Choosing Retirement Account Beneficiaries Requires Some Thought

While the execution of wills requires formalities like witnesses and a notary, the reality is that most property passes to heirs through other, less formal means. Many bank and investments accounts, as well as real estate, have joint owners who take ownership automatically at the death of the primary owner. Other banks and investment companies offer payable on death accounts that permit owners to name …

learn about social securities online tools

With the aging population becoming increasingly tech-savvy, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has moved a lot of services online. From applying for Social Security benefits to replacing a card, the SSA has online tools to help. To access most of the online services, you need to create a my Social Security account. This account allows you to receive personalized estimates of future benefits based on …

Living Wills: what are they?

A living will is a document that establishes your wishes as to what happens regarding your end of life treatment. We call it a declaration of natural death in South Carolina. This document gives the client the ability to make their own decision regarding the end of life treatment. It takes the burden of that decision making off of the client’s family. As many people …

10 Ways the Elderly Can Avoid Financial Abuse

Increased dependency due to illness, disability or cognitive impairments can make seniors susceptible to financial abuse. Nest eggs accumulated over decades also often make seniors attractive targets for predators, whether the predator is an offshore bogus sweepstakes or a care provider who sees an opportunity to be paid more than an hourly wage. Just as sunlight makes the best disinfectant, transparency provides the strongest abuse …

Four Steps to Take Right After an Alzheimer’s Diagnosis

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it is important to start planning immediately. There are several essential documents to help you once you become incapacitated, but if you don’t already have them in place, you need to act quickly after a diagnosis. Having dementia does not mean an individual is not mentally competent to make planning decisions. The person …

A Healthcare Power of Attorney? Do I really need one?

A healthcare power of attorney is a document that is legally appointing someone to make health care decisions for you should you be unable to do so yourself. In South Carolina, if you do not have a Healthcare power of attorney the Adult Health Care consent act designates who will make decisions for you among family members. The act first gives power to spouses, then children, followed …

5 Things to Know to Reduce Your Tax on Capital Gains

Although it is often said that nothing is certain except death and taxes, the one tax you may be able to avoid or minimize most through planning is the tax on capital gains. Here's what you need to know to do such planning: What is capital gain? Capital gain is the difference between the “basis” in property — usually real estate or stocks, but also …

How to Handle Sibling Disputes Over a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is one of the most important estate planning documents, but when one sibling is named in a power of attorney, there is the potential for disputes with other siblings. No matter which side you are on, it is important to know your rights and limitations. A power of attorney allows someone to appoint another person — an “attorney-in-fact” or “agent” — …

Gift taxes and you!

The IRS has announced that the gift tax exclusion has been raised for 2018. A person can gift an annual exclusion of $15,000 without any gift tax consequences. Which means that you and your spouse could gift a child a total of $30,000 without any gift taxes. The lifetime limit was raised to 11,180,000. Double that for a married couple. This is the amount you …

When Should I Update My Estate Plan?

So you go an estate plan set up and executed. Great! But you aren’t done yet. You want to be sure to have that plan reviewed and updated on a regular basis. The rule of thumb that we use is to have your plan reviewed anytime you or a family member has a major life event. A few examples may include: You have a child …