financial planning blog

Understanding Probate

understanding probateAn individual’s will designates how personal assets should be distributed to beneficiaries upon death. A revocable trust enables the smooth transfer of those assets. Without a trust, if assets are titled solely in the decedent’s name, the estate must be funneled through the probate court. Understanding probate can go a long way in alleviating stress during an already difficult time.

Probate is the court-supervised process that transfers assets of someone who has passed away to the rightful beneficiaries. Depending on the complexity of the estate, the process can last roughly six months to two years. There are financial costs associated with probate, such as attorney and appraisal fees. These expenses can be hefty depending on the size of the estate.

Understanding Probate

Here are the typical steps of the probate process.

1) A petition is filed to open probate and a personal representative is appointed by the court.

Even if an executor was named in a will, before probate can begin that person must be authorized by the court. Executor, administrator and personal representative are different titles used to describe the person who will be managing the estate.

2) Notice of the death is given to potential creditors.

Any claims against the estate must be presented to the executor; there is typically a time limit within which a claim can be made.

3) Assets are collected and valued.

The executor needs to take inventory of and properly appraise the decedent’s assets before determining how and to whom they will pass.

4) The estate is managed by the executor.

This process includes opening an estate checking account to pay bills, maintaining investments and real estate, and filing appropriate income tax returns.

5) Remaining assets are distributed.

Once debts, expenses and taxes have been paid, the executor must distribute any remaining assets according to the decedent’s will. In the absence of a will, assets are distributed according to the state’s probate laws.

 

By |2019-09-16T19:35:29-07:00September 23rd, 2019|Estate Planning|

Understand Why Before Deciding How

understand why before deciding howI recently sat down with a new client who needed help understanding her financial accounts. It takes two-way communication and objectivity to determine what investment strategy best serves a client’s needs. Essentially, you must understand why before deciding how. Unfortunately, this woman’s previous advisor did not take such actions.

Several years ago this person recommended (as a sales agent) she move her IRA and brokerage accounts into equity-indexed annuities. That locked up most of her investable assets for 10 years into an insurance product that levies a fee to access her money.

As we chatted, I learned she wanted to travel and take classes in her retirement. Annuities hindered her ability to do that right away. Once I took the time to understand her goals, we knew this product was not the best choice.

Situations like this are all too common and have created a stigma for annuities. Yet, some annuity products may be appropriate investments in certain circumstances. One example is a client who had not had a fixed paycheck during his career as a realtor. When he retired, we purchased an annuity for him to complement his Social Security benefits. The steady annuity income was a welcome change from the unpredictable income stream he’d had while working and gave him peace of mind in retirement.

These examples highlight the importance of knowing what you need and want before making any decisions about your portfolio. It’s critical to explore all the reasons why you are investing before deciding how to invest and what products will be most effective in meeting your goals.

To learn more about our financial planning process and investing strategies, click here.

By |2019-08-14T13:59:44-07:00July 29th, 2019|Insurance, Investing|

Should Millennials Rent or Buy?

Should Millennials buy or rent a home?When choosing between renting or buying a home, only 37 percent of Millennials today opt for ownership, according to a report from the Urban Institute. That’s 8 percentage points lower than the two previous generations at the same age (24-35 years). Reasons range from personal preference to economic reality, or a combination. Should Millennials rent or buy a home?

Personally, I am in my mid-twenties and am still building up savings. My husband also has a highly mobile job. Settling in one place for many years is not an option right now. We currently rent our home for those reasons.

For others our age, factors include delaying marriage, large student debt and a preference for living in high-cost urban areas. According to a report at housingwire.com, the average mortgage payment for the U.S. median home in 2018 was $1,578, compared to an average monthly rent of $1,267. When faced with these costs and the reasons listed above, renting is usually the option Millennials choose.

Should Millennials rent or buy a home? Ultimately, the decision depends on one’s current financial situation and readiness to make a long-term commitment in purchasing a home.

For those who can afford a down payment and closing costs, have a stable job in their location of choice, or are ready to start a family, buying can be a sound investment. People who need flexibility, aren’t sure where they want to put down roots, or have substantial debt, renting may be a better option. Working with a financial planner can help you figure it out.

Written by Alicia Vallee, a Phoenix-based freelance writer.

Secure Personal Data

Secure personal dataIt may seem complicated to secure personal data on all your electronic devices. Shannon Curkendoll, operations manager and portfolio administrator, offers simple tips to make the task less daunting. Take a moment to watch her brief video. She explains how to lock your devices and create strong passwords you can remember.

 

 

For more great insight on how to secure personal data, check out Shannon’s article on how to understand and reduce Wi-Fi risk.

By |2019-08-14T13:59:45-07:00May 6th, 2019|Current Affairs, Video Blog|

Create Your Life Map

Wouldn’t it be great if life came with a map and instructions? When you’re setting goals, how do you plan to get from point A to point B? In this brief video, Financial Planner Patrick Eng talks about the benefits of having a life map (a.k.a. financial plan) to help you navigate life’s ups and downs every step of the way. At Perspective, we know life happens and we can help you create a life map to help when it does.

 

The Perspective Team can help you create your life map.

The Perspective Team can help you create your life map.

Learn about the six key elements of our financial planning philosophy, our process in working with clients, and our investment strategy on our “How We Do It” page.

https://moneyaz.com/philosophy/

By |2019-08-14T13:59:45-07:00April 8th, 2019|Financial Planning, Video Blog|