Probate subtly reduces the value of many estates. It can take more than a year in some cases, and attorney’s fees, appraiser’s fees, and court costs may eat up as much as 5% of a decedent’s assets. Probating a “routine” estate valued at $400,000 could cost as much as $20,000.
What do those fees pay for? In many instances, routine clerical work. Few estates require more than that. Heirs of small, five-figure estates may be allowed to claim property through affidavit, but this convenience isn’t extended for larger estates.
So, how canyou exempt more of your assets from probate and its costs? Here are some ideas. (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…)
Do you have to make a multimillion-dollar gift to a charity to receive immediate or future financial benefits? No. If you’re not yet a millionaire or simply a “millionaire next door,” yet want to give, consider the following options, which may bring you immediate or future tax deductions. (more…)
How healthy a retirement do you think you will have?If you can stay active as a senior and curb or avoid certain habits, you could potentially reduce one type of retirement expense.
Each year, Fidelity Investments presents an analysis of retiree health care costs. In 2019, Fidelity projected that the average 65-year-old couple would spend around $285,000 on health care during retirement, including about $11,000 in the first year. Both projections took Medicare benefits into account. (more…)
“Why is my portfolio underperforming the market?”
This question may be on your mind. It is a question that investors sometimes ask after stocks shatter records or return exceptionally well in a quarter.
The short answer is that even when Wall Street rallies, international markets and intermediate and long-term bonds may underperform and exert a drag on overall portfolio performance. A little elaboration will help explain things further. (more…)
When you think about your estate, you may think about your personal property, real estate, or investments. You also have other, less-tangible assets – and they deserve your attention as well.
Your digital assets should not disappear into a void when you die. Nor should they be stolen by thieves. You can direct that they be transferred, preserved, or destroyed per your instructions. Your digital assets may include information on your phone and computer, content that you uploaded to Facebook, Instagram, or other websites, your intellectual/creative stake in certain digital property, and records stemming from online communications. (That last category includes your emails and text messages.)
Think of it this way: each password-protected account that you have signifies a digital asset. You may feel that some of these accounts have little (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…)
Does your vision of retirement align with the facts? Here are some noteworthy financial and lifestyle facts about life after 50 that might surprise you.
Some retirees are taken aback when they discover this. In addition to the Internal Revenue Service, 13 states levy taxes on some or all Social Security retirement benefits: Colorado, Connecticut, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, and West Virginia. (It is worth mentioning that the I.R.S. offers free tax advice to people 60 and older through its Tax Counseling for the Elderly program.)
2. Retirees get a slightly larger standard deduction on their federal taxes.
Actually, this is true for all taxpayers aged 65 and older, whether they are retired or not. Right now, the standard deduction for an individual taxpayer in this age bracket is $13,600, compared to $12,000 for those 64 or younger. (more…)
As Wall Street pushes higher, a pandemic-weary Main Street is relearning how to manage cash flow with the hope of keeping its retirement dreams alive – and for those self-employed, this is paramount.
When you marry or simply share a household with someone, your financial life changes—and your approach to managing your money may change as well. The good news is that it is usually not so difficult.
Are prescription drug costs burdening your finances? Some people find it a challenge to manage the cost of prescription drugs. Americans pay an average of $1,200 per year for medicine. For those facing greater and more dangerous ailments, some drug costs are $10,000 per month or even lump sums in excess of $80,000 for certain … Continue reading “Managing Drug Costs”
As the United States sees a rise in cases of COVID-19 across the nation, news of two promising vaccines out of hundreds being tested has offered a ray of hope for a fatigued world.1
With the Federal Reserve keeping interest rates at or near zero, you may wonder about your mortgage. Is it a good time to refinance or even pay off the debt entirely? After all, your mortgage is one of the biggest expenses you may have in life, so why not rid yourself of that debt as … Continue reading “Interest Rates and Your Mortgage”
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