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July 2016 Archives

Watch out for pitfalls in your estate planning

There are few things as important as your estate plan when it comes to your legacy and what you've worked for all your life. Throughout your life, you may have been the voice of reason and you may have doled out financial help now and then for loved ones who were not quite as financially savvy. So when it comes to your departure and the continuation of care for those same loved ones, you want to also extend your reach as the adviser and disallow for any less savvy loved one to squander their money all at once.

A matter of when, not if

We all die, there is no getting around that fact, no matter how healthy our lifestyle or how lucky we are on a genetic front. Some of us go early with a tragically short lifespan and others outlive children and grandchildren. So the matter of a will is relevant and becomes relevant as early as you have possessions or people to sign over care to.

When your future is uncertain

When you get the news in no uncertain terms that your health is failing and you may not be here a year from now, you may feel that there is much left to do and much left to leave. You know the old adage "you can't take it with you when you go," but you have a lifetime of memories accumulated in the form of material and nonmaterial assets. If you have not already, now is the time to make an end of life plan and leave clear instruction on where everything you value shall go.

Is a durable power of attorney binding?

If you have a debilitating illness that leaves little doubt about the end of your life and how it will be spent, you may be actively looking into your options and what your durable power of attorney can do once they are appointed. Your durable power of attorney is a legal document that grants a person the right to make decisions on your behalf should you be rendered unable. In most cases, you would provide all of your end of life wishes to this person so that they could relay them to the appropriate people, should the time come and you cannot.

Can I be held accountable for errors as a trustee?

When you agree to become a trustee, you are making a big commitment. There are repercussions if you do not fulfill the job requirements as laid out in the trust. Because, as a trustee, you risk being held personally liable to the beneficiaries of the will or trust in the event it loses money. Alternatively, if it can be determined that the trust would have made money but you, for some reason, failed to carry out management of the property with the necessary skill and care required and therefore the trust did not realize the gain it should have,  you can be held liable.

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