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Joan Rivers’ Net Worth Inherited by Melissa?

Hollywood Take article By Melissa Siegel

joan rWhat was Joan Rivers’ net worth at the time of her death?

The exact value of her estate is still unclear. But between Joan’s QVC line, her Fashion Police salary, and her $30 million NYC penthouse, it’s clear Melissa will inherit plenty from her mother.

Joan Rivers’ death has led to a host of questions about the late comedian’s net worth. If her funeral is any indication, daughter Melissa and the rest of the family should be well taken care of.

The ceremony was just as lavish as Joan Rivers wanted it. Despite Rivers’ now-famous 2012 quote about her ideal funeral, the event did not feature Meryl Streep “crying in five different accents” or Bobby Vinton singing “Mr. Lonely.” But Joan Rivers did get white gardenias and performances from The New York City Gay Men’s Chorus , Audra McDonald, Hugh Jackman, and the New York City Police Department Emerald Society bagpipers and drummers.

The funeral even featured a literal red carpet that was then buried with Joan Rivers. Of course, there were plenty of stars in attendance, including Whoopi Goldberg, Sarah Jessica Parker, Barbara Walters, and Bernadette Peters.

“She would love this,” guest Deborah Norville said during the Joan Rivers funeral. “We’ve all said this so many times: The one person who would really think this is the greatest thing ever is the lady who it’s all about, and she’s not here.”

The extravagant funeral was no surprise. After all, Joan Rivers showed no signs of a declining net worth in the years before her death.

Rivers left behind a New York City penthouse that she once compared to Marie Antoinette’s castle. The 5,000 square foot home included floor-to-ceiling windows and a parlor. The mansion was put on the market a few years before Rivers died, and the family’s real estate agent thinks it could sell for more than $30 million. Between this, her Fashion Police salary, and her reported $1 billion of merchandise sales on QVC alone, Joan Rivers’ net worth may even be above the rumored $150 million.

“I could pull my living in and live OK, but I don’t want to live OK,” Joan Rivers once said. “I’m very happy to live in my penthouse, very happy I can pick up a check, very happy to have a great life, and be able to spread my wealth a little bit.”

Of course, some of Joan Rivers’ net worth will go back to the government in the form of taxes. But ironically, many funeral expenses can be deducted from the estate’s payment to Uncle Sam, as long as they are “reasonable expenditures.” These include the costs of the tombstone burial plot, and temple services. So Rivers’ net worth should not dip too much after her death. How much of this estate will go to her daughter remains to be seen, however.

Source:  hollywoodtake.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

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How To Prepare Your Heirs For Their Inheritance

Forbes article by Steven Abernathy and Brian Luster

“Be careful to leave your sons well instructed rather than rich, for the hopes of the instructed are better than the wealth of the ignorant.” – Epictetus

Prepare-HeirsResearch cited in a 2013 Wall Street Journal article found that 70 percent of an affluent family’s wealth is typically gone by the end of the second generation, and 90 percent is destroyed by the end of the third. Nearly every culture has some version of the axiom “from shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations,” dating back to China over 2000 years ago. The proverb describes how the first generation works hard to create a fortune; the second generation enjoys its spoils, substituting hard work with entertainment, and the third generation — with no role model to follow — squanders what remains of the fortune, relegating their children to starting the process over again. Unsurprisingly, when the family fortune is blown, family unity is typically obliterated along with it.

The answer for what is responsible for such wealth destruction is surprising. Many might expect the culprits to be poor investment strategies, poor economies or turbulent financial markets, as did nearly two-thirds of ultra-affluent families recently surveyed by The Family Office Exchange. The real culprit is far more insidious, though.

Roy Williams and Vic Priesser collected data from 3,250 families who had lost their wealth. Less than 3 percent said poor planning and investments were cause for reversal of fortune. Twenty five percent said heirs were unprepared, and, 60 percent replied it was lack of communication and trust in the family. Affluent families continue to fall short in this area.

Evidence to support the consequences of neglecting emotional legacy can be seen in the families who ignored it themselves, such as Cornelius Vanderbilt’s heirs. If subsequent generations of his clan hadn’t spent so much, their total fortune would be worth around $205 billion in today’s dollars, according to CNNMoney. However, by 1973, in just two generations, not a single heir was even a millionaire.

So, what do successful families do differently?

Start with self-exploration. The foundation of successful multi-generational planning begins with a conversation, often in the form of a family round table, whereby the heads of the family share their vision for the family, both now, and into the future. They discuss where they are at present, and, what separates their current reality from their potential future. Thus the planning process begins with a dialogue intended to be open, inter-generational, and ongoing.

Articulate the family’s unique story. The next stage in the process of successful multi-generational wealth planning is to capture the memories, experiences, and life lessons from the older generation in the family story. This offers the younger generation a deepened understanding of their predecessor’s values, responsibilities, and choices. These conversations can be quite a powerful and moving experience both for the head of the family and as well as his or her descendants. The family story reveals ideals, beliefs, values, and the shared vision that might otherwise have been left unsaid. It also allows the family to identify and articulate its common vision, and support both the family and its vision for multiple generations.

Create a Heritage Statement. The Heritage Statement constitutes all documentation of the story and values, as well as the appropriate structure for sharing those values with future generations. It describes who the leader of the family is, where s/he came from, what s/he believes, and hopes for the family now, and in the future. More importantly, it captures the personal story in the leader of the family’s own words, eliminating the risk that this personal history is re-written by future generations.

