Keeping living costs under control is a top priority for many soon-to-be retirees. Fortunately, there are many pleasant US cities that currently offer a low cost-of-living and a manageable tax burden. The following are some terrific places that any estate planning attorney in Palm Desert would feel proud to recommend:
Northern retirees searching for a revitalized city that is convenient and affordable should consider Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. If a warm climate is not a top priority, seniors will find that this area offers the best of both worlds: it boasts one of the lowest tax burdens for seniors nationwide, and residents enjoy a cost-of-living that is well below the country’s average. The city also offers free train and bus rides for seniors on a daily basis. Additionally, due to Pittsburgh’s investment in the medical world, an easily accessible healthcare system is also close at hand.
Kendall, Florida makes the list of top 2019 retirement cities due to beneficial characteristics such as convenience and safety. Retirees have stated that they feel safe in the city day or night, which is probably because of its low crime rate. In addition, restaurants, medical offices, supermarkets, pharmacies, beauty salons and a post office are all within walking distance from the center of the town. Boasting a lower than average cost-of-living and an easy tax burden, retirees can enjoy less financial stress in Kendall than in many other US towns.
Harmonious Palm Coast
Retirees looking for a cost-effective, safe and tranquil Florida city should definitely consider Palm Coast. This serene community has a relatively low tax burden for retirees, as well as an agreeable economy and a very low crime rate. Although a thriving community, much of the natural beauty of the area has been well preserved, making it a picturesque place to live. As an added benefit, there is no state income tax in Florida.
The state capital of Texas is known for its interesting culture and outstanding music. With a diverse economy, numerous top-notch medical facilities, and a great range of terrific amenities, Austin is a prime choice for anyone retiring in the Southwest. Although living costs in Austin are a bit higher than they are in some of the other top cities on the list, they are significantly less than those of similar towns in the same part of the country.
The cost of living and tax burden in Fayetteville, Arkansas are considerably lower than the national averages. The area also boasts myriad low-cost activities and attractions for seniors. This makes it perfect for those who want to retire, yet remain as active as possible. In addition, free fare on the city’s easy to use public transportation system is available to senior citizens who permanently reside in the county.
Charming Fort Myers
Fort Myers recently found top ranking on the list of the best retirement cities for 2019. This is due, in part, to an increase in happiness and contentment among residents of this Florida city. Located near the Caloosahatchee River on Florida’s Gulf Coast, it is a cost-effective choice for virtually any retiree in search of a warm and friendly area in which to live.
As estate planning attorneys in Palm Desert, we are always looking for new ways to help our clients, and the seniors in our community. If you have a topic you would like us to cover on our blog, please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Even if you have an estate plan in place, you have probably found yourself wondering what happens to your digital property after you pass away. You may be surprised to discover that digital property can be handled in much the same way as tangible property in an estate plan. However, there are certain differences between the two, and how they can be distributed after your death. An estate planning attorney in Palm Desert can go over these differences with you to make the process a bit easier to understand. The following are some important steps to take regarding your digital assets:
Generate a List of Your Assets and How They can be Accessed
Your first step should be to create a list of all your digital assets, including any home utilities you manage online, online banking accounts, social media accounts, and any online businesses you own or in which you have an interest. To ensure thoroughness, you should also include certain hardware, such as computers, digital music players, smart phones, tablets and other digital devices, as well as flash drives and external hard drives. You should also include any data or information that is electronically stored, regardless of whether it is stored on a physical device, in cloud, or online. Do not forget any websites or blogs that you manage, domain names you own, and any intellectual property, such as codes you have written, trademarks, or other copyrighted materials.
You must also determine how to share the passwords required to access the aforementioned devices and accounts in the event of your death. An estate planning attorney in Palm Desert can help you determine the best way to handle this matter.
Determining How to Distribute These Assets
Depending on the nature of the digital property, the method you use to manage it may vary. You will likely want certain assets to be saved and archived, others transferred to business colleagues or family members, and still others erased or deleted.
Name A Digital Executor
Your Digital Executor is a person you designate to help settle your digital estate. However, in many parts of the country, a digital executor is not an enforceable or legally binding designation. Nevertheless, this person can be designated by the executor of your estate plan to follow your instructions or at least assist your executor with the digital part of your estate. If you live in an area of the country where a digital estate plan is a legally binding document, it is typically created as a codicil to your Last Will and Testament. However, never include passwords or PIN codes in your Will, as information in such documents eventually becomes public.
Properly Storing Your Digital Estate Plan
Your digital estate plan should be stored in a location that is both secure and accessible. You can store it in a traditional locked safe or file cabinet or store it online. Alternatively, you can give it to your estate planning attorney to be kept with your other essential paperwork, such as your Will and your traditional estate plan. Creating a plan for your digital assets is not a time-consuming activity, but it can give you substantial peace of mind. Regardless of what type of digital assets you have, creating an estate plan for them helps to ensure that these assets will not be at risk after your death.
Putting your affairs in order without the help of an estate planning attorney is typically unwise. If you attempt to do so, you may inadvertently put your finances and assets at risk. The following are some of the many pitfalls associated with do-it-yourself estate planning:
Confusion Over Legal Terms
Legal language can be confusing at best for those who do not have a background in law. Therefore, the possibility of making mistakes when filling out such documents is quite high, even if the actual forms were obtained from a reliable source. Ambiguity about terms and how they are used may result in your children or heirs losing property, assets, or being responsible for exorbitant tax rates.
