Directed Corporate Trustees – An Option for Trust Beneficiaries

As pensions have largely been eliminated within the private sector, generational wealth accumulation continues to be a phenomenon impacting more and more families.  Whether it be an accumulation of retirement assets, a business sale, or family generational wealth, a large amount of assets has been passed from one generation to the next.  Over the next […]

Risk Management in Estate Planning

When thinking about estate planning, most people think solely about how their assets will be distributed at their death.  Obviously, that is of primary concern but many of our clients’ estate plans encompass the often-neglected area of risk management.  In each of our lives, there are risks that must be considered and therefore planned around.  […]

The Benefits of a Simplified Estate Plan

Thus far in the Estate Planning section of the Ballast Atheneum, we have discussed an introduction to estate planning, probate, trust planning, and planning for a legacy – all of these topics can be expanded upon significantly.  However, this week we thought it would be important to discuss simplifying an estate plan.  Most estate planners, […]

Charitable Estate Planning

Estate planning can achieve many goals, from simple to complex.  The foundations of good estate plans we have discussed thus far in our Atheneum articles make sure that a family has formalized their personal wishes to make for a graceful transition to the next generation.  Many families wish not only to provide for their next […]

Trusts as Estate Planning Tools

The topic of estate planning is one that many would like to avoid for as long as possible and the reason is pretty simple: most people are reluctant to discuss what Benjamin Franklin referred to as the only two certainties in this world, death and taxes.  This is where a common misconception lies — estate […]

Demystifying Probate

To many people the word probate has a negative connotation.  Due to the fact that many people only experience the probate process one or two times during their entire lifetime (if that!) it is viewed as confusing, expensive, and undesirable.  Many hire an attorney to guide them through the process and if done correctly, one can avoid […]

What Comprises A Sound Estate Plan?

There is no more important aspect to your financial plan than an estate plan.  That might seem to be a shocking statement to some and that is likely because of the misconception of what comprises a comprehensive estate plan.  While most clients come to us focused on their investment portfolio and cash flow needs, we […]

Estate Planning

The Ballast Atheneum is a collection of our thoughts on the twelve most important topics in financial planning. Today, the focus is on Estate Planning. Estate planning is no longer reserved exclusively for the ultra-wealthy. An estate plan is an integral part of any sound financial plan. Whether it’s a last will, a simple testamentary […]

Alternative Uses of Social Security Income

Key Takeaways:   Many unique situations could justify taking Social Security earlier. The psychological benefits of a new income stream can relieve anxiety around a new planning strategy. To take Social Security before age 70, the financial and non-financial benefits of claiming Social Security early should outweigh the benefits of deferral.     If you […]

Educating Your Next Generation

Key Takeaways: Our most successful planning relationships are those in which we work with our client’s other professional advisors – and their children and heirs as well. Involving heirs in your financial and estate planning makes the next generation’s estate administration job much easier. You do not have to tell them every detail, but at […]

Top 10 Personal Finance Best Practices

As more investors seek out and embrace personalized asset management and individualized financial advice, industry tycoons Vanguard and Russell Investments researched the value created by professional advice. Both companies measured the impact on investor returns when