Tag Archives: estate planning

Mortgage or life insurance

Is Mortgage insurance the same as life insurance?

No so much. Not so much at all. Mortgage or Credit Insurance is just not the same as life Insurance.

There are BIG key differences between mortgage or credit insurance and life insurance.

  1. Post Claim underwriting Underwriting for mortgage insurance is done AFTER a claim not BEFORE a claim by looking at health, age and any pre-existing conditions that might exist, during the application process. What that means is that an individual paying for mortgage insurance for any length of time could be found to be uninsurable only after a claim gets submitted resulting in benefits not being paid.  There’s no guarantee. Yes. It’s possible and risky. (Google scary life insurance stories)
  1. Beneficiary choice. With mortgage insurance, the lender is the automatic beneficiary; not anyone you might choose like a spouse or a family member.  Personal circumstances can and do vary when an individual dies. Paying off the mortgage may or may not be the best option; cash might be more important.
  1. Higher Cost/Declining Benefit: Mortgage insurance offers a declining amount of coverage (in line with your mortgage) for a typically higher cost that one could obtain level life insurance for. There are no discounts for being a non-smoker or being healthy as everyone pays the same price. Prices do also vary for mortgage insurance but there is less transparency in the marketplace so it’s hard to compare pricing.
  1. Portability:Mortgage insurance is tied to your mortgage and is therefore not transferable if you change lenders. Higher rates may apply when you start over with another lender. With life insurance there would be no need to start over. Life insurance offers stable & consistent coverage and often renewable/convertible options maybe offered on a term policy that will allow one to convert to a permanent policy without a medical exam.

These differences are significantly significant. and too significant to be left to chance.

The real key takeaway is that mortgage/credit insurance benefits creditors or lenders first; personal life insurance benefits individuals better.

Take time to investigate and learn.

 

 

Estate Mistakes from 4 stars that died too young

Estate planning is for everyone – avoid Estate Mistakes

The goal of estate planning is to leave what you have to whom you want to.at the least possible cost in terms of administration and taxes. But, no one can successfully predict how long they will live; illness and accidents can happen at any age & when least expected. That’s why estate planning is important no matter the age (or stage). Too many families are caught off-guard and found unprepared when an incapacity or death happens and proper estate plans are not in place.

Estate planning is also not just for the wealthy; it’s important that proper estate planning & instructions be discussed and documented no matter the state of wealth. Indeed, estate planning can often mean more to families with modest wealth, because they can afford to lose the least.

I think there are profound lessons worth passing along from the estates of 4 very famous young stars who did not leave complete estate plans in place. Hopefully, others young or old, rich or not so rich can learn from these mistakes.

Phillip Seymour Hoffman (1967 – 2014)

A much-loved, versatile & celebrated actor, director, and producer of film and theater who won a best actor Oscar for his role in “Capote” in 2006. He died of combined drug intoxication. He was 47 years young.

Estate Mistakes:

  • His entire estate was left to his partner who was the mother of his 3 children,but he failed to create trusts for his children.
  • Because his partner was not his wife, the estate did not transfer on a tax-free basis.
  • By not setting up a revocable trust, his estate was subject to probate which caused further delays and costs and made his family financial situation, very public.
  • Estimated cost of estate mistake: $15 Million of an estimated $35 Million estate

Amy Winehouse (1983 – 2011)

The controversial yet undeniably talented British singer and songwriter known for her deep vocals and eclectic musical taste, died of accidental alcohol poisoning . She was 27 years young.

Estate Mistakes

  • She died “intestate” meaning that she did not leave a valid will.
  • Her estate passed by law to her “natural heirs” being her divorced parents. Her ex-husband who she remained very close to until her death; received nothing.
  • Her father was appointed as administrator and incurred considerable personal and financial burden in settling Amy’s complicated estate which included 6 music companies. The resulting cost to settle bills, debts and taxes ate up the majority of the estate estimated at $7 Million.

