Planning for Your Social Media Life When You Die (Video)

What happens to your Farmville account when you have bought the farm?  Pretty much anyone who is reading this has a digital life, footprint and assets.  The problem is that your state laws (except for 4 states - not New Jersey) are very behind in saying who controls your digital assets when you die.  Who gets to say if your Facebook account is memorialized or deleted?  Can your spouse or kids get access to your gMail account (perhaps the only place you are getting all those digital account statements)?  

Lawyers.com wanted their visitors to know the answer to these questions, and asked me to give them some of the advice we speak to client's about who want to know how to incorporate their digital assets into your estate plan.  The best part?  They sent a production team to make a video on the topic, so sit back and take 3 minute education break:

 

What's In an Estate Plan - The Wealthy and Wise Episode 2

Check out the second episode of The Wealthy and Wise

In this episode we acknowledge that that estate plans can seem remote, mysterious, complicated and expensive when you don’t know “What makes up an estate plan” and don’t have an overview the information necessary to make informed decisions about your estate.We clear the air on the episode of The Wealthy and Wise as we talk to you about:

What makes up an estate plan?
What happens to your assets if you die without an estate plan?
Determining your net worth from an estate perspective
Sorting out powers of attorney, living wills, health care proxy and advanced directives
Your beneficiaries – who gets your assets, how and when?
Is the government your beneficiary?
How are trusts tools to protect money?
Probate v. Non-Probate assets
And much, much more

The goal of The Wealthy and Wise, as always, is to educate you about how you can take steps in your own life to protect and build your wealth. How’d we do? We’d love your questions and comments, either below or to questions@thewealthyandwise.com. You may find yourself featured in an upcoming episode or podcast!

How to Choose an Investment Advisor - The Wealthy and Wise Episode 1 (Video)

The Wealthy and Wise Community is finally here!  Its aim: Educate the middle-class millionaire so they are empowered to take action to meet their goals about building and building their wealth.

 

There are people who make a career out of investing and growing your money for a reason - it is a full time job, and as with all jobs, experience can make for better decisions. This is not to say that you can't successfully invest on your own - many people do. One problem that I see is people being intimidated by the idea of a financial advisor.  They think that they don't have enough money, or that that they won't understand what the advisor is saying.  I don't think either of these are true, as long as you have the right advisor for you.

So how do you find the right advisor for you?  We talk about it in the video above, but some starting points include:

  • Ask for recommendations from people that you know and trust - it could be family, friends, attorneys, accountants.  Get several and research the people of the web.
  • Interview several advisors - like attorneys, they come in all shapes and sizes and there are many different approaches to investing.  Beyond thinking that person is knowledgeable, you should like them on a personal level and feel comfortable taking with them.
  • Make sure you understand how the advisor gets paid. Investing is a business, and people are and should be compensated.  There are different ways to get paid.  Remember, it is your money however, so you need to understand exactly how an advisor is compensated for any work you do.
  • How often will you and the advisor be communicating?  Good advisors meet their clients no less than quarterly (whether by phone or in person) and some monthly.  How often do you want to be reviewing and discussing finances? And how?
  • Finally, have an honest discussion with yourself.  Will working with a financial advisor add value to you?  Value can be many reasons - you think you will be more successful, you don't like doing it, you don't have time, you want to learn more.  If it will, consider retaining one.

 

 

Transfer Taxes on Sale - Video Overview

First, we're trying something new here and have created a video overview the 2011-2012 Tax Sale on Gift Taxes, Estate Taxes, and Generation Skipping Taxes.  For wealthy individuals this is an unprecedented opportunity to transfer that wealth to other generations at little or no tax costs.  

While our video aims to educate you about why these tax law changes can have a real dollar impact on a family, take a quick look at the tax law changes:

Estate, Gift and Generation Skipping Tax
Transfer Tax 2009 2011-2012 2013+
Estate Tax

* $3.5 Million Exemption

* Max 55% Tax Rate

* $5 Million Exemption

* Max 35% Tax Rate

* $1 Million Exemption

* Max 55% Tax Rate

Gift Tax

* $1 Million Exemption

* Max 55% Tax Rate

* $5 Million Exemption

* Max 35% Tax Rate

* $1 Million Exemption

* Max 55% Tax Rate

GST Tax

* $3.5 Million Exemption

* Max 55% Tax Rate

* $5 Million Exemption

* Max 35% Tax Rate

* $1 Million Exemption

* Max 55% Tax Rate

In short, you can make a tax free gift of 5 times more assets in 2011-2012 than you could in 2009, or will be able to in 2013.  This is truly a limited opportunity for people to cut Uncle Sam out of their estate plan.

Is video a good medium to discuss these topics?  Does the PowerPoint add or take away from the information?  Does video make tax law more accessible?  Feedback is appreciated!