Estate planning is complicated, which is why it’s highly recommended that investors seek an experienced financial advisor and/or attorney to help sort everything out. The three estate planning secrets below will help investors stay on the right path. (For more, see: Estate Planning: Introduction. The three secrets to know is avoid disinheriting children, divorce inheritance protection, and trust beats probate. If you have children from a previous marriage and want to pass your assets to them, then it’s possible that the stepfather or stepmother could pass those assets on to their children or even new spouse. A good way to prevent this event is using a living trust instead of a beneficiary designation or joint ownership. If you have a six-year-old child, then you’re not going to be very concerned with that child getting divorced at some point down the road. However, it’s never too early to start planning, and the divorce rate is currently around 50% in the United States. If you don’t take the correct actions, your child’s inheritance could end up in the hands of his or her ex. This is surely not what you have in mind for an inheritance, especially if your child is currently married and you’re not fond of the spouse. The solution is a specially designed trust. With this approach, trust shares are created when you pass, and each share will remain in the trust so the trustee can handle the shares. As a trustee, the child will be able to handle those funds as he or she desires, and this trust is protected from creditors and bankruptcy. An exception to the previous statement is if the trust is used to guaranty a loan, in which case the creditor can look for repayment from the trust. Finally, if your estate is planned through a will then it must go through the probate court system which often involves fees, taxes, and legal fees. An important note is that having a living trust doesn’t guarantee that you will avoid probate. In order to avoid probate, all assets must be titled in your name. This includes bank accounts, certificates of deposit (CDs), stocks, bonds, real estate, etc. (For more, see: 6 Ways to Lose Your Estate.) It’s important to consider the benefits of a living trust vs. a will. Trusts take a little more money to create, however as the author states in the long term, there is more money that can be left to your children. It’s important to be able to provide for your children’s children. If you’re interested in learning more about how I can help you with setting up a living trust contact me, and I’ll be glad to offer a direction.
Most people think of investing as buying stocks and bonds. The more adventurous might think about a real estate investment trust (REIT). Also, some people consider buying stocks of mining companies or investing in a metals exchange-traded fund (ETF) as a way to invest in gold, silver, platinum and other metals. But what if you want to avoid anything that trades through a broker or online discount broker? There are alternative investment opportunities. Some of them can make you a lot of money, and some of them may make you a little money. Either way, you are not trapped into choosing stocks, bonds and ETFs that are traded publicly. When you start thinking about alternative places to put your money, you need to stay away from scams and get-rich-quick schemes. You need some legitimate investment vehicles that may help you prosper. (See also: Should Your Retirement Portfolio Include Alternative Investments?). The author made sure that all facts and figures were current as of February 15, 2017. The four alternative investments are peer to peer lending, real estate, gold, and owning your own business. With Peer to Peer Lending, your money is invested with a pool of other investors to loan money to people for either personal or business purposes. Your rate of returns is typically, however the risk is also higher, because these borrowers are typically not able to get loans through traditional lending institutions. I’ve discussed gold, real estate, and business in previous blogs, but it should be noted that the author recommends that an allocation of five to 10 percent in gold is considered healthy for an individual’s portfolio. It’s important to have a knowledge of each asset class. The question you should ask yourself is am I investing for capital gains or cash flow? Have I properly protected my assets? How liquid am I? Are my assets creating wealth? My strategy may not work for you because my wants, needs, goals and vision is different. Create a foundation for yourself and build from it.
Items in italics are direct quotes from the articles above
For this week, I’ve included Don’t Allow Them to Doubt You – best motivational video from the Motivation Archive YouTube channel.
“If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.” Proverbs