This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
Advertising supplement to Messenger Post Media for the week of March 16, 2014
Brighton-Pittsford Post • Daily Messenger • Fairport -ER Post • Victor Post • Wayne Post
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 2
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 3
“Everyone should verify their best 35 years of income with the SSA. This is especially important for women who took time away from working to raise their kids. Since Social Security statements are no longer mailed out, this can be done online at www.ssa.gov.”
—Angela S. Deppe, founder of SocialSecurityCentral.com
By Melissa Erickson | More Content Now
You’ve earned it, so don’t you deserve as much Social Security benefit as you can get? “You can absolutely maximize your Social Security benefit,” said Robin Brewton, vice president of client services with Social Security Solutions, a company that provides tools and education to help people figure out when to claim benefits. Deciding when to claim is one of the largest financial decisions a person will make in his or her lifetime, and alarmingly Americans are not getting billions of dollars in lifetime income because they’re not well informed about the choices available to them, Brewton said. “Using optimal claiming strategies, a married couple can add $150,000 compared to the common strategy of both spouses claiming at age 62,” Brewton said.
your spouse’s survivor benefit. After the death of a spouse, the survivor continues to earn benefits based on the higher earner’s record, Brewton said. This strategy is especially important if the income gap between spouses is wide, Deppe said. “If the higher earner delays his collection past full retirement benefit and receives these boosts or delayed retirement credits of up to 32 percent, this increased amount is then passed along to the surviving spouse after his death through the survivor benefit. This amount could be large if the higher-earning spouse passes away several years before the lower-earning spouse,” Deppe said.
Make sure info is accurate
Getting the most out of Social Security is not just about when you claim benefits. You also need to be sure you’re getting the proper benefits. “Check with Social Security to make sure your earnings are accurate and review your earnings history. When you’re ready to claim benefits it’s difficult to correct problems that may have happened years ago,” Brewton said. Gaps in reporting or mistakes do happen, especially with small businesses, she said. Deppe said, “Everyone should verify their best 35 years of income with the SSA. This is especially important for women who took time away from working to raise their kids. Since Social Security statements are no longer mailed out, this can be done online at www.ssa.gov.” The website is a helpful tool, but be aware that the Social Security Administration is prevented by policy from giving advice, Brewton said: “They are trained to tell you how to get the most benefit today, not in the long run. If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know what’s best for you.” Social Security is complicated, with literally thousands of rules, but there’s plenty of help out there, including free online worksheets, low-cost software and higher priced consultants. “Isn’t it worth spending $20 or $50 to get $150,000?” Brewton said.
Delay when possible
For most people, it’s beneficial to delay benefits if possible, said certified public accountant Angela S. Deppe, founder of SocialSecurityCentral.com. Even working one year longer can increase benefits by 8 percent. “Seventy-four percent of Americans take their benefit early, losing out on thousands of dollars that they worked hard for. Between ages 62 to 66, which is full retirement age for most people, you can gain up to 25 percent more. And between ages 66 to 70, you can gain as much as 32 percent more,” Deppe said. A good example from the government’s Social Security website, ssa.gov: “A $1,000 benefit at full retirement age 66 shows that if the benefit is taken early at age 62 the benefit is then reduced to $750. If the benefit is delayed and taken at age 70, the benefit is $1,320. That’s nearly double what it was if taken at age 62. Ouch!” said Deppe. Another reason to strategize Social Security is to maximize
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 4
What women should know about money
Baby boomers, those 80 million born in the U.S. from 1946 to 1964, had a different experience than the Silent or Greatest Generation. In most households with a boomer couple, both worked for most of their adult lifetime until retirement. Remarriages are not uncommon, and people are living longer. Unlike 40 or 50 years ago, the courts expect the woman to work. n Women must understand Spousal Continuation. An older couple recently came into my office. He has been a retired federal government employee for the past 30 years. He has a federal pension of $35,000 a year. Each spouse only had $5,000 of Social Security income. She never made much in her working life. His Social Security retirement benefit was severely decreased because he had a federal pension. Their total steady income, not counting investment income, was $45,000 and they spent $35,000 annually. However, upon his death, his wife will only receive $4,000 a year from his pension, and there will only be one Social Security check. The family steady income will drop from $45,000 as a couple to $9,000 for her. n Financial and tax knowledge, not diamonds, are a girl’s best friend. Because women tend to outlive men by four to six years, at some time in your life, you will be responsible for managing assets that may have taken a lifetime to build. It may be financial investments, a small business, the family farm or an inheritance. It’s an awesome responsibility, and 77 percent of women say they need help, according to a 2008 study. Contact tax adviser and financial educator Dr. Harold Wong at 480706-0177, email@example.com or www.drharoldwong.com. Athlon Media Group
Dr. Harold Wong
Some observations that apply to boomer women:
n You should not depend on a marriage certificate for your desired lifestyle. Only about half of marriages last forever. For boomers, it’s not unusual to have two or three marriages. Each time there’s a divorce, both spouses decrease their living standard. Although an even split of community property is the norm, the legal fees and emotional damage can become permanent. Now the two ex-spouses have to pay for two households, two big-screen TVs and two sets of furniture when they split up. When one takes a vacation, the hotel room costs the same, whether there are one or two occupants. Women should plan to be able to live on their income only. The divorce courts have changed their opinions about spousal support.
