Each year, people that are receiving Social Security benefits can potentially receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). We say “potentially” because there was no increase at all in 2009, 2010, and 2015. In 2016, the increase was a paltry .3 percent. According to officials, things are going to be different this year. Before we provide an explanation, we will share some general information about the Social Security program. Eligibility Requirements Eligibility for Social Security is earned … [Read more...] about 2022 Social Security Cost of Living Increase Should Be Significant
Most people do not have any estate planning documents in place, but most of them know that it is something that they should get around to at some point. There are those that look for simple solutions, and they decide to get out a pen and paper and draw up a will by hand. A will that is handwritten that has not been witnessed is called a holographic will. These wills are recognized in about half of the states, and California is one of them. This being stated, there are some good reasons why … [Read more...] about Is a Handwritten Will Valid in California?
Surveys find that most people that do not have estate plans in place recognize the fact that it is important. A lot of them are frozen with inaction because they do not know where to begin, and this is understandable when you are stepping into unknown territory. This in mind, we are going to look at three simple steps that you can take that will lead to the creation of an effective estate plan. Calculate Your Net Worth The first step is to inventory all of your assets so you know what you … [Read more...] about Three Steps That Lead to an Effective Estate Plan
Estate planning is not a “one and done” endeavor if you want to effectively shape your legacy. The estate plan that you initially put in place will be based on your life situation and your financial position at that time, but the only constant is change. Family Dynamic Over the years, you may have additions and subtractions to the family, and this can trigger the need for an estate plan update. Unfortunately, a significant percentage of marriages end in divorce, and this is another major life … [Read more...] about Estate Planning Is an Ongoing Process
A transfer on death or payable on death account is an account that has a named beneficiary, and the assets are transferred to this beneficiary after the death of the original account holder. Probate is the legal process of estate administration. If you have a simple will, you would name an executor in the document. The executor would admit the will to probate after your passing, and the court would provide supervision during the administration process. Transfers to the beneficiary of a … [Read more...] about Do Transfer on Death Accounts Avoid Probate?
There’s a way to make a charitable gift and yet be able to influence where it goes and how it’s invested. This can be very handy if you want to time your charitable giving for income tax reasons. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Donor Advised Funds: Too Good to Be True?
Irrevocable Trusts have long been an effective, albeit static, estate planning tool. These trusts didn’t always change with circumstance, but now they can. This article explores how. … [Read more...] about Changing “Irrevocable” Trusts Through Judicial and Nonjudicial Modification
Irrevocable Trusts are often included as part of a comprehensive estate plan and are usually established many years before they pay out or terminate. These trusts didn’t change with changes in beneficiary circumstances or with evolving legislation, but now they can. This article explores how. … [Read more...] about Changing “Irrevocable” Trusts Through Decanting
Often, a client wants to keep land in the family. Sometimes they want to discourage further development and get tax benefits for doing so. A conservation easement can help achieve both objectives. Read on to learn more. … [Read more...] about Conservation Easements Can Be a Good Solution
It is nice to own a second home that you can enjoy when you have vacation time, and memories are made when you spend quality time with your family and friends. From an estate planning perspective, you should understand some things about probate if you are in this position. Estate Administration Probate can be succinctly defined as the legal process of estate administration. If you use a will to facilitate postmortem asset transfers, the hands-on administrator is the executor. You name the … [Read more...] about Own an Out-of-State Vacation Home? You Need a Living Trust