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The Caldwell Trust Company Blog

Sonya Kristie

Recent Posts

What Happens If You Don't Have an Estate Plan?

Posted by Sonya Kristie

An estate plan gives you the opportunity to proactively manage your individual asset base if an accident, illness, or other event should leave you incapacitated or deceased.

With proper estate planning, you can provide clear instructions for managing and distributing your assets and liabilities, and ensure your decisions are carried out. A few key components of estate planning include selecting who will receive your assets, as well as who will be responsible for paying any outstanding debts and settling any estate taxes.

Most people turn to an attorney who has experience in estate law to ensure they have done everything correctly, to make important estate plan updates, and to provide counsel if needed.

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Topics: Trusts & Estate Planning

Tips for Having Conversations with Your Family About Estate Planning

Posted by Sonya Kristie

Talking about estate planning with your loved ones isn’t always easy. In fact, it can sometimes feel a bit morbid and uncomfortable for everyone involved. However, having frank conversations now can be a valuable gift for those you care about most, helping avoid or limit frustration, confusion, and other potential issues later. When you’re able to engage in an open dialogue with loved ones, you can make sure they understand the reasoning behind your decisions. Such conversations can also help heirs feel prepared, so when the time comes to execute your plan, they are not in the dark.

Here are four tips that can help make family estate planning discussions somewhat easier for you and everyone involved:

1. Start Early (and Repeat)

While it makes sense to hold off on talking about specifics with young children, there is no reason you cannot engage your children and grandchildren in discussions about your personal and family values starting at a young age. Talking generally about what’s most important to you can help create a common understanding for your legacy. Having age-appropriate discussions with adult children, and with your nominated personal representative, trustee, attorney-in-fact, and health care agent is the best way to ensure your wishes will be honored and carried out. Don’t wait until you become ill or until a crisis strikes.

However, having the conversation once is just the start (and a good start). There are some key life occurrences that call for an updated estate plan, and possibly updated conversations as well. You can learn more about those here.  

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Topics: Trusts & Estate Planning

Raising Financially Independent Children

Posted by Sonya Kristie

The modern world can be an incredibly tough place to raise financially responsible children. Today's kids live lives marked by material desires and targeted marketing; they regularly see their parents commit financial mistakes, and with their needs and most of their desires met, they often don't see any reason to be concerned about money. It's a parent's job to overcome these challenges by imparting financial smarts, starting early on so that kids grow up with an understanding of and respect for money. The tips below can help you teach your children to be financially responsible – which will significantly increase the odds of them becoming financially independent adults.

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Topics: Trusts & Estate Planning

Bank Statements - To Keep or to Trash?

Posted by Sonya Kristie

When it comes to banking, nowadays you can virtually do everything online. In fact, some online-only banks have begun to emerge in the market as strong contenders compared to traditional brick and mortar establishments. While it’s great to have the ease and freedom to bank wherever, whenever, it is important to keep hard copies of certain bank statements on file.


Having these records on file can be useful in an emergency, if your bank’s website is down, or in the unfortunate event of hackers stealing your identity. It’s necessary to have hard copies so that you can keep track of your financial situation in case of a dispute. Having said that, you don’t need to keep everything. In this article we’re going to take a look at bank statements and what you can toss, versus what you should hold on to.

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There's No Place Like Home: Your Financial Planning is Key

Posted by Sonya Kristie

The idea of wanting to remain in your home for the duration of your life, surrounded by the familiar that evokes wonderful memories, is an important consideration. You’re not alone in your wish to live independently as the AARP reports that the majority of people over 50 years of age share your point of view. In order for your desire to become a reality however, several factors need to be properly addressed.

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Topics: Trusts & Estate Planning

Sonya Kristie, Assistant Vice President and Trust Officer

Posted by Sonya Kristie

At Caldwell Trust Company there are many different ways and many different services that we can provide our clients. Gene illustrates one of those examples.

Gene is in her nineties. She lives independently at a retirement community. Her husband of over 60 years recently passed away. He was an accountant and was responsible for paying a lot of the household bills.

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Topics: Trusts & Estate Planning

Appoint a Trustee or Take Advantage of the Popular Prepaid Florida College Plan

Posted by Sonya Kristie

There are many ways to ensure your children or grandchildren can attend college without them being buried in debt or your earmarked funds being sidetracked. One approach is to include language in your trust document stating that certain assets can be used only for college expenses, and only by the heir(s) specified. You can also appoint a trustee to ensure that your instructions are carried out according to your wishes.

Another method is to invest in one of the many prepaid college plans offered by 11 states, numerous colleges and many financial institutions. Prepaid, fixed-cost plans have the advantage of locking in the cost of tuition, thereby providing a hedge against inflation. They are most cost-effective when choosing colleges within the sponsoring state. An alternative is the 529 College Savings Plan, provided by all 50 states and administered by state-selected investment companies such as Fidelity, Vanguard, TIAA-CREF, Schwab or Learning Quest. The cost of a 529 can fluctuate with financial markets but there may be tax or other advantages. Both plans provide options should the student choose not to go to college, and a student can have both a Prepaid Plan and a 529 Plan.

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Topics: Corporate

Trusts & The Benefits: How to Make Sure Your Children Don’t Treat Their Inheritance Like They Won the Lottery

Posted by Sonya Kristie

Inheriting a large sum of money at an early age without any adult financial supervision can lead to the money being misspent very quickly. In order to preserve the assets that you wish to pass on to your child, you may want to consider establishing a trust.
 
The Benefits of a Trust
 
You, the grantor, would use your will or a living trust to name a trustee, whether it be a trusted relative, friend or corporate trust company. The trustee would be responsible to oversee any money or property that your child inherits until the child reaches a certain age that you specify.
 
Having a trust allows you to enact a greater degree of control over the amount that would be spent to support the young beneficiary on things such as food, clothing, healthcare, education and extracurricular activities.

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Topics: Trusts & Estate Planning

Charitable Plan: You Have a Big Heart AND Substantial Assets but No Next of Kin to Leave it To

Posted by Sonya Kristie

In the event that you have substantial assets and do not have a next of kin or anyone in mind to designate as a beneficiary, you may want to consider establishing a charitable plan.  

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Topics: Trusts & Estate Planning

 


 

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