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 5
DigitaL estate PLaNNiNg
Record and share all your online information with a loved one
By Melissa Erickson | More Content Now
Do you have a Facebook account? Pay your bills, do your banking or share photos online? Ever think about what will happen to those accounts when you’re no longer around? Americans own a vast amount of digital assets but do little in the way of digital estate planning. According to a 2011 survey conducted for McAfee, a security technology company, Americans value their digital assets at more than $54,000 on average. “These financial accounts are part of an individual’s estate,” said Paul Golding, cofounder of Cirrus Legacy, a digital legacy services company based in the United Kingdom.
There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about digital estate planning. If your heirs don’t know your passwords or what your digital assets are, they’ll be faced with confusion and red tape. For example, “online businesses can cease to function if domains expire and hosting companies are not paid,” Golding said. Actual funds that are stored online can be lost if there is no knowledge that the account exists and if no records are kept that are accessible. Additionally, subscriptions to online content will continue to be paid. Utility bills will need to be cancelled. “The main issue is in the past, everything was delivered to the door by the postman. Important information was kept in a box or filing cabinet and was easily accessible by individuals dealing with an estate. Now all of the accounts are held online and not recorded in one place generally, if at all. Who knows you have the accounts and what information do they need to access the funds/data?” Golding said.
What are digital assets?
Digital assets are any files that a person owns and can be placed into four main categories: n Financial, such as PayPal, online banking, gaming, gambling and lottery sites. n Social, such as Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google Plus, LinkedIn and email. n Sentimental, such as Flickr, Picassa, Instagram, YouTube, Photobucket and diary sites. n Intellectual, which includes developed code, software licenses, websites, blog content, Google Docs and URLs. “Good estate planning includes the fate of these intangible goods because they often have a lot of emotional or monetary value,” said John Romano, co-writer of The Digital Beyond blog. “So while you can’t put a price on childhood photos, you can put a price on a domain name of a lucrative online store.”
What to consider
The first thing people should consider in regard to digital estate planning is access, Romano said. “Access to devices and online accounts is imperative if the digital assets have any value. Email, and increasingly Facebook, Google and Twitter, are used as keys to access many other accounts. Access to these accounts would let a loved one reset passwords to other online accounts. But without access, the people who follow are likely to encounter significant roadblocks,” he said. Continued on Page 6...
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 6
Continued from Page 5... The next step is putting the pertinent information in a form that your heirs can access. “Collating all of the information in one place is a good move, as it makes it simpler for their heirs,” Golding said. Romano said, “An inventory is the best place to start. It should be a list of your email accounts, important online accounts and passwords to your devices. For each entry, provide a username/email and the password. You can optionally add in your wishes (should an account be deleted, archived or shared). It’s handy to have if you forget your info, and it’s critical to your executor. “An inventory can be a simple piece of paper or spreadsheet. Whatever works. Ten minutes of work now could save a loved one days of aggravation in the event of your death or incapacitation.” A spreadsheet has drawbacks though, Golding said. A spreadsheet is “not accessible when you are out and about and need account information. Personal computers are liable to crash, and most people do not back up regularly,” he said. Paying a provider for this service allows unlimited access from any device, anywhere, he said. One last bit of advice from Romano: Don’t add your inventory to your legal will, as wills often become public documents.
