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In working closely with two separate, long-term clients over the last three months, I saw first-hand how they and their families experienced the benefits of having their assets in a revocable living trust. Depending on your circumstances, a revocable living trust could be very beneficial to you and your family. For my older clients, it is something that I highly recommend they consider. Below I will highlight five key advantages of having a revocable living trust and how having one may be beneficial for you.
A few weeks back, I was sent on a bit of a wild goose chase through our garage. We were turning one of our guest rooms into my son’s new “big-boy” room since the arrival of our second child would soon be evicting him from the nursery. I was looking for a specific can of paint so that we could do some touch up work and, as I’m rummaging through cabinets, I come across an old box of DVDs. I couldn’t help myself. Instead of continuing to look for the paint, I start going through the box of movies instead. Near the top was Back to The Future.1 For those unfamiliar, the plot of the film involves a 17-year-old kid named Marty going back in time in a machine built by his eccentric yet insightful scientist pal, Doc Brown. It’s a fictional concept, but it got me thinking. If I had the opportunity to go back in time and mentor a younger me, what would I say? Then it hit me. I’ve actually written this down before.
Like any court system in America, Probate Court is a slow and sometimes complicated process that can delay estate distributions for months, and in extreme cases, years. While Georgia’s probate system is simpler than many across the US, probating a Will can also be expensive, with the filing fees, administration fees, and other court costs. And since it’s a public process, anyone can obtain a copy of another person’s Will. With certain assets, you can easily avoid probate and have the asset(s) transfer directly to the person you choose. Typically, these assets are generally accounts deemed “payable-on-death (POD)” or “transferrable-on-death (TOD).” The terms essentially mean the same thing but apply to slightly different accounts.
A few months ago, I wrote a blog about the financial benefits of “phasing into” retirement. As it turns out, there can be health benefits to doing that as well.How can that be? Many people plan for and dream of retirement for years thinking that leaving the stress behind will be a boon for their health and emotional wellbeing. Not to mention that some professions are actually physically strenuous and take a physical toll as well. Retirement can be a time to follow your passions and pursue activities that you weren’t able to do during the working years, making this next chapter seem to offer a fulfilling capstone to a lifetime of professional accomplishments.
For most of our lives many of us have heard the old adage “Money can’t buy happiness.” And we can all think of numerous examples of individuals where this certainly seems to be true – whether among the powerful and famous, or within our own family or group of friends. But is that really true? Research over the last few decades suggests “NO!” In fact, many studies show that in one sense money can buy happiness. But it’s not the amount of money we have, but rather how we SPEND our money that can indeed increase our happiness – although perhaps not in the way Madison Avenue or Amazon Prime would like us to think. First, let’s address the skeptics among you who feel sure that if you simply had MORE money you would indeed be happier. Statistics show that certainly isn’t true, since 70% of all lottery winners or those with a sudden financial windfall end up bankrupt within a few years.1 Carl Jung, famous psychologist, said in fact that the keys to happiness were five things.
“How did the new tax bill affect me?” was the question on everyone’s minds this tax season, and for good reason. Even though this was touted as the greatest simplification of the tax code in my lifetime, I didn’t notice any reduction in time spent preparing returns. Those of you who reviewed your returns in detail noticed that the schedules look drastically different although contain all the same information. The short answer for many is that it didn’t materially change your overall tax liability. The outliers fell into one of a few buckets…
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