Heath Ledger (1979 – 2008)

The brilliant Australian actor and director died of accidental overdose of prescription drugs. He had just finished filming his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight for which he won many awards after his death including an Academy award. He was 28 years young.

Estate Mistakes:

  • He did not update his will following the birth of his daughter, Matilda
  • The beneficiaries in his will were his parents & 3 sisters with no mention of his daughter or his daughter’s mother
  • A filing of probate by his daughter’s guardians in Australia sought part of the estate held in Australian trusts worth approximately $20 Million. Much publicity around family infighting ensued until Leger’s father agreed to financially support his granddaughter

Paul Walker (1973 – 2013)

This young “heart throb” was best known as the star of the Fast & Furious movies and tragically (and ironically) died in a high-speed car accident that lead to a fiery car crash. He left a 15-year-old daughter and a tangled mess of finances & questions. He was 40 years young.

Estate Mistakes:

  • He established a revocable living trust for his 15-year-old daughter many years earlier, but he was noted as the only trustee with no successor trustee named. This has led to much debate between his own family and the mother of his daughter as to who will oversee the trust given that his daughter is a minor.
  • He had not updated his will in 12 years, a period over which his net worth grew significantly. Given the fact that his will had not been updated, there were no provisions made for his girlfriend of 7 years, who he intended on marrying.
  • While he established a revocable living trust for his daughter it was not funded fully during his lifetime so there has been considerable expense and publicity incurred that could have been avoided. It’s a common mistake to set up a trust but not do the actual transfer
  • Estimated cost of estate mistake: $5 Million of an estimated $25 Million estate

Better and more complete estate planning would have saved the estates of these young stars, millions in estate taxes. Better financial organization would have saved the families additional grief that comes with tracking down details and settling final accounts.

Better financial organization and peace of mind are goals behind LegacyTracker. When better organization is in place; better and more complete planning can take place.

Get organized and reduce Personal Financial stress

Reduce personal financial stress by getting organized

A little organization can go a long way to reducing personal financial stress

A recent national survey conducted for the Financial Planning Standards Council (FPSC) found that money is the leading source of stress among Canadians. Money and financial matters are a bigger stressor than work, personal health or relationships. 51% of women and 40% of men are losing sleep over financial worries and almost half or 45% are embarrassed about their lack of control over finances.   Highlights of the survey on financial stress can be found here 

Unlike other kinds of stress that can make your adrenaline go into overdrive and raise your energy level which can lead to a fight or flight response, financial stress is different. Financial stress often leads to a debilitating form of mental burden that is hard to shake and can have other long-term consequences of the very unfavorable kind.

What’s the answer?  How can you reduce personal financial stress?

  1. Breathe
  2. Organize
  3. Embrace Technology
  4. Review
  5. Simplify

Answer: All of the above and keep them going

Dealing with “cluttered” finances & personal financial stress can be debilitating

Organization is a key and positive first step to successful personal financial management & reducing stress that can help you achieve future success.  Organization & simplifying are both BIG stress reducers. Organization goes beyond where things are. Organization is about knowing what you have which is way better than not knowing and imaging the worst.

Knowing what you have is the first step in moving forward towards what you want to achieve and where you want to be down the road. Knowing what you have on an ongoing basis will help you monitor your progress and keep you motivated towards your goals.

Our web-based LegacyTracker personal financial organizer helps you reduce personal financial stress by helping you to organize and:

  1. Safeguard important documents by scanning/saving them inside LegacyTracker
  2. Enhance your peace of mind by sharing important information you wish to share with your loved ones or professional advisors
  3. Receive reminders and alerts about what you still need to do in terms of being organized around your personal financial affairs

Organization can also help you Assimilate, Eliminate, or Consolidate helping you to Simplify

The process of becoming more organized can better highlight the fact that you might have multiple accounts or providers that can be consolidated or eliminated which will mean less paperwork management and maybe reduced costs over the longer term. You might also find while you are organizing, that you have gaps or opportunities that you had not taken care of previously because they were missed in some of the clutter

Getting organized is a Gift to you AND your family in the short and longer term. Disorganized personal financial/estate information can cause additional grief, expense & stress inadvertently for a loved one that you care about. Helping a spouse or family member or friend organize their own affairs is also a gift worth offering.

