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.