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 7
‘About living, not dying’
Where to start with an estate plan
“It’s not just about the money. It’s also about ourselves, our bodies, and what would happen in a health care crisis. It’s also about your family, your children and what would happen to them.”
—Avi Kestenbaum, partner with Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone, Mineola, NY
By Melissa Erickson | More Content Now
Young or old, rich or poor, estate planning is essential to protect your family in the event of sickness, accidents or death. “Every single adult needs to have an estate plan,” said Avi Kestenbaum, partner with Meltzer, Lippe, Goldstein & Breitstone in Mineola, NY. “Estate planning is about living, not dying. Once you have a estate plan in place you should feel very good about taking care of your assets and your loved ones,” he said. According to the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, more than 120 million Americans do not have up-to-date estate plans. Without a plan your estate might end up in probate court. Your family may be hit with excessive taxes. Your family may waste time and money settling your affairs. Estate plans protect your beneficiaries and as well as your assets. “It’s not just about the money,” said Kestenbaum, who is cochairman of his firm’s trusts and estates department and an adjunct tax professor at Hofstra University School of Law. “It’s also about ourselves, our bodies, and what would happen in a health care crisis. It’s also about your family, your children and what would happen to them.”
What is your ‘estate’?
No matter how large or how modest, everyone has an estate, which includes all your possessions like car and home plus your investments and savings. “The definition of estate planning is broad, but really it’s about the fulfillment of wishes for ourselves and our loved ones. What do you want to happen to your money and your loved ones after you die?” Kestenbaum said. “You can’t take it with you, so I can’t stress enough how important it is to think about retirement all during the years you are working,” said Derek Gregoire, senior partner with SHP Financial in Plymouth, Mass. “Every adult needs to have a few basic documents, and in order to put these documents in order you’ll need to make some important decisions.”
How to start
While estate planning is complicated and often requires the help of a professional, getting started in the process is easier with a few insider tips. Continued on Page 8...
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 8
Continued from Page 7... The first step in creating an estate plan is determining your assets and liabilities. Make a list of your possessions and their value. Compile recent statements from bank and brokerage accounts and insurance policies. Lastly, list all liabilities such as mortgages, lines of credit and debts. “The next step is identifying how your assets will be distributed,” Kestenbaum said. “If your spouse and children are the beneficiaries, what proportion of assets will they each receive?” You’ll also need to designate successor beneficiaries in case an heir is not living at the time of your death. “What are your goals in regard to yourself and your family? Who do you want to care for minor children? Who should make decisions for you if you’re unable? Maybe you’re sick or incapacitated, or maybe you’re unreachable because you’re climbing Mt. Everest,” Kestenbaum said. Online programs are available to help a person draft documents such as power of attorney or health care proxy, “but you need to hire a professional to help,” Kestenbaum said. “I don’t believe there’s a computer program out there that can do the job for you. It’s not just about filling out forms, and laws vary by state. Hiring an attorney will lead to much less aggravation in the future.” Once an estate plan is established, don’t forget to re-evaluate it about once a year or “any time life events occur such as getting married, having a child, starting a business or accumulating substantial assets,” Kestenbaum said.
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 9
Advice on estate planning
If you have children it’s even more important to plan for the future. Estate planning will determine their financial future as well as day-to-day care rather than leaving it up to the courts.
By Melissa Erickson | More Content Now
Estate planning isn’t easy, but it also doesn’t have to be incredibly complicated. Put simply, estate planning is determining how you want your assets to be distributed after you die. Because of myriad rules and regulations, it’s best to consult a professional who can guide you through the process of drawing up an estate plan. Here are a few common retirement-related questions and expert answers:
“A surviving spouse can use the dollar amount of the deceased spouse’s unused exemption in addition to his or her own exemption, the latter increasing with inflation adjustments, to offset taxable gifts made during life and his or her taxable estate at death,” he said.
What’s the difference between a trust and a will?
