Why Young Families Should Consider Estate Planning Now

Many couples who have just married may see their matrimony as a lifelong partnership and the beginning of a new family. What they may not consider is what happens when the inevitable happens. It is something we definitely do not want to face or think about, but it is important to consider, and this is why estate planning is advised.

Estate planning involves legal documents such as a Last Will, Health Care Proxy, Power of Attorney, Living Will, and a HIPAA release. These documents are prepared to outline your wishes in the event you lose competency or pass away. The documents allow you to appoint agents that will follow your wishes and also allow you to appoint guardians of your children.

Claudia T. Salazar, Esq. is the owner of the Law Office of Claudia T. Salazar. Her firm specializes in estate planning, elder law, Medicaid planning, and estate administration. Her main office is located in Huntington, Long Island, and her secondary office is located in Fresh Meadows, Queens. She has been assisting families for over a decade with preparing for the inevitable and understands that it is important to ensure wishes are met.

The main importance of estate planning is managing ones assets. Assets may include but are not limited to a house, personal bank accounts, and investments. With estate planning, couples will designate an agent or fiduciary to make important decisions for them both while they are alive and after passing away. An example would be designating someone to pay daily living expenses should you lose capacity or appointing a guardian to take care of your minor children. Families with special needs children have additional considerations with their estate plans.

Ms. Salazar recommends that couples should consider setting up an estate plan as soon as they get married. There is a misconception that if someone dies with a spouse and children, their assets will go directly to their spouse. This is not the case. In New York, the first $50,000 will go to the surviving spouse. The balance of the estate is then split fifty percent to the spouse and then fifty percent to the children, even if they are minors. This will obviously pose a problem with minor children as they cannot clearly control monies. For those couples without children, this may not be ideal if one may want a parent or another family member to inherit their money.

If you have assets or a disabled child, estate planning is essential to ensure your wishes are met, Salazar says. If you lose capacity or should you pass away, there will not be any questions. Whomever you are appointing has guidelines and it makes it much easier than having to figure out what you would have wanted. No one will know that.

Some families opt for a living trust in lieu of a will. A living trust is a legal document that allows your estate to avoid probate and directs a Trustee to distribute your trust estate pursuant to your wishes. This option avoids the process of probate, which is the lengthy and costly process whereby the court appoints an executor nominated in a Last Will. It could take months or years before an executor is appointed. This may not be ideal if you want your spouse and children to have immediate access to your assets.

Salazar says that unfortunately the majority of her clients begin estate planning over the age 50. She says its not a good idea to wait this long because accidents or unforeseen events can happen. Even if you do not have kids, it is still encouraged to make sure there is an agent to make proper arrangements for you and your partner.

It is something that you dont want to think about, but you need to ask the questions: what if this happens to me? How can I make this easier for my loved ones? Salazar says. These are questions that no one wants to think about but ones that we really should.

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Estate planning: Don’t make these mistakes

Ronald J. Paprocki, JD, CFP, CHBC

A colleague told me he created his own estate plan on a website versus using an attorney. Is that a good idea?

Sometimes people attempt to make an estate plan without consulting legal and financial professionals. Mostly, this is because they may have a general understanding of estate planning and believe they can do it themselves without paying for professional services. Everyone is different, and a boilerplate form oftentimes is not sufficient. Here is a list of potential estate-planning mistakes you can help avoid with professional counseling.

Having an outdated estate plan. Your life and financial circumstances may change, and your estate plan should change accordingly. For instance:

  • Your parents may havedied so they can no longer be beneficiaries.
  • Your children may have gotten married and had children of their own.
  • You may have divorced and remarried.
  • Your assets have grown (or decreased) significantly.
  • You no longer own a house or you purchased property.

Your estate plan should take these and other life changes into account. Its a good idea to review your plan at least once a year.

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Failing to revise your will. The will you had drafted many years ago may no longer apply for the reasons listed above and others. Some people believe that if they scratch out a part of an old will, add information, and initial the document, it will be valid. This is never the case.