Hold annual family retreats. Successful families set aside a few days each year for annual family retreats, intended to foster communication, create a shared experience, and encourage growth. External facilitators will lead the family in exercises aimed at sharing the family’s values, vision, and Heritage Statement in an open, honest, and comfortable setting. When ongoing, regularly scheduled family retreats become part of the family’s calendar, there is a structure to work on the family’s activities, make plans for the future, share ideas, and have fun. Meeting at least once annually is recommended.

The goal of these gatherings is to promote family unity through team building, leadership, shared responsibility and active communication. This is the time, year after year, where families renew their commitment to making healthy decisions and nurturing family harmony. The ultimate goal of heritage design is to provide each family member the support needed live a meaningful and fulfilled life.

Build Collaborative Teams. Eventually all principal advisers– legal, tax, financial–will retain a copy of the family’s Heritage Statement. As it is updated, they will receive these changes as well. The Heritage Statement offers each adviser a clear, shared mission for their work goals. This clearly defined, common vision aligns not only the goals, beliefs, and values of the family, but, offers a road map from which the advisers can best work in service to the family.

What about the actual family business? This should be kept separate. The goal of a successful meeting will be for everyone in attendance to know they’re part of a family owning a business; not a business owning a family.

The information contained in this article is provided solely for convenience purposes only and all users thereof should be guided accordingly. For additional disclaimers and information, please visit us here.

This post originally appeared on Forbes.com.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

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The Estate Settlement Process

Business First article by Braden Lammers

estateIt could be millions of dollars or a grandma’s photo album.

But to heirs, the photo album often means more than the money. That’s according to officials with Hilliard Lyons LLC’s trust company operation in Louisville.

“The biggest conflicts are never about the money,” said Jeffrey Uhling, senior vice president and trust and estate planner for Hilliard Lyons Trust Co. in Louisville. “It’s always about the stuff.”

The trust professional’s task is to divvy the wares and money and other assets among the heirs. And with an ever-increasing senior population — or silver tsunami, as it is sometime referred to — Hilliard Lyons is planning for the future.

The company has expanded its trust operations in Louisville and recently announced that in its Cincinnati office is adding its first trust employee, an attorney and a certified financial planner to its Cincinnati office.

Hilliard Lyons has added 11 employees to its trust operations in Louisville, bringing the total employee count to 48 during the last nine months. The Cincinnati-based trust professional, Jessica Nielsen, reports to the Louisville office.

Trust and estate settlement is part of the overall financial planning process, said Don Asfahl, president of Hilliard Lyons Trust Co.

Uhling, an attorney, said that although estate settlement can be complicated, “it really boils down to what do you have, whose name is it in and what do you want to do with it?”

Asfahl said it is important to have an estate plan because if a client does not have a written plan, the state will decide who gets what.

In the course of interviewing the Hilliard Lyons officials, I began to wonder how the process worked.

I asked Deb Moore, vice president and trust specialist with Hilliard Lyons Trust Co. in Louisville, who explained how her company goes about settling the estate when it is named executor.

Once a person dies, Hilliard Lyons will send two trust officers to the person’s home to begin collecting, securing and cataloging the person’s assets, Moore explained. The assets can be anything from a toaster to a Picasso.

“We’ll try to get all of the assets that we know of, and that’s where estate planning comes in handy,” Moore said. “You have a list of all assets.”

Whatever is collected is cataloged and put in a vault at Hilliard Lyons while the settlement process is completed. Appraisers are used to place a value on the items collected.

Settling an estate can also mean making funeral arrangements, dealing with angry relatives, finding homes for the individual’s pets and paying the bills for a surviving spouse, Moore said.

Little surprise, then, that Uhling said it is not a short process.

The collection and cataloging process usually takes more than a month.

Meanwhile, Uhling or another attorney will go through the settlement process of notifying those named in a will or a trust and filing the will in probate court — usually within two to four weeks. That triggers a six-month period during which creditors can claim assets of the estate.

After creditors are paid, disbursements to heirs can begin, unless an estate tax return needs to be filed. The threshold for needing to file a federal estate tax return is $5.34 million in total assets.

If a federal estate tax return must be filed, you can probably count on two and a half years or more before the estate is settled, Uhling said. Unless, of course, the IRS decides to audit the estate. If no estate tax returns are filed, most are done within a year, he added.

“You can’t officially close the estate until you get a closing letter from the IRS,” said Leslie Coyle, senior vice president and managing director of trust services for Hilliard Lyons Trust Co.

As the financial planners work with those heirs, Asfahl said, the hope is that they will develop a relationship to help the next generation through the estate planning process.

Source:  bizjournals.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

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Estate Planning for Your Horses: Protecting Your Horses if They Outlast You

JDSupra Business Advisor article by Catherine Eberl

brown_horseIt is 8:00 on a brisk, summer morning. You just finished your morning barn chores — the horses are fed, their stalls are clean. Your mare is peacefully grazing outside while her one-month-old filly prances around her; your two geldings look on. As you start your second cup of coffee, you catch up on the daily news. An article about horses catches your eye —“Horses Seized from Property After Owner Dies.” You read on. Twenty horses were seized following the unexpected death of the man caring for the horses.

