Most of us think of our estate plan as our will or living trust. However, in many cases, those documents have no effect on some of your most important assets. Instead, your beneficiary designations control who will receive those assets. Always keep these important considerations in mind regarding your beneficiary designations.
Be sure to name beneficiaries. Assets that pass by beneficiary designation are not subject to probate.
Name both primary and contingent beneficiaries. It’s important to name a “back up” beneficiary in case the primary beneficiary predeceases you. Again, being specific can help avoid unintended or unwelcome results.
Update for life events. Review your designations regularly and update them as needed, based on birth, death, marriage or divorce. Failure to update your beneficiaries can result in a transfer of assets to unintended beneficiaries.
Coordinate with your will and trust. If you change your will or trust, talk to your attorney about your beneficiary designations. Be certain that you understand how all the different parts of your estate plan work as a whole.
Understand potential consequences or naming individual beneficiaries for particular assets. Consider the example of someone who established three equal accounts and named a different beneficiary of each. Over the years, some accounts grew more that others, so some beneficiaries got more and others got less—which may not have been intended.
Avoid naming your estate as beneficiary. This causes non-probate assets to become subject to probate. And for IRA’s and qualified retirement plans, there may be unfavorable income-tax consequences. Consult your attorney or tax advisor.
Information taken from an article written by/for Wells Fargo Advisors and provided courtesy of Adam J. Dale, Senior Vice President, Investment Officer in Portland, OR
A Will and a Trust are both ways for you to say who will receive your assets. They do it in different ways and each has advantages and disadvantages. One of the differences is how and when they take effect. A will does not take effect until you pass away. A trust takes effect upon signing the legal document.
A will is a set of instructions that directs those assets you own individually, with no designated beneficiary, and appoints a personal representative to administer your estate after you pass. Generally, a will must go through probate where it is examined by an authorized court administrator which can be a lengthy and cumbersome process. In most cases a will becomes public upon your death.
Your will does not cover some types of assets. Any accounts that you own jointly with another individual will automatically pass to the survivor without going through the probate process. Retirement accounts and life insurance policies will have beneficiaries named in the original documents.
A trust, like a will, directs how your assets will pass to your beneficiaries, but it may be funded during your lifetime and can provide for incapacity planning as well. Your trust can outline a plan for what actions to take if you are unable to make your own decisions and need help from your family members.
A trust can provide some benefits that you wouldn’t typically get with a will, with more privacy and without the costs and hassle of probate court and is less likely to be successfully challenged. A trust can hold assets for your own benefit and for a third party’s benefit and can outline specific rules for how assets will be distributed both during your lifetime and after your death.
If you create a trust, you will need to fund that trust. Any assets that you want your trust to control will need to be titled in the name of your trust.
A trust allows you to appoint a trustee to manage your trust. You can serve as trustee of your trust and name a successor trustee for a time when you are no longer able or no longer want to act as trustee. A trustee will have the authority to address problems and handle complicated issues on your behalf.
Keep in mind retirement accounts and life insurance policies will have beneficiaries named in the
original documents. It’s a good idea to periodically confirm that the beneficiary listed is still living and your intended recipient.
Having a plan in place while you are still in good health will help ensure that your estate is handled the way you intend. It can also be one of your greatest gifts to your loved ones who will be guided by your instructions. The choice of a will or a trust is yours and can depend on your specific
financial and personal circumstances. There are many situations in which you will want both vehicles.
Your legal advisor can guide you through the options and help you decide what’s best for you and your family. If you’ve already made the choice, be sure to review the documents periodically to make sure they still reflect your wishes.
This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice. Always consult an attorney before making decisions about your estate plan.
Here are a few tips for keeping your finances under control during the holiday season.
Set a holiday budget: Before the holiday madness starts, take a look at your budget and figure out how much you can reasonably spend on gifts and holiday merriment. Knowing your total budget in advance is the best first step to making sure things stay under control this holiday season.
Reduce unnecessary expenses: Take a look at your bank account or credit card bill. Is there anything you normally “splurge” on that you could cut out this month? This is a good time to review some of your spending habits.
Make a list and prioritize it: Determine your top financial priorities for this holiday season and make sure you allocate budget to those first. For the non-essential purchases, think about where you could save a little by making a homemade gift or “giving” your time instead.
Track your holiday spending: Document every gift, hostess gift, new holiday outfit, so you can easily track how much you are spending vs. how much you have left in your holiday budget.
There are important estate planning documents you should have for your benefit and the benefit of those you leave behind. We hope this list will help you get organized. You may want to review them with your family as well as your attorney and financial advisor.
Often referred to as a living will, this document lists your wishes related to medical care and procedures when you are unable to communicate.
Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care
Included in your Advance Directive, you can appoint someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if you become incapacitated and can’t make them for yourself.
Durable Power of Attorney for Finances
This POA appoints an agent to help manage your financial affairs. It could be structured to become effective immediately, to take effect at a future date, or triggered upon an event such as incapacity.
A revocable living trust directs how your assets are to be used both during your lifetime and after your death. You will want to contact a trusted attorney to explore whether a trust would best facilitate your intentions.
Last Will and Testament (Will)
Your Will appoints beneficiaries and directs assets distribution after death.
Are you interested in receiving Financial Assistance from the Willamette View Foundation? We have resources that have already been accumulated to help you. Using our Resident Assistance Program does not require the redirection of funds that could be used for other needs of the Willamette View community.
What can the Foundation do for you?
