Digital Estate Planning and Estate Plan Reviews | Legacy Assurance Plan

If you are looking for digital estate planning?  Legacy Assurance plan will made you convinced for the decent knowledge about this new technologies. These days, more and more people of all ages are living more and more of their lives online. As that percentage continues to increase, estate planners continue to “bang the drum” of including your online and digital assets when you formulate your estate plan. Having a plan that allows your loved ones, after you’re gone, not only to have the benefit of your tangible assets, but also your electronic things, is essential. What’s also vital is making sure that you keep your digital estate plan in mind when it comes time for an estate plan review.

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When one crafts an estate plan, the things one leaves behind usually have either financial value or sentimental value. Digital assets are no different. Many people may think to include their access codes for their online banking or stock accounts, but may not be as diligent when it comes to, say, social media. All of these are important, though. Just as that old shoe box full of photographs and old letters probably has great value to someone in your family, so do your images saved in your smartphone or on your Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook accounts, or personal messages in your email.

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Without a digital estate plan, gaining access to your electronic assets can be difficult or sometimes next-to-impossible. The internet is filled with stories of loved ones faced enormous challenges from Yahoo! or Apple or other electronic service providers when it comes to gaining access to an account of a deceased loved one. These battles often come at a price of great stress and considerable time for the loved one. If a court and/or lawyers must become involved, then it becomes stressful, time-consuming AND expensive!

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Just like estate planning for tangible assets, estate planning for digital assets is an ongoing process, not a one-time deal. An estate plan review is great time to make sure that everything in your plan is up-to-date. Not only should ask yourself if you’ve undergone any life events that might affect your plan, you should also inquire about your digital assets. Just like you might need to contemplate how a new grandchild might impact your plan, you should also make sure that changes in your online accounts are reflected. If you opened a new account, whether it’s a new online banking account or a new email account, make sure that your digital plan includes the necessary username and password information for accessing that account. If you’ve changed any of your passwords, you should make sure that your list of existing usernames and passwords is still 100% accurate. If you have relocated your list of usernames and passwords to a new location, make certain that your instructions to your loved ones regarding how to access this list once you’re gone are current.

 

Summary: Sometimes, we overlook how much little personal items will mean to our loved ones after we’re gone. Your old photos and letters might seem trivial, but to a loved one, it might be an invaluable way to stay close after you’re gone. In this age of email, Facebook and Instagram, accessing those memories may mean going online. To help keep your memory alive for your loved ones, your estate plan should include appropriate instructions for accessing your digital assets. Additionally, you should review your plan routinely to make sure that all parts of your estate plan, including your digital estate plan, is current and up-to-date. For more information about this or other estate planning matters, contact Legacy Assurance Plan at 844.306.5272

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How Legacy Assurance Plan To Estate Planning Can Help Your Blended Family

Whether a first marriage ends due to death or divorce, a second marriage can represent an wonderful opportunity for you and your new spouse. With these second marriages often comes the “blended family,” so named because your new marriage involves blending the children you, your spouse (or both of you) have from a previous marriage. In order to protect the financial well-being and happiness of everyone in your blended family, you should strongly consider engaging in prompt and comprehensive estate planning.

Estate Planning for a Blended Family

Blended families present a unique set of estate planning issues. In some cases, you may wish to leave inheritances to both your children and step-children, but perhaps give a larger share to your biological children. In other instances, you have a very close relationship with your step-children while maintaining little to no relationship with your biological children.

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In either circumstance, you can create these legacies, in whatever proportions you see fit, in either a will or a trust. If you desire to disinherit your biological children and leave an inheritance to your step-children (and have not legally adopted your step-children,) this may require especially careful planning, in order to protect against court challenges to your will or trust.

Perhaps the most common concern, though, doesn’t involves not “his” or “hers” estates, because many couples in second (or subsequent) marriages have merged the majority of their assets. The concern, then, involves what happens to those assets when the first spouse dies. Some families may be fearful that the children of the first-to-die spouse could lose their inheritance if their step-parent alters the terms of the estate plan to “freeze” them out.