The man’s widow, not a horse person herself, asked for the horses to be taken away. The horses will be sent to auction. There will be no reserve. Some of the horses are old, others are malnourished from improper care since the man’s untimely death. The horses that don’t sell may be euthanized if they cannot find suitable foster homes. You are in disbelief. How can this happen? Will these horses really be euthanized? Will others be sold to killer buyers? How did the man not plan for this? You look out the window at your small herd and realize that this could happen to them — you do not have an estate plan. You never even thought about a will. If something happened to you, your horses could meet the same, sad fate.

What Happens to my Horses if I Don’t Have an Estate Plan?

If owners do not take appropriate steps to provide for their horses, the consequences can be dire. Without a will, your horse will become the property of whoever is entitled to inherit from you in accordance with state law. Like the story above, these family members may have no interest in inheriting your horses, and no knowledge of how to care for your horses or how to go about selling your horses in a fair sale.

What Can I Do to Protect My Horses if They Outlive Me?

With careful planning, and sound legal advice, your horses will be protected if they outlast you. The first consideration in estate planning for your horse is “who” – who among your family, friends, or fellow equine contacts has the desire and knowledge to properly care for or sell your horse?

The next consideration is the “how” – how should this person take ownership of your horse? The most simple option is stating in your will that the horse be given to a specific friend or relative. You may want to consider leaving a bequest of cash, or other property, to the person taking the animal to help cover the care of the horse. If your will names specific horses to various individuals, you will need to continuously revise your will, as most people have a succession of horses during their lives.

You can also create a trust for your horse. An increasing number of horse owners are opting for a horse trust. A horse trust is a written declaration of how the horse owner wishes their horse to be cared for aft er the owner’s death. A horse trust ensures care for the horse if the owner gets sick or dies. A trust can be inter vivos (created during the lifetime of the horse owner) or created under your will after your death.

In a horse trust, you will name a trustee who will carry out your wishes for the horse. You can provide detailed instructions for the distribution of trust funds for the horse’s care. The trust will mandate how the funds will be administered and where the remaining assets should go following the horse’s death. The trust can contain information about your horse’s conditioning, health issues and food preferences. When selecting your “horse guardian,” you ideally would want a person who currently owns or has cared for horses in the past. The horse guardian will care for your horse in accordance with your instructions set forth in the trust. When preparing the trust, you should carefully consider the cost of care for your horse, and fund the trust accordingly.

A horse trust terminates upon the death of the animal. If the trust is established to provide for the care of more than one horse, the trust will terminate upon the death of the last surviving horse.

What Are the Benefits of Establishing a Trust as Opposed to Making a Simply Bequest of a Horse in Your Will?

If you want to give the person who will care for your horse cash to pay for expenses, a trust structure offers more oversight, particularly if there are two trustees. The trust assets must be segregated from the trustees’ personal assets, and must be used for the horse’s upkeep as directed in the trust document. If the cash is simply given to the horse’s new owner outright, the cash can be used by the owner, even on the owner’s personal expenses, without limitation. You take your chance that your horse will receive proper care.

In addition, using a trust allows for succession of your “horse guardian.” If you leave your horse to someone outright as part of a bequest, and that person dies shortly thereafter, that person’s estate plan determines what happens to your horse. Instead, if you had left your horse to a trust, and the trustee dies or becomes incapacitated, the person that you name as your back-up trustee will take over, and the back-up trustee will continue to administer your trust and to carry-out your wishes.

Conclusion

Although proper estate planning can be daunting, having a knowledgeable equine attorney to guide you through the process will relieve much of that burden. The time and effort to think through and plan these complex issues will assure that your equine family will be protected after your death.

Source:  jdsupra.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

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Selling An Advisory Practice? Don’t Shortchange Yourself

Forbes article by Russ Alan Prince 

advisory-practiceThe financial advisory landscape is transforming and there are strong indications that the pace of change is only going to intensify.

The competitive environment is becoming more extreme. The clientele – especially the wealthy – is increasingly circumspect, critical, and demanding. And various business margins are being squeezed from different angles, for different reasons.

One of the most powerful drivers of change in this area is the desire among well-established and thriving practitioners to develop succession plans. According to Hannah Shaw Grove, an authority on advisory best practices and a founder of Private Wealth magazine, “Smart advisors are taking steps to ensure the long-term welfare of their clients and monetize their life’s work.”

An increasingly common way many financial advisors are choosing to address their succession and monetization concerns is by selling their practices. It has become a seller’s market as strong economic conditions have prompted more buyers to emerge than ever before. Historically, most transactions occurred as wirehouses, private banks, independent brokerages, and wealth management firms recruited advisory teams from one another.

These days, there are even more discussions happening that include a wider array of organizations. Advisors are talking to other advisors about joining forces through team lift-outs and acquisitions, professional services providers such as accounting, legal, and management consulting firms are expanding their footprint to engage with wealthier clients and generate new sources of revenue, and there is a growing number of independent roll-ups and consolidators actively searching for additional targets.

It’s important to note that career succession isn’t the only reason fueling the increased interest in selling among advisors. In addition to providing a new home for employees and clients and an attractive payout, Grove believes that “being acquired can also be a financial and strategic way for advisory practices to grow, with opportunities for greater control and a means to positively and cost-effectively increase assets under management.”