A will is a legal document that specifically states who will receive your assets after your death as well as naming guardians for any dependent children. “Wills are derived from old English laws and contain certain formalities that must be observed,” said Roger Buffington, managing attorney with Buffington Law Firm of Fountain Valley, Calif. Wills must be observed by two people in addition to the signatory, and in some states wills do not become valid until they have gone through probate, which can be an expensive and drawn-out process. A trust is similar to a will and has some formalities, too, Buffington said: “The huge difference is that a trust does not require probate Continued on Page 10...
What changes did the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, signed by President Obama in early 2013, bring about in regard to the federal estate tax exemption?
“The big thing people should know is that the federal income tax exemption is tied to inflation,” said William E. Hart, a partner with the law firm of Bulkley Richardson in Springfield, Mass. In addition, the gift tax and the estate tax share the same exemption, which is $5,250,000 for 2013. Lastly, “portability” is now a permanent feature of the gift and the estate tax. If one spouse passes away and his or her federal estate tax return is complete and signed, the unused exemption is passed along to the surviving spouse, Hart said.
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 10
Continued from Page 9... to become valid. Another difference is that a trust goes into effect as soon as it’s signed and can govern during the life of the person who wrote it. A will goes into effect only after death.”
What are some of the excuses people use to put off estate planning (and why they don’t make sense)?
n “Estate planning is just for the wealthy.” Not true, said Buffington. An estate is comprised of everything you own. You home, car, possessions and checking and savings accounts. No matter how small or large, your assets will need to be managed after your death or should you become incapacitated. It’s your responsibility to make sure your finances are properly taken care of. n “I’m too young.” You never know when or how early you’ll need estate planning, and if you leave it for later, it might be too late. If you have children it’s even more important to plan for the future. Estate planning will determine their financial future and well as day-to-day care rather than leaving it up to the courts. n “I need a lawyer to draft the documents.” If your financial situation is relatively simple, it’s possible to draft legal documents like a basic will, power of attorney and health care directives for free or at low cost. Check out doyourownwill.com, legalzoom. com or nolo.com. For health care decisions, check out http:// www.agingwithdignity.org/five-wishes.php.p.
Facts about estate planning wills and last wishes...
If you die without a will, your state’s laws of descent and distribution will determine who receives your property. These laws vary by state, but typically your spouse and children are the default beneficiaries, or if none, other family members.
The shortest-known wills are only three words long, reading,
The person in whose name the will is written is legally referred to as
“all to son” and “all to wife.”
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 11
The trouble with money
Educate children on inheritance so they’ll make good choices with it
By Melissa Erickson | More Content Now
You’ve worked hard all your life to provide for your kids when you’re gone. When that day arrives, will your children use your inheritance wisely? Maybe or maybe not, but people are concerned enough about the issue to take action. A recent survey by WealthCounsel, an organization of estate planning professionals, found that 35 percent of people are drawing up their estate plans to avoid financial mismanagement by their heirs. Luckily, there are many things for people to do to prepare their children to inherit wisely — and it starts with simply bringing up the subject. “A lot of clients are reluctant to share their financial situation and inheritance with the children, and that is not a good idea,” said Ken Moraif, senior adviser at Money Matters, which is based in Dallas. “Too many times I see kids inherit money they were not expecting and they treat it like found money, like winning the lottery. If they’re not prepared, they blow it,” said Moraif, who also hosts the Money Matters radio show. It’s incumbent upon parents to educate their children about what’s coming, especially if an adult beneficiary is not used to having that kind of money. “Let’s give the example of a hard-working adult who makes $30,000 a year. If he comes into an inheritance of $500,000, he might not be able to handle it,” Moraif explained.
job of preparing the kids for inheritance, agreed Lea Ann Knight, certified financial planner with Garrison/Knight Financial Planning, Bedford, Mass. “When do you start the conversation? When you’re in your 80s? In your 50s?,” Knight asked. “My advice is when kids are getting older, at college age certainly, they should be told, ‘There is some money coming.’ You don’t have to supply all the specifics, but if you want them to be mindful of the money, you should talk to them about it,” Knight said. “Part of inheritance is paving the way for it to advance what you want the money to do,” Moraif said. “You have to educate your children and pass along your values and opinions about the money and investments.” Having a family meeting is one way, he said. Another is to make a video “mission statement” that documents your personal values, ideas and opinions about the money you’ve earned and saved, Moraif said. The conversation needs to be ongoing, too. “Usually, it takes multiple conversations before it sinks in,” Knight said.