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In these cases, the use of trusts may be particularly helpful. A couple with a blended family may choose to create two individual living trusts, instead of one married trust. Because trusts can be broadly customized to meet their creators’ needs, a living trust can serve to protect both a grantor’s spouse and his/her children. As an example, a living trust for a spouse with a blended family may give instructions that the assets within it are, after the grantor dies, to be used to support and benefit the surviving spouse during the rest of his/her life, and then distributed to the grantor’s children.

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Alternately, if each spouse is sufficiently wealthy, the trust may dictate that the assets be distributed to the children immediately upon death. You also have significant flexibility in who is the trustee of your trust. You could, for example, name your spouse and one or more of your children as co-trustees, to ensure that both segments of your blended family have a voice in the decision-making process.

Summary: Blended families are more common than ever, now outnumbering traditional families. These families have unique and sometimes complex estate planning needs to ensure that the legacy each spouse desires to leave may come to pass. Using trusts, possibly including multiple trusts, may help a blended family provide for both the surviving member of the marriage, as well as each spouse’s portion of their blended family.

Legacy Assurance Plan Of America – Take Steps Now To Help Reduce Risk Of Legal Challenges To Your Estate Plan After You Die

Legacy Assurance Plan of America’s for Estate Planning –  When famed actor Mickey Rooney died earlier this year, some reports estimated his estate to be worth as little as $18,000. That, however, did not stop Rooney’s family from fighting about the actor’s will. This is not necessarily surprising as, sometimes, it is the smallest estates that produce the biggest estate battles after the testator dies.

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So, what can you do to avoid a messy situation or painful showdown over your assets after you die? One thing is to communicate with your loved ones. By sharing your wishes with everyone affected by the terms of your will or living trust, you can minimize the chance of an uncomfortable surprise. You should also be certain that your estate planning documents communicate clearly about why you made your choices. If you are leaving a loved one nothing because you gave that person gifts of significant value during your lifetime, spelling out that reasoning can potentially be beneficial, both for that loved one and for a court, if a legal challenge occurs.

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You should clearly mention all of your children, and make some provision for them. Even if you do not wish to leave them an inheritance, leaving them a nominal amount, such as $1, may help avoid problems. That’s because, if you make no provision for a child, he/she can claim in court that the omission was an oversight, and that he/she is entitled to a fraction of your total estate in accordance with the portion stated in your state’s statutes.

Both wills and living trusts can be challenged in court. These cases are generally difficult for the challenging party to win. The person mounting the challenge must show that you were mentally incompetent when you created your will or trust, that you were under the improper influence of another person when you made your will or trust or that your estate plan was the product of fraud. Communicating clearly about the goals, objectives and reasons for your plan is especially important if you are disinheriting immediate relatives, are providing a substantial inheritance to distant relatives or non-relatives, or maqke changes to your plan on your “death-bed.”

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If you are concerned that a loved one may be dissatisfied with the size of his/her inheritance, one possible option is a “no-contest” clause. A no-contest clause potentially dissuades beneficiaries from challenging your estate plan by saying that, if a beneficiary goes to court, then that beneficiary does not get his/her inheritance, but instead gets a nominal amount, like $1. No-contest clauses are not legally enforceable in all states, however.

Summary: There is no such thing as a “bulletproof” estate plan that cannot be challenged in court. However, there are steps, both legal and non-legal, that you can take to reduce the likelihood that anyone would choose to challenge your plan and you can get help from Legacy Assurance Plan Of America. The key to most of these steps is clear communication, so that your estate planning desires and objectives, along with your state of mind, are clear to your loved ones, and to a court if your plan becomes the subject of a challenge

Living Trusts And Avoiding Probate: It’s About More Than Just Saving Time And Money When You Die – Legacy Assurance Plan

Legacy Assurance Plan Of America is sharing the basic concept about avoiding probate with living trusts. If you research the topics of living trusts and avoiding probate long enough, you will find what seems like an endless array of viewpoints regarding the need for creating such an estate plan. Much of this discussion centers around whether the cost, in terms of time and money, of probate is great enough to warrant going to the effort to create a trust and avoid the probate process. This focus misses a key point: namely, that your living trust offers more advantages that simply saving the time and money associated with the legal process of estate administration. There are other benefits of your trust that, depending on your family’s situation, can be invaluable. A carefully crafted and customized estate plan can help you ensure that you’re not missing out on any of these important benefits.

