Why Have an Estate Plan? I have $1,000,000 in Life Insurance, That’s Not Big Enough?

Why Have an Estate Plan

Why Have an Estate Plan?

 

Something that is dismissed on its level of importance just as much, if not more than life insurance, is estate planning. In this post, I will address: what an estate is; what happens if you kick the bucket without planning your estate correctly; the key elements of an estate: wills and
living revocable trusts; and what you can do to take action immediately.

 

Of course dying is not one of those things we want to spend our time planning or thinking about, but taking care of or at least starting your estate plan now and updating it later on throughout your lifetime will save your loved one a lot of time, money, and headache when the time does come to pass on your assets and final wishes.

 

First off, what is an estate? An estate is something that nearly every single person has. An individual’s estate is essentially everything they own. Things like life insurance, real estate, investments, automobiles, that super weird clown collection that makes everyone else in the family extremely uncomfortable, etc.

 

Obviously at some point this individual is going to die and pass on to the afterlife and all of their belongings will remain here on planet Earth. What happens with these possessions depends on how the recently deceased set up their estate before their passing. Ok, so why have an estate plan?

 

Let’s start with what happens if the person did absolutely nothing. This happens everyday, and drives families crazy. When an individual dies or even becomes severely disabled, if they did not set up some sort of estate plan, the state gets to have authority over what happens to their
stuff. Even if the family is there and present, nothing was put in place to pass along the individual’s possessions.

 

Of course things like life insurance where a beneficiary or multiple beneficiaries can be named will be ok as long as the beneficiary isn’t a minor. Minors left without parents can be placed into the custody of someone outside the family, and the state even gets to decide what to do with the families inheritance. Is this enough to answer why have an estate plan? No? Please continue then!

 

Probate laws vary from state to state and some can be more brutal than others, but the point is that most people would not want the
probate courts deciding what to do with their belongings after their passing. Ask any family who has been to probate court, “Why have an estate plan?” You might never hear the end of it.

 

Some of the key elements of estate planning should include other things like:

 

  • Instructions for passing your intangible assets
  • Instructions for your care if you become severely disabled
  • Naming a guardian and an inheritance manager for minor children.
  • Provide for loved ones who might be irresponsible with money or who may need future protection from creditors or divorce.
  • Include life insurance, disability income insurance, and long-term care insurance
  • Accommodate the transfer of your business at your disability or death.
  • Minimize taxes, court costs, and unnecessary legal fees.

 

There are two common ways to set up an estate plan and those are to set up either a will or a revocable trust. Now there are subsidiary options to wills and trusts, but to keep this simple we will only talk about these two in this article. A will, is not to be confused with a living will where
you give somebody full power of attorney to make decisions for you in the event your health does not allow you to, is a route that many people go.

 

A will is essentially a set of written instructions on where you want all of your stuff to go. Setting up a will is quicker and cheaper in most cases, but it does not avoid probate. ​Probate is a legal process whereby a court oversees the distribution of assets left by a deceased person. These usually include things like real estate, personal property and cash to name a few. Some things like life insurance or retirement plans
with named beneficiaries will not go through probate, but they may face heavy taxation.

 

As mentioned earlier, probate varies from state to state, and the process can take from 4 months to 2 or more years! If an individual has property in multiple states then things can get really tricky. This is why some people prefer to go with revocable trusts, also commonly referred to as living trusts.

 

Revocable trusts are the more expensive route, but they can also make the process of transferring assets a lot easier. Trusts are valid in any state and they can continue long after your death. You must appoint a trustee to manage your trust after your passing, and you will need to make sure
you follow all the right steps to keep everything in your trust’s name. In this case, your legacy can be managed by someone you trust and torn apart by spouses, children, creditors, etc.

 

These can be adjusted and updated at any point during your lifetime. One other thing that is wise to do is to find a tax expert who can help minimize tax burdens that come with the passing of your assets.

 

Why Have an Estate Plan? More Like When Will You Get an Estate Plan?

Life is unpredictable so the perfect time to plan your estate would be as soon as possible. There are multiple routes you can go with it. There are plenty of attorneys out there who specialize in estate planning all over the country.

 

There are also online platforms like NetLaw that allow you to create and securely store all of the same documents you would be able to create with an attorney at a fraction of the price.

