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December 2013 Archives

Fundamentals of estate planning

As the year draws to a close, tax and estate planning has been on the minds of many people in Pennsylvania, and it can be a good time to revisit the basic financial and estate planning strategies and tools. Updating wills and reviewing beneficiaries listed on insurance policies, retirement accounts, and pensions ensures that property is inherited by the desired individuals.

Heirlooms are top inheritance priority for boomer generation

Members of the baby boom generation care more about holding on to family heirlooms and personal keepsakes than they do about inheriting money or assets from their parents, according to a recent survey. In fact 86 percent of baby boomers who were surveyed said that maintaining their family legacy and keeping their history alive was the most important thing to pass down among the generations. Overall 74 percent of Americans also hold this view.

Don't overlook online accounts when making an estate plan

Is your email account a part of your estate plan? This might seem like a very strange question, but take a moment and consider everything that is stored in that email account - personal correspondence, online bill paying, and professional information, among other things. If these items were kept mostly on paper or in a filing cabinet, information about how to access them would certainly be a part of an estate plan, and it would also likely be easier for families to gain access if it was forgotten. However, with online accounts we bring in agreements with third parties and laws governing information on the internet. When that happens, the situation becomes more complex and it is harder for relatives to find the information that they need. 

Trust ownership better than sharing house deeds?

Managing an estate early in life helps individuals leave a stronger legacy for children or descendants, but it's important to make well-educated decisions about transferring properties. Often, trust administration provides a safe way to manage wealth while living as well as transfer it after death to beneficiaries. For Pennsylvania residents, trusts may be a better option than dealing with partial ownership in a home, for example.

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