Legacy Assurance Plan of America For Living Trusts And Avoiding Probate

One benefit relates to privacy. In most states, probate estate files are open to public inspection. Anyone who takes the effort to travel to the court clerk’s office can view all of your estate’s information, discovering the amount of wealth in your estate, who your beneficiaries are and the amount you’ve left to each of your beneficiaries, among other sensitive information.

If you are concerned about keeping this type of information private, a living trust may provide substantial benefit. In most places and most situations, revocable living trusts are not matters of public record and not available for just anyone to view. Whether you’re seeking to keep your family affairs away from public view, or trying to protect your beneficiaries from potential predators, this added element of privacy could be a significant advantage.

Additionally, if your family affairs are complex and potentially contentious, then avoiding probate with a trust may be very helpful. Launching a will contest can be fairly direct. The estate’s personal representative has already created a court case by opening a probate administration file. All any disgruntled person needs to do to contest that will is show up and lodge an objection in the probate court.

With trusts, it is not as simple for the challenger. Settling a trust after the trust creator dies does not, in most cases, require filing anything in court. While the challenger can contest the validity of the trust or the propriety of the trustee’s actions, he or she must take a greater degree of initiative to open a court case and file a valid complaint in an appropriate jurisdiction.

Additionally, your living trust offers you benefits during your lifetime that a will simply cannot provide. By definition, a will only takes effect after you die. A trust, on the other hand, can provide direction both after your death and during your lifetime. Your trust can be structured to give your successor trustee control over the assets in your trust if you are still alive but have become mentally incapacitated. This allows for a seamless and straightforward method for managing your financial affairs without the need for a court proceeding to appoint a conservator or a guardian of your estate, which can be stressful, expensive and time-consuming.

Summary of Legacy Assurance Plan Of America : A great deal of focus., when it comes to estate planning, goes toward creating a plan that will be the least complicated, most efficient and least expensive way to distribute your wealth to your intended beneficiaries when you die. But careful estate planning looks beyond just these factors, because creating a living trust may help you to take advantage of the all the benefits such an estate plan can provide, including maximizing privacy, minimizing the chances of an estate plan contest and reducing the likelihood of the need for a conservatorship/guardianship court proceeding.

Top 10 Reasons You Should Create an Estate Plan (Part 2) – Legacy Assurance Plan Of America

The media is full of countdowns that serve as both fun diversions and means for keeping up with what is “of the moment” in popular culture, whether the subject matter is the best teams in college football, the most popular songs on the radio or the most attractive men/women in Hollywood. For something that may offer a more long-lasting benefit to you and your family, here is the second half of the “Top 10” list of reasons why you should create an estate plan, and do so now.

  1. To plan for the continuation of your business. Many businesses, especially small ones, fail to survive past the first generation. Several of the these businesses fail due to a lack of planning. In your estate plan, you can deploy many tools to ensure your business goes on after you die. You can transfer your ownership interest to the person you believe is best equipped to carry on the business’s activities, whether that involves a direct distribution through your will or living trust, or the use of other tools (such as life insurance) to give a trusted partner or employee the option of purchasing an ownership stake in the business. A carefully crafted estate plan may also help your family minimize or avoid entirely a potentially devastating estate tax bill. With no plan, a lack of a clear succession or debilitating bills could prove fatal to your business’s survival.

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  1. To avoid probate . The process of administering a probate estate can be expensive and extremely time-consuming. The estate administrator is responsible for assimilating all of the assets, completing an inventory and appraisal of the estate’s assets, paying the debts and distributing the inheritances. In some cases, this can take many months or years and cost a significant sum of money. An estate plan with a properly funded living trust can allow your family to avoid the probate process completely. Some states have very short and simple probate processes, and a carefully crafted estate plan that properly uses non-probate transfer tools can help you ensure that you qualify for these simplified procedures, if you choose that path.

