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5 Estate Planning Benefits You Should Know About

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One of the biggest mistakes you can make when it comes to estate planning is to assume you do not need to plan.

Estate planning is all about deciding in advance and naming whom you want to receive your assets after your death.

Deciding early on how to distribute your assets will not only keep you in control of everything you’ve worked hard to achieve but also minimize squabbles among family members.

Estate planning is not only for the wealthy. It’s for everyone who wants to make sure their family and loved ones are adequately provided for, should the unthinkable happen.

Here are the five estate planning benefits you should know.

1. Peace for Everyone

You probably have heard horror stories of warring family members, where the war began soon after the death of a major pillar of the household.

Such situations arise when family members cannot reach a consensus as to who should be in charge of finances, real estate, and more. Such squabbles bring hatred among family members and are in most cases arbitrated in a court of law.

But where an estate plan exists, family squabbles are avoided.

Estate planning allows you to choose who should control finances and other assets after you die. This goes a long way towards settling any family disputes that may arise and also ensures your assets are handled the way you intended.

2. Avoiding Probate

When you die, your estate goes through a process that involves settlement and distribution of your assets in accordance with the terms of your will. This is known as probate and can be a lengthy and costly process.

The longer the probate process takes, the more costly it becomes, leaving your loved ones with less than you intended. This explains why most people try to avoid probate in any way possible.

Even with an estate plan in place, your beneficiaries will have to go through a type of probate to distribute those assets. However, not every probate is coordinated by the courts.

Some of the decedent’s property is not considered part of the estate, and therefore, not distributed through probate courts. These include trusts not established by a will, retirement accounts, insurance policies and jointly owned property.

The major ways your property can be settled outside probate courts include putting the property in a trust or by joint property ownership.

Avoiding probate coordinated by courts is one of the key estate planning benefits.

3. Transfer Property to Your Loved Ones Quickly

When you die without an estate plan, your family and loved ones could wait for months to get anything from you.

Estate planning helps to avoid the big delays that can put a financial strain on your loved ones.

With a good estate plan, your family gets all the resources they need to pay for outstanding medical bills, and for anything else that may come up.

4. Reducing Estate Taxes

Estate planning not only seeks to protect your loved ones from financial strain, but also from big tax hits.

By transferring your assets to your heirs, you also put your focus on creating the smallest tax burden for them as possible.

Even with the most basic planning, married couples can eliminate or reduce estate taxes by setting up revocable living trusts or ABC trusts as part of their wills.

Without an estate plan, the amount your heirs will owe the state could be considerably high.

5. Protecting Beneficiaries

One of the key reasons people prepare an estate plan is to ensure their beneficiaries are taken care of.

If the beneficiary is a minor, you’ll need to designate a guardian and a trustee in the will to oversee his or her wellbeing. Without such a plan, again the court will step in to determine who will raise your children.

If the beneficiary is an adult and is bad at managing finances, you can set up an estate plan that will protect them from making bad decisions.

Wrapping Up on Estate Planning Benefits

Without an estate plan in place, there could be a long-lasting impact on your family and loved ones. And not only for your loved ones but for you too.

Suppose you become incapacitated or suffer a stroke, who will pay your bills or manage your healthcare. A power of attorney designation and a well-drafted living trust package can help to protect you and your family.

If you have any questions on estate planning benefits or need help to update an existing plan, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Around the Web: The Cost of Care Increases

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Have you thought about long-term care? What about the planning for it, or even the possibility (now reality) of costs increasing? The Associated Press’ Tom Murphy elaborates on how much long-term care costs have increased in his article.

Back in 2004 Genworth Financial started a survey and since then, we’re now seeing the second-highest increase of 4.5%. This is due to labor expenses and sicker patients. And soon, we may see costs go to $100,000 or more per year. This cost can be for nursing homes, assisted living, adult daycares, etc.

How many American 40 and older do you think haven’t made any plans for their long-term care needs? One-third, according to a 2016 Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research Survey.

We Can Help

At Rhodes Law Firm, we highly recommend you begin planning for long-term care, and everything else for that matter, as soon as you can. When you’re ready to start planning for times like these, estate planning, and more, contact us and we’ll get you started!

RLF at the Life After 50 Expo

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On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, Rhodes Law Firm had the pleasure of attending the Life After 50 Expo held at the Legends Club in Augusta. The Expo is a compilation of services, tips, and fun for how to enjoy the second half of your life! There were vendors and speakers there covering topics from health to travel to finances and so forth.

At the Expo

This event was a very exciting opportunity for the firm! We had the chance to meet so many great people, and are beyond excited to help them with their estate planning and other needs. We’ve included photos of Daniel, Kayla and our booth at the event below!

RLF Life After 50 RLF Life After 50

RLF Life After 50

When you’re ready to start planning for life after 50 (and even before!), contact us and we’ll get you started!

