Charitable gift accounts are popping up at major mutual fund companies and may be a good idea for individuals looking for a tax-advantaged way to support their favorite charities, improve their estate tax situation or bring more order to their gift-giving strategy. These are not necessarily inventions for the rich – some of these funds can start with an initial contribution of $10,000 and allow additional contributions of as little as $1,000.
Many affluent professionals and business owners put estate planning on hold.
Only the courts and lawyers stand to benefit from their procrastination. While inaction is the biggest estate planning error, several other major mistakes can occur. The following blunders can lead to major problems.
Estate planning is a task that people tend to put off, as any discussion of “the end” tends to be off-putting. However, people without their financial affairs in good order risk leaving their heirs some significant problems along with their legacies.
No matter what your age, here are some things you may want to accomplish this year regarding estate planning.
Having two heirs appointed as co-personal representatives named in a will may sound like a good idea, but they sometimes disagree on various issues of estate administration, get locked into stalemates and there can be hurt feelings.
Having three personal representatives with one vote each provides a practical way to break deadlocks. The third person could be a trusted personal friend or advisor who will be able to break any tie votes and attempt to minimize hurt feelings.
When creating your estate plan, there are obvious areas to account for, such as what will happen to your home and belongings. However, now that we’re in the digital age, you have an entire identity that exists online. This not only includes your email and social networks, which contain personal information and private correspondence, but also websites like amazon, itunes, or financial apps that store your banking and/or credit card information. Our growing use of these websites and apps means that there is a growing need to include your digital assets in your estate plan, or risk having this personal information hacked, potentially putting your estate at risk.
State and federal privacy laws prohibit unauthorized access to your online accounts. In addition to this, the terms of service agreement that you clicked the box for when registering, states that the only person authorized to access the account is the account creator. This means that even if you give someone your account login information, without a legal document stating your wishes, that person does not have the rights to access your accounts.
An estate plan has three objectives. The first goal is to preserve your accumulated wealth. The second goal is to express who will receive your assets after your death. The third goal is to state who will make medical and financial decisions on your behalf if you cannot.
Over time, your feelings about these objectives may change. You may want to name a new executor or health care agent. You may rethink how you want your wealth distributed.