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    Joshua and Laura Meier Newport Beach Trust and Estate Planning Attorneys Focused on Helping Families with Young Kids
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    Category Archives: Surviving Spouse

    No More Reasons for Delay in Implementing These 5 Estate Planning Essentials

    Last year’s uncertainty about the future of the estate and gift tax caused many people to put their estate planning on hold, even though estate and gift tax planning is only a teeny tiny piece of estate planning.  Now that the clouds have lifted and Congress has given us clarity, there is simply no reason for anyone to delay in implementing these five estate planning essentials:family on beach

    Will.  Look around you right now.  Everything you see has to be distributed in the event of your death.  Your Will names the person you want to handle it all and can also indicate who you want to receive it all.  If you don’t have a Will, a Judge decides who is in charge of your affairs and State law provides who receives everything you own.  Take control now by getting your Will in place today.

    Kids ICE Plan.  If you have minor children at home, you need a comprehensive set of documents to ensure they are taken care of by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what.  Not just for the long-term, but also in the immediate term if and when something happens to you.  A Kids Protection Plan® does just that.  Only a licensed Personal Family Lawyer has the skills, training, and resources to create a comprehensive Kids Protection Plan for your family, so call us today if you do not have one in place already.

    Advance Medical Directive.  Also known as a health care proxy, durable power of attorney for healthcare or living will, this document provides the legal right for the person of your choice (your representative) to make healthcare decisions for you in case you become incapacitated and unable to make those decisions for yourself.  Plus, it also lets that person know HOW you want decisions to be made if you cannot make them for yourself.  Without an Advance Medical Directive in place, your family could have their hands tied when it comes to ensuring you get the best care possible, in the way you would want.

    Power of Attorney.  In the event you cannot communicate, your Power of Attorney will allow your family to gain access to your financial accounts so they can pay your bills and manage your financial affairs. Without this in place, they’ll face an expensive, long and public court process to take matters into their hands.  Don’t leave your family in that position, handle this today.

    Trust.  If you own any property that would go through the probate process (a home, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, business assets, investment real estate, and other investment assets), you’ll want to make sure to have a Trust set up as soon as possible so your family isn’t stuck dealing with an expensive, unnecessary, long, and totally public Court process in the event of your death.  A revocable living trust puts the people you know, love and trust in control without having to go to Court.

    If you’re ready to do the right thing by your family, call our office today at 949.718.0420 to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk about an Achieve Your Dreams Planning Session!

    Retirement Cash Flow and Retirement Planning

    Estate planning is critical to make sure your assets are passed down as you wish. But another component of estate planning for couples is making sure that the surviving spouse has enough money to live on.

    Most married couples want to ensure that all of their resources are available to provide for the surviving spouse, upon the first death. But without careful retirement planning now, surviving spouses could find themselves in a “cash flow” pinch just when they need income most.

    Estate planning is a process with many moving parts. While much focus is given to saving estate taxes, avoiding probate, and transferring wealth between generations, failing to incorporate retirement planning can be hazardous to your wealth.

    This estate-planning dilemma was the centerpiece of a Kiplinger’s study recently featured in the Chicago Tribune. The article, titled “Retirement: An estate-planning pitfall,” brought to light the difficulty of lost income to surviving spouses. The first spouse’s passing often disrupts what the couple had always taken for granted financially—predictable cash flow.

    The article reviews sources of income impacted by this first death, including social security and pensions. As with all aspects of estate planning, it is crucial to understand the importance of getting competent counsel in advance. In fact, couples should investigate the impact of death on cash flow while both are alive in order to avoid unpleasant surprises later.

    Contact Meier Law Firm to discuss how your estate planning needs.

    Reference: The Chicago Tribune (July 17, 2012) “Retirement: An estate-planning pitfall

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