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“What will happen to the dog?” Estate planning for family pets

When it comes time to plan for the future of your estate, you probably have several assets and pieces of property to consider. 401(k)s, trusts, bank accounts, family heirlooms, expensive items of jewelry and more. You will also likely develop a plan for how to care for your children and grandchildren after you’re gone.

But do you have a plan for what will happen to the family cat or dog?

You may want to think twice about DIY estate planning

Due to your sense of independence, you may enjoy doing a variety of activities and completing certain tasks on your own. As a result, you may have a fond place in your heart for do-it-yourself projects. Though many DIY alternatives can help you meet desired goals through less expensive means while also giving you a sense of accomplishment, doing everything yourself may not always work in your best interest.

One task that you may wish to think twice about before handling on your own is estate planning. Though many online sites and other options exist that allow you to complete forms on your own, these avenues mainly only offer surface benefits. Certainly, DIY planning may present a cheaper alternative when looked at simply, but it can also present issues that may prove costly later.

Living alone and thinking about the future

Almost half of adults in the country now are single. Many are divorced, some never married and others widowed. As society changes, so do living arrangements. According to Bloomberg, the number of adults who live alone hasn't changed much since 1990 - but a shift is coming soon.

One recent study projects that it will be a very different picture by 2060. Specifically, it predicts that non-Hispanic whites without close kin will double, and non-Hispanic blacks in the same situation will triple in that time. A lack of reliable data limits the predictions to these two groups.

What to do with all that stuff

If you own a home and have a growing family, you probably have a lot of stuff. Outside of the things you use every day like your furniture or your car, there are many items you hang onto in cabinets, on shelves and within storage spaces that you haven't touched in years. Even if you haven't used them, these items are probably important to you in a sentimental or emotional way. Their presence supports your existence intrinsically even if they aren't always practical.

These items could be pictures, hand sewn quilts or other family heirlooms you and your loved ones have held sacred for generations. Or, they could be more recent like the china set you got for your wedding or the antique jewelry you received from your late grandmother. These items are based on your past, but you hope to hold them into the future. Are past items always practical when considering future needs?

3 common mistakes commercial investors make

Due diligence is one of the foremost responsibilities of commercial reality investors. If you are in the market to buy, it is your duty to honestly and reasonably assess the liabilities and assets of a property you are interested in.

Though this may seem straightforward, there are many mistakes that you can make. Here are three of the most common due diligence errors investors make, and how you can avoid them.

How to Choose an Executor for Your Will

Thinking about your death isn't easy. Drafting a will is another difficult task that many Americans put off. According to the AARP, 41 percent of Baby Boomers do not have a will. Only 29 percent of people under the age of 34 have a will, and it's believed that those without a will don't want to think about their death.

One of the most important aspects of planning your estate is choosing the executor. This is the person who is responsible for administering your estate through the probate process. The person does not necessarily need to be familiar with the law, but there are certain characteristics recommended by the American Bar Association.

Avoid these celebrity estate planning mistakes

It may be fun to read about celebrities and their latest exploits but, at the end of the day, death is the one great equalizer. Unfortunately, we've read time and again about famous names in the news who've passed on, only to leave a complex mess of assets and debts for those they've left behind.

Here are several estate planning mistakes that some well-known celebrities have made. Hopefully, you can learn from their well-publicized mistakes and have an estate plan that will protect you and your family.

Immediate steps to take after the death of a loved one

The death of a loved one can be stressful, even emotionally devastating. When faced with such a loss, many of us would like to hide away and privately process the grief, yet there is often much to be done.

If you've just lost a loved one or fear that this could happen in the near future, it often helps to have a clear list of must-do tasks. Here are some important legal steps that you'll want to take after a close family member or friend passes away.

Five estate planning myths to avoid

No one likes to ponder their own demise, but a worse scenario is thinking about all of the things that could go wrong with the distribution of your assets should you fail to make your wishes clear. Too often, the wrong family members step in and try to claim "close" relationships and rights to an inheritance that you might have never dreamed to come into play.

To avoid these unfair scenarios and make sure that your wishes are followed, you'll want a solid estate plan. Don't let any of these five estate planning myths lull you into a false sense of security about the state of your assets after you're gone.

Estate planning tips: How to keep your money in the family

Preserving your wealth and keeping money in your family should be part of your estate planning strategy. Fortunately, there are several ways you can create those kinds of results. That can help you provide a financial legacy for your children and other family members, along with offering you a lot of peace of mind.

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