Other ways to bequeath
It’s especially important when it comes to dividing between beneficiaries, Moraif said. “You need to sit down and explain, ‘This is what I’m doing,”’ he said. Say a person has two children, Moraif said. One is successful and makes more money. The other works hard but is just making ends Continued on Page 12...
Starting the conversation
Because it’s an awkward conversation, generally people do a poor
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 12
Continued from Page 11... meet. A parent may want to give some money to the child who needs it more, but the successful child may feel penalized for doing well. “Kids see money as love units,” Moraif said, so if you’re giving more to one child and less to another, that needs to be explained. Attaching some strings to inheritance, such as requiring a child to earn a degree or pass drug tests before receiving the money, “is a good idea if you’re worried about a child not making good choices” with the money, but can cause resentment, Knight said. “I think restrictions are a mistake in most cases,” she added. Some experts consider passing down some of the inheritance while you’re still alive to be able to guide your children in money matters, but Moraif doesn’t like that idea. “It’s like a trap, a negative thing or a test. I think it’s better to teach them your values instead,” he said. For young adult children, Moraif advises doling out the inheritance in thirds: at age 20, 30 and 40 or age 30, 40 and 50, for example. “The first third, they’re going to blow right through it. The second third, they’ll probably go through it more slowly. By the last third, they’ll know this is it,” Moraif said. Talking about an inheritance “is an important topic most people leave until too late,” Knight said. “It’s something you should be talking about all along so you can be confident they’ll spend it wisely when you’re gone.”
Another fact about estate planning wills and last wishes...
When actor James Gandolfini died in 2013, he left the bulk of his
estate to his son, with the rest going to his infant daughter, wife and other relatives.
MESSENGER POST MEDIA advertising supplement
a division of gatehouse media inc. 73 buffalo street canandaigua ny 14424 585.394.0770 www.MPNnow.com
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 13
What’s your number?
Retirement not an age, it’s a dollar figure, experts say
“Experts throw out percentages all the time, and people don’t understand them, but they understand dollars. When I work with people, I have them live with numbers, not percentages. When you know what it takes to run your household month-to-month, you are ahead of most.”
—Chris Hogan, a Dave Ramsey financial adviser
By Melissa Erickson | More Content Now
The key to building a successful retirement lies with creating a spending plan that will support yourself after you stop working, said Derek Gregoire, senior partner with SHP Financial in Plymouth, Mass. “The key is to think about retirement while you’re earning money. We call working ‘the accumulation years’ and retirement is ‘the distribution years.’ You need to work with an expert and plan ahead. If you put it off and don’t create enough assets to get by, there will come a day when it’s too late,” Gregoire said. Unfortunately, many people don’t plan ahead, said Chris Hogan, financial adviser for the Dave Ramsey organization.
“People fear the unknown, and a lot of people don’t know where to start preparing for retirement. Feeling overwhelmed, they simply choose to not engage with the process. The truth is that by following some clear steps and seeking wise counsel from a professional with the heart of a teacher, planning for retirement can be easier than you think,” Hogan said.
How to plan
Setting a budget or a spending plan is imperative. “A budget is the road map to financial success, regardless of how much income you earn. Having a budget allows you to tell your Continued on Page 14...
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 14
Continued from Page 15... money where to go instead of wondering where it went. Your income is your most powerful wealth-building tool. It must be managed and controlled to see the tangible benefits,” Hogan said. Because pensions “have gone the way of the dinosaurs,” retirees need “to create their own pensions to provide a predictable income with inflation for the rest of their lives,” Gregoire said. The monthly income for retirement comes from investment accounts such as IRAs and 401(k)s that were funded throughout your career, Hogan said. The trick is figuring out how much money you’ll need. “The best way to identify how much someone will need for retirement is to think about the future retirement lifestyle. What will be your income? What will be your debt load? If you have worked a plan to get debt-free, the amount of money you need to run your household will be significantly cheaper than someone with debt,” Hogan said. While some experts advise that retirement will require a certain percentage of your previous working income, Hogan disagrees: “Experts throw out percentages all the time, and people don’t understand them, but they understand dollars. When I work with people, I have them live with numbers, not percentages. When you know what it takes to run your household month-tomonth, you are ahead of most. “Look at how much money you have set aside for retirement, and how much more you plan to contribute in a set period of time. Now you have a clear picture of where you are in terms of retirement. “Retirement is not an age, it is a financial number. Sit down with an investment professional who can help you get a clear picture of where you are versus where you want to be in terms of retirement. It is never too late to start and never too late to try harder.”