Our LegacyTracker financial organizing tool provides the ability to share what you want to share with loved ones or advisors for that specific reason. LegacyTracker can help you and your family members reduce personal financial stress

 

$63 Billion in Unclaimed Funds – pretty good reasons to get your ducks in a row

Are your ducks in a row? 

$58 Billion in Unclaimed financial assets in the US plus another $4-$6 Billion in Canada should be enough of a reason to get organized. These financial assets were no doubt hard-earned. A good majority of these assets are also for the most part, tax paid. $63 Billion or so waiting to be claimed by the individual that lost track or the legal beneficiaries of those assets; It’s a lot of money that could make a really BIG difference to many families and loved ones.

Unclaimed financial assets come in a variety of forms:

  • Bank or Credit Union accounts
  • Stocks/Bonds
  • Uncashed dividends
  • Utility deposits or refunds
  • Other prepaids, deposits or refunds
  • Trust distributions
  • Inheritances
  • Annuities/Pensions
  • Education funds
  • Prepaid funeral contracts
  • Mineral royalties such as oil, gas, or mining
  • Insurance policy claims/refunds
  • Contents of abandoned safe-deposit boxes
  • Etc.

Unclaimed financial assets also reside in a variety of places:

While held initially by a variety of different financial organizations or institutions, if you live in the US, after a set period of time, unclaimed financial assets will be gathered up by each State Treasury for safeguarding while at the same time, entered into an online search base where hopefully the legal owners or heirs will find those assets and make a claim.

Unclaimed Property legislation in the US is a win/win for the State and for the legal owners of those assets as the State is able to use those funds until they are claimed.

Check out MissingMoney.com

The US estimates that 1 in 10 Americans has unclaimed funds belonging to them. Unfortunately, only 2 provinces in Canada (Alberta and Quebec) have comprehensive unclaimed property legislation in place and provide searchable databases. BC has a voluntary system in place.

Check out some links that can help you locate unclaimed financial assets in Canada           Where to look in Canada

The staggering amount of unclaimed financial assets and the alarming rate at which unclaimed assets are increasing should be sufficient evidence of why all individuals and families need to properly safeguard their financial assets and the information about those assets appropriately. Helping with that challenge, is one of the core missions behind LegacyTracker.

Getting organized means centralizing information about your assets and sharing that information in case of an emergency or what we call a “What if” situation.

LegacyTracker enables you to keep track of your assets on an ongoing basis and share that information with loved ones (or advisors) as you wish when you wish. 

Bitcoin - a headache for Estate Planners

Bitcoin – Virtual currency & new headache for estate planning

As if dealing with digital assets from an estate planning perspective was not difficult enough…now there is Bitcoin.

Bitcoin and other virtual currencies are creating  interesting and unique challenges for Estate lawyers and owners who are giving consideration to their estate plans (not to mention the future challenges for those that are not)

Fortunately, bitcoin was given due consideration in the new Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (FADAA) which specifies that `digital assets include digital currency and similar products currently in existence and yet to be invented. This Act is good news if you live in the US and your State takes the opportunity to use the Uniform Act as their legislation. The Act allows a representative or fiduciary to deal with digital assets in a similar way as they would for financial or physical assets. It shields those representatives from any inadvertent liability. Thus far there is no such progress on such legislation in Canada as far as we know.

As for some of the other issues surrounding Bitcoin, there`s a good summary from Bloomberg BNA which you can find here or as a download here: Bitcoin is creating new headaches for Estate Planners as a download

 

Estate Mistake Amy Winehouse

Estate Mistakes – Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse was a controversial but talented British singer who died of accidental alcohol poisoning at the “too young” age of 27 in 2011. She also died “intestate,” meaning that she did not leave a valid will.  Her former spouse who she was quite close to at the time of her death received nothing. She might have wished it otherwise, but she left no will so her estate passed by law to her “natural heirs” as determined by law which did not include her ex-husband or her siblings. Instead, her divorced parents were entitled to the bulk of her estate and her Dad was appointed the administrator of her estate shortly after her death. It’s tragic enough to lose a child but being the administrator of your child’s estate adds to the grief.