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  1. To ensure your family’s privacy. In many situations, probate estates are matters of public record. Anyone can view the details of your estate simply by traveling to the court clerk’s office and requesting your file. As examples, consider how many details the news media were able to acquire and publish, almost immediately, regarding the estates of stars like Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Whitney Houston. An estate plan with a properly funded revocable living trust may help your family avoid this potential pitfall and ensure privacy. The process of trust settlement, unlike probate administration, is not a public matter. This added layer of privacy can be enormously valuable when it comes to protecting your loved ones from financial predators.
  1. To protect your partner. If you are in a relationship that is (whether by personal choice or the limitations of the law) not recognized by the law, you have a particularly strong need for an estate plan. In most places, your non-spouse partner not only would receive nothing from you financially under the laws of intestacy, he or she also would be completely frozen out of making any decisions should you become incapacitated. This could result in your partner being forced to leave the home you share and possibly not even being allowed to visit you in the hospital. Your estate plan, with powers of attorney alongside a will and/or living trust, can avoid these nightmare scenarios by placing your goals of protecting your partner’s place in your life, in addition to his/her financial well-being, into valid and enforceable legal documents.

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  1. To ensure you have control. As mentioned previously, you already have a plan. Either you have the plan you laid out, or the one the state has laid out for you in the intestacy statutes. Whether your financial affairs, family situations or privacy needs are straightforward or extremely complex, if you’re like most people, you’d prefer to have the satisfaction that comes from knowing that the legacy you ultimately leave behind for your loved ones is exactly the one you wanted to create.

These are but a few of the many, many reasons to create an estate plan. Most everyone needs a plan, but exactly what that plan should look like is as unique as your estate. By taking the affirmative step of working with experienced estate planning professionals to get your plan, you can have the peace of mind that goes with protecting your loved ones as effectively in death as you have during your life.

Summary: This article and its companion list 10 reasons to get an estate plan of Legacy Assurance Plan. There are, of course, scores more reasons why a carefully crafted and customized plan can benefit you and your loved ones. You can only receive these benefits, though, if you take the pro-active step to start the process and get your plan right away.

Top 10 Reasons You Should Create Legacy Assurance Plan For An Estate Planning (Part 1)

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Late-night TV talk show host David Letterman ended his 33-year run on NBC and CBS in May 2015. One of the recurring segments in both of Letterman’s shows was a humorous “Top 10” list. Unlike Letterman’s shows, estate planning is no laughing matter, so the list that follows is Part One a group of 10 entirely serious reasons why you should create Legacy Assurance Plan for an estate planning, and do so without delay.

  1. To plan for incapacity. If you suffer a debilitating injury or illness that leaves unable to make or voice decisions for yourself, your plan will give the person you want the authority to make decisions on your behalf, whether those decisions involve your personal and health care matters or your financial affairs. With no plan, your loved ones may be forced to endure a potentially time-consuming and expensive court process in order to have a judge appoint a guardian or conservator to make decisions for you.

Incapacity and Estate Planning

  1. To plan for loved ones with special needs. If you have a loved one with special needs who receives assistance or benefits through government programs, you probably know how important those needs-based programs are, and therefore how important maintaining eligibility is. Your plan can help you leave part of your wealth to your loved one with special needs, but structure it in a way that it does not interfere with your loved one’s continued qualifications for benefits and assistance. Without a plan, your loved one might be forced to make the choice between losing his/her eligibility for continued benefits or renouncing the receipt of anything from your estate.

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  1. To plan to avoid intestacy. Everyone already has an estate plan. Either you have the one you created yourself or you have the one your state’s government created (probably many decades ago) and enshrined in your state’s statutes. Whether you have non-relatives you wish to remember in your estate, or a family member that you have decided to disinherit, or you just desire to have the control that comes with directing your legacy in a hands-on manner, creating your own plan allows you to customize your legacy and have the maximum level of control.

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  1. To deal with the unique elements of your blended family. Lots of families today look very different from the “Ozzie and Harriet” model of the 1950s. However, many state laws have not caught up with the world of the modern family. With an estate plan, you can customize your affairs to ensure that your estate will both provide for your current spouse and your children from a previous marriage. Without a plan, you could end creating a situation where someone could get an amount you did not desire, or could get unintentionally disinherited completely.
  1. To plan for your minor or disabled children. Undoubtedly, caring for your children is one of the most important duties in your life. Part of making sure that you have provided for your children involves making sure that their needs are met if something happens to you. With an estate plan, you can inform the courts who you want to care for your children in the event that you (and/or your spouse) is unable to do so. With no plan, the judge must simply make her own determination about what is in the best interest of your children, with no input from you.