Relying only on joint tenancy to avoid probate. Many assets are transferred outside of wills. For example, assets titled in joint tenancy pass to the surviving joint tenant, not per the terms of your will. Many feel that you and your spouse should owna home as joint tenants to avoid probate. This move really only avoids probate on the first death. When the surviving spouse dies, the home will typically end up in probate.

Not coordinating a will and a trust. Creating a trust and transferring assets to it may help you avoid probate and save taxes. However, ifyou have a will and a trust, be sure the documents are aligned so your wishes will ultimately be carried out. If a will and a trust are not in agreement, delays and unnecessary costs may be incurred.

Titling assets incorrectly. You want yourintentions to be carried out for all assets, including your primary residence, vacation home, bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, and even vehicles. Be sureto makebeneficiary designations and properly title accounts. Designate a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) on individual retirement accounts, company retirement plans, and other accounts. Take time annually to review them as they will control the distribution of those assets.

Next: Not naming successor or contingent beneficiaries

CFPB’s Monthly Complaint Report Focuses on Debt Settlement, Credit Repair, and Other Financial Services

On November 29, 2016, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its monthly complaint report. For the month of October 2016, the products and services generating the most complaints were debt collection, credit reporting, and mortgages, collectively representing about 65 percent of complaints.

In a year-to-year comparison covering the three-month time period between August and October in 2015 and 2016, student loans showed a marked increase in complaints – 108 percent – the greatest percentage increase in complaints of any product or service. During the same period, complaints about prepaid products, payday loans, and mortgages declined by 51 percent, 22 percent, and six percent respectively. Interestingly, the three product categories showing the greatest percentage decline in complaints have been, and continue to be, the focus of CFPB rulemaking initiatives.

The report focused on complaints about debt settlement, credit repair, check cashing, refund anticipation checks, and money orders. The CFPB categorizes these types of complaints as “other financial service complaints.”

Regarding these other financial service complaints, the CFPB found that debt settlement is the service that generates the most complaints, constituting 50 percent of other financial service complaints. Credit repair and check cashing services each constituted 12 percent of other financial service complaints.

The most common issues raised by consumers involved fraud or scam (51 percent) and customer service or customer relations (18 percent). Consistent with the increase in student loan complaints, the CFPB noted that complaints about fraud or scam often involved consumers who sought to settle or consolidate their existing student loan debts.

Online Auto Loans For Bad Credit : Tips To Get The Financing You Need

People with bad credit or bankruptcy can now get online auto loans for bad credit. Whether you need loan for new or old car, you can get online car financing for bad credit.

AutoLoansForEveryDriver provides online auto loans for bad credit. You can access details of these loans from your mobile device from anywhere in the United States. To apply for online car financing for bad credit at AutoLoansForEveryDriver, you will need to fill up an online application form. You will need to furnish details about your employment, such as duration with your current employer and the monthly salary that you earn. AutoLoansForEveryDriver promises total security and privacy of your personal information shared in the online application form.

Using the online calculator, you can ascertain the amount of the online auto loans for bad credit that you can get approved for. You will need to choose your credit score range from the options provided, furnish details of your pre-tax monthly salary, and your monthly expenses. Based on your inputs, the loan amount is calculated.

Get Online Auto Loan Even If You Have Bad Credit! Request Your Free Quote Here and Get Fast Approval for Car Loan in Seconds

Before you apply for online car financing for bad credit, ensure that you fulfill the prescribed eligibility criteria. You must be a US citizen above 18 years of age and should earn a minimum of $2,000 gross monthly income. If you have a bad credit, you can apply. But, car loan for private party, refinance, private party auto loan with bad credit, and loans for motobikes are not made available at AutoLoansForEveryDriver. Also, if you have had a repossession in the last 12 months, you cannot get online auto loans for bad credit. In case of bankruptcy, creditor hearing should have been completed for chapter 7 bankruptcy; while for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must furnish a letter fron Bankruptcy Trustee.

