A 60-second read by Victor Cannillo: If you haven’t completed your estate planning documents yet, consider making it one of your goals for the New Year.
The beginning of a new year is a great time to start crossing off tasks on your list. Having your estate planning documents in place can help to prevent issues down the road and ensures that your specific wants and wishes will be carried out. For example, did you know that technically, everyone has a will? The question is do you have a personalized will or the standard state version?
Here are the 3 most basic estate documents you should have:
A Last Will and Testament
A document dictating how you would like your assets to be dispersed after death; to whom do you want your assets to pass? Having a Will safeguards your wishes. If you die without having a Will in place, the State will decide who is to inherit from your estate. The Will can also be useful to save estate taxes, create trusts for children and establish guardians for minor children.
A Durable Power of Attorney
A document in which you give another person the authority to act on your behalf. If you were ever to become incapacitated, who would you feel comfortable standing-in on your behalf when it comes to your finances, signing your checks, etc.?
A Living Will (also known as an Advanced Medical Directive)
A document outlining your end-of-life medical wishes if you are not conscious to make those decisions for yourself. What medical actions do you want to take place? It may also allow you to appoint a Health Care Representative to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are unable to make them yourself.
For more specific information on these documents and to start the process of completing them, contact an estate attorney. Make sure he or she specializes in estate law. If you would like assistance finding an estate attorney that fits your specific profile, feel free to reach out to your Baron team.
A 45-second read by James Shagawat: Did you know that your appreciated investments could be among the best items to give to your favorite charity to get maximum tax benefits? Donating an appreciated investment instead of cash can qualify you for two tax breaks; you will get a charitable deduction for the current value of the investment and you will avoid having to pay capital gains taxes on the increased value of the investments.
So the next time you plan on donating cash or checks to an organization, you may want to consider some other options:
1) Does the charity of your choice have the resources or capabilities to accept gifts of appreciated investments directly?
2) For Federal Income Taxes, if you are older than 70 ½, consider a qualified charitable distribution (QCD).
A QCD “is generally a nontaxable distribution made directly by the trustee of your IRA (other than a SEP or SIMPLE IRA) to an organization eligible to receive tax deductible contributions” (IRS pub. 590b). For more information on QCD’s, refer to page 13 of IRS Publication 590b.
Baron Financial Group is proud to announce that Nicholas Scheibner, a financial planner with the firm, has earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designation. Nick assists the Wealth Management Principals at Baron in developing financial plans, retirement forecasts, and cash flow analyses for our clients.Nick is a graduate of William Paterson University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the Cotsakos College of Business Financial Planner program, one of the top schools in the country that offer the program. At William Paterson University, he started the first official student chapter of the Financial Planning Association, and was part of the winning team that took 1st place in the National Financial Planning Competition in Denver, CO.The CFP® certification identifies professionals who have met the high standards of competency and ethics established and enforced by the CFP® Board.CFP® professionals are required to act in their clients’ best interests and have met rigorous professional standards and have agreed to adhere to the principles of integrity, objectivity, competence, fairness, confidentiality, professionalism and diligence when dealing with clients.CFP® professionals have successfully completed financial planning coursework and have passed the CFP® Certification Examination covering the following areas:the financial planning process, risk management, investments, tax planning and management, retirement and employee benefits, and estate planning.They also agree to meet ongoing continuing education requirements and to uphold CFP Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, Rules of Conduct and Financial Planning Practice Standards.“The CFP® mark truly serves as the gold standard for personal financial planning,” said CFP Board CEO Kevin R. Keller, CAE. “Just about anyone can use the term ‘financial planner.’ But only those individuals who have passed a rigorous set of criteria and meet our strict ethical qualifications can call themselves a CFP® professional.”About Baron Financial Group (www.baron-financial.com)The Baron Financial Group (BFG) is an independent Fee-Only Wealth Management and financial planning firm with offices in Fair Lawn and Morristown, New Jersey, New York, New York, and Sarasota, Florida. The firm is a Registered Investment Advisor offering objective personal financial advice to individuals without the burden of commissions.
Baron Financial Group held its latest Women, Wine & Wealth event on Feb. 11, 2014 with guest presenter, Laurie Hauptman, Esq., discussing Women and Care Giving, caring for an elderly family member or a special needs child. The presentation is part of an educational series, geared especially for women, combining an interesting financial topic with wine and Hors d’Oeuvres.
We believe that education is empowering. Our purpose is to provide objective financial advice, allowing for informed decisions to plan for a successful retirement. A question and answer session followed the discussion.
Laurie A. Hauptman, Esq. is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton and Hofstra Law School. She has been practicing for 25 years, the last 15 with her husband Yale at Hauptman & Hauptman, PC. A law firm devoted exclusively to elder and disability law. Laurie is a frequent lecturer on elder law and special needs topics.