There are so many compelling reasons to establish an estate plan, and to do so without procrastination. While this article, along with its companion Part Two, discusses 10 issues, there are many more. Chances are, regardless of your situation, you have a good reason (or reasons) to make sure that you have a complete estate plan created and executed right away.

Summary: Legal and financial experts agree that everyone should take the time to create an estate plan, and do so without waiting. The advantages of an estate plan are so numerous that almost everyone can benefit in one or more ways. Whether it is protecting your loved ones, or seizing the satisfaction of controlling your own affairs, getting an estate plan promptly is a wise choice for just about everyone. Legacy Assurance Plan help to protect you legacy Property.

Legacy Assurance Plan For Divorce, Death Beneficiary Accounts and the Importance of Estate Plan Reviews

A 2016 case from Montana shows in detail what can happen when divorce intersects with estate and financial planning. Roy Volk was successful businessman who had a wife and a minor son when, in 2010, he filed for divorce. In the resolution of that case, Volk agreed to create a will naming his son as the sole beneficiary of all his assets, including his $1 million New York Life insurance policy.

Life Insurance as an Estate Planning

Then, a few months after the divorce was finalized, Volk died suddenly at the young age of 45. Volk never created the will required by the divorce court. What was more, he actually owned two New York Life policies, totalling $2.5 million together, and, about three weeks after he filed for divorce, Volk (while a restraining order against moving assets was in place as part of the divorce litigation) changed the beneficiary on each policy from his wife to his sister. When Volk died, New York Life paid out both death benefits to the sister. Volk’s ex-wife sued on behalf of the son to recover that money, claiming that the benefits belonged to the son under the terms of the divorce agreement. The sister argued that the divorce only promised the son Volk’s probate estate and, because life insurance policies operate outside probate, she was allowed receive the money.

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The sister was correct on one point: life insurance policies with valid death beneficiary designations are non-probate transfers. That’s why, if you get divorced or experience any other major life change like a death or a birth in your immediately family, it is a great idea to give your estate plan a review. That review needs to cover, in addition to your estate plan documents like your will and living trust, the other pieces of your estate and financial plan, like life insurance designations and beneficiaries listed on your transfer-on-death assets. In some states, a divorce automatically nullifies a beneficiary designation in which the beneficiary was a spouse who is now the ex-spouse. Other states have no such laws, however. Some people have, after their deaths, left hundreds of thousands of dollars to their ex-spouses because they neglected to update their death beneficiary account designations after a divorce!

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Unfortunately for the sister, Montana IS one of the states that says that a divorce invalidates beneficiary designations in favor of a then-spouse-now-ex. Volk’s naming his sister as the death beneficiary on the policies was improper because he did it while the restraining order was in place. If that improper beneficiary change had never occurred, the ex-wife would have remained as beneficiary on each policy. Montana law would invalidated that designation because of the divorce. That would have left the policies with no valid beneficiaries and, when that happened, the life insurance proceeds would have gone into Volk’s estate and become probate assets. By contrast, had Volk, from the beginning, structured his life insurance policies with his wife as the beneficiary and his sister as the alternate, the outcome might have been very different. It is often a good idea to place multiple alternate beneficiaries on all your pay-on-death or transfer-on-death accounts in order to ensure that unexpected events do not send those death benefits into your probate estate.

What all of this does demonstrate is the absolute importance of giving your plan a careful and thorough review after you’ve undergone a divorce to make sure that your plan meets both your own goals and your obligations as established in your divorce case.

Summary:  Legacy Assurance Plan for estate like divorce, or the potential of divorce, can have a broad array of impacts on your wealth. On area that a divorce can touch is your estate plan. Whether the court judgment in your divorce case has ordered changes to your estate and financial plans, or the change in your relationship situation simply makes changes desirable, chances are that your divorce is something that should make you take a fresh look at your plans and take the steps you need to take to ensure that your plan does what you want it to do in light of your current life circumstances.