If you have started to save for your child or grandchild’s college education, it is worth considering whether to use a 529 plan, an education savings account, or an Irrevocable Trust. Here is what we think you should consider as you decide: First, consider whether you want your offspring to have broader options than just the traditional college experience. Since the start of the pandemic, college enrollments have declined by over one million students over the past two years,
You might think that only the super-wealthy need to worry about asset protection planning. But the truth is that if you do not have millions, you may be at even greater risk. For instance, if you are a multi-millionaire, a $50,000 judgment against you might not be that big of a deal. But for a family with a modest income, savings, and home, it could be devastating. Asset protection planning is not something you can put off until something happens. Once you are under threat of
Last week, in part one of this series, we discussed some of the Cost Of Dying’s most notable findings and explained how proactive estate planning can dramatically reduce many of the financial, logistical, and emotional challenges for your loved ones following your death. Here in part two, we wrap up our summary of the report and outline more of the ways proactive planning can relieve the burden of your death for your family. https://reflectionslifeplanning.com/how-estate-plan
Despite the fact that it happens to every single one of us and is every bit as natural as birth, very few among us are properly prepared for death—whether our own death or the death of a loved one. Yet the pandemic might be changing this. According to Census figures, the pandemic caused the U.S. death rate to spike by nearly 20% between 2019 and 2020, the largest increase in American mortality in 100 years. More than two years and over 1 million deaths later, it is more clear
With divorce occurring in roughly 50% of all marriages in the U.S. and life expectancy increasing every day, second—and even third—marriages are becoming quite common. And when people get remarried in mid-life and beyond, they often bring children from prior marriages into the mix. Such unions are often referred to as a “blended” family or a “Brady Bunch” family. But blended families can also take other forms. Whether you have stepchildren, adopted children, children from a p
If you are looking to collect life insurance proceeds as the policy’s beneficiary, the process is fairly simple. However, during the emotional period immediately following a loved one’s death, it can feel as if your entire world is falling apart, so it is helpful to understand exactly what steps you need to take to access the insurance funds as quickly and easily as possible. Not to mention, if you have been dependent on the person who died for financial support or you are re
As we are about to wrap up another Pride Month, the LGBTQ+ community faces an increasingly uncertain legal landscape. In the wake of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, ending the recognition of a constitutional right to abortion, many are worried that other rights, especially those enjoyed by same-gender couples, might also be under threat. In fact, with Roe overturned, legal experts warn that the Supreme Court’s new Republican majority may come for landmark LGBTQ-rig
These days, more and more young people are delaying—if not totally foregoing—a life that involves marriage and parenting. The lack of jobs, crushing student debt, the threat of recession, and the pandemic have pushed many young people into a life path that leaves little room for settling down with a partner and getting married—and even less room for having children.
Yet, for other young adults, staying single and childless is simply a matter of choice. Regardless of the reas
If a family member or friend has asked you to serve as trustee for their trust either during their life, or upon their death, it is a big honor—this means they consider you among the most honest, reliable, and responsible people they know. That said, serving as a trustee is not only a great honor, but it is also a major responsibility, and the role is definitely not for everyone. Serving as a trustee entails a broad array of duties, and you are both ethically and legally requ
When creating an estate plan, people are often most concerned with passing on the “big things” like real estate, bank accounts, and vehicles. Yet these possessions very often are not the items that have the most meaning for the loved ones we leave behind. Smaller items, like family heirlooms and keepsakes, which may not have a high dollar value, frequently have the most sentimental value for our family members. But for a number of reasons, these personal possessions are often
As we head into summer, many parents will see their children graduate high school and prepare to leave home to attend college or pursue other life goals. This can be an exciting and emotional time, and with so much going on, estate planning is probably not at the front of your (or their) mind right now. However, estate planning should actually be a top priority for both you and your kids.
Here is why: Once your kids turn 18, they become legal adults, and many areas of their
The road to retirement is a long one, and as with any journey, it helps to have a few key milestones along the way to help gauge your progress. While your individual retirement plan and goals will be unique to your income, family situation, and desired lifestyle, most Americans share a number of common retirement milestones. These milestones are based on your age, along with important dates and deadlines related to Social Security benefits, Medicare, and tax-advantaged retire
Because estate planning involves actively thinking about and planning for frightening topics like death, old age, and crippling disability, many people put it off or simply ignore it altogether until it is too late. Sadly, this unwillingness to face reality often creates serious hardship, expense, and trauma for those loved ones you leave behind. To complicate matters, the recent proliferation of online estate planning document services, such as LegalZoom®, Rocket Lawyer®, an
Because estate planning involves actively thinking about and planning for frightening topics like death, old age, and crippling disability, many people put it off or simply ignore it together until it’s too late. Sadly, this unwillingness to face reality often creates serious hardship, expense, and trauma for those loved ones you leave behind. To complicate matters, the recent proliferation of online estate planning document services, such as LegalZoom®, Rocket Lawyer®, and T
When you think about loved ones who have passed away, you probably do not think very much—or even at all—about the “things” they have left you. And when they do leave something behind, what you likely cherish most about the object are the memories and feelings the item evokes, not the thing itself. For the founder and CEO of Reflections Life Planning LLC, Raina Bonds, the most treasured mementos her late grandmother left her were several handkerchiefs and a beautiful porcelai
Whether it is to qualify for Medicaid, avoid probate, or reduce your tax burden, transferring ownership of your home to your adult child during your lifetime may seem like a smart move. But in nearly all cases, it is actually a huge mistake, which can lead to dire consequences for everyone involved.
With this in mind, before you sign over the title to your family’s beloved homestead, consider the following potential risks. 1. Your Eligibility For Medicaid Could Be Jeopardize
If you are a mom or dad with children under the age of 18 at home, your number-one estate planning priority should be selecting and legally documenting both long and short-term guardians for your kids. Guardians are the people legally named to care for your children in the event something happens to you. And if you have named guardians for your children in your will—even with the help of another lawyer—your kids could still be at risk of being taken into the care of strangers
In today’s highly litigious society, you are at near-constant risk for costly lawsuits—even if you have done nothing wrong. This is especially true if you have substantial wealth. Even those with relatively few assets can find themselves in court facing a potentially devastating lawsuit. If you are sued, your traditional homeowners or auto insurance will likely offer you some liability coverage, but those policies only cover you up to a certain dollar amount before they max o
As a parent, you are likely hoping to leave your children an inheritance. In fact, doing so may be one of the primary factors motivating your life’s work. But without taking the proper precautions, the wealth you pass on is at serious risk of being accidentally lost or squandered due to common life events, such as divorce, serious debt, devastating illness, and unfortunate accidents. In some cases, a sudden inheritance windfall can even wind up doing your kids more harm than
Although many strategies to save on your income taxes must be locked in before the end of the year, there are still numerous ways you can reduce your tax bill right up until the filing deadline, which has been pushed back to Monday April 18th due to a holiday on April 15th.
Some of these strategies are time tested and available every year. Yet many of the pandemic related legislative changes made during the past two years will only be available this year. While there are doz