Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Gifts of Estate Planning Must Be Given With Care

“The best gift a parent can give their child for 2019 is to help them organize and manage their affairs,” Megan Gorman writes in Forbes. That, in fact, is precisely what 67% of Boomer parents would like to do for their adult children. “Boomers who have managed their finances in an organized manner want to be sure that their intent and hard work doesn’t go to waste,” Gorman says.

One area about which Boomers often complain to their advisors, the author notes (an observation borne out by our attorneys at Geyer Law) is that the children aren’t doing the things their parents ask them to in terms of planning. But family dynamics can pose a challenge, and parents who want to pay for an adult child’s estate plan need to broach the subject with care and with good timing, Gorman cautions. What’s more, even though parents may have paid for the estate planning, those parents need to understand that attorneys will not be able to share the contents of their children’s documents with them.

Regardless of who the payer is, and regardless for whom the planning is being done, at Rebecca W. Geyer & Associates we provide in-depth counseling with an eye to clients’ current needs, as well as to potential changes in their circumstances.
Gen Xers and Millenials, Gorman reminds parents, are often overwhelmed by debt and struggling to get their day-to-day financial lives in order, so that the offer of a gift of estate planning attorney fees might trigger resentment rather than the desired result. Adult children need to feel they are given a voice in advance of a family meeting or discussion, she advises.

As Indiana estate planning attorneys, our objective is to take the mystery out of the estate planning process. “Framing” the process of creating their own estate plan as a way for children to help give their parents peace of mind can sometimes smooth the path towards the desired result.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Cremation Isn't a One-Step Estate Planning Decision

There has been a rapid shift in preference from traditional burial in a casket to cremation, David Ring, president of Indiana Funeral Care, points out in Senior Life. But then what? Do you want your cremains:
  • buried in a cemetery close to relatives?
  • scattered at a place special to you and to family members?
What about a service? Ring asks.  Family members and friends will want to recognize and celebrate your life. Options include:
  • a traditional funeral with a casket, with cremation to follow
  • memorial service with your favorite songs, recognition of your favorite hobbies
“Discuss your preferences with your family so your remains don’t end up abandoned at a funeral home,” Ring advises. People who make pre-arrangements make wiser decisions and spend less money, earning the gratitude of survivors.

At Geyer Law, where we guide clients in developing their estate plans, we know just how important advance planning to those clients’ survivors. Our work in estate administration involves the legal process of transferring assets from the name of the diseased person to those inheriting the assets.  In settling the estate and administering trusts we find ourselves working with:
  • executors
  • personal representatives
  • trustees
  • beneficiaries
The goal, of course, is to resolve all matters as promptly as possible and to minimize stress at an already difficult time. The more a client’s wishes have been made clear while living, the better.

Often, our attorneys find, individuals do not know where to begin when someone dies. We provide full-service estate administration services to guide families through the process from start to finish. There’s a lot to do, including:
  • commencing probate proceedings
  • dealing with the valuation and taxation of property interests
  • assisting with the evaluation and orderly payment of claims
  • preparing inheritance tax returns
  • closing the estate
If some of the “simpler” decisions about burial or cremation have been made clear before death, that can obviously go a long way towards easing the burden of estate settlement on those left behind.