Adding to the tragedy of her death is the fact that 3 years after Amy’s death her parents are still settling her accounts. They have been forced to use much of Amy’s wealth of some $7 million or so to settle bills and debts and taxes. Amy had 6 music companies to account for and her parents have taken out loans to cover the costs of dealing with her personal and business affairs. Sales of her music after her death should help their financial situation but as her Dad has noted “it’s been “an incredible drain on our resources. We had to have a lot of security and it cost us an absolute fortune”. 

A basic will or a trust, would have ensured that Amy Winehouse’s estate would be passed to the person of her choice which may or may not be the same as those designated by the default rules of the legislature. A basic will or trust might have also saved a lot of estate taxes by allowing assets to pass outside of probate via beneficiary designations and/or trusts. And…some basic organization to her estate might have saved her parents additional grief that comes with trying to track down details and settle final accounts.

 

Inter generational wealth transfers

Preparing for wealth transfers in the trillions – a strategic imperative

It’s a lot to lose

The looming inter generational wealth transfer may receive much attention in the news but how much real preparation is taking place in the financial services market for this transfer? Not reaching out to the spouse, or children & grandchildren (heirs) of existing clients presents a real risk. Bank of America in 2011 noted that assets transferring to a spouse move to another firm 55% of the time while assets transferring to children move as much as 98% of the time.  Bank of America aptly noted the strategic imperative of reducing the risk of inter generational wealth transfers; “a very real risk of long-term erosion to their business

How much ?

Life expectancy, rising health care costs , changing tax legislation and increasing debt levels aside, the estimated value of Inter generational wealth transfers over the next many years is in the Trillions and comes by way of 2 different phases.The so-called “Great Transfer” is an estimated $17 Trillion + that is expected to shift between the “Greatest” generation to Baby boomers. A 2nd shift  (“Greater transfer“) is another $42 Trillion + that is expected to move from Baby Boomers to Generation X.  Added together or alone, these transfers present a high level of risk for financial advisors/firms to lose assets. An estimated $30 Trillion of this total of $59 Trillion is expected to shift in the next 30 years.  During the peak of the wealth transfers taking place (between 2031 to 2045) it’s estimated that 10% of the Country’s wealth will change hands every 5 years.

Where’s the risk?

Estimates vary based a lot on wealth and income but most studies indicate that too few families (less than 35%) have discussed estate planning with their primary financial advisor. Why don’t more families take the time to discuss and prepare? Certainly, the myth of estate planning only being for the wealthy continues to prevail but so does procrastination and the ‘discomfort” of the topic generally.

At the same time, why are financial advisors not more actively engaging with clients & their heirs about estate planning matters? Some evidence suggests that most advisors happen to be Baby boomers themselves and feel that they lack effective ways to both reach out to the children & grandchildren of their clients and engage proactively with clients to establish multi generational wealth transfer plans. That’s not good (!) Estate planning discussions provide great value to clients, their families and financial advisors.

Engage/Do Good/Enhance Value/Retain

Research shows that at least 60% of inter generational wealth loss is caused by poor communication and a lack of trust within the family. Encouraging clients to talk with their family members about their expectations and values before the estate planning process begins is a meaningful way to provide value. We’ve written about the idea of Ethical wills over and above traditional will planning in other posts on this blog. (We provide a place for both in LegacyTracker)

Coordinating family meetings provides a great way for advisors to introduce themselves to the next generation and show that they care. Clients appreciate an advisor that cares and demonstrates customer advocacy on a regular basis & so will the families of those clients.   By offering a technology solution that helps clients simplify, safeguard and share their important financial, legal and estate information, financial advisors and firms can demonstrate customer advocacy to the entire family. Being organized will make a real difference for an entire family in enhancing their level of emergency preparedness.  Our branded solution can ease the potential burden on a family should an emergency arise; reducing the risk of additional grief, delay or cost that often comes when families are unprepared.