AutoLoansForEveryDriver offers online car financing for bad credit and, in many cases, does not require down payment. If you have been denied auto loans for bad credit in the past, chances are you will likely get approved at AutoLoansForEveryDriver, if you meet the prescribed criteria.

With a network of dealers spread across all the 50 states in the US, AutoLoansForEveryDriver is able to work out loan amounts and other terms to suit your needs. AutoLoansForEveryDriver gives you the ability to find online car financing for bad credit from the privacy of your mobile phone. You only need to fulfill some basic criteria and you can get approved in a few hours.

A Wharton professor explains why you shouldn’t consider buying a home an investment

Todd Sinai is a
real-estate professor at the Wharton School at the University of
Pennsylvania.
The Wharton
School

Should you
keep renting, or buy a home?

Its an
age-old dilemma nearly every American adult wrestles with at
some point. No one wants to throw their hard-earned cash away on
rent payments theyll never see again when they could be
investing in a home that will grow in value and potentially
provide a nice return one day.

If that line of thinking sounds familiar, Todd Sinai, a real-estate
professor at the Wharton School of the University of
Pennsylvania, would like to stop you right there.

A number of crucial factors go into the rent-versus-buy equation
— myriad
calculators exist for
just this
purpose — but a houses potential return on investment
shouldnt be your focus. In fact, you shouldnt think of it as an
investment at all, according to Sinai.

People get caught up in this notion of Oh, if I buy a house
its an investment, so I can do it at any time, but its not,
Sinai told Business Insider.

Housing is a consumption decision, not an investment decision,
Sinai said. The amount you pay for housing should comport with
your needs, goals, and budget, regardless of housing market
trends and potential growth in home value.

If what youre spending each month on housing jumps when you move
from renting to owning, thats not necessarily a wise financial
move just because youre getting equity. You need to make sure
the additional space and amenities youre consuming are
worthwhile expenditures on their own merits, not for the
theoretical payout they might afford later.

John
Raoux/AP

If you spend twice as much on a house, youre not making twice
as big an investment, youre spending twice as much on housing,
Sinai said. Thats a mistaken way to approach it.

Lets say you time your
local market correctly and home prices rise after you buy. If
you decide to sell that home, youll still need a place to live,
and youre buying in that same market with expensive home prices
unless you go back to renting.

Moreover, the process of buying and selling a house is expensive.
The taxes, fees, and closing costs youll pay when you buy and
sell that home eat into any profits you reap.

Buying that house cheap and selling it once its gotten
expensive is an expensive way to make money, because the round
trip [cost to you] is about 10%, so you take a huge hit, Sinai
said.

If you want to make an investment in housing, Sinai says youre
better off doing it in the markets — such as buying shares in a
real
estate investment trust or an exchange-traded fund.

For buying your own home, just ensure it will match your needs
for many years to come, independent of what happens in the
markets.

Mortgage officer to explain how to rebuild credit Dec. 10, 13

Rockland — Mortgage development officer Kevin Boggs will present a program at the Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St., with information on how anybody can understand, repair and rebuild their credit Saturday, Dec. 10, at 2 pm and Tuesday, Dec. 13, at 6 pm

Rather than a lecture, this presentation will aim to inform and entertain. Discussions will include how to read a credit report, how to negotiate with creditors, when to ask for help and where to get trustworthy assistance, what is a credit score and how is it calculated, how to improve your credit right now, how to monitor your credit for free, how to optimize your chances of getting approved for a loan, how to negotiate loan terms, how to repair credit, how to rebuild credit, how to protect your information and more.

Boggs brings more than 15 years of experience in credit and mortgage lending. He is a graduate of Dickinson College, where he is a member of the Sports Hall of Fame. He volunteers his time providing instruction on credit and home ownership through free regional adult education programs and at local high schools. Boggs also volunteers his time each week to the Knox County Homeless Coalition by providing free counsel to caseworkers and residents on credit repair and first-time homebuyer programs. He is a native of Rockland, and enjoys hiking, swimming, sports and playing music with his family.

The program, for people of all ages and backgrounds, is free and open to the public. For more information, call 594-0310.

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