MayJune Associate Magazine.2018.FINAL
BEQUESTS AND ESTATE PLAN GIFTS A bequest is a gift from your estate–a transfer of cash, securities, or other property made through your estate plans. You can make a bequest to the FBINAA Charitable Foundation by including language in your will or living trust leaving a portion of your estate to the foundation, or by designating the FBINAA Charitable Foundation as a beneficiary of your retirement account or life insurance policy. Remembering the FBINAA Charitable Foundation with a bequest from your estate will help sustain and strengthen our ability to provide disaster relief, fund college scholarships and assist members and their families in times of need. Some of the advantages of creating a bequest include: • A bequest costs nothing now, yet gives you the satisfaction of knowing you have provided for those in need n the future • You retain control of and use of your assets during your lifetime • You may modify your bequest if your circumstances change • Gifts to the FBINAA Charitable Foundation from your estate are exempt from federal estate taxes • If you let the FBINAA Charitable Foundation know of your plans, we will be able to thank you now and recognize you as a sustaining member of the FBINAA Charitable Foundation
For details on the Foundation's programs, visit fbinaafoundation.org
Estate Planning: A Guide for Law Enforcement continued from page 20
The family meetings serve as a “discov- ery” process to determine what estate planning has already been done, and which of the above questions have not been adequately addressed or might need to be reviewed. During the discovery phase, you should expect to learn about cash flow, sources of income (e.g. pensions, savings, retire- ment accounts, social security), as well as debts that need to be paid. Understanding the mechan- ics of how funds come in and out of the house- hold accounts is key to the success of this phase. Following the initial assessment of house- hold finances, you will also need to conduct an insurance review. Understand aspects of any policies in force for health care, long term care, whole, universal, or term life insurance. Be sure to review policy cash values, beneficiaries, and have a plan to pay premiums if parents are indisposed. A policy which is unknowingly allowed to lapse may negate years of premium payments causing an anticipated benefit to be uncollectible. You must also become aware of where critical documents are located. Bank statements, brokerage statements, titles, deeds, and estate documents need to be easily retrievable. If there is a safe deposit box, gaining access by having your name added to the official bank records, and securing keys for the box can save significant time and legal wrangling during a crisis. If appli- cable, develop a list of relevant Internet account usernames and passwords and keep this list up to date. This may be an opportunity to discuss on- line security with seniors, specifically the various methods by which the elderly can be tricked into providing personally identifying information in both telephone based and email based scams.
A thorough discovery process, combined with taking necessary steps to have legal access to act on a loved one’s behalf, will clearly help mitigate stress and hardship during transition periods. Knowing where things are and how they operate will help prevent late payments and asso- ciated penalties, cancelled insurance policies, lost or unclaimed assets, or other unintended conse- quences when a relative becomes incapacitated. The primary purpose of family estate plan- ning is to protect a person’s wishes for what hap- pens to them and what happens to their assets during illness and at the time of death. A sec- ondary purpose would certainly be to minimize unnecessary complications you could experience once he or she is no longer capable of managing such affairs. COMPREHENSIVE ASSET REVIEW An important step in this process is to cre- ate a comprehensive asset review, and to develop an understanding of how the assets are titled, and how they would pass upon the death of the owner. In some cases, the retitling of assets so that they transfer outside of the probate process (i.e.; through “transfer on death” provisions and the designation of beneficiaries, or through a liv- ing trust) can provide tax efficiency and substan- tially reduce expenses. Be cautious if you are considering the possi- bility of placing highly appreciated assets in joint ownership or irrevocable trusts as certain tax ad- vantages may be lost if this is done incorrectly. In all such situations, legal and tax advisors should be consulted when considering such steps. There are great advantages to avoiding probate issues
when everything has been done correctly. Hav- ing assets accurately designated and in a form that passes to the intended beneficiary directly instead of through probate (via a will) saves time, reduces the likelihood of potential legal chal- lenges, avoids the public aspects of probate, and reduces or eliminates court costs. These are certainly complicated issues – sev- eral of which could easily be standalone topics for a series of articles on estate planning. However, hopefully this piece provides you with a broad overview of many issues commonly faced by our generation. We can all better enjoy our retire- ment years, and more effortlessly live out what we have visualized for ourselves, if we take some time now to plan accordingly. Due to the complexity and unique nature of every family situation, how- ever, it is important to consult with legal, finan- cial, and tax professionals when conducting estate and transitional family planning. About the Author: Henry deVries retired in 2011 as a New York State Police Captain to begin a second career as a Financial Advisor, and recently earned the Certified Financial Planner™ designation. He is a graduate of the FBI National Academy Session #186. He can be contacted by email at Henry.devries@ morganstanley.com or at 845.334.7915 . Henry deVries is a Financial Advisor with the Global Wealth Management Division of Morgan Stanley in Kingston, NY. The information contained in this article is not a solicitation to purchase or sell investments. Any information presented is general in nature and not intended to provide individually tailored investment advice. The strate- gies and/or investments referenced may not be suitable for all investors as the appropri- ateness of a particular investment or strategy will depend on an investor's individual circumstances and objectives. Investing involves risks and there is always the potential of losing money when you invest. The views expressed herein are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect the views of Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC, Member SIPC, or its affiliates. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC (“Morgan Stanley”), its affiliates and Morgan Stan- ley Financial Advisors or Private Wealth Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice. Cli- ents should consult their tax advisor for matters involving taxation and tax planning and their attorney for matters involving trust and estate planning and other legal matters.
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