LegacyTracker can also help facilitate important discussions between both Advisors & Clients as well as between Clients & their family members about important estate planning matters including final wishes. Such discussions will enable Clients and their families to more proactively prepare for the next generation & and will enable financial advisors and their firms to show additional value.

That’s a core mission behind LegacyTracker –  providing a way for Financial Advisors/Firms to reach out to their Clients/Families which also helps those Financial Advisors/Firms to ultimately hold on to assets that might otherwise move. LegacyTracker is also a technology solution that will have particular appeal to younger clients or family members who are on the look out for a technology to make their lives less complex & more mobile.

Preparing for What If Scenarios

An earlier post from Brighter Life  asked  Can you imagine what would happen if you died and your beneficiaries didn’t know where to find your will?  Or your money?

That’s a much feared.. What If Scenario ..dying unprepared, without your beneficiaries knowing where to find your will or your money…Unfortunately, that kind of scenario  happens far too frequently, leaving loved ones and beneficiaries with additional stress, grief and expense often.

What If?

The article quoted well-known financial advisor Jim Yih, author of the personal finance blog, retirehappyblog.ca 

“You really love your family and friends, so take the time to get your estate organized so you don’t leave them with a big mess to sort through during such an emotional time “

The article pointed out the following 12 key documents which should be safely stored together in a place where they can easily be found:

  1. Your will: Outlining who gets what when you die and appointing guardians for minor children. Dying without a will, may lead to a family disaster with assets being divided according to provincial law & minor children ending up with the guardian that you may not approve of.
  2.  A living will: Outlining treatment should you be unable to make decisions about your own health (like receiving life-sustaining treatments).
  3.  A power of attorney: Providing someone you trust with the power to make financial decisions for you in the event you’re no longer able to do so, as opposed to the Courts deciding upon who that guardian should be.
  4.  Proof of ownership: All of those documents that relate to important assets like your house, land, vehicles, stocks and any other assets.
  5. 6 years of tax returns: Providing your executor a sense of the assets and finances that are part of your estate.
  6. A list of bank accounts and safety deposit boxes: To avoid the risk of your bank accounts being added to the 1.3 million accounts that make up $465 Million in the Bank of Canada,
  7.  Stock certificates and savings bonds: Investment account statements and & any actual stock certificates
  8.  Pension, retirement and annuity documents: Without these documents, your family may be unable to determine what remains of your retirement benefits that they may be eligible to receive.
  9.  Insurance policies: All insurance-related documents are vital for claiming insurance benefits. At this point in time in Canada particularly, no one is going to look for beneficiaries even if the policy owner might be 125 years old
  10.  A list of your debts and loans: Another list that will help ensure family won’t end up with unwanted or nasty surprises down the road
  11.  Marriage licence and/or divorce papers: Legal proof of marriage and divorce can make it easier for the executor of your estate and for your family.
  12.  Your user names and passwords: Digital assets relating to social media and online accounts are now critically important to most estates.

LegacyTracker includes comprehensive but flexible templates to take care of this chore and includes all of the above documents plus quite a few more. Life is Busy. Our mission is to help you better simplify, safeguard & share your important details for the benefit of you and your loved ones.

Learn more by contacting us

Digital Assets – in Life and in Death

In our increasingly digital world, digital assets are adding up…the average digital user (like you) has an estimated $35,000 in digital assets 

Digital assets include purchased movies, music, games, digital photos, communications and social media profiles including blogs like this. Many of these digital accounts can be subject to complicated terms of service agreements, which can make it frustrating or impossible for  loved ones to access. Depending on where you live, such terms of service agreements might even put loved ones in legal trouble related to anti-hacking or privacy statutes, if they try to log on to your accounts after you die.