Having critically evaluated many transactions involving the sale of an advisory practice, it’s clear that a substantial number of sellers are shortchanging themselves in the process. “It’s a classic case of the cobbler’s children,” says Grove. “Most successful advisors have considerable experience helping their clients manage and sell companies in the most tax-efficient way possible, but they don’t take the time to apply their skills and expertise to their own situations.”

There are, of course, many cases where financial advisors do a brilliant job with the transition of their practices and manage to garner maximum enterprise value for their businesses, maximum personal wealth for themselves and their families, and maximum short- and long-term benefits for their clients. But evidence seems to indicate that most advisors are not leveraging the well-documented strategies and techniques that can be deployed in advance of a sale to streamline operations, boost sales price and mitigate taxes and, ultimately, position themselves and their practices for the best possible outcomes.

Source: forbes.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

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Investing to Make a Difference Is Gaining Ground

NYT article by Paul Sullivan

impactinvestingIF there is a traditional path to becoming an impact investor, it is the one taken by David Keller, who made a lot of money at a young age and retired from Cisco Systems in his 40s in 2002.

Mr. Keller got the idea of starting a family foundation and wondered if he could do more good by putting some of the foundation’s money in investments that would have a positive social impact.

“With a modest family foundation, I knew I wasn’t going to change the world,” Mr. Keller, now 60, said. “The whole idea of combining my values with investment returns made a lot of sense in the context of just small grant-making. I wanted all of it to work together.”

Twelve years later, 10 percent of his wealth is in so-called impact investments — those made in companies, organizations and funds with the intention of generating a measurable, beneficial social and environmental impact.

While these investors are also seeking a financial return, the kinds of private investments Mr. Keller has made — as in Generation Investment Management co-founded by Al Gore and David Blood — tend to be risky in the same way other private equity investments are and less liquid than investments in public companies.

But interest in impact investing, which has been around for more than a decade, is growing and changing. According to the Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment, some $3.74 trillion, or 11 percent, of total United States assets under management were placed in sustainable investments in 2012. This was a fivefold increase from 1995.

Financial firms have followed the money and are expanding what they offer to impact investors. Last year, Morgan Stanley started the Institute for Sustainable Investing with a goal of having $10 billion in client assets invested for social and environmental impact within five years.

Last month, Bank of America Merrill Lynch sold $12 million worth of “green bonds” from the World Bank, with a minimum investment of just $1,000. The proceeds are being used to fund projects like alternative energy programs.

And HIP Investor, which rates companies and municipal bonds on their societal impact, has started rating company 401(k) plans based on the sustainability ratings of their underlying investments. Of course, financial firms aren’t doing this for purely altruistic reasons.

“We fundamentally believe that considering the sustainability and impact of your investments is a business opportunity for us and our clients,” said Audrey Choi, chief executive of Morgan Stanley’s Institute for Sustainable Investing. “We also think it’s a fundamentally strong value proposition to integrate thinking about large global issues into your investing decisions.”

Or as Andy Sieg, head of global wealth and retirement solutions at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, put it: “We think impact investing is an idea whose time has come in mainstream wealth management.”

But as impact investing grows and the minimum amount needed to invest decreases, the path is becoming more like the one Jennifer Anderson took. A former investment adviser at SEI Investments, Ms. Anderson has worked since 2008 as a consultant to companies that want to do business in a more sustainable way. Yet it was only in the last year and a half that she felt comfortable enough with the investment products to begin putting her own money into them.

“There are now more options, transparency and information available,” said Ms. Anderson, 41, a co-founder of Sustrana, a sustainability consultancy outside of Philadelphia.

She has taken all of the money locked up in retirement accounts from previous jobs — less than $1 million — and invested it in companies that are addressing the risks climate change poses to doing business in the future. “I want to do something that will have an impact and that I’ll feel good about,” she said.

Such enthusiasm about an investment approach that has no accepted benchmark and, for the most part, still requires large minimums and long holding periods might seem frothy. And few people talk of impact investments’ ability to outperform investments made with an eye solely on a company’s profitability. (That’s because they generally don’t.)

But the problems the impact investments are trying to address, like clean drinking water or health concerns, are real to anyone following the Ebola outbreak in western Africa.

How should someone proceed who wants a solid return and is generally interested in doing good with her investments but not zealous about a cause?

The first rule of thumb is to go slowly. Mr. Keller said he felt that he probably missed some investments by being overly cautious, but at the same time he had no regrets and his portfolios continued to perform well.

“I viewed this as trying to move the industry by my own small demand. That made it more comfortable to take a patient approach and not panic if I had investments that weren’t aligned with my mission.”

The second rule is to find a guide, often in the form of an adviser similarly interested in impact investing.

“I didn’t always have people who were necessarily onboard with what my intentions were,” said Patricia Rouen, 65, who has been focused on impact investing for 15 years. “They were more or less humoring me. I realized I needed to find the investment professional who totally supported what I was doing.”

For Ms. Rouen, who lives in Hawaii, it helped to define how her investment and life views were going to mesh. Like many, she started by screening out traditional energy and oil companies and replaced them with clean energy alternatives. But over time she realized she needed to broaden her view to companies that might not seem green but were operating in a way that was better than their peers.