The Foundation can help when ends don’t meet. We have resources available to assist with your Willamette View bill when you have out lived your resources.
How do you ask for help?
Just give us a call and we’ll walk you through our very easy application process. Your request for assistance will be reviewed by the Willamette View Foundation’s Board of Directors, with anonymity, on a case-by-case basis after an evaluation of your specific circumstances.
What are some standards to keep in mind and what is expected of the residents?
Residents are expected to preserve and mange their assets wisely, including maintaining appropriate insurance.
Residents must have used their resources for reasonable recreation and personal expenses, including reasonable charitable contributions and gifts to friends and family.
Residents should strive to live within their financial means and refrain from extravagant spending.
Residents should obtain necessary medical care through economical means based on individual circumstances.
The Willamette View Foundation’s main purpose is to serve as the safety net for the residents of Willamette View who may come to a point in their lives when they have exhausted their funds through no fault of their own. We have been providing financial assistance to Willamette View residents for 52 years
Asking for help is hard, but we are here to help. You can come directly to us; we’ll make the process as straight forward and easy as possible.
Here is what you need to know:
All Willamette View Inc. residents can apply for assistance.
All applications are reviewed by the Foundation Board of Directors on a case-by-case anonymous basis.
Residents must meet the Eligibility Standards to be approved for assistance.
The assistance program supplements your monthly income to cover your costs at Willamette View.
There is a special policy for couples.
Approved residents will begin receiving assistance as soon as all other resources have been depleted.
Financial Assistance is funded solely by generous donations from our supporters and investment earnings.
No qualified resident has ever been turned down. Over $10.5 million dollars in assistance has been paid to Willamette View on behalf of residents unable to pay their monthly bill.
Phishing is the fraudulent attempt by scammers to obtain sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by disguising themselves as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. The communications have expanded to text messages and social media platforms in addition to emails and letters.
You are familiar with the concept. You hear warnings regularly. Unfortunately, the scammers are working diligently to come up with new ways to trick you into providing your personal information. The Oregon Consumer Protection division is warning of new tactics. The IRS also publishes warnings to reveal tax scams. We have accumulated a short list of tips and warnings from both agencies
Some you may already know about; others might not be on your radar. Follow these tips to protect yourself against phishing attacks:
Keep your software up to date: The latest security software, web browser, and operating system is the best defense against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
Do not click: Rather than clicking on a link, even if it looks to be from someone you know, type the website name yourself. Scammers can create a phony website that can infect your computer or steal your information.
Trust your instincts: If it sounds too good to be true or asks for your personal information, do not engage. If something seems suspicious, do not respond and most importantly, delete it.
Make a call: If you think it might be a legitimate contact, call the company yourself. Find the number independently. Do not use the phone number from the email or text.
Don’t act quickly: Be wary of anything that prompts you to act immediately. Scammers attempt to instill fear and urgency. Refrain from engaging potential scammers online or on the phone.
Fake Charities: Fraudulent charity schemes usually start with unsolicited contact by phone, text, email, or social media. Bogus websites often use names similar to legitimate charities to trick people into sending money or providing personal financial information. Request the tax identification number which can be used to verify their legitimacy. You can then use the search tool on irs.gov website.
IRS Contact: The IRS will never initiate contact with taxpayers via email about a tax bill, refund, or Economic Impact Payment. Don’t click on links claiming to be from the IRS. The IRS will also never threaten you with a demand for immediate payment, ask for financial information over the phone, or call unexpectedly.
Thankfully, we are all becoming more aware of Phishing emails and are using discretion while choosing to respond. Use that same caution with texts and social media. These tips are a good reminder to always stay alert and vigilant in order to keep your personal and financial information safe.
Willamette View Foundation is a free assistance service that is here to help pay the way for residents who are no longer able to meet their living costs at Willamette View and to assist residents with managing their daily bills. If you are running out of money or struggling to keep up with your finances, please know Willamette View Foundation is here to help you.
Our programs are funded by resources that have been accumulated and safeguarded for over 50 years. They have come from donors, investment returns, and in the past, even resident activities on campus supported our Resident Assistance Fund.
Willamette View Foundation’s assistance program offers Willamette View residents a source of comfort and relief from the burden of following up on income and benefits, paying bills, balancing a checkbook, straightening out billings and balances, matching up medical bills and insurance, paperwork, and monitoring credit card statements. The Foundation prepares quarterly reports for residents to review and keep abreast of their finances. We also consolidate and summarize all the information needed by the tax preparer to complete both Federal and Oregon individual tax returns.
These functions are available to residents receiving a direct subsidy as well as those participating in our management services program. Both groups of residents receive assistance that is designed to provide peace of mind and financial security. For some, the Foundation is the one place they know they can turn when they are not able to manage on their own, for others, it’s time to let go of those financial concerns.
The Foundation staff is available to help you with bill payment, tracking your spending, and explaining changes with your medical insurance. In addition, we are always happy to help residents with miscellaneous problems or issues that are causing them anxiety; we’re here to lend a hand, a sympathetic ear, and words of encouragement.
Here are a few important facts about the assistance program:
Our assistance supplements your resources to cover your cost of living expenses at Willamette View.
Our assistance program is funded by donations and provided at no cost to Willamette View residents and all residents can apply for assistance.
Our assistance program is well funded and poised to meet the needs of current Willamette View residents.
We have a Special Policy for Couples whose resources have been depleted by ones move to the Health Center.