 

Estate Plans for Digital Assets are becoming more critical 

That’s why it’s important to include detailed directions and information about your digital assets into your estate plan and save those instructions somewhere safe (LegacyTracker provides a spot for that)

An estimated 30M Facebook users died in the first 8 years of Facebook alone 

A good visual guide about what happens to your social media profiles after death comes by way of Dan Shaffer at WebpageFX

The world is changing and this guide is not a definitive answer in all cases. Clearly, Different Sites / Different Rules / Different Data & Different Documentation is accumulated & required after death of you or a loved one.

Here’s some more Facebook Trivia:  with 1 billion users already using Facebook, in the unlikely event that growth stopped on Facebook completely, it’s estimated that the number of deceased users would outnumber those living by 2065. If Facebook continues to grow and memorialized accounts are never removed, then deceased users will exceed living users by 2130.

LegacyTracker can help you organize & safeguard important information about your digital assets -in life and death 

Digital Assets and Death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inventory your stuff

Documenting your personal property (or worldly possessions) is a smart thing to do in case of burglary, fire or natural disaster (or if your oven blows up and the manufacturer wants the serial # but the oven is full of glass-but that’s a different story)

Know your stuff

If a big disaster should befall you or your family; a home inventory would be either really great to have or really great to have done. For those that only wish they had one; it’s not that taking a home inventory is difficult but yes, it can be time-consuming. Many of us don’t get as far as doing a home inventory but think about it a lot,  which is unfortunately, not quite as impressive as actually handing an inventory to your insurance agent or your broker should a claim arise.

Walking around your home and videotaping can be very helpful and certainly quicker than writing it all down, but it’s best to also include serial number and $ values and that’s not quite as easy with a video.

There are a couple of good inventory tools online that can help you out for free or otherwise. Most offer the ability to capture your items by room and category and document purchase dates/prices/places, serial numbers while also allowing you to attach pictures and receipts. Information can be accessed and updated any time from anywhere or saved off-line to Excel or PDF, That means you can save that document inside LegacyTracker.

However, we have also added personal property as an easy to use template inside LegacyTracker to document your worldly possessions with a photo and the following important info: 

  • Appraisal dates
  • Appraisal values
  • Purchase
  • Intended beneficiary (this might be subject to what your formal Will might say but often times a will document does not get into the detail of your china and antique clock)

For your reference, here are 2 Online Inventory tools that I have found that are easy to use and pretty comprehensive

Know Your Stuff® – Home Inventory has been around for a number of years thanks to the Insurance Information Institute. This is a free offering that is now also available as an iPhone and Android App. 

StuffSafe has been around since about 2011. I’m not quite as familiar with this offering but it does appear a little easier to use with drag and drop options for your photos. The Premium plan allows multiple properties to be inventoried in your one account. StuffSafe is available as an IPhone App. & the cost is $29 per year with a 15 day Free Trial period.

Recovering from an emergency situation is always made easier when you have information at hand. That’s why we’ve built LegacyTracker to be a comprehensive solution that also includes information on your personal property.

Connect with us to find out more   info@legacytracker.com

 

What if funeral planning became more like party planning ?

Would more of us talk about Final wishes & Funerals ?

Party Planning or Funeral PlanningFunerals are changing

The Toronto Starrecently ran a good article on Funeral planning that we thought was well worth sharing. Actually the Star has run a good series of articles on Death & Dying that are well worth a read. 

But one article stood out, as surprisingly more uplifting than the typical reading about this particular subject matter that often does not get spoken of (!) It was uplifting in a spirited way and that’s because the good news is that Traditional funerals are being transformed & that means the funeral industry is being transformed as well.

Traditional funerals are apparently on their deathbed 

Less of the 2 days of visitation variety, followed by an internment at the cemetery. Yes. that definitely sounds like my own Dad’s funeral, which for my family & I’m sure most, seems like more like an endurance test.

Some of that change is coming from consumers who are looking for more choice and less cost these days. cremations have certainly become more popular than burials (moving from just 4% in the 1970’s to 60% currently). Family members are looking to mourn less and celebrate more, the lives of those loved ones who have left, remembering in different ways which do not always include a traditional religious ceremony.