Coca-Cola is an example of this kind of strategy. To some investors, the company sells calorie-laden sugary drinks around the world; to others it is a company that understands the need for clean water and is working to protect water sources.

And that leads to the need to be expansive in the way people, particularly those with less wealth, assess impact investments. R. Paul Herman, chief executive of HIP Investor Ratings and president of HIP Investor, said his firm recently began assessing 401(k) plans for their sustainability ratings. He said having rated 4,500 companies and 4,000 municipal bond issues, the firm was able to assess the underlying assets owned by the plans.

These ratings are “a way to have the broadest definition of impact that is meaningful to you,” he said. “Every investment has a sustainability or impact profile.”

While the companies and municipal bond issues are rated for obvious metrics, like carbon usage and water efficiency, they are also screened for criteria like employee turnover, chief executive pay, board diversity and legal issues. By these measures, Novo Nordisk, the pharmaceutical company, ranks high, while Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett’s investment vehicle, ranks low as much for some of its holdings as its hands-off approach to managing the companies it owns stakes in.

Of course overlaying all of these impact investments is the returns. They vary depending on how an investor defines the impact investments, from screening out certain companies all the way up to making direct investments in cutting-edge companies.

But there is generally a trade-off. Steven Tiell, 36, a technology executive at Accenture, said four years ago he and his wife decided to invest their savings with an impact focus.

“We can’t say this portion of our portfolio can just do good,” he said. “We’re still building wealth. We needed it to grow over time.”

He said they had achieved growth through traditional investments in stocks and bonds but also through tailored exchange-traded funds, like one focused on investing in water.

“If you compared it against the Vanguard Target Retirement Fund over the past three years, my portfolio hasn’t done as well,” he said. “But it still has positive returns that I’m happy with.”

Of course, the bet that these investors are making is that the industry they have chosen is developing and there will be more options for all investors.

Source:  nytimes.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

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There’s More to Estate Planning Than Just the Will

NYT article by Alina Tugend

estateWILLS, health care directives, lists of passwords to online accounts. By now, most people know they should prepare these items — even if they haven’t yet — and make them available to trusted family members before the unthinkable, yet inevitable, happens.

But the information family and friends will need when a loved one dies goes far beyond those much-talked-about documents, and having them can make the end of life just a little less painful for those who remain behind.

Consider the experience of John J. Scroggin, who runs a tax business and estate-planning firm in Atlanta. His father, who died in 2001, wanted to be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington.

“I called Arlington and they told me I needed his DD 214 to bury him at the cemetery.” Mr. Scroggin recalled. “I had never heard of a DD 214, but they told me if I could not find it, they would put him in cold storage for six months while they found it.”

After a frantic search, “I found Dad’s DD 214 as a bookmark in a book,” he said. The Arlington burial took place. The lesson: Add military discharge papers to the documents you hand over to family members or trusted friends.

Maureen Nelson, of Walnut Creek, Calif., had a less satisfying outcome. “My mom died and told both my sister and I that she was a member of the Neptune Society, which cremates the deceased and scatters the ashes at sea,” she said.

“We called to have them pick her up from the convalescent hospital where she died,” she explained. “They came. But when they checked their records they couldn’t find her name, so they left. My sister said my mom even showed her the paperwork. But she must not have sent it in.” The lesson? If you’ve made your own burial arrangements, make sure you’ve shared the details.

The legal and emotional complexity of end-of-life planning went from theoretical to real for me recently when I began helping my 89-year-old father gather his documents. One of the many things I learned: He would like a funeral with military honors, having served in two wars. So Mr. Scroggin’s advice had special resonance.

Tips on preparing for the end of life can fill a book — as Erik A. Dewey, a writer from Tulsa, Okla., knows firsthand. It was with great difficulty that he sorted through heaps of paper and online information after his father died at age 65, a week from retirement.

He decided to share what he had learned by writing “The Big Book of Everything.”

His book, which is free online, has been downloaded about 1,000 times a month since it went up about five years ago, he said, and also includes data that people need to keep track of while they’re alive, like school and employment history and previous addresses.

Preparing for your own death is “tedious and not very pleasant,” acknowledged Mark Gavagan, who wrote the workbook, “12 Critical Things Your Family Needs to Know.”

“But if something happened to your or a spouse, would your loved ones know what you have, where it is and what your wishes are?”

While getting these items in order is more urgent for the elderly, all of us need to do it. Ask yourself if you can check off some of the most basic items.

WILL OR LIVING TRUST A will, of course, distributes your assets after you die. With a living trust, the  assets you have transferred to the trust (your home, bank accounts and stocks, for example) are administered for your benefit during your lifetime, and then transferred to your beneficiaries when you die.

Despite common advice that a living trust is better than a will because you don’t need to go through probate — the court process that inventories and distributes a person’s property after death — that’s not necessarily true, said Sally Hurme, an elder law attorney with AARP.

“The benefits of trusts are overplayed and the disadvantages of probate are exaggerated,” said Ms. Hurme, who is author of the forthcoming “ABA/AARP Checklist for My Family: A Guide to My History, Financial Plans and Final Wishes.”

“There are certain circumstances when trusts are appropriate, such as if you have out-of-state real estate or a family business that will continue to be run,” she said. Otherwise, she said, a will is fine. If you have any doubt, it’s best to research it further or consult a lawyer.