Although writing your own estate plan may appear to save time and money in the short-term, it may have the opposite effect later: due legal process must be followed when an estate plan is created and if any part of this process is omitted, even accidentally, complications will almost certainly arise in the future. For example, signatures from witnesses and the appropriate supportive documents are things that are sometimes overlooked when a DIY estate plan is created. These errors sometimes lead to the estate plan becoming null and void, which causes unnecessary stress, anxiety and expense for your loved ones.
Unanticipated Tax Problems
If you are like most people who own various properties or an estate, you have probably occasionally complained about high taxes. There is a significant amount of confusion surrounding tax laws, the latter of which sometimes change frequently. For this reason, creating a DIY estate plan may ultimately lead to your heirs or children having to pay taxes that may have been avoided if a knowledgeable attorney helped you create your plan.
Failure to Update Your Estate Plan
Although drafting a will may seem simple, you may inadvertently produce a document that, legally speaking, is “full of holes.” For instance, when making out a will without an expert’s guidance, you may not make provisions for unforeseen circumstances, such as the birth of new children, a divorce, or how you want your assets distributed should your children predecease you. Any unexpected complication makes it difficult to implement your document the way it was written. Failing to update your estate plan when anything in your life changes can create confusion and an entire host of problems for your heirs.
Failing to Thoroughly Fill Out Documents
Do-it-yourself estate plans often end up with blank spaces where the estate owner has not explicitly named the person he or she wants as the beneficiary. If you unknowingly leave a blank space of this kind in your documents, it is essentially an invitation to unethical individuals to fill in their names and ultimately go against your final wishes. In cases where there is confusion of this kind regarding beneficiaries, the courts may decide that your closest legal relative should inherit your assets and property, even though this may not be what you wanted.
Regulations mandate that your will must be given to a custodian to be produced at the time of your death. If you pass away while still in possession of your will, the document may be revoked, as the court takes the position that it does not exist. The original copy should have a custodian and be on file with your attorney to avoid this unpleasant scenario.
Domestic partners in long-term relationships but who are not married may have limited rights when it comes to the deceased’s property. A comprehensive, estate plan and properly executed will is vital in such circumstances, and these documents should never be left to chance, as is the case with a DIY estate plan.
We understand that a DIY will or trust is an attractive option for some folks who are looking to save a few bucks. But we can assure you that the investment you make in hiring an estate planning attorney in Palm Desert will save money, time, and heartache for your loved ones in the long run.
The notion that estate planning is only something that wealthy people should worry about is a very common misconception in America. As an estate planning attorney in Palm Desert, it’s my duty to inform you that this notion is categorically false! Regardless of your income, net-worth, or social standing, those who do not have a proper estate plan in place are risking long-term, negative consequences for their heirs should they pass away. In an effort to dispel this myth, our elder law attorneys at Cal Elder Law have put together the following list of reasons why you absolutely need an estate plan in place!
Protects Families With Young Children
Even though no one enjoys thinking about the possibility of their untimely demise, parents of small children must prepare for this scenario, however unlikely. To ensure that minor children are cared for in a manner approved of by the parents, guardians are named in the estate plan. It is these individuals who will care for the children until they turn 18, in the event the natural parents pass away. No one wants the courts determining who will raise their children, which is exactly why we regard this as the top reason having an estate plan is necessary.
Probate is something to be avoided at all costs. This is because it is a long and expensive process, during which the courts decide who receives which assets. A stranger may not make the same decision the deceased individual would have made, but after the person’s death — it is too late. If a suitable plan has been drafted, probate and all the problems with which it is associated can be completely avoided.
Prevents Heirs From a Significant Tax Burden
Estate planning was designed to protect loved ones from a variety of negative situations after the owner of the plan has passed away. Protection from the IRS falls under this umbrella. Transferring assets to heirs in a manner that creates the smallest possible tax burden for them is an essential part of estate planning. In the absence of any aforethought to this matter, the amount heirs may owe to Uncle Sam could be substantial.
Prevents Assets From Going To Unintended Beneficiaries
Regardless of the net worth of one’s assets, no one wants his or her property or money going to a person for whom it was not intended. Even if it is simply a modest bank account or a small home, all people should be in control of who receives their assets in the event of their death. Those who have considerable assets must also have such a plan in place, as long lost relatives have a tendency to suddenly reappear when a wealthy individual has passed away.
Asset protection planning is undoubtedly a very important reason why many individuals meet with an estate planning attorney to create or update their plan. Anyone who even suspects that a lawsuit may be forthcoming should immediately put a plan in place to protect his or her assets. Such a plan protects assets not only for the person while he or she lives, but also for beneficiaries and heirs following the person’s death.
Eliminates Family Turmoil and Court Fees
Another reality that few individuals want to think about is arguments between family members that occur when a person dies in the absence of a will and without having named beneficiaries in advance. Such wars over money and assets can quickly get ugly and often they are solved through the courts, with the deceased person’s loved ones pitted against each other. This not only creates a significant amount of debt in the form of court costs and attorneys fees, it can also create bad family relations for many future years. This is just another reason why estate planning is a vital financial tool that should never be overlooked.