Here are a few more tips from Hogan for creating a retirement spending plan: n Budgeting is a process, so don’t get frustrated. It will take a couple of months to work out the kinks. n Be aware of the areas that bust your budget — eating out, groceries and unplanned spending are the most dangerous. n If you’re married, get on the same page with your spouse about a money plan. Being united about the desired destination can help couples support each other. n Be honest about expenses that can be cut back. Identifying these areas can help save you hundreds of dollars each month. For example, eliminating the mega cable package or eliminating the landline phone are two areas that help save people money. n Use cash. Spending cash helps people begin to understand and control money. Set a spending limit, and enforce it by using cash.
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 15
More than money
Have a plan in writing for heirlooms and keepsakes
Family members will argue over all sorts of items: furniture, artwork, baseball card and coin collections, jewelry, silverware, knickknacks — even a hair brush.
—Lori Bolander, Bolander Law Group, El Cajon, CA
By Melissa Erickson | More Content Now
Say “estate planning” and people’s first thoughts tend to focus on the family home, retirement funds and other investments. This is smart but, it turns out, estate planning is not just about money. Eighty-six percent of baby boomers who were surveyed in 2012 by the Allianz Life Insurance Co. said that preserving family keepsakes was just as important as providing for their families financially. Seventy-four percent of those 72 and older said the same thing, and the results confirmed data from a similar survey conducted by Allianz in 2005. “In a down economy, there’s always a focus on keepsakes and family heirlooms,” said Samuel Fineman, managing member of law firm Cohen Fineman of Marlton, N.J. “Property values fluctuate, but precious metals like gold are appreciable. More than that, today it’s about value and what people value.”
disputes before you die, he said.
How to plan
To get started, “take an inventory of your belongings and include everything you consider valuable. Make a list,” Fineman said. Make sure your list is detailed. “Grandma’s wedding ring” can be ambiguous, Fineman said. “Which ring do you mean exactly? Have a detailed memorandum,” he said. Because some items, such as the simple bowl that was used in great-grandma’s christening or that special teacup, may hold a great deal of sentimental value for one son or daughter, but not another, it’s important have a conversation with your heirs. “It may be awkward, but try and make it as pleasant as possible,” Fineman said. “Have an informal meeting and discuss what you have. If you have certain things that you want to go to certain people, make them aware of it,” Bolander said. “Some people even like to label things” to avoid confusion, Fineman added. Each state has its own statutes in regard to the handing down of personal property. For instance, in some states including California, if you hand-write a list of who gets what, sign and date it, that is a holographic codicil and will stand up in court, Bolander said. This is a better option than adding the information into your will because you can change your mind without having to go back to your lawyer and update your will. Finally, making your heirs aware you have a plan for your keepsakes will ensure that the distribution of heirlooms goes smoothly.
“Not all family members get along. I’ve seen bigger fights over keepsakes than money,” said Lori Bolander of the Bolander Law Group of El Cajon, Calif. “A mantel clock was the subject of a major dispute.” Family members will argue over all sorts of items: furniture, artwork, baseball card and coin collections, jewelry, silverware, knickknacks — even a hair brush, Bolander said. “Generally, courts don’t like to get involved in disputes over personal property,” Bolander said. But probate can be held up because of disputes over keepsakes, Fineman said. Planning ahead is the best option to avoid confusion and conflict, Fineman said: “In the long run it saves a lot of time, and really, the last thing you want is your heirs fighting.” It’s easier to resolve
RETIREMENT & ESTATE PLANNING 2014 • PAGE 16