estate will need to be dissolved. This involves paying off your creditors, filing your final taxes and distributing whatever assets might be left to your heirs. Ideally, you want to have enough assets that your estate can pay for your outstanding debts and tax bills and still have plenty to leave your beneficiaries. This is known as a solvent estate. But sometimes, there’s just not enough to go around and the assets in the estate cannot cover the debts that you left … [Read more...] about What is an Insolvent Estate?
A Power of Attorney is an important piece to your estate plan, but which kind of POA you need will depend upon your specific situation. ADurable Power of Attorney for example, gives someone of your choosing the ability to act and speak on your behalf both when you’re competent to handle your own affairs as well as when you’re not. For many people – especially married couples – this is the POA of choice. It allows someone you trust, a spouse for example, to take care of your financial affairs … [Read more...] about Should You Have a Springing Power of Attorney?
If there is one thing that you can count on when it comes to retirement, that is that the cost of living will increase by then, and will continue to increase during your retirement years. This is why the Cost of Living Adjustment, also known as COLA, is one of the most important elements of your Social Security Benefits. COLA is a method of which your monthly benefits are adjusted for the expected cost of living increases. The Cost of Living increase adjustments that you get with your Social … [Read more...] about Inflation and Social Security
Applying for Social Security isn’t as hard as you might think. While there are plenty of rules and regulations you must follow, simply understanding the process is a big step in navigation your Social Security application. To get started, gather all your necessary documents, including your Social Security card, a certified copy of your birth certificate, your previous year’s W-2 or tax return and your proof of residency or legal alien status. If you were discharged from the military before … [Read more...] about Do You Qualify for Social Security?
When you’re building your investment portfolio, you should always be sure to have some diversity in your accounts. This means spreading your savings over different types of accounts in a variety of sectors and with various levels of risk. One of these investment options is the U.S. Savings Bond. Is this a good investment for you? Let’s look at a couple of the benefits to find out. Savings bonds are relatively low-risk because they’re back by the U.S. Government, meaning that Uncle Sam is … [Read more...] about Is a US Savings Bond a Good Investment for You?