Having a will in place is one of the best ways to protect yourself and your family. A will can effectively define your wishes, establish contingency plans and direct others on what to do, especially when it is coupled with other estate planning tools like trusts and powers of attorney.
A recent report by insurance and retirement solutions provider Allianz Life reveals that as many as 37 percent of elderly Americans have been the victims of some form of fraud, scam, theft or other financial abuse. The number of victims has nearly doubled from the estimated 20 percent seen just a few short years ago (back in 2014).
It could be at the top of your New Year's resolution list...or near the bottom, if you're dreading it. "Finally write a will" or "start future planning--will, trust, whatever" might appear on your list every year, without your doing anything about it. That's perfectly normal. Most of us don't relish the idea of setting down our final wishes, even if we've thought about them.
Time has flown. The end of 2016 is in sight, which means the moment to make year-end changes to your finances and estate plan has arrived.
A recently released study by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) gives a never-before-seen glimpse into the hardships faced by countless unpaid caregivers across the country. Perhaps the most telling aspect is the huge financial commitment that people take on when they agree to provide care for an ailing or aging loved one.
When he died, famed attorney John O'Quinn was described by the Los Angeles Times as flamboyant and wildly successful in the courtroom and negotiations. He made millions for himself as he pulled in billions in settlements and verdicts for his clients in cases against tobacco companies, diet drug makers and breast implant manufacturers.
His sprawling genius took elements of funk, rock and pop music and reimagined them, creating dazzling hybrids that captivated audiences for decades. When he died earlier this year, Prince left a breathtaking musical legacy for future generations to enjoy.The artist also left behind an enormous estate, but no will or trusts with which to divide those valuable assets to heirs of his choosing. Because Prince chose, for whatever reason, not to do even routine estate planning, months of wrangling between presumptive heirs has ensued, with the promise of more of the same in months ahead.
Many of us have heard that the divorce rate for first-time marriages hovers at around 50 percent. While there are fluctuations, peaks and valleys in the number of divorces from year to year, this sobering statistic is essentially true. The divorce rate for subsequent marriages is even higher, with as many as 75 percent of all third (or higher) marriages ending.
Ozzie and Harriet were one of the first sitcom families, making Americans chortle along with the good-natured family and the small comedic adventures of a quiet life in idyllic America. Things have changed since then in both sitcoms and in real, living America.