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Newport Beach Estate Law Blog

The biggest reason women must know about estate planning

It's important for everyone to know all that they can about estate planning. That means men, women, married couples, single people and anyone else. Far too many people enter old age without an estate plan or pass away without even a will.

However, there is a special amount of focus on women when it comes to estate planning, and the reason is simple: Women tend to outlive men.

Don't let your estate plan become outdated

Financial experts note that one of the main mistakes people make with their estate planning is simply that they let the plan become outdated. This often means that they do not update it through major life changes, like starting a business or starting retirement.

However, you can also let your beneficiary designations become outdated, and that's equally troubling. Even if the financial details are all up to date, is that money really going where you want it to go? Events that can make your plan appear outdated include:

  • Ending a long-term dating relationship
  • Getting divorced
  • Getting married for a second (or first) time
  • Having a falling out with a child
  • Adopting a child
  • The birth of your grandchildren
  • The death of a beneficiary

Few family businesses make it to the 4th generation

For most people who start a family business, the dream is to have it stay in the family for generations to come. The founder may think of that as a gift to the family, giving them meaningful employment and an easy income. They may think of it as a stepping-stone, assuming that their children can build on what they started. When asked, about 88% of people who run family-owned businesses think that those businesses will stay in the family for at least five more years.

However, the statistics paint a far bleaker picture. Most family businesses fail at an alarming rate. It is very rare for them to move on from generation to generation.

Understanding the details of a California Special Needs Trust

It has become common knowledge that disability rates have steadily risen among children, which makes the need to understand the importance of a Special Needs Trust (SNT) even more significant. Defined, a SNT Protects the rights of the disabled individual to maintain their eligibility for public assistance benefits. If you left your disabled beneficiary money or property via your outright trust or will without the protection that a SNT provides, they would be disqualified from receiving government benefits, like social security income among others. The disqualification could last until your special needs beneficiary spends or discards the left money or property.

The one situation where the loss of benefits may not matter is if the sum of money or property is large enough to support your disabled recipient for their lifetime. However, this would be a rare occurrence.

Estate planning can be an investment in your family

For a lot of people, the end goal of estate planning is relatively simple. They don't want to do anything extravagant. They're not looking for some out-of-the-box solutions. They just want to give their children a better life.

In one study, for instance, a full 67 percent of people who were at least 51 years old said that their goal for their wealth was to "invest in their children and grandchildren."

Women have estate planning challenges men do not face

It is important for both men and women to do their estate planning. However, that does not mean that the process is exactly the same for both genders. Women often face some unique challenges that may not impact men -- or, at least, may not impact them as often.

For instance, take a look at life expectancy. It's nearly five years longer for women than it is for men. This means that:

  • Women will usually have the final say in the estate.
  • Women have to stretch their assets farther, especially when considering long-term care planning.
  • Women have more time for assets like investments to gain value.
  • Women often have to take care of their husbands and/or make funeral arrangements.
  • Women may have to make end-of-life decisions regarding their assets that men did not have to worry about.

Can you disinherit your spouse after divorce?

Your spouse files for divorce. As the process moves forward, you start adjusting your estate plan. You want to cut your spouse -- soon to be your ex -- out of it entirely. Can you do that?

You can, but it is important to note that there are cases where your ex may have a legal right to some assets that are included in your estate plan. For instance, your ex may be able to claim some of your pension based on how long you were married.

Remember, your family doesn't have to get your business

Does your child essentially think that your business has to go to them when you're done running it? Are they not just waiting in line but expecting that this is part of their birthright?

Now, wanting to leave your business to your children is understandable. You want to give them a source of income. You want to create a legacy. You want them to carry on what you started.

Your will becomes especially important when you have kids

If you do not have children -- maybe you just don't have them yet, or maybe you don't plan to have them at all -- it is still important to write a will and do your estate planning. However, this becomes especially important if you do have kids. It raises the stakes.

Prior to the birth of your children, the will is more about you and your assets than anything else. It's just a way to make sure that your assets go to the people you choose, to reduce the tax debt of your estate and things of this nature. It's almost business-like in nature.

Where will your special needs child live as an adult?

When faced with the emotional and medical challenges of a special needs child, you might not be able to spare the time to think about their future as an adult. Maybe you needed to take it one day at a time, to carefully hope for a long and happy future for them.

However, when the day comes, and you realize your child has become an adult, what is your plan to help them achieve their lifelong goals? Do you know how a special needs trusts can help them live to the fullest?

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The Soto Law Group
1101 Dove Street,
Suite 200
Newport Beach, CA 92660

Phone: 949-945-0415
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