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Ronke Law, PLLC
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Do You Have Children? If so Estate Planning is Essential!
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Market volatility is a constant in our modern world. But so-called Black Swan events sometimes take the concept of volatility to the next level. On June 23, voters in the U.K. passed a referendum supporting the idea that Britain should leave the European Union. Known as “Brexit” for short, this surprising political outcome instantly plunged international markets into crisis, and the British pound took a beating.
Prior to the Brexit vote, Wall Street was already somewhat destabilized and reeling due to an abnormal political season in the U.S. and several other factors. And since the vote, the immediate future is looking anything but placid.
So what are the implications for the average U.S. investor?
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Is Your Estate Plan as Stale as Last Week’s Ham Sandwich?
5 Reasons to Update Your Estate Plan
Estate plans are almost magical: they allow you to maintain control of your assets, yet protect you should you become incapacitated. They take care of your family and pets. And, if carefully crafted, they reduce fees, taxes, stress, and time delays. Estate plans can even keep your family and financial affairs private. But one thing estate plans can’t do is update themselves.
Estate plans are written to reflect your situation at a specific point in time. While they have some flexibility, the bottom line is that our lives continually change and unfold in ways we might not have ever anticipated. Your plan needs to reflect those changes. If not, if will be as stale as last week’s ham sandwich and can fail miserably.If anything in the following 5 categories has occurred in your life since you signed your estate planning documents, call us now to schedule a meeting. We’ll get you in ASAP to make sure you and your family get protected.
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Estate Planning Lessons: What Happens if You Pass Away Unprepared?
When you’re in your 20’s and 30’s and in good health, it’s easy to feel invincible and to justify deferring estate planning. Why worry about a long-term financial strategy and your “legacy” if you’re just getting a toehold in your industry?
Yelchin’s tragic situation highlights the fact that we are all – young and healthy, old and infirm alike – vulnerable to events outside our control. Establishing even a rudimentary plan is better than having nothing.
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A resume is a “snapshot” of your experience, skill set, and education which provides prospective employers insight into who you are and how you will perform. Imagine not updating that resume for 5, 10, or even 15 years. Would it accurately reflect who you are? Would it do what you want it to do? Likely not. Estate plans are similar in that they need to be updated on a regular basis to reflect changes in your life so they can do what you want them to do.
Outdated estate plans – like outdated resumes – simply don’t work.
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Most people think of probate as a private process. However, since wills are filed at the courthouse, probated estates become a matter of public record. That means your nosy neighbor Nellie can simply go down to the courthouse or hop online and find out about your probate. Really.
 
It’s Not Just Nellie That Has Access…
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After a loved one dies, her estate must be settled. While most people want the settlement process to be done ASAP, probate can take between 18 and 24 months. Yes, you heard that right. The time delays create unnecessary stress.
5 Reasons Probate Takes So Long
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The news of the unexpected death of music legend Prince, age 57, shocked the world and touched off stirring tributes from the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Elton John, the Harlem Gospel Choir and the cast of Saturday Night Live. Prince left a profound, indelible mark as an artist – when asked what it was like to be the greatest guitar player alive, for instance, Eric Clapton famously responded: “I don’t know. Ask Prince.” Tragically, though, for all his talent, Prince made a simple error that is creating huge complications for his family.
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Today many people are using a revocable living trust instead of a will or joint ownership as the foundation of their estate plan. When properly prepared, a living trust will avoid the public, costly and time-consuming court processes of conservatorship or guardianship (due to incapacity) or probate (after death). Still, many people make a big mistake that sends their assets and loved ones right into the court system: they fail to fund their trust.
What Does it Mean to Fund Your Trust?
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Did you know that the legendary singer and actor, Elvis Presley, earned over a billion dollars throughout his somewhat short career? That’s billion – with a B. However, when the “King of Rock & Roll” died in 1977, his estate’s net worth was only $10 million.
Of that, over 70% went to pay taxes and fees. That left someone who had earned over a billion dollars with only about $3 million (this time with an M) in the end. So, where did the money go and, more importantly, how can you avoid the same trap?
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