ARK Wealth Insights

Advanced Estate Planning Concepts for Women

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 20, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Advanced Estate Planning Concepts for Women

Statistically speaking, women live longer than men; if you're married, that means that the odds are that you're going to outlive your husband. That's significant for a couple of reasons. First, it means that if your husband dies before you, you'll likely inherit his estate. More importantly, though, it means that to a large extent, you'll probably have the last word about the final disposition of all of the assets you've accumulated during your marriage. But advanced estate planning isn't just for women who are or were married. You'll want to consider whether these concepts and strategies apply to your specific circumstances.

Transfer taxes

When you transfer your property during your lifetime or at your death, your transfers may be subject to federal gift tax, federal estate tax, and federal generation-skipping transfer (GST) tax. (The top estate and gift tax rate is 40%, and the GST tax rate is 40%.) Your transfers may also be subject to state taxes.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Women and Investing

Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRAT)

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 15, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT)

A grantor retained annuity trust (GRAT) is an irrevocable trust into which you make a one-time transfer of property, and from which you receive a fixed amount annually for a specified number of years (the annuity period). At the end of the annuity period, the payments to you stop, and any property remaining in the trust passes to the persons you've named in the trust document as the remainder beneficiaries (e.g., your children), or the property can remain in trust for their benefit.

A GRAT is generally used to transfer rapidly appreciating or high income-producing property to heirs with the main goal of transferring, free of federal gift tax, a portion of any appreciation in (or income earned by) the trust property during the annuity period.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Financial Planning

Trusteed IRAs

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Mar 13, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Trusteed IRAs

The tax code allows IRAs to be created as trust accounts, custodial accounts, and annuity contracts. Regardless of the form, the federal tax rules are generally the same for all IRAs. But the structure of the IRA agreement can have a significant impact on how your IRA is administered. This article will focus on a type of trust account commonly called a "trusteed IRA," or an "individual retirement trust."

Why might you need a trusteed IRA?

In a typical IRA, your beneficiary takes control of the IRA assets upon your death. There's nothing to stop your beneficiary from withdrawing all or part of the IRA funds at any time. This ability to withdraw assets at will may be troublesome to you for several reasons. For example, you may simply be concerned that your beneficiary will squander the IRA funds.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Retirement

Planning for Incapacity in Retirement

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Feb 13, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Planning for Incapacity

What would happen if you were mentally or physically unable to take care of yourself or your day-to-day affairs? You might not be able to make sound decisions about your health or finances. You could lose the ability to pay bills, write checks, make deposits, sell assets, or otherwise conduct your affairs. Unless you're prepared, incapacity could devastate your family, exhaust your savings, and undermine your financial, tax, and estate planning strategies. Planning ahead can ensure that your health-care wishes will be carried out, and that your finances will continue to be competently managed.

It could happen to you

Incapacity can strike anyone at any time. Advancing age can bring senility, Alzheimer's disease, or other ailments, and a serious illness or accident can happen suddenly at any age. Even with today's medical miracles, it's a real possibility that you or your spouse could become incapable of handling your own medical or financial affairs.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Retirement

Women and Estate Planning Basics

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Jan 25, 2018 8:00:00 AM

Women and Estate Planning Basics

When it comes to estate planning, women have unique concerns. The fact is that women live an average of 5.0 years longer than men.* That's important because it means that there's a greater chance that you'll need your assets to last for a longer period of time and a greater need to plan for incapacity. It also means that you'll need to take responsibility for your own estate plan.

What is an estate plan?

An estate plan is a map that reflects the way you want your personal and financial affairs to be handled in case of your incapacity or death. It allows you to control what happens to your property if you die or become incapacitated.

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Topics: Estate Planning, Women and Investing

Death of a Family Member Checklist

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Jan 15, 2018 9:13:03 AM

Death of a Family Member Checklist

Losing a loved one can be a difficult experience. Yet, during this time, you must complete a variety of tasks and make important financial decisions. You may need to make final arrangements, notify various businesses and government agencies, settle the individual's estate, and provide for your own financial security. The following checklist may help guide you through the matters that must be attended to upon the death of a family member.

Note:  Some of the following tasks may have to be completed by the estate's executor.

Initial tasks

  • Upon the death of your loved one, call close family members, friends, and clergy first--you'll need their emotional support.
  • Arrange the funeral, burial or cremation, and memorial service. Hopefully, the decedent will have made arrangements ahead of time. Look among his or her papers for a letter of instruction containing final wishes. Such instructions may also be stated in his or her will or other estate planning documents. Arrange any cultural rituals, and make any anatomical gifts.
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Topics: Estate Planning, Financial Planning

Trust Basics

Posted by Matthew_Hanshaw-CFP on Oct 10, 2017 8:00:00 AM

Trust Basics

Whether you're seeking to manage your own assets, control how your assets are distributed after your death, or plan for incapacity, trusts can help you accomplish your estate planning goals. Their power is in their versatility--many types of trusts exist, each designed for a specific purpose. Although trust law is complex and establishing a trust requires the services of an experienced attorney, mastering the basics isn't hard.

What is a trust?

A trust is a legal entity that holds assets for the benefit of another. Basically, it's like a container that

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Topics: Estate Planning, Financial Planning

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