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Have you coordinated your payable-on-death accounts with your estate plan?

Payable-on-death (POD) accounts provide a quick, simple and inexpensive way to transfer assets outside of probate. They can be used for bank accounts, certificates of deposit or even brokerage accounts. Setting one up is as easy as providing the bank with a signed POD beneficiary designation form. When you die,…

Time passages: Estate planning through the years

Virtually everyone needs an estate plan, but it isn’t a one-size-fits-all proposition. Even though each person’s situation is unique, general guidelines can be drawn depending on your current stage of life. The early years If you’ve recently embarked on a career, gotten married or both, now is the time to…

Parental priorities: How to choose a guardian for your child

If you have minor children, arguably the most important estate planning decision you need to make is choosing a guardian for them should the unthinkable occur. If you haven’t yet made this decision, formalize your choice as soon as possible. When it comes to choosing the best candidate, you probably…

Assets with sentimental value require extra planning

When planning your estate, you’re likely focused on major assets, such as real estate, investments and retirement plans. But it’s also important to “sweat the small stuff” — your tangible personal property. Examples include jewelry, antiques and photographs. These personal items — which often have modest monetary value but significant…

Estate planning for single parents requires special considerations

Here’s a fast fact: The percentage of U.S. children who live with an unmarried parent has jumped from 13% in 1968 to 32% in 2017, according to Pew Research Center’s most recent poll. While estate planning for single parents is similar to estate planning for families with two parents, when…

Companion piece: Create a “road map” for your estate plan

No matter how much effort you’ve invested in designing your estate plan, your will, trusts and other official documents may not be enough. Consider creating a “road map” — an informal letter or other document that guides your family in understanding and executing your plan and ensuring that your wishes…

Estate Planning Lite: College-aged Children Need a Basic Estate Plan

If your son or daughter are currently in college, encourage them to consider a setting up a basic estate plan so that you understand what their wishes are at this stage of his or her life. Let’s take a closer look at three such documents: Advance Health Care Directive. With…

Have you Made your Burial Wishes Clear?

It may be difficult to consider, but funeral arrangements are a critical component of your estate plan. Failure to clearly communicate your wishes regarding the disposition of your remains can lead to tension, disputes and even litigation among your family members during what is already a difficult time. Address these…

21st Century Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Even though you can’t physically touch digital assets, they’re just as important to include in your estate plan as your material assets. Digital assets may include online bank and brokerage accounts, digital photo galleries, and even email and social media accounts. If you die without addressing these assets in your…

4 Estate Planning Techniques for Blended Families

Today, it’s not unusual for a family to include children from prior marriages. These “blended” families can create estate planning complications that may lead to challenges in the courts after your death. Fortunately, you can reduce the chances of family squabbles by using estate planning techniques designed to preserve wealth…