Unlike most of your assets, individual retirement accounts (IRAs) do not pass to your family through a will. Instead, upon your death, your IRA will pass directly to the people you named via your IRA beneficiary designation form. Unless you take extra steps, the named beneficiary can do whatever he or she wants with the…

With the cost of a funeral averaging $7,000, and steadily increasing each year, every estate plan should include enough money to cover this final expense. Yet it isn’t enough to simply set aside money in your will. Your family won’t be able to access money left in a will until your estate goes through probate,…

The recent death of the CEO of QuadrigaCX, a major cryptocurrency exchange in Canada, demonstrates a basic, yet often-overlooked, tenet of effective estate planning: In the event of your incapacity or death, if your heirs don’t know how to find or access your assets, those assets are as good as gone. Indeed, it’s as if…

Even if you put a completely solid estate plan in place, it can end up proving worthless if it’s not properly updated. Contrary to popular belief, state planning is not a one-and-done type of deal: It should continuously evolve with changes in your life. No matter who you are, your life will inevitably change: families…

If you’re an animal lover and have a pet of your own, you likely consider your pet to be a member of the family. And since your furry friends can provide protection, emotional support, and unconditional love, such consideration is often well deserved. In stark contrast, the law considers your pet to be nothing more…

Imagine this… You are an elderly grandparent who lives alone. You get a call in the middle of the night from your college-aged granddaughter. She’s frantic and crying, telling you she was mistakenly arrested while vacationing in Cancun. She says she needs you to pay her $1,800 bond, or she’ll be transferred to a dangerous…

In the first part of this series, we discussed how today’s children are increasingly influenced more by their peers than by their parents. In today’s society, the once-unbreakable bond between parent and child is being increasingly eroded. This disconnect is wreaking havoc on children’s psychological development, while making parents feel powerless to get through to…

Have you ever felt that the unbreakable bond you once had with your children is seriously eroding? It can feel as if the very foundation of your relationship is falling apart. It may feel like you can no longer communicate with your kids. No matter how hard you try, your once-cooperative child is impossible to…

Unlike many estate assets, if you’re looking to collect the proceeds of a life insurance policy, the process is fairly simple, provided you’re named as the beneficiary. That said, following a loved one’s death, the whole world can feel like it is falling apart, and it is helpful to know exactly what steps need to…

Over the past few months, you probably spent lots of time with your family and friends enjoying the holidays. During those moments, you were likely reminded of just how important those relationships can be to you. And as we grow older, you begin to realize how precious little time we have to spend with one…