If you decide to write up a will without a lawyer, using online forms, for example, be sure you do it right; a badly executed will can be worse than none at all. That’s what Lisa Kinsman’s sister found out after her husband was killed in a plane crash when he was 28.

“He had drawn up a will just before he left on the trip” that claimed his life, Ms. Kinsman, of Larchmont, N.Y., said, “but he had filled out some things incorrectly, so all his property would have ended up going to his sister instead of his wife.” She had to go through a lengthy court process to get what would have gone to her without any will.

HEALTH CARE POWERS Both a living will and a durable health care power of attorney concern medical decisions, but there are some important differences.

A living will, also called an advance directive in some states, is usually limited to deathbed concerns. It enables you to declare your desire to not have life-prolonging measures used if there is no hope of recovery. A durable power of attorney for health care, on the other hand, covers all health care decisions, and lasts only as long as you are incapable of making decisions for yourself. You can, however, set out specific provisions in the power of attorney telling your agent how you would like them to act on your behalf.

POWER OF ATTORNEY This is granted to someone you trust who can take care of your finances. Unlike a regular power of attorney, a durable one means the person can act even if you become incapacitated. It can be the same person as the health care power of attorney but in the best of all worlds, it probably shouldn’t be, as they require different skill sets, Ms. Hurme said.

“A health care proxy has got to be someone you can look in the eye and say, ‘You’ve got to be willing to pull the plug in the face of opposition from other people,’ ” Mr. Gavagan said.

But it’s not enough to write these up and put them in a drawer, or even worse in a safe-deposit box where no one has access to them.

“They should be scattered as far and wide as possible — your spouse, your children and your doctors should have your directives,” Ms. Hurme said. Her organization offers printable advance directive forms by state on its website. Caringinfo.org also provides information and forms.

Aside from the heavy-duty legal documents, here are some other recommendations from Mr. Dewey and other experts:

List passwords and logins for everything. This may be obvious, but it bears repeating. Margie Billian, a hairdresser in Rockville, Md., said of her father: “On his deathbed, he was giving me passwords and telling me where items were. This was not enough.”

Ms. Billian’s father’s business was also audited by the Internal Revenue Service after his death, which is why it’s vital to keep old tax documents for several years after someone has died.

Some things others have found helpful that aren’t so obvious include a medical history, so children and grandchildren know if there is a history of allergies, for example, or diabetes.

Make sure you list what companies and services direct-debit from your bank accounts and credit cards so they don’t continue after those accounts are closed. Mr. Scroggin said a client’s children closed their father’s bank account when he couldn’t handle his own affairs. They didn’t know an insurance policy worth over $1 million was kept active by direct debits from that account. It was terminated for nonpayment.

Don’t forget the most mundane things, like how your house works: the alarm, the sprinkler system, the key to the shed out back. Look at your house as if you were renting it to strangers for the summer and needed to leave instructions, Mr. Gavagan said.

And finally, many people suggested, think about writing a letter or letters to those closest to you to be read after your death.

“If I had one more letter from my father,” Mr. Dewey said, “It would have meant the world to me.”

Source:  nytimes.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

Permalink:  http://thetrustadvisor.com/news/estate-planning-5

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One Way To Keep Kids From Feeling Entitled: Hide The Wealth

The Washington Post article by Jonnelle Marte

hideDavid Fagan, a father of eight, tells his children that if they want something — a vacation, a pair of expensive shoes, even a college degree — they have to save up for it themselves.

As for how much he can, or will, help them out, they don’t need to know about that just yet, he says.

Fagan, who owns a marketing company, calls it a mistake for parents to let their children know if they have enough money to cover their college expenses or to step in financially if they need help. “Even if you decided to do that,” he says, “the worst thing you could ever do is tell your kid that.”

Worried about raising kids with an unhealthy sense of entitlement who may squander their wealth, some parents are wary about letting their children know how much money they’ve made or how much they plan to leave behind. A chief concern for some, especially those who built their own wealth through a business or other venture, is that their children will struggle to succeed if they aren’t made to work for their goals.

Twenty-seven percent of benefactors who plan to leave money to their children say they hesitate to have an open discussion about the inheritance because they don’t want their kids to feel entitled to the wealth, according to a survey of nearly 2,900 investors conducted by UBS Wealth Americas this summer. About a third of respondents said they don’t want their children to count on the money.

For many parents, the worry is that their children or grandchildren will blow through their savings if they aren’t working and supporting themselves independently. “A lot of families are torn,” says Gregory Popera, a private wealth adviser with Merrill Lynch. “They want their children to experience the success that they experienced by building their own wealth and have the same work ethic they have.”

Fagan, who wrote a parenting book that is being released in the fall, says he is willing to help his children out but he needs to see them working for their goals, too. For instance, when one daughter wanted to go to Peru with some family members, he asked her to brainstorm about odd jobs she could do to raise the money. After she proposed a small business of making and selling fajitas to people working at nearby offices, he fronted the supplies and ingredients. “It’s like Shark Tank around my house,” Fagan says.

Some parents might be holding off on talking about money because they don’t yet know how much they’ll be able to give to their children. With many retirees today living longer than previous generations, it can be difficult to know what will be left over for future generations, says Susan Crown, a financial adviser with UBS Financial Services.

