Saturday, December 7, 2013
Deborah L. Jacobs, lawyer and award-winning business journalist, has recently published the third edition of her excellent book, Estate Planning Smarts. This book, designed for a lay audience, is extremely well-written, practical, and accurate. It would make a great holiday present for almost anyone on your list!
Here is a description of the book:
There's been plenty of talk this year in Congress about the estate tax law. But don’t let all the talk obscure a basic fact of life: everyone, regardless of net worth, needs an estate plan. Estate Planning Smarts, by Deborah L. Jacobs, goes far beyond taxes to help you achieve all the goals that are the essence of estate planning.
Above all, estate planning is a way to take care of yourself and the people you love. It can minimize the hardships of your old age. If you are married or in any other committed relationship, estate planning is about leaving a financial cushion for your spouse or partner. It also includes providing funds for a child’s or a grandchild’s education, subsidizing less fortunate family members and benefiting charity. For parents of young children, estate planning is a way to make sure someone will care for them if you suddenly perish. Whatever might be happening in Washington, no one should postpone the necessary steps.
Regardless of your net worth, a good estate plan should accomplish these essential goals:
Caring for yourself by authorizing people to handle your affairs if you no longer can because of illness or disability
Specifying who gets what after you pass away
Providing for children who are minors or who have special needs.
In many estate plans, trusts play a crucial role. Although they are commonly associated with financing lavish lifestyles, they serve other key purposes. Trusts can be used to hold money for minors, forestall spendthrift family members, protect assets from former spouses or creditors, or even make provisions to care for pets that survive you.
Written for people who don’t want to leave their finances to chance, Estate Planning Smarts can help educate you before seeing financial advisers, during the estate planning process and later as your life circumstances change. An annotated Table of Contents, phrased in terms of personal or financial goals, doubles as a checklist.
Monday, November 4, 2013
Millions of Americans manage money or property for a loved one who is unable to make financial decisions.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released four booklets to help financial caregivers with these often overwhelming duties. These guides walk financial caregivers through their duties, alert them of scams, and provide sources they can go to for help. These Managing Someone Else’s Money guides are for agents under:
See Naomi Karp, Managing Someone Else’s Money, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Oct. 29, 2013.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
Steve R. Akers, Bernard E. Jones, and R.J. Watts, II recently published a book entitled, Wills Road Map: Practical Considerations in Will Drafting. Provided below is a description of the book from Texas Bar Books:
Wills Road Map: Practical Considerations in Will Drafting began life as the well-known seminar paper “Anatomy of a Will” from the TexasBarCLE seminar Building Blocks of Wills, Estates and Probate. Intended for both general practitioners who occasionally prepare wills for their existing clients as well as for experienced estate planning attorneys, Wills Road Map brings together legal concepts from wills, probate, and trust law to provide expert guidance in properly assembling a will.
Featuring a basic discussion of estate tax planning, with a focus on various state law issues, Wills Road Map also addresses principles that can affect the will beyond the language of the will itself. Other subjects include doctrines affecting the validity of the will and a review of the legal significance and effect of the many specific wills provisions. Helpful appendixes include a checklist and sample wills forms.
Wills Road Map: Practical Considerations in Will Drafting digital product is included with purchase and contains the entire book as a hyperlinked and word-searchable PDF file. All tables of contents, cross-references, and indexes are linked to substantive text within the file. Texas and federal case and statute citations are linked to online versions in the Casemaker Web Library.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
Melinda Gustafson Gervasi is releasing a new book entitled, Middle Class Philanthropist: How Anyone Can Leave a Legacy. Provided below is a description of the book:
To be released November 1, 2013! Predating democracy, capitalism, organized religion, and as old as humanity itself, philanthropy exists because things often go wrong, and things can always be better in our world. Nothing about philanthropy requires a person to have excessive amounts of money to make a difference. In Middle Class Philanthropist: How anyone can leave a legacy, Melinda Gustafson Gervasi redefines the conventional view of philanthropy, providing simple and practical tools by which anyone can leave a legacy.
Melinda Gustafson Gervasi is a writer and attorney living in Madison, Wisconsin with her husband and two children. Her legal practice aims to provide warmth and compassion along with solid legal advice to clients planning for their immediate needs as well as the distant future in the areas of estate planning and probate. She also maintains two different blogs: Illness, Death, and Taxes for the Middle Class and The Upside of Frugal.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
For financial advisors looking to survive “money in motion,” download this free eBook from Bluelead entitled, Why Advisors Lose “Money in Motion” and How to Save Yourself.
A recent study by PWC found that the majority of families sever relationships with their loved one’s financial advisor during a wealth transfer. This eBook will cover the reasons families sever these relationships, 3 easy things to do right away to prevent this from happening, how to leverage tools already in use, and how to build relationships with other professionals during the process.
Monday, October 7, 2013
Russell N. James III, J.D., Ph.D. (Professor, Director of Graduate Studies in Charitable Financial Planning & CH Foundation Chair in Personal Financial Planning, Texas Tech University) recently published a report entitled, American Charitable Bequest Demographics (1992-2012).
This report presents data related to charitable estate planning in the United States over the last 20 years and is intended to add to information from existing cross-sectional surveys.
