You’re richer than you think, so think estate plan

If you own a home, have a spouse, carry life insurance and invest in the Thrift Savings Plan, you are probably worth more than you think. Even if you struggle to make the mortgage or rent or frequently find yourself cash poor, which is why so many feds need an estate plan.

On today’s Your Turn radio show Tom O’Rourke, a Washington, D.C. estate attorney, talks about how to figure out if you need an estate plan and, if so, what kind. This is how he explained it:

“Among the more common misconceptions among many individuals is that they aren’t rich and do not need an estate plan, or that they already have a will and that is all they need.

“Anybody who wants to retain control of their assets, protect themselves and/or their loved ones, and distribute their property in accordance with their wishes needs an estate plan. This estate plan is more than a will.

“A will controls the disposition of assets held solely in your name for which no beneficiary is named. Assets that are not governed by a will are many times the most valuable assets a person has including:

  • TSP account
  • Federal retirement benefits
  • Life insurance
  • IRAs
  • Jointly held property.

“The disposition of all of these assets needs to be addressed as part of an estate plan. Other matters that need to be addressed as part of any estate plan include:

  • Do you need a guardian for minor child?
  • Do assets need to be managed for a minor child?
  •  Do you have a child with special needs?
  • Do you have a child in a shaky marriage?
  •  Do you have a child who is a spendthrift?
  • Are you concerned [about] what will happen to your assets if your spouse remarries after your death?
  • Would it be more prudent to use a trust as the key tool in your estate plan?

“In addition to a will, all estate plans should include powers of attorney — legal documents that allow a person of your choosing to act on your behalf in the event of your incapacity.”

Listen at 10 a.m. EDT today here or on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. area. The show will also be archived so you can listen anytime or refer it to a friend or coworkers.

Nearly Useless Factoid

By Terry Wing

The frequency of chirping by crickets varies according to temperature. To get a rough estimate of the temperature in degrees Fahrenheit, count the number of chirps in 15 seconds and then add 37. The number you get will be an approximation of the outside temperature.

Source: Library of Congress

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