“The problem is nobody has an expiration date,” Crown says. “You don’t know how long it’s going to last and you don’t know how long it has to last.”

But there’s reason for some parents to at least give adult children a broad overview of their plans: Some children in the dark about their parents’ finances may worry unnecessarily. About 30 percent of adult children surveyed by Fidelity Investments last spring described their parents as anxious, while only 12 percent of parents described themselves that way.

Adult children also underestimated their parent’s estates by $300,000 on average, up from $100,000 in 2012. ““In reality, what you’re doing by protecting the information is that you’re creating more anxiety now that your children are of adult age,” says John Sweeney, executive vice president of retirement and investing strategies at Fidelity Investments.

One way for parents to start the conversation is by at least expressing to their children that they are confident and prepared for their own retirement so they can calm any fears their kids may have about having to support their parents financially in old age, Sweeney says. That can also be a chance for them to encourage children to have their own plan in place.

There are certain things families should be up front about, says Justin Fulton, a principal at Signature, a wealth advisory firm. For instance, parents  should tell children if a chunk of their estate will be left to charity, so that family members aren’t surprised or upset, he says. Ditto if their children aren’t going to receive identical inheritances. For instance, one sibling who showed more interest in the family business should know that he or she might receive a bigger stake in the companies than others, he says.

The conversation doesn’t have to take place during a big family meeting, says Christine Benz, director of personal finance for Morningstar, a fund research firm. Some families might want to write up their overall plan in a document they can share, including a rough value for their retirement savings and account information for life insurance and long-term care insurance policies, she says.

Source:  washingtonpost.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

Permalink: http://thetrustadvisor.com/headlines/hide-the-wealth

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Don’t Post Pictures Of Your Customers Online Without Reading This

Forbes article by Jayson DeMers

pics onlineBusinesses and marketers have received the message: visual content sells.

One photo can speak volumes about a brand, catching the attention of consumers much more effectively than text-based content. The growing popularity of sites like Instagram and Pinterest have led many businesses to be more visual in their marketing efforts.

But as tempting as it may be to start snapping and uploading photos of your customers, there are legalities concerning this type of behavior. Businesses probably already realize the dangers of using photos in their marketing efforts without permission, but these dangers extend to your in-store behaviors, as well. There are many benefits to involving your loyal customers in your online efforts, but it’s important to learn the rules. In this article, we’ll cover a few things you can do to stay safe while creating and sharing visual content.

While there are laws allowing the photographing and posting of photos of people in public, the rules change when the person taking the photos represents a business. It’s one thing for John Smith to snap a picture of a crowd and post it online. It’s quite another when a local business takes that picture and posts it online.

This issue is especially tricky when the people in the photos are identifiable. If your picture features one person or a small group of people, the people in the photo could take exception to being used as part of your marketing campaign. Even if your photo is intended to be displayed once before moving down your feed, it could live on forever in an album on a sidebar or the photo collage featured at the top of an Instagram user’s profile page.

For Commercial Purposes

The danger in using photos of individuals for your online marketing purposes is that your efforts could be seen as commercial. The rules when it comes to using photos for commercial purposes differ from when you’re merely sharing vacation photos with your buddies. Even if you aren’t directly making money off of the usage, a photo in a social media campaign can easily be seen as similar to using a photo in a print brochure or billboard ad. There are specific laws that apply to use of individual photos online, including:

Fair Use—In some cases, fair use laws allow photos to be used when the situation warrants it. Fair use cases include news, product reviews, classroom use, and several other situations. The bottom line with fair use is that the court will be the final judge, and the final judge will look at the impact the use had on the original copyright-holder or the person depicted in the image. If your subject believes his likeness was used to sell a product without his permission, you may find yourself on the losing side of an argument in front of a judge.

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy—If the person in your photograph felt he was having a private moment when you snap your picture, he may have an argument against your use of it. While this law generally states that if a person is in “public,” he wouldn’t have the same privacy as in his home or personal office, this doesn’t mean your business is “public.” Reasonable expectation of privacy serves to safeguard attendees at large events when they snap pictures of people in the crowds around them.

Consent—Because the lines are so blurred, you should ask permission from each person whose photos you plan to upload. This includes photos that are snapped in a public place, including inside your business. If a person would be able to identify his or her face on your post, you should ask for consent as soon as the photo is snapped. For the best protection, ask the person to sign a consent form and tag the person when you post the photo. Chances are the person will want to share the photo online, as well, giving your business even greater exposure.

Alternative Ideas

If you aren’t comfortable handing out consent forms to your customers throughout the day, consider some other ideas to put faces with your products. Instead of turning yourself into an amateur photographer, invite your customers to shoot their own photos in your business while tagging the location. Come up with unique ideas for photo opportunities, like putting a cardboard standee or other item of interest toward the front of your store. It will be a bonus if you have your own branding on the item, visible to anyone who views it.

Some businesses have even hosted contests to encourage customers to share photos of their own on specified social media accounts. Dole out a hashtag and offer a prize to one of the lucky participants in your selfie contest. Make sure to specify that the person must check in or tag your business in the comment to ensure each participant’s social media following knows where the photo was taken. Another option is to ask employees, friends, and family members to lend a hand. You can even state outright that the person in the photo is a team member who is excited about your business.

