If something unexpected happens to you and you haven't planned for everyone you love and everything you have, the State of California has a default plan for you.
Sound scary? Well, it can be. Those you love would have to deal with the red tape and bureaucracy of government procedures and regulations.
We at Sky Unlimited Legal Advisory help you understand the legal and financial consequences of not having a comprehensive Estate Plan to protect your loved ones ... and more.
Before meeting, we'll ask you to complete a Family Wealth Worksheet, which will help you understand what you own and what needs to be decided for the well-being and care of your loved ones and cherished belongings. We'll meet for a Family Wealth Planning Session™, where we spend some time together reviewing this document. You'll learn about our Planning for Life process and we will both decide if it makes sense to work together to design an estate plan that will best suit the needs of your family.
The foundation of your estate plan will often include a revocable living trust, which when done properly and maintained over time, should help your family to avoid the cost and delay of probate and minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
At Sky Unlimited Legal Advisory, we do not offer a "one size fits all" estate plan. We form a working relationship with our clients. We educate you, take the time to get to know you and your family. We will discuss your concerns, your goals, and will gladly and patiently answer all of your questions. Our goal is to create an estate plan that is exactly right for you.
Our services include a no-charge three-year review to ensure that as your lives change, so will your estate plan to safeguard your assets for maximum protection.
The strategies that are appropriate for protecting your assets are different for every family. Check out our proven process that gives you peace of mind...
You’ve also probably given some thought to what you want to happen to your assets and your family if something happens to you.
But what you might not have realized is this: If you don’t create a plan for your assets before you die, the law has its own plan for you that might not reflect your wishes for your assets, especially your retirement assets.
And if you’re in a blended family, this can have a significant financial impact on the ones you love and even create expensive, long-term conflict.
This week, I explain how the law affects retirement distributions for married couples, and why you need to be extra careful with your retirement planning if you’re in a blended family to ensure your retirement account assets go to the right people in the right amounts after you’re gone.
While selecting godparents is a meaningful tradition in many cultures, it's important to understand that naming a godparent is not the same thing as naming a legal guardian for your children.
To put it bluntly, even if you have named godparents, if something happens to you, your children could end up in the care of strangers, child protective services or in the long-term care of someone you would never want raising your children.
In this blog, we’ll explain the roles of a godparent and legal guardian and how to ensure your kids are always cared for by the people you choose - no matter what.
A godparent is traditionally someone you name to watch over your child and help them live according to your morals and values. Godparents are meant to be mentors and role models, guiding your child in matters of faith, morality, and character. The role of a godparent is deeply rooted in religious and cultural traditions, and they often participate in religious ceremonies such as baptisms or confirmations.
If you’ve been meaning to talk to your family about money, inheritance, end-of-life decisions, estate planning, and creating a plan for your whole family’s wealth - now and in the future - having everyone in the same room is ideal.
But asking your relatives how they want their assets handled when they die or if they become incapacitated might not go over well while opening presents or carving a turkey.
To keep your family from feeling blindsided and to make the most of your conversation, consider the following three tips.
01 | Share Your Intention Ahead of Time
Many people feel uncomfortable talking about their finances. They may have grown up in a family where money talk was considered taboo or perhaps they simply don’t want the details of their finances to create family tension. Some people also feel like talking about estate planning and making a plan for their money is plain bad luck (but we’re happy to report that planning for your assets does not increase your chance of dying, as you’ve already got a 100% chance of death, but it does increase your chances of leaving behind a happy, well-adjusted family).
But even though you’re off hours, your mind isn’t. Maybe you run through conversations you had during the day, brainstorm marketing ideas on a cocktail napkin, or obsessively check your business email from your personal phone.
Having a mind for business isn’t a bad thing – after all, a lot of great ideas come to us when we least expect it. But if you find yourself frustrated, resentful, anxious, or feeling obligated to respond to emails and messages at all hours of the day and night, it’s time to reassess and redefine your business boundaries.
It can be difficult to set healthy boundaries when our current culture expects us to be constantly available and “plugged in.” But setting healthy boundaries and finding true work-life balance is essential for your well-being, personal satisfaction, and the success of your business.
In this week’s blog, we discuss four more tax-saving methods you can use right now to owe fewer taxes come April 2024.
