Dealing with a parent's diminishing physical and/or cognitive health can be both emotionally and financially draining. The same is true when a parent passes away, as many adult children are left to sort out not only their own complex feelings, but also complex estate matters.
Now that spring has officially arrived, you may be thinking about organizing that closet or desk drawer which fell into a bit of disrepair over the winter months.
Most people are familiar with the estate planning document known as a last will and testament. Frequently regarded as the most basic of all estate planning documents, via a will, an individual can express his or her wishes with regard to the distribution of assets and personal belongings.
While most people know that they should take steps to plan for what happens to their assets and belongings after they die, an alarming number of U.S. adults don't even have a will. In fact, according to an April 9, 2014 article in Forbes, 51 percent of Americans between the ages of 55 and 64 don't have wills.
Individuals who take the time to establish an estate plan, often spent years creating and updating its provisions as their lives and financial and familial circumstances change. In cases where an individual has amassed a considerable amount of assets and plans to leave all or a portion of his or her wealth to children and grandchildren, it's important to seek the advice and assistance of an estate planning attorney.
We have previously written about the benefits of sharing one’s thoughts about estate planning with one’s family and close friends. Especially if there is a risk that one’s estate plan will be fought over by frustrated relatives, talking about one’s estate plan in the open can help to ensure that such fighting is preempted.
Anyone who grew up with one or more siblings can likely recall a time or two when you felt jealous of a brother or sister or that your parents favored a sibling over you. Many parents work very hard to try to create a family environment in which each child feels that they are equally loved, appreciated and supported. However as children grow and age, inevitably, there will be times when one child needs more attention or financial support.
In our last blog post, we began discussing ways that individuals with blended families can tailor their estate plans to provide for loved ones as they see fit. In our last post, we discussed how individuals who have children from a previous marriage or relationship and are now remarried, can use a prenuptial agreement to ensure that the bulk of one's estate goes to one's children.
Within the United States, the familial structure has never been so complex. Among those Americans who do marry, roughly 50 percent will eventually divorce; however, many of these divorcees will marry again. A 2013 report by the Pew Research Center revealed that four out of every 10 new marriages involves at least one individual who was previously married. Adding to the complexity of the modern family structure in the U.S. are statistics from the Centers for Disease and Prevention, which show that nearly 41 percent of births in the U.S. are to unwed mothers.
For many older Americans, a key estate planning goal centers on passing wealth and property down to children and grandchildren. Over the course of the next three to four decades, financial experts estimate that baby boomers will pass on upwards of $30 trillion to heirs. For those individuals on the receiving end of an inheritance, it's wise to take steps to safeguard against potential pitfalls and to seek the advice and counsel of a financial and estate planning professional.