Probate is the court-supervised process of authenticating a last will and testament if the deceased made one. It includes locating and determining the value of the decedent's assets, paying final bills and taxes, and distributing the remainder of the estate to the rightful beneficiaries. Probate can be a costly and time-consuming process, but it can be avoided fairly easily.
What should you know? What should your executor know?
When people think about estate planning, they may think in terms of personal property, real estate, and investments. Digital assets might seem like a lesser concern, perhaps no concern at all. But it is something that many are now considering.1
It may not sound enticing, but creating a will puts power in your hands.
According to the global analytics firm Gallup, only about 44% of Americans have created a will. This finding may not surprise you. After all, no one wants to be reminded of their mortality or dwell on what might happen upon their death, so writing a last will and testament is seldom prioritized on the to-do list of a Millennial or Gen Xer. What may surprise you, though, is the statistic cited by personal finance website The Balance: around 35% of Americans aged 65 and older lack wills.1,2
The Personal Financial Organizer
It's been a little while since we visited the topic of alternative investments. In the last piece, published in January, we tried to wrap our arms around what the term 'alternative' really means. Today we're going to look at how alternatives are actually used. While the focus is on the asset side of the equation (as opposed to the strategy side), this snapshot can give you an idea of how real world investors position alternatives in their portfolios.
One thing I wanted to point out is that there are some alternatives that can not or should not be used in certain parts of your portfolio. For example, collectibles are generally an outright no-no in your IRA. Also, while limited partnerships are allowed, they are fraught with peril in IRAs due to a tax term called Unrelated Business Taxable Income (UBTI), which could subject the IRA to current taxation.