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Challenges Families Face Without an Estate Plan | Retire Happily

When there is no plan in place, the process will be more confusing, and it will take longer and cost more than if there had been an estate plan in place.
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When Mom and Dad age, if there is no estate plan, there’s no clear path of who will take care of them. Who is going to make medical decisions? Who has the authority to pay their bills? When there is no plan in place, the process will be more confusing, and it will take longer and cost more than if there had been an estate plan in place.

Problem with Putting Kids’ Names on Accounts

Clients often ask us, “If I have kids, can I just put one of them on the account and tell him or her to share it with the others?” Our answer is that you could, but that is a potentially dangerous estate plan. First, once you put someone on your accountant, that person becomes an owner with you, so all the life problems that person has can affect your account. For example, if you put your adult daughter on your account and she gets divorced, your account could be dragged into that divorce. Or if she’s in a car accident and gets sued and loses the lawsuit, that plaintiff could try to garnish her account. Even if those things don’t happen, if you put just one of your children on an account and tell him or her to share it with siblings, that child is not necessarily legally obligated to do that.

Family Divorce in Your Estate Plan

If you are concerned about one of your children getting a divorce, I call it “the in-laws becoming the outlaws.” But you can control the situation with a proper estate plan. There are provisions that enable you to control how your assets are set aside for your own bloodline.

Disability Benefits for Your Child

If one of your children or grandchildren becomes disabled, you can set up a provision in your estate plan that enables them to qualify for benefits that they are receiving or might receive in the future. You can set assets aside so that they do not count toward other types of expenses.

Managing Addiction in Your Estate Plan

This is a tough situation. If you have a child with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling or something else, you can set up provisions in your estate plan to make sure that money is managed on their behalf. This can help ensure that the money doesn’t become a hindrance to them or encourage their addiction.

What Services Do Financial Advisors Offer?

Some assets advisors buy and sell:

  1. Stocks 
  2. Bonds
  3. Mutual funds
  4. Exchange-traded funds
  5. Annuities
  6. Life insurance 
  7. Private equity 
  8. …all of that stuff and more.

All of these are financial services. Some advisors specialize in doing analytical work. Some advisors specialize in selling a type of boxed item that can provide assets for you. What are the key factors? Is the financial professional providing you with a peace of mind? Are they able to facilitate a feeling of freedom for you? Are you able to do the things you want to do? And finally, can you prove it mathematically? These questions should be in your mind the entire time as you are evaluating a professional. Our number one intention is to equip you to get the results that you expect. The number two objective is for you to avoid regret. We want you to avoid looking over your shoulder and thinking, I wish I would have asked that earlier. I wish I would have known that earlier. I wish someone would have told me to be more aware of that earlier. 

Different Financial Professionals

I am going to return to the comparison of financial and medical professionals. In the medical profession, you can have a lab technician that gives you an impartation of knowledge. You may think, gosh, that is just what I needed to hear. Where did that come from? That is awesome knowledge. However, the opposite may happen when you consult with a doctor. You may think, I know you are a physician with years of education and experience. But, this is not helping me at all. This is not what I need. Someone else needs to take a look at my situation. I need better advice than I feel you are giving me and as with the medical profession, asking the right questions will help you find your financial advocate. We are going to provide you with these questions.

Enjoy the Life You’ve Been Accustomed Before Retirement 

You may interview someone that is so myopically focused on what is happening with a particular stock. They may point to this stock because of some fundamentals or because of this or that. It may have nothing to do with your overall plan. When someone likes a particular investment, you want to be prepared with these questions. What does that have to do with my income? What does that have to do with my income taxes? What does that have to do with my inheritance? What does it have to do with my ability to enjoy the life that I have been accustomed to? What does it have to do with inflation over the next 20 years or with changes in interest rates? This particular stock may have nothing to do with you. In this case, you want to have a holistic approach. We will go back to a medical analogy. Western medicine has been trained to look at the condition. They focus on what is happening with that condition and how to treat it. Eastern medicine looks at what is happening with the whole body. They review the big picture and analyze all systems that might that be affecting that particular symptom.

Here’s the Takeaway for You

What is a financial professional, and what do they do anyway? To answer the question, I will reiterate. They give you peace, they provide you with freedom, and they give you proof. You may be the person that says; I’m my own financial professional. I have this covered. Because I do have peace, I have freedom, and I have proof. Although, If you don’t feel that way and you have questions, there are other areas where you can get additional information and answers. If you feel like you have proof, but think, is this really proof? Is there something I am missing? Or if you feel like you have freedom, but still feel there might be something lacking, you can contact us. If you want to contact us, please do, but it is okay if you don’t. 

As I always say…If it’s worth watching, listening to, or reading, then it’s worth sharing. Discuss this article with others. What I am most interested in is your feedback. I want to hear what you think. Would you say this article is good? I like the way you broke it down. It is all useful information. I have not heard it said that way. This is something I should share with others. That is why we are here. Our goal is to be a benefit to you.

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Obviously, no investment, tax or legal advice is given in this content.  Investment, tax, and legal advice is personal and private.  Investment advice offered through Versaille Capital Advisors, LLC, a Michigan Registered Investment Advisory Firm.

Retire Happily is an educational resource. Make no mistake, we are a thriving financial firm that makes money. We are a financial firm that takes new clients. But first and foremost, we consider ourselves a significant resource to the public. If you don’t feel like you have fully exploited us for all the knowledge and insights we offer, do some more research. We provide these insights through Retire Happily, a free retirement resource guide that helps people optimize their retirement funds and avoid regret by making sure they are “all set” for retirement. 

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