Avoid This Child Care Estate Planning Mistake

Have you been married before? If so, you probably have questions about the estate planning process and how that might shift based on your changing family dynamics. If this applies to you, you’ll likely want to continue to protect your children from your first marriage in your estate plan. These issues can be tricky, so it’s worth working with an estate planning attorney in Virginia Beach, VA who has the right experience to support you.

Second marriages can be very problematic from an estate planning perspective if you’re not in touch with a lawyer and updating your plan regularly. You cannot always necessarily trust a surviving spouse to follow your wishes, especially as it relates to caring for your children from a previous marriage. A parent, for example, may leave everything to their wife or husband with a general understanding between those two people that after that person’s death, all remaining assets will be split with surviving children.

However, if the surviving spouse legally inherits everything on their own, there is nothing that stops them from changing beneficiaries on those accounts, so that all money goes to their own children or to other chosen heirs. A trust can be helpful in establishing an estate planning maneuver to protect this.

This is not applicable, however, if that trust is jointly owned by the couple. An estate planning professional can sit down with you to discuss many of the most common concerns around the estate planning process when you have multiple marriages or children from different partners.



Does Your Estate Plan Need More Than A Simple Will?

A simple will is necessary for every US adult over the age of 18. It can help them answer many questions and ensure that your property is distributed according to your wishes. However, estate planning can be tailored based on your assets, family circumstances, income, and personal goals.

Executing a will can take time and this can also prove problematic because your beneficiaries may need to wait for the probate process in court to conclude before enjoying your gifts. This is one reason to consider working with an estate planning professional to create a trust.

This bypasses probate and allows you to transfer assets to your loved ones immediately in line with your wishes and as an added bonus, it does not create a public record of any of your estate plans, meaning that your directives remain confidential. A revocable trust should be considered by everyone outside of those who only have a few assets.

There is little downside to creating a revocable living trust, but there can be considerable benefits as they are recognized in every state. Once you know what you want to achieve with your Virginia Beach, VA estate plan, you’ll be in a better position to decide on your next steps.

Even if you don’t have many assets, it’s worth continuing to revisit the estate planning conversation on a regular basis. The birth of a new child, acquiring a new home, or even experiencing a change in income for the better can all shift your situation and highlight the value of planning.

To learn more about how to create a revocable living trust to accomplish your goals, schedule a time to meet with an experienced estate planning lawyer.



Should I Leave Money to a Charity in My Will?

Estate planning and philanthropy are interconnected as many people use this opportunity to leave leftover funds behind to support a charity of their choosing. This is a very personal decision and one that is based on your own assets and your personal goals. Having an estate planning attorney to help you with this process can clarify answers to many of your most common questions. Your will specifies what you want to be done with your assets after you pass away.

You can also use your will to determine the making of a charitable bequest, or you can also work with your estate planning attorney to set up a trust fund for a very specific charity.

Naming a charity as a beneficiary in either your will or your living trust is one of the easiest ways to accomplish your philanthropic goals and, when done properly, it can also reduce the amount of your taxable estate and any relevant estate taxes. Make sure that you understand your intentions in creating estate planning goals with leaving behind assets in your will.

Knowing that you have an attorney who is highly knowledgeable about these issues can give you a lot of peace of mind about the next steps you need to take to pass on your legacy and support charities. Do not hesitate to contact an attorney today to learn more.

A Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer can guide you through the entire process of creating your plan and supporting charities or other important causes through your strategy.



What To Know About The Two Basic Kinds Of Life Insurance Beneficiaries

Close up on a file tab with the word life insurance, focus on the main text and blur effect.Most people who take out a life insurance policy are doing so to help protect their loved ones in the event that the primary policyholder passes away unexpectedly. This can be an important financial contribution to continue supporting your loved ones and it is imperative that you understand how the policy works. The policy is taken out under a specific face amount, which is the lump sum that your family or chosen beneficiaries will receive when you pass away.