If you missed part 1 of this series, be sure to read it here so you don’t miss out on these money-saving techniques.
5. Make Charitable Gifts
Giving back to your community or supporting causes you care about is not only rewarding, but can also provide tax benefits if your family’s tax deductions are close to exceeding the standard tax deduction.
The standard deduction for 2023 is $12,950 for individuals and $25,900 for married couples filing jointly. Remember that the total of your itemized deductions, including charitable contributions, must exceed the standard deduction for your filing status to provide a tax benefit.
If you’re nearing the top of the standard deduction threshold, this year may be a great time to contribute to a charitable organization that is important to you.
Year-end tax planning isn't something you do at the last minute; it's a series of thoughtful steps you can start taking right now. In this blog series, we’ll explain eight key actions you can take during this last quarter of the year to save money on your 2023 taxes.
Let’s get started.
1. Contribute to Your HSA (Health Savings Account)
A Health Savings Account (HSA) can be a powerful tool for both managing your healthcare costs and reducing your taxable income. HSAs allow you to set aside pre-tax dollars to cover future qualified medical expenses. Contributions to your HSA are tax-deductible, and the earnings grow tax-free. To make the most of this tax-advantaged account, consider maximizing your contributions to your HSA before the year ends.
For the 2023 tax year, you can contribute up to $3,650 if you have self-only health insurance coverage or $7,300 for family coverage. If you are 55 or older, you can also make an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution. By increasing your HSA contributions, you not only reduce your taxable income this year but also build a valuable fund for future healthcare expenses.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure their well-being during the colder days ahead, including making sure you’re able to step in and help them with their medical and financial needs.
Keep reading to find out how.
1 | Create a Power of Attorney For Healthcare
A Power of Attorney (POA) for Healthcare (sometimes called a Medical Power of Attorney) is a legal document that authorizes someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so yourself. If your senior loved one still needs to get a POA for Healthcare in place, now is the time to create one.
If they do have a POA for Healthcare, but it’s been a while since they created it, it’s time to review it to ensure it accurately reflects their current medical wishes and appoints a trusted individual as their agent for making healthcare decisions on their behalf.
But did you know that creating (or updating) your estate plan should also be on your post-wedding to-do list?
Last week we started to explore the key estate planning components every newlywed couple needs to protect their rights, wishes, and plans for their assets now and in the future. This week, we’re continuing the conversation with three more estate planning must-do’s for newlyweds. If you missed last week’s blog, be sure to click this link to catch up.
04 | A Living Trust
Are you surprised to see a Trust on our list before a Will? Here’s why a Trust is next on your to-do list. If you are newly married, there’s a strong likelihood that you are relatively young in your life and your career, which means there will be many changes in your assets, family, and wishes as the years go by. Or, you might be re-marrying or getting married later in life and already have a well-established home, financial portfolio, and family that you are now combining with your partner’s life.
With all the joy and happiness a new marriage brings, planning for your potential incapacity and future death may feel out of place, but creating your estate plan as part of your post-nuptial to-do list is the greatest gift you can give your new spouse.
A lot changes once your marriage is official, but how you and your spouse want your finances to be managed or how you would want medical decisions to be made for each other are not automatically documented when you say “I do.”
If you become incapacitated for any reason before your estate plan is complete, your spouse would not have the legal authority to make medical decisions for you even though you’re married. Your loved one would also have no access to your bank accounts, and in the event of your death, could even be put into a position of losing the home and possessions that you owned together.
These group insurance plans provide free legal assistance for a variety of needs from law firms that have contracted with the insurance company to provide the legal work.
While group legal insurance might seem like an easy option to save on your family’s legal needs, it’s often inadequate for creating the kind of estate plan you really need to protect your assets, your choices, and your loved ones. In fact - the type of estate plan, will, or trust created through legal insurance programs could leave your family with a big mess.
Here are the reasons why estate planning for your family demands a heart-centered, counseling-oriented approach and guidance beyond the scope of your group legal insurance coverage. I’ll help you understand the potential pitfalls of using group legal insurance for estate planning and share suitable alternatives to ensure your assets are properly protected and that your loved ones are left with a legacy of love, and not a big mess.