 

Client Spotlight: Tropical Smoothie Cafe

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Shining the Spotlight

To our clients and readers, Rhodes Law Firm would like to turn the spotlight onto our clients Reginald and Zenna Foster! They are the owners of Tropical Smoothie Cafe, located on Robert C. Daniel Jr. Parkway.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe

If you’re struggling to find a great breakfast or lunch spot with a healthy focus, head over to Tropical Smoothie for fresh and flavorful sandwiches, smoothies, and more. You’ll be happy you did!

Rhodes Law Firm is proud to be working with such wonderful business owners. We encourage you to stop by and check out their bright and welcoming store to taste the goodness! You can also visit their website for more information at www.tropicalsmoothiecafe.com .

Newborns would save $2.2 million for retirement with this idea

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It’s no doubt that Social Security will face changes over the next several years, and no exactly for the best. There’s just no avoiding it. However, there are still ways to set your children for success when they reach their time of retirement.

This article explains why setting up a Child IRA now would put that child in a better position. It is said by Chris Carosa, president of Stanton Asset Management, that putting $1,000 in an IRA for your child each year until the child is 19 can grow to $2.2 million by the child’s 70th birthday.

Readers, we invite you to post your ideas and tips on this topic! What are some other ways that can set your child/grandchild up for retirement success?

Let Your Business Be Our Business

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At Rhodes Law Firm, we’re especially known for our heavy focus on Estate Planning, Elder Law, Long Term Planning, and those alike. But with many of our clients, their business is also a major component in putting together the rest of their planning.

Let your bank, financial adviser, or brokerage firm help you with the financial planning aspects of your estate. You need a qualified estate planning lawyer to draft the legal documents that create an estate plan for you. A qualified attorney, like those at Rhodes Law Firm, will work with your financial adviser and accountant to create the best plan for you!

Here’s a quick list (but not limited to) of how we can represent your business:
• Startup assistance
• Buy/sell agreements
• Contract review
• Transition planning
• Purchase and sale of business

Around the Web: Retirement Advice from a Boomer to a Millennial

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Thankfully, Millennials are beginning to catch on to the importance of starting a retirement fund as soon as possible. But if you are reaching retirement soon, you may feel obligated to make sure that your surrounding young co-workers are up-to-speed on this topic.

There are several experiences and tips to share in order to make it seem a bit more realistic than just the idea of planning for retirement; and there certainly various ways to approach this subject instead of coming across as “that codger in the office everyone avoids…” as this article puts it.

Be the bearer of helpful tips and words of wisdom to our younger generations!

Around the Web: Five Ways to Bulletproof Your Estate Plan

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Taking care of your estate plan early on is a great decision, without a doubt. There’s really no such thing as starting early with this. However, sometimes in life we think we’ve got our “ducks in a row” and somehow something goes wrong.

In this article, you’ll find great ways to make sure that the above doesn’t happen to you and your estate plan, by essentially making it bulletproof:

  1. Have a pre-paid, pre-planned funeral
  2. Set up a family committee to manage your revocable trust
  3. Have different lawyers develop a plan for you and your spouse
  4. Don’t underestimate your life expectancy
  5. Match your lifestyle to your income in retirement

There are always nooks and crannies that many people forget about, or not even think about at all! Click here to read further, and to make sure it’s unstoppable!

 

To: Our Grandchildren, From: Your Grandparents

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You’ve already designated amongst your children and siblings who receives your assets, but are having difficulty with what to leave your grandchildren. There are several ways to gift your assets to your grandchildren while making sure there are no misuse of funds. You wouldn’t want to leave them “x” amount of money for higher education and it be used for something else, right?

Here are some of those ways to make sure your grandchildren get the most out of your gift(s):
• Whether the grandchild attends a private school, or planning to attend college in the future, you can set up a plan to pay that school directly.
• If there are any medical expenses for the grandchild, you can set up those payments similarly to educational costs. Just be sure to pay the medical provider directly.
• You can set up an IRA or savings bond.
• Transfer money into a trust.

Your overall goal is to ensure that the money/assets you leave behind will be properly used and essentially not wasted. The perks for you (besides knowing your grandchildren will benefit from it) are that this gift-giving can decrease your estate size and tax. There also may be no gift tax!

To further learn how to get started and what the best route is for your gifting of assets, contact us today!

Around the Web: For the Blended Family

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Estate planning is complicated as it is – sorting through and designating your assets to whomever. But picture a family where both spouses have been previously married with children. Now imagine this already-combined family having a child or more children together. It seems like things are beginning to look more complicated, right?

When a family is as complicated as this (regarding who gets what assets) it’s highly possible to cause hurt feelings and/or conflict.

Read on for the appropriate avenue(s) in which to make this process as stress-free as possible.