Keep People Out of It

One of the best ways to market your business through photos without risking sticky legal issues is to avoid including people in your photos. The vast majority of your photos can be of your great products or your team members having a great time while working hard. If you have a busy crowd at lunchtime, snap a photo from behind the crowd, ensuring no faces are identifiable in the photo. You can even use filters or photo-editing tools to blur out some faces without disrupting your original intent.

Hopefully, over time, your visual marketing will pay off and your customers will snap photos willingly while trying out your exciting items. You can then share those posts with your own followers. One caveat: Be cautious when sharing photos of youth, especially without specific parental permission. Some parents are very protective of their children and prefer their images not be exposed to strangers.

Customer images are a powerful way to get attention while marketing your brand. By taking the extra steps necessary to make sure you don’t offend your photo subjects, you’ll be able to show that you reward loyalty and care about your customers.

Source:  forbes.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

Permalink:  http://thetrustadvisor.com/headlines/pictures-of-your-customers ‎

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Voya Financial (Formerly ING U.S.) Debuts Brand Campaign To Consumers; Launches New Advertising And Website

Company’s Retirement Solutions, Investment Management And Insurance Solutions Businesses Now All Operating As Voya

voyaVoya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), formerly ING U.S., announced that it has launched a new consumer marketing campaign to support the company’s rebranding activities. The campaign includes television, digital, mobile, search, social media and trade advertising that will run throughout the balance of 2014. Voya has also introduced its new website, http://voya.com.

Voya’s multi-step rebranding process began in April this year when its holding company and philanthropic foundation transitioned to the new brand. The company’s five business segments followed and are now all operating as Voya – the Investment Management segment rebranded to Voya Investment Management in May; the Employee Benefits segment also began its transition to Voya in May; and, most recently, the Retirement, Annuities and Individual Life segments changed to Voya as of September.

“From our initial public offering in May 2013, to the extensive rebranding work done across our enterprise this year, today marks a significant milestone and the next phase of an exciting journey,” said Rodney O. Martin Jr., chairman and CEO of Voya Financial.  “We’re thrilled that all of our businesses are now operating as Voya.  We look forward to building equity in our new brand and for Americans to come to know us as the company that can help advance their retirement readiness and financial security.”

The Consumer Debut of Voya

The Voya brand represents a new era for the company while closely aligning with what the former ING brand was known for — proactively and optimistically guiding Americans on their journeys to and through retirement. The name builds upon a track record of leadership in key retirement, investment and insurance market segments.

“Voya is an abstract name coined from the word ‘voyage.’  It reflects momentum, optimism and a view toward the future,” said Ann Glover, chief marketing officer of Voya Financial. “The name also reminds us that a secure financial future is more than just reaching a destination; it’s about a journey to financial empowerment, and having positive experiences along the way.”

To help build awareness for the new Voya brand, a comprehensive marketing campaign has been planned across multiple media channels. This includes a new television commercial, which will run between September and November incorporating both the iconic ING bench as well as Voya’s latest “Orange Money” creative concept. The commercial showcases a caterpillar transforming into a butterfly with orange dollar wings, representing ING’s metamorphosis to Voya. It will be seen on a wide range of network and cable media properties during professional sports, news and late night programming. The spot can be viewed at http://go.voya.com/ButterflyAd.

This transitional concept serves as a bridge between the two brands until 2015, when the company’s existing Orange Money television commercials are scheduled to air again with the Voya brand. The Orange Money ad campaign, which was introduced in 2013, underscores the importance of carefully managing and saving one’s retirement dollars.

“Our Orange Money campaign was designed with rebranding in mind,” noted Glover. “We realized the importance of creating a concept that could work both as ING and after we became Voya. Our goal was to find a way that could best bring consumers along with us on this journey.”

In addition to the advertising, Voya’s new public website has also launched. The new site, which replaces the former ING U.S. website, has been designed to deliver an innovative consumer experience while showcasing Voya as a new kind of financial services company. Voya’s bright color palette, including its signature orange, is prominently featured. Information is neatly organized in a “card” format so consumers can easily navigate to the content that interests them, whether it’s products and services, corporate information or educational resources. Visitors can customize and save their search activity so it is available when they return. A video demonstration of the site is available at http://go.voya.com/WebsiteDemo.

As an industry leader and advocate for greater retirement readiness, Voya is committed to delivering on its vision to be America’s Retirement Company™ and its mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time.

About Voya Financial

Voya Financial, Inc. (NYSE: VOYA), which has rebranded from ING U.S., is composed of premier retirement, investment and insurance companies serving the financial needs of approximately 13 million individual and institutional customers in the United States. The company’s vision is to be America’s Retirement Company™ and its guiding principle is centered on solving the most daunting financial challenge facing Americans today — retirement readiness. Working directly with clients and through a broad group of financial intermediaries, independent producers, affiliated advisors and dedicated sales specialists, Voya provides a comprehensive portfolio of asset accumulation, asset protection and asset distribution products and services. With a dedicated workforce of approximately 7,000 employees, Voya is grounded in a clear mission to make a secure financial future possible — one person, one family, one institution at a time. For more information, visit http://voya.com or view our Voya Financial Interactive Company Profile. Follow Voya Financial on Facebook and Twitter @Voya.

Source:  corporate.voya.com

Posted by:  Steven Maimes, The Trust Advisor

Permalink:  http://thetrustadvisor.com/headlines/voya-financial

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