  • A wine and cheese instead of a traditional funeral ?
  • Ashes scattered across the Pacific Ocean instead of a traditional burial plot?
  • Body dealt with in the most inexpensive and environmentally friendly way

The cute lady pictured and quoted in the article, Margaret Adamson, 82 years young said it best “I feel whatever of me remains will be in the memories of my family and friends, and how the body is treated is not important to me. Once I’m gone”

 

Count me in. (Does my spouse follow this blog?)

 

Here’s the best part almost of this article being about more uplifting final wishes and funeral planning….It’s easier to print it or share it by sending it to someone you care about or who cares about you to start a conversation if one has not already begun. Too often, those kinds of conversations (like about estate planning, funerals, final wishes, WILLS etc.)  are delayed and that increases the risk that a conversation does not happen and more grief in the form of more stress and trying to guess occurs.  

You can read the entire article here 

LegacyTracker wants you to talk about your final wishes, plan for what if scenarios and share that information with your loved ones. We’ve included a spot for those plans and wishes right inside the Estate section of LegacyTracker

Live Well. Live Long.

More work required on Estate Planning

New Survey: Same sad stats on Estate Planning & Wills

Different year: Same sad stats on Estate Planning & Wills 

PWC’s Employee Financial Wellness Survey tracks the financial & retirement well being of working adults across the US. For 2014, the survey included 2,100 full-time employees between the ages of 21-32(Gen Y), 33-53(Gen X) and 54-71(Baby Boomers)

With reference to Estate Planning, the survey showed that there is very little progress being made:

Overall, only 40% of employees have a will. This compares to 41% in 2013 & 37% in 2012. The % of those who have a will increases with age, only 51% of those age 55 to 64, have a will.

Here’s the breakdown:

  • Baby Boomers (59%),
  • Gen X (31%)
  • Gen Y (20%)

Of those employees who have a will,:

  • 66% say they have reviewed it and made any necessary updates within the last 5 years.
  • 34% of employees have a living will.
  • 29% have a durable power of attorney for financial matters and 30% for healthcare matters.
  • 75% indicate that their beneficiary forms are up-to-date

Read more of the survey results from PWC’s survey here 

LegacyTracker provides a simple, secure way for individuals & families to safeguard all of their important documents & information. Built in alerts & reminders …can include reminders that estate planning items are missing. LegacyTracker is a white label product perfect for Financial Service Organizations & Providers who will recognize the WIN/WIN benefit of offering a branded personal financial/estate organizing solution to their clients and account holders. LegacyTracker is also a solution that Employers or Membership based organizations can offer to their employees and members.

Connect with us for more information

Are your digital Assets worth more than your car?

It’s certainly possible…

The most recent survey results from McAfee (yes the Internet Security Organization) perhaps should be of no surprise in that our use of technology and our accumulation of all things digital is on the rise. …in a Big way. But the estimated value as of the 2013 survey may yet astound you; The average total value of our digital files in Canada is now estimated to be $32K. (The average of all countries surveyed basis is $35K )

Digital assets ? They include assets like:

  • Personal photos, videos
  • Personal records including health information, financial records, career information, personal projects/hobbies, email accounts etc.
  • Entertainment files including music, TV shows, e-books, video games, apps etc
  • Business Information which could include financial statements, customer data, accounting or payroll detail, domain names, websites, blogs,
  • Social Media sites & Personal Blogs

 How did the estimated value of our Digital Property get so high ? 

