The Digital Afterlife Debate: What Happens to Your Online Assets After You’re Gone
Every single adult needs to have an advance health care directive written, signed and in place. This includes your children, as soon as they turn 18. This includes you. This includes your parents.
Without an advance health care directive in place, you would not be able to access your child’s medical records, if they are unable to communicate permission. You would not be able to ensure your health care decisions will be made the way you choose. And your parents lose the ability to communicate their wishes and remain in control as long as possible.
April 16 is National Healthcare Decision Day (NHDD). Here is what you can do on April 16 – or any other day – to have the conversation you need to have about advance healthcare planning:
1. Look inward. Before executing an advance healthcare directive with the help of your Personal Family Lawyer®, think about what you do – or don’t – want to happen if you were unable to make your own decisions. Think about the people you would want to carry out those decisions and if the person you have in mind will follow your wishes.
2. Talk to your family. One of the most tormenting things for families is having to make healthcare decisions for a loved one by having to guess what they would want. Communicate your wishes to your family so you don’t put them in this stressful position.
3. Talk to your healthcare providers. Let your primary physician and any other healthcare provider know about your decisions about your healthcare. Ask any questions to alleviate any concerns you or your family may have.
4. Execute your advance healthcare directive. Once you have decided upon your healthcare options and have chosen an agent, meet with your Personal Family Lawyer® to complete your official advance healthcare directive. Have copies made for your family and your primary healthcare provider.
In honor of National Healthcare Decisions Day, come into the office anytime the week of April 15 and we will prepare a free health care directive for you, your parent(s) or your adult child(ren). Call 704-896-0906 to schedule before all time slots are full.
When we talk about retirement, most of us are still thinking about our parents’ retirement and how they did – or did not – plan properly for it. It’s no big stretch to think that our retirement will differ significantly from that of our parents, but there are still lessons to be learned from them in preparing:
1. Seek out a pension plan. If you are considering a career change or job move, look for companies that offer traditional pension plans. Having a pension can make an incredible difference in retirement security.
2. If you don’t have a pension plan, compensate. Start investing now in a 401(k), an IRA or other defined contribution plan early and keep investing in it throughout your working life. Figure out what you could have made if you had a pension plan, and contribute that amount to your own plan.
3. Save for a long life. None of us lives forever, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t save as if you would live forever. Running out of money in your 80s or 90s should you live that long is a frightening prospect; medical advances are extending life spans and you need to save for a long life.
4. Plan for health care expenses. It is estimated that most Americans will spend at least $240,000 on health care in retirement, and you will either need to save that amount or have a health coverage plan in place to cover your retirement medical costs.
5. Start early and stay the course. As soon as you start working, aim to save at least 10 percent of your income every year – 15 percent is even better if doable. And keep saving throughout your working years. As your salary increases, try to set aside even more so the comfortable retirement you envision can become a reality.
If you’d like to learn more about retirement planning strategies for your family, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.
What You Can Learn From Three-Time NYC Mayor Ed Koch’s Will About Your Estate Planning
Three-time New York City Mayor Ed Koch died on Feb. 1, leaving an estate estimated between $10-$11 million. And it’s a good thing that “Hizzoner” loved governing, because one-quarter of his estate will be going to the state and federal governments.
During his tenure as Mayor, Koch was famous for asking people on the street, “How’m I doin’?” He would have been better served to ask that same question to a Personal Family Lawyer® before he passed on.
In his will, Koch bequeathed most of his assets to blood relatives – a sister and her husband, a sister-in-law, and three nephews – as well as to his secretary and a charity. And because Mayor Koch used a Will and didn’t put his assets in Trust, it’s all public. In fact, you can read the details of exactly what Mayor Koch left behind and to who right here.
When the former Mayor died, the federal estate tax exemption was at $5.25 million; and since his estate is estimated at twice that amount, Uncle Sam will net a cool $1.45 million. New York State has an estate tax exemption of just $1 million, meaning it will receive $1.1 million from the estate, according to a Forbes article.
As Forbes notes, Koch could have made some savvy estate planning moves before he died by:
Creating a trust for the benefit of his nephews, who inherited the bulk of his estate, and their descendants. Up to $5.25 million that goes into a trust would have been exempt from generation-skipping transfer tax. (And, would have protected those assets for generations upon generations. This was a big oversight.)
Making additional gifts up to $5.25 million right before he died could have significantly reduced his state tax bill, since New York does not have a gift tax. This would have saved his heirs an estimated $600,000.
And there’s more he could have done as well, but he either didn’t get good counsel or he didn’t heed it. Now, it’s too late. And, of course, it’s all public.
If you would like to learn more about strategies to keep your money out of the government and the size of your assets totally private, call our office today to schedule a time for us to sit down and talk. We normally charge $750 for a Family Wealth Planning Session, but because this planning is so important, I’ve made space for the next two people who mention this article to have a complete planning session at no charge. Call today and mention this article.