Most people are very familiar with individual life insurance policies that will pay a certain amount to beneficiaries upon the death of the policy holder. A survivorship, or second-to-die, life insurance policy insures two individuals, usually spouses, and only pays out when both have passed away.
There are several reasons a family may be interested in a survivorship policy as opposed to, or in addition to, an individual life policy. If a family has a substantial estate that may be subject to an estate tax, the proceeds of this policy may be used to offset some of what may be owed upon the death of the second policy holder….
Many people are familiar with trusts as tools for special needs planning. Not only will a trust ensure that money set aside for a disabled person’s care is used for that purpose, it can also help an individual remain eligible for benefit programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Recently, the state of Florida began the ABLE United program which created a new way to save money for the use of a disabled person without adding to his or her assets….
What is a self settled special needs trust? A self-settled special needs trust is funded using the beneficiary’s own assets. For many years, a disabled person could only set up this type of trust if he or she had a living parent or grandparent, or, if not, by going through court proceedings for approval. In December 2016, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act was signed into law. Now, those with special needs, but who still have capacity to make their own decisions, can independently create and fund their own trusts….
In the wake of hurricane Irma and hurricane Harvey, now is a great time to create a plan to keep estate planning documents safe and easily accessible in the event of a natural disaster. Many recognize the need to have property and health insurance paperwork readily available, but that is not enough.
If a person’s home is destroyed, other important documents will be as well, including estate plans. Injuries, illnesses and loss of life often occur during events such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, not just while they are happening, but in the aftermath due to hazardous conditions, preexisting medical issues and even natural causes….
One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is not periodically reviewing, updating, and modifying his or her estate planning documents. Once drafted, many people tuck these documents away, and don’t think about them again. However, changes in personal circumstances can have an unintended effect on the eventual disposition of an estate.
From guardianship and power of attorney designations to bequests of assets, life changes can affect many decisions made when an estate plan was originally drafted….
According to a study by the Pew Research center, 68% of American adults have a Facebook account, 28% use Instagram and 21% are Twitter users. It is essential for individuals to consider what will happen to their accounts upon death.
Facebook and Instagram both provide two options for handling the account of a deceased individual. Under Facebook’s policy, an account can either be memorialized, or deactivated. If memorialization is chosen, once Facebook receives notice and proof of a person’s death, the account becomes a remembrance page, and account activity will be restricted….
When choosing a place to store your advance directives, will, or other estate planning documents, the most important factors to consider are ease of access and a location that will keep the documents free from harm.
Healthcare advance directives, such as living wills and health care surrogate designations, must be quickly accessible. It is a good idea to give a copy of these to the designated and alternate surrogate identified within the documents. Copies can also be given to other close family members or a primary physician….
Most students must take out loans in order to pay for their higher education. However, many people don’t consider what will happen to their student loan debt if they die before it’s paid off.
Most federal student loans do not require a credit check or cosigner, leaving the borrower solely responsible for repayment. The exception to this is the Direct PLUS loan, which can only be obtained by the parents of a dependent undergraduate student, or by students attending professional or graduate school….
The death of a loved one is a stressful time for family and friends. When it comes to funeral arrangements, family members are sometimes at odds over the details. One way a person can help ease the burden on those left behind is to create a plan for burial arrangements.
Arguably, the most important decisions when it comes to final arrangements are whether a person will be cremated or buried, and the location of his or her final resting place….
Most people are familiar with living wills, which generally detail procedures a person does or does not want if he or she becomes incapacitated and needs life-preserving treatment. In addition to a living will, designating a health care surrogate provides further peace of mind that a trusted individual will be making treatment decisions if a person’s ability to communicate is lost.
A health care surrogate designation authorizes a chosen individual to receive medical information and to make decisions regarding the medical care of another….