  • 88% of consumers own multiple digital devices
  • 62% of consumers own 3 or more digital devices
  • 20% of consumers own 5 or more digital devices
  • 51% of consumers spend 15 hours or more on their digital devices for personal use  each week.
  • Canadians store some 2,584 digital files on average on at least one digital device
  • 51% of the digital assets held by consumers were considered to be impossible to retrieve if lost or not backed up properly
  • 77% of Canadian consumers listed identity theft and fraud as top security concerns but 17% of those consumers do not have comprehensive security software in place on all of their digital devices (14% globally)

Security software and backup procedures are critical and should be worth the cost by now for Canadians, which the survey also notes is the primary reason given by those who don’t have any security software in place

LegacyTracker will not be able to recover your digital assets should they be compromised by a virus or security issue but it does provide protection in the way of allowing you to safely store your online Usernames & Passwords alongside instructions about your Digital Assets

Digital Estate Planning is Important …

Technology in most cases advances more quickly than law and that’s certainly the case with regards to digital asset protection and Digital Estate Plans. In the not to distant future or for some of us now, we could envision that Digital Executors will have to be considered to handle digital assets specific and separately from other assets. But at minimum today, it’s important to at least give reasonable consideration & recognition to your Digital Assets because No standard laws exist regarding digital property rights. And more unfortunately,  online service providers offer varying rules about your rights and about sharing access with another user regardless of the circumstance.

User agreements for digital accounts often will sometimes prohibit users from sharing access with another user no matter if it’s a family member, a business partner or an heir. Sad stories are in great supply about family members who can’t access or take down social media accounts of their loved ones who have passed away. it’s important to give consideration to not just providing an inventory that identifies your digital assets but also access information and some form of written permission or authorization for that access & specific instructions as to your wishes for dealing with your digital assets after your death. It’s a recent but fast growing area of concern that you should seek legal advice about.

 

 

 

 

Estate Mistakes – Ted Williams Baseball Legend

Estate Mistake: Document your final wishes & if you change those wishes – make the change formally & share the info so that information can be accessed quickly. Advanced Directives will help you outline those wishes between cremation, burial or something else as well as your medical care and end of life care

Baseball great Ted Williams by all accounts was a private person in life and it’s quite likely he wished to remain that way in death. Unfortunately, for Ted Williams, his Estate Plan also has become legend. In his will, Ted Williams said he wished to be cremated & his ashes sprinkled at sea off the coast of Florida.

However, a long-standing & bitter rivalry between his 3 children, Bobby-Jo, John Henry & Claudia made that impossible when the children from his 2nd marriage produced a grease-stained, handwritten note stating that he wished that his body be cryogenically frozen after his death. It was unclear if the handwritten note was written by Ted Williams or whether or not he had sufficient capacity to make that change to his final wishes.

His eldest daughter fought to have his body unfrozen and cremated, but gave up the fight when she ran out of money.  No one will ever know the truth behind the decisions made by or on behalf of Ted Williams-much has been written & is still being written about this particular case which was definitely not the intention of Ted Williams.

LegacyTracker helps families and individuals better prepare themselves for emergency situations that all happen to be on the rise including death, incapacity, Identity Theft, Natural and Physical Disasters. With the added feature of Alerts & Reminders, we hope LegacyTracker will help facilitate important family discussions that too many have put off, concerning estate planning and final wishes. The flexible sharing feature built into LegacyTracker allows individuals & families share any or all of their information with loved ones or Advisors. 

Estates gone Wrong – Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo Jo)

Estate Mistake: Forgetting to tell your family or loved ones where your Will is(or not doing one)

Such a great Olympic Athlete, sprinter Florence (Flo Jo) Griffith Joyner died too young at age 38 in her sleep in 1998 as a result of an epileptic seizure. She was an American track and field athlete considered to be the “fastest woman of all time” based on the world records she set in 1988 for the 100m and 200m sprints. Those records still stand.

Subsequent to her death, her husband couldn’t find her original will, and was not able to file it within the 30 days required in California…As a result, lots of family issues came about between Flo Jo’s husband and her mother, as to whether or not Flo Jo had promised her Mom that she could stay in the house for the rest of her life.

The original will was never found. A judge eventually appointed a third part to administer the estate. It took over 4 years to close her estate.

Who wants to argue and grieve at the same time?
Legacy Tracker helps families and individuals better prepare themselves for emergency situations that all happen to be on the rise including death, incapacity, Identity Theft, Natural and Physical Disasters. More generally, Legacy Tracker will also help facilitate important family discussions that many families have put off, concerning estate planning and final wishes.