Please click here to read an online copy of the report.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
R. David Watros & Erik T. Reynolds recently published a book entitled, The Advisor’s Guide to Long-Term Care. Provided below is a description of the book provided by the American Bar Association Web Store:
Waiting to address long-term care needs until the point one actually needs care is too late, as it significantly impacts a client's financial situation, quality of life of their loved ones, and their ability to maintain their independence. Incorporating long-term care insurance into the financial plan can ultimately help protect assets reduce the burden of care that would otherwise fall on family members, and enable the client to receive care in the setting they most prefer, including their home. The Advisor's Guide to Long-Term Care looks at the full range of the topic, explaining how to best use it in the estate plan as a prudent risk-management choice.
Statistics point to the high probability that people are likely to need extended health care at some point in their life. The Advisor's Guide to Long-Term Care is intended to help estate planners and advisors to address these issues with their clients, establishing the issues and trends for care and covering all relevant issues involved in the funding and planning for this insurance. This helps the advisor establish a plan that will place the family back to where they were emotionally, physically, and financially, as best as possible prior to a long-term care event occurring.
Starting with the funding of long term care, one of the most essential important factors to consider, the authors clearly explain the different options for self-funding, governmental programs such as Medicare, Medicaid, veteran_s benefits, and the Federal Long-Term care insurance program, as well as other funding considerations. Tables and figures make the details involved in these choices clear and accessible.
Subsequent chapters examine key issues in long-term care insurance, legislation that has affected the insurance, such as HIPAA and the PPA, taxation, and issues to consider in selecting a long-term care insurance company. The authors consider using long-term care for estate planning and wealth preservation and a discussion of employer's options and benefits in establishing long-term care coverage for their employees.
Friday, September 13, 2013
For those needing help with planning calculations, one option is Denver Tax Software.
Their programs offer “a number of Windows-based, dedicated programs that provide calculations for specific tax and tax-planning issues, including those relating to entity selection and retirement planning."
Products include the IRS/State Interest & Penalty Calculator, S Corp Vs. Partnership/LLC/Sole Proprietorship Analyzer, C Corp Vs. S Corp Analyzer, IRA/Pension Distribution Planner, Roth Vs. Traditional IRA Calculator, Education Funding Planner, Social Security Calculator, and AT&T Divestiture Basis Tracker.
See Donald Kelley, Denver Tax Software, Wealth Management, Sept. 11, 2013.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
Rick Law and Kerry Peck recently published a book entitled, Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law (August 2013). Provided below is a description of the book found on the American Bar Association Web Store:
Alzheimer's disease is a form of dementia characterized by the loss of memory and other intellectual abilities to the point that the disease interferes with daily life. About 4-5 million people in the United States have some degree of dementia, and Alzheimer’s is the most common form.
There are many legal questions that need to be addressed following a diagnosis of dementia like financial questions, health care concerns, and ethical questions. Lawyers need to understand both the law and the emotions of working with a client who has Alzheimer’s disease. These questions include the following:
- How do we get health care for the patient?
- What are the ethics of working with clients with Alzheimer’s?
- What options are available for health care?
- How are these options going to affect the patient and the family/spouse?
- What is the long-term outlook for everyone?
- How can we protect the family assets?
Most attorneys are not accustomed to dealing with a client with Alzheimer’s and probably are not prepared to answer these types of questions. Alzheimer’s and the Practice of Law is designed to give you the knowledge needed to answer these questions and guide your client through the arduous journey of dealing with dementia. Including interviews with doctors, a hospice nurse, and the leaders of the Alzheimer’s Association, this handbook examines this disease and unique practice from every important angle.
Monday, August 19, 2013
For those looking for a last bit of summer reading, here are some titles about life and death that may interest you.
If you’re looking for a little inspiration to find greater purpose in life, check out Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom and The Last Lecture by Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch. Both books are about great men who gracefully faced up to death.
If you’re newly widowed, you may want to check out On Your Own: A Widow’s Passage to Emotional and Financial Well-Being by Alexandra Armstrong and A Widow’s Story: A Memoir by Joyce Carol Oates. Armstrong provides a basic guide for women accustomed to their husbands handling the money while Oates will help those still coping with grief.
For those wishing to read about dysfunctional families, there’s Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach by Meryl Gordon, which details the saga of Brooke Astor and her unscrupulous son Anthony Marshall. For a detailed account of disappointed heirs, check out Hendrik Hartog’s Someday All This Will Be Yours.
For those worried about spoiling their kids, read Navigating the Dark Side of Wealth: A Life Guide for Inheritors or Beyond Gold: True Wealth for Inheritors, two books by Thayer Willis based on his own experience. For another take, try Eileen and Jon Gallo’s Silver Spoon Kids: How Successful Parents Raise Responsible Children, which is a creative approach to teaching your children about money.
For those trying to build a charitable legacy, Charles W. Collier’s Wealth in Families looks at the motivations behind and methods for being philanthropic.
And for those interested in providing for your four-legged family members, there’s Fat Cats & Lucky Dogs: How to Leave (Some of) Your Estate to Your Pet by Barry Seltzer and myself.
See Deborah L. Jacobs, Summer Reading: Beach Blanket Books About Life and Death, Forbes, Aug. 19, 2013.