And just like that – half of 2017 is gone.
We entered the year expecting changes due to political and social movement. And while many may say that the anticipated changes have not yet fully manifested themselves, we have witnessed change at Allgen. Among these changes, we have wished Cassy Morrison farewell in her new endeavors as she and her husband relocated to Virginia. While we are sad to see her go, we are excited about the opportunity offered to her husband and wish them well in this new chapter of their lives. With Cassy leaving, we also welcome 3 newcomers to the team. Please help us welcome Karen Vergara, Robert Cortes and Liz Castro. Stay tuned for our upcoming newsletter as we further introduce them so that you may get to know them better.
Another change has been the allocation within our portfolio models. As markets have played out according to our previous comments, we have started making adjustments reflecting such change. We’ll elaborate upon this in the market commentary.
As we continue to promote Allgen’s path to financial freedom, we return to one of the fundamental building blocks of the foundation stage: Simple Will. Yes, we know it is not usually the topic of choice and yet we see so many people come to our office without a will. As such, many come to us with either no will or one that needs to be updated. It is critical that you get this part of your foundation correct. We start to address this issue in our financial planning update.
And finally, as always, we welcome the opportunity to chat with you about your portfolio and your path to financial freedom. Please feel free to contact our office to schedule a review or ask a question. It is our pleasure to serve you!
“In this world, nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” – Benjamin Franklin
Despite the certainty of death, approximately 55% of American adults do not have a will or other estate plan in place, according to LexisNexis. And this is significantly higher among minorities: 68% African American adults and 74% Hispanics adults. Granted, talking about death is no fun. Yet, death often comes as an unpleasant surprise leaving loved ones grieving and stressing over what to do now and going forward. Having a valid will facilitates the process of distributing assets per your wishes and addresses many questions that arise after death.
What If I Die without a Will?
This is referred to as “dying intestate” and your resident state has a default plan for you. Florida’s intestate plan¹ may not align with your plan for whom you would choose to raise your minor children, manage any assets for your children, who may distribute your assets and who gets any items of sentimental value. Moreover, your state is not aware of the family dynamics — functional or dysfunctional as they may be.
Simple vs Complex Wills²
A simple will is generally suitable for:
• Adults 18 – 50
• There are few assets and the estate is not subject to the estate tax³
• There are no children from previous marriages/partners
• You don’t expect anyone to contest your will due to fraud, duress, or lack of mental competency.
If any of the above apply, you may want to speak with an attorney about options that cover more complex topics (ex: Trusts).
What Makes a Will Valid in Florida?
• You must be of sound mind and at least 18-years old
• It must be in writing
• You must have two witnesses to your signature
• And it is advantageous to have your signature along with your two witnesses’ signatures signed before a notary.
What about Estate Planning while I’m Still Alive?
A comprehensive estate plan does not stop with a will. It usually includes the following documents when you are alive but unable to handle or voice your wishes due to an accident, illness, or cognitive impairment.
1) Living Will “advance directives” – addresses life prolonging medical treatments including a do not resuscitate (DNR) order.
2) Healthcare Surrogate – designates who can make health care decisions on your behalf
3) HIPAA – designates who can have access to your medical information
4) Durable Power of Attorney – designates who manages your financial affairs and makes financial decisions on your behalf
5) Pre-need Guardian – the person you want to serve as your guardian of self and property in the event of your incapacity.
It is wise to have your financial plan coordinated with your estate plan and vice versa. We encourage you to obtain a will if you don’t have one. If you have a will it’s important to review it if your life circumstances change (i.e. marital status) or if you haven’t done so in the last 5 or 6 years. Laws change and you want your estate plan to be up to date. Since these are legal documents, we recommend that your documents be drafted by an attorney. Contact your Allgen advisor if you would like to identify an attorney for your needs.
We look forward to assisting you with any questions you may have. We also invite you to stay connected with Allgen’s market viewpoints and financial education. Our weekly “Money Minute” video series answers your financial questions, and it helps guide you on your path to financial freedom. You can find us via www.allgenfinancial.com, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube.
¹ Florida Statutes Title XLII Chapter 732 Probate Code: Intestate succession and wills.
² It is strongly recommended to consult with an estate planning attorney regarding your specific needs and wishes and provide the estate planning attorney as much information.
³ For 2017, an individual can leave $5.49 million to heirs and pay no federal estate or federal gift tax.
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