So long as the policy is maintained as active through regular premium payments, your loved ones will be able to file a claim with that life insurance carrier when you pass away. It is on you to decide on a life insurance beneficiary to receive those assets after you pass. There are a number of financial, tax and legal related implications that can all happen if you do not appropriately name a beneficiary. This means understanding the difference between primary and contingent life insurance beneficiaries.

A primary beneficiary is the people or persons who will receive the proceeds of the policy when the insured owner passes away. However, the beneficiary is not eligible to receive any proceeds if they pass away before the death of the insured party.

A contingent beneficiary is also known as a secondary beneficiary. This contingency beneficiary is only eligible to receive proceeds on a policy if the primary beneficiary passes away before the insured party. This makes it extremely important to understand how to select an appropriate life insurance policy and to name both primary and contingent beneficiaries to support your family’s unique needs. Make sure that a life insurance policy is part of your established estate plan by working with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach.

When Does A Power Of Attorney Become Effective?

In many cases, creating a power of attorney can help you to appoint someone known as an agent to act on your behalf if and when you are unable to do so. The power of attorney typically becomes effective at a future date usually at the time that a person signs a subsequent written authority to act under the document, or at the time that the person who created the document is determined to be incapacitated.

Working directly with an estate planning attorney to create a power of attorney document is recommended. The strategy for drafting this document is critical for ensuring that the power of attorney agent has the appropriate authority to act and is very clear on their ability to do so and the timing of when the document becomes active.

A properly drafted power of attorney document will set forth how a person will be defined as incapacitated and, for example, can include standards, such as whether or not the person’s treating physician needs to sign a notarized statement indicating that the person is medically incapacitated.

This springing power of attorney means that the power of attorney document becomes active at some point in the future based on the specifics of the creator’s wishes. For more information about how to use a power of attorney to help guard against incapacity concerns, schedule a time to meet with a dedicated lawyer in Virginia Beach.

Beware Of Possibly Giving Your Power of Attorney to The Wrong Person

Installing someone in a role of trust and authority is an important part of estate planning, but if you give this power to the wrong person, it could cause numerous problems. Think carefully about who you want to install as your power of attorney agent. Your agent can make important decisions on your behalf, and you need to have a high level of trust in this individual to feel confident about the decisions that they make for you.

All too frequently, these situations can go wrong, leaving you or your loved ones paying the price. All too often, the person who was appointed as the agent on the power of attorney gets short shrift in consideration. These agents do take over a portion of your life if you become mentally or physically incapacitated.

Choosing the wrong person to serve, particularly in a financial power of attorney can leave room for many unintended consequences that could be hazardous to both your wealth and your health. If both your medical and your financial power of attorneys are held by the same person, it is also important to think about the potential issues with conflict here.

Furthermore, what happens if your power of attorney agent is no longer able or willing to serve in this role? You need to think carefully about naming a backup power of attorney agent and how you will communicate with your estate planning attorney if that becomes necessary. For more questions about crafting a customized estate strategy for your needs, set aside a time to speak with an experienced lawyer.

A Virginia Beach, VA estate planning lawyer is there to guide and support you through your entire claim.



Got Crypto? You Need to Disclose It in Your Estate Plan

Today you probably own more accounts and assets than you think you do. With digital accounts and possibly even cryptocurrency, you might have greatly increased the complexity of your estate plan. This makes it important to work with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

As non-currency blockchain tokens and cryptocurrencies become increasingly popular with people, it is ever more important to address them in the estate planning process. There are unique attributes and possible challenges associated with owning and transferring these assets. But it is especially important to find a way to document that you own them so that your loved ones understand where and how to access them.

One of the biggest but yet first challenges is disclosing crypto asset ownership to your heirs. Crypto assets can be kept in hot storage, such as an online digital wallet, or offline in a device like a USB. Unlike a financial institution or a brokerage account where your heirs might come across this paperwork after you pass away, there are usually no account statements associated with cryptocurrency, and it is likely that your heirs don’t even know that you own it unless you reference these assets in estate planning documents.