 

 

Burial Insurance for Veterans 2020: A Tragic Myth

Burial Insurance for Veterans

Burial Insurance For Veterans

  There is a common misconception among military veterans and their families as to what benefits are paid out upon a retired veteran’s death. Everyday, individuals all over the United States purchase what is known as final expense insurance to cover just that, final expenses. Although veterans’ loved ones do receive a small payout, burial insurance for veterans is not covered by the VA.   The amount of coverage individuals get is most often used for the purposes of covering funeral or cremation costs. Right now, the average cost of a traditional funeral in the United States ranges from $7,500 to $12,000. This amount can be more or less depending on factors like: the individual’s geographic location; transportation of the body; the size of the service; etc.   I had a heart breaking story that I will not share the names of the family members involved, but I feel as though their story needs to be told and they would agree. All names have been changed to protect privacy. More on this story later.   Being a final expense field underwriter, we are tasked with the preliminary job of assessing a person’s health to match them with the insurance company, who is:
  1. Going to insure them.
  2. Going to get them the best possible rate.
The most common thing we hear is, “I can’t afford it.” The true professionals in this industry are fully aware that most seniors live on a fixed income and every penny counts. It’s still a good idea to find out exactly what your rates are.   Rates do NOT go down as you get older and your health deteriorates. The whole goal of this coverage is to leave tax-free money to a loved one so they do not have to reap the costs of your untimely death. Fill out a quote request on our website and/or book an appointment with one of our underwriters to get an official quote! We promise to educate and provide full disclosure in our consultations so you feel confident in knowing your loved ones do not have to suffer from the financial burden of your passing.  

Burial Insurance For Veterans Myth Exposed

**DISCLAIMER, VERY SAD STORY BELOW**   When I first started in the business, I was like every other agent, hungry to get started and build a book of business, but not as knowledgeable as I’d like to be on everything. That goes with just about anything in life, you learn a little bit from reading, but you will learn so much more by gaining experience and actually just doing the job.   This is where the sad part comes in.   It was my first or second week as a field underwriter for final expense insurance and I was talking with a married couple, the Johnsons, who were interested in coverage. The couple had just turned 65 in the same year and they had 1 child who was married and lived in a different state.   While going over options and picking out plans, we were getting close to finding something that was within their budget and was an adequate amount to cover each other’s final expenses for their funeral costs. Both John and Wendy had already picked out their plots and paid for them and knew where they wanted to be buried. We went through the applications with the insurance company, and they qualified, and coverage was to begin at the beginning of the next month — which was a week away.   What happens next still haunts me and it was my own damn fault being a rookie.   ONE DAY before the coverage was to begin, John called me and let me know that they wanted to cancel because they talked to some of their old military friends, the Palmers, who made fun of them for buying burial coverage.   The Palmers told the Johnsons one the most common misconception concerning VA benefits. This common misconception is that burial insurance for veterans is already taken care of, and VA handles everything for funerals for their veterans… Because the VA has always had the veteran’s backs right?   Me being young and misinformed, I thought that was valid, and decided to call the insurance company and cancel the policy. Although, I was confused and wondered why nobody had told me about special burial insurance for veterans that was covered by the VA.   During the weekend, I was in a bad mood because the case I had been working on all week for the Johnsons had fallen through due to all parties involved thinking that the VA covered all funeral expenses. While I laid in bed disappointed and restless, I started researching on my phone what the VA paid out for funerals, and what I saw blew my mind.   The VA at that time only paid $300 towards non-service related death burial services! This has since changed and now the VA will pay $796 towards any non service related death on or after October 1, 2019. I have included a link at the end of this story that details the VA’s obligations as it pertains to burial insurance for veterans.   Being the optimist that I am, I was going to call John and Wendy first thing Monday morning and let them know of the news. They both had $15,000 policies on each other before they cancelled them.   Monday morning I called twice and no answer.   Tuesday I called twice and left a voicemail and no answer.   Wednesday I got a call back from Wendy telling me that John had suffered a heart attack Sunday night and died before the ambulance even got there. Aside from the devastating news that her husband had suddenly died, she had to turn right around and make funeral arrangements.   Financially, the couple had some money put aside for retirement, but not much. She had to drain most of the retirement account which was not tax free to do so, and she had to take out another loan on the home just to come up with enough money to cover his funeral services that cost over $14,000!   Although they never should of listened to the Palmers and they should have kept the policies, they were misinformed, just like I was.   This haunted me for quite some time, and to this day it still does. If I would have known sooner that the VA does not pay nearly enough to cover final expenses I would have told them on the day they called me trying to cancel, and I would of never let this happen out of my moral obligation to save families from financial tragedy.   I write this article today trying to find purpose and meaning in all of this. The purpose and meaning I have gotten from this situation is that I want to inform as many veterans and their loved ones as possible that the VA hardly covers anything, and if you think that they cover more, just go to their website and look for yourself.   Please feel free to use our quoting tool and book an appointment with a member of our team to find the best rates available for you. Life insurance rates do NOT go down as you get older and your health deteriorates. Do NOT leave your loved ones with the burden of your final expenses and tarnish your legacy if you do not have to.   VA Burial Insurance For Veterans