Talking about “the end” is not the easiest thing to do, and this is one reason why some people never adequately plan for the transfer of their wealth. Those who do create estate plans with help from financial and legal professionals sometimes leave their heirs out of the conversation. (more…)
Do you regularly donate to charities and other non-profit organizations? Then you may want to open a donor-advised fund.
Donor-advised funds are becoming popular. It is easy to see why. They offer potential tax perks, and in some instances, a chance to grow money set aside for charitable gifting. (more…)
TOD, JTWROS – what do these obscure acronyms signify? They are shorthand for transfer on death and joint tenancy with right of survivorship – two designations that permit automatic transfer of bank or investment accounts from a deceased spouse to a surviving spouse.
This automatic transfer of assets reflects a legal tenet called the right of survivorship –the idea that the surviving partner should be the default beneficiary of the account. In some states, a TOD or JTWROS beneficiary designation is even allowed for real property. (more…)
If you are an executor to an estate, you must carry out your duties responsibly. Fulfilling these duties is not only a measure of your ability, but a measure of your character.You can approach these tasks methodically. In fact, it is probably best if you do. Here are the common steps required of executors, before and after the death of a testator.
What should you do now, before having to assume the role of executor? The most important thing you can do is to communicate with him or her. Ask where the will and other foundational estate planning documents are, so you can locate them when the time comes. See if they want an elaborate funeral, a simple service, or no service at all – and yes, ask whether burial or cremation is preferred. Ask for the contact info of the key financial, insurance, tax, and legal professionals connected to the testator’s financial situation, plus contact info for business partners, creative collaborators, and any relatives you may not know well. (more…)
Actor Lee Marvin once said, “As soon as people see my face on a movie screen, they [know] two things: first, I’m not going to get the girl, and second, I’ll get a cheap funeral before the picture is over.”
Most people don’t spend too much time thinking about their own funeral, and yet, many of us have a vision about our memorial service or the handling of our remains. A letter of instruction can help you accomplish that goal.
A letter of instruction is not a legal document; it’s a letter written by you that provides additional, more personal information regarding your estate. It can be addressed to whomever you choose, but typically, letters of instruction are directed to the executor, family members, or beneficiaries. (more…)
Many people plan their estates diligently, with input from legal, tax, and financial professionals. Others plan earnestly but make mistakes that can potentially affect both the transfer and destiny of family wealth. Here are some common and not-so-common errors to avoid. (more…)
Exactly one month ago today, I returned from a 12-day trip to Uganda. While there, myself and a group of 15 others did water projects such as building a rainwater harvest tank and making and distributing bio-sand filters. The organization that hosted the trip was a non-profit based out of Boone, NC called Wine to Water. Their founder, Doc Hendley, received a CNN Hero award back in 2009 for the incredible work that he himself had done both in Darfur and Uganda. Doc has inspired thousands, myself included. The work they do at Wine to Water changes lives. In fact, it changes entire communities. They do real boots on the ground stuff, bringing clean water to those in need. They make an impact with what they do. And I’ve seen it first hand. (more…)
If #GivingTuesday wasn’t great enough on it’s own, Facebook ‘s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg stole the show with an absolutely extraordinary pledge to give away 99% of his Facebook fortune over his and his wife Priscilla Chan’s lifetime. That amount, as it stands today would total over 45 billion dollars. This will be done through their ongoing platform entitled the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative. Basically, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative allocates money to organizations around the country — and eventually, the world — in order to make it a better place for everyone. (more…)
There is something extraordinarily special about this day, Giving Tuesday, that simply compelled me to write about it. Unfortunately not everyone will share my overly rose-colored view of #GivingTuesday. Some may see this simply as a day of slight annoyance due to the abundance of e-mails asking for monetary donations. But here at Epic Capital, we see things differently. Given the number of non-profit organizations where our employees have served as board members, we recognize the potential impact of a global campaign like this. (more…)
Why do we plan a vacation? Many, if not most of us, lay out meticulous plans to ensure that our trip goes smoothly. Doing so enables us to do all the things we want to do and see all the things we want to see. But what would happen if we didn’t create a plan in advance? Might a relaxing vacation turn out not so relaxing? Might a potentially great experience turn into a frustratingly negative one? Don’t get me wrong, I know some folks live for spontaneous adventure, but I can’t imagine too many of us like to travel without some sort of plan. By setting an itinerary or planning ahead many of the main aspects of your trip, you can have your expectations become a reality and help to minimize most travel snafus. We plan because there are rewards for doing it. (more…)
Good credit may open doors. It is vital to securing a loan, a business loan, or buying a home. When you establish and maintain good credit in college, you create a financial profile for yourself that can influence lenders, landlords, and potential employers. Unfortunately, some college students do not have good credit. In fact, Credit … Continue reading “Establishing Good Credit in College”
Financial generalizations are as old as time. Some have been around for decades, while others have only recently joined their ranks. Let’s examine a few common retirement assumptions. Retirement means I can stop investing. In the past, retirement was viewed as an “end” in many ways. These days though, retirement is often seen as an opportunity … Continue reading “Debunking Common Retirement Assumptions”
What is a relationship with a financial advisor worth to an investor? A 2019 study by Vanguard, one of the world’s largest money managers, attempts to answer that question. Vanguard’s whitepaper concludes that when an investor works with an advisor and receives professional investment advice, they may see a net portfolio return about 3% higher … Continue reading “Measuring the Value of a Financial Advisor”
Can your IRA be put directly into a trust? In short, no. Individual retirement accounts (IRAs) cannot be put directly into a trust. What you can do, however, is name a trust as the beneficiary of your IRA. The trust would inherit the IRA upon your passing, and your beneficiaries would then have access to … Continue reading “Can You Put Your IRA into a Trust?”
We all know the value of a good credit score. We all try to maintain one. Sometimes, though, life throws us a financial curveball and that score declines. What steps can we take to repair it? Reduce your credit utilization ratio. Your credit utilization ratio (CUR) is the percentage of a credit card’s debt limit … Continue reading “Ways to Repair Your Credit Score”
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