For further information about how to disclose crypto assets in the estate planning process and how to transfer them effectively, schedule a time to meet with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorney in your area.



These Two Reasons Are Not Sufficient to Avoid Estate Planning

When it comes to thinking about the process of sitting down and writing out your estate plan, many people put it off. There are plenty of different excuses, some of which might even seem reasonable and logical at the time.

However, it can be problematic to put estate planning off too long, because you may find yourself in the middle of dealing with an unexpected disability for yourself or leave your loved ones to deal with adapting quickly after your death when no plans have been made. Consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you to create a comprehensive plan with your best interests in mind. This plan is the cornerstone of your goals for your future but can also be adapted and changed over time. There are two prominent reasons that often pop up at the top of the list why people do not engage in estate planning.

The first is thinking that you have plenty of time because it’s very easy to put these important tasks on the backburner. Everyone assumes that they won’t need an estate plan until they’re much older, but the truth is that making an appointment with an estate planning lawyer helps to protect you and your loved ones now. Another common reason why many people avoid the estate planning process is because they don’t have that much money and believe they need to hit a certain asset threshold before getting involved in estate planning.

Even beyond a will which helps to transition your assets when you pass away, it’s important to have updated documents like a living will and a power of attorney in case you are unable to make decisions for yourself. These estate planning documents can and should be created now. For more information about this process, schedule a time to meet with a dedicated lawyer in Virginia Beach.


Six Ideas to Protect Your Finances this Year

Although New Year’s resolutions might have fallen by the wayside, having a great financial and estate plan is important all year round. Thinking about your health and long-term care security issues can prompt you to do the important work around protecting your individual interests and establishing a next step with your estate planning. The support of an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can help guide you through accomplishing each of these individual steps. Here are six things you can do to get your financial strategy up leveled or back on track:

  • Maintain your health by investing in healthy diet and exercise plans.
  • Make sleep a priority every night as this can have important implications on your physical health.
  • When it’s time, sit down and review Medicare benefits with a financial professional to make sure that the plan you’ve selected is aligned with your individual needs.
  • Discuss your wishes and resources for long term care with your loved ones. For example, if you have a long-term care insurance policy, make sure your spouse and other loved ones know where to find it.
  • Consider long term care insurance or Medicaid planning strategies that can help you qualify for Medicaid more quickly and easily if and when the time comes.
  • Set up an annual physical and review all of your medications. Discuss options for getting off certain medications where possible.

All of these issues can help you to protect your health for as long a period as possible, and to give you powerful insights and next steps for your planning strategies. Learn more about estate planning by meeting with a lawyer in Virginia Beach today.



How To Evaluate Your Disability and Life Insurance Needs

The beginning of the New Year presents multiple opportunities to evaluate your current estate plan and your financial strategies. Significant changes have occurred for many people throughout the last two years at a global level in addition to those that might have affected your personal life, such as a marriage or a divorce. This makes it important to ensure that you always have appropriate insurance coverage.

Failing to have appropriate insurance coverage can prove problematic if and when you have an event that would have otherwise been covered by this situation. It becomes very important to have the support of an experienced lawyer to guide you through this process and help you round out a comprehensive plan.

Life insurance and disability insurance are often overlooked but are important components of your financial security strategy. Disability Insurance steps in to help provide you a portion of your income if you become disabled or incapacitated and are unable to work. Life insurance is much more situational, but you should consider any potential assets and debts that you have, as well as how you would intend to support a loved one or other beneficiaries in the event that your income were no longer available.

If you are the primary wage earner, you might include 5 to 10 times your annual income when evaluating coverage for a life insurance policy. For more information about using these strategies to help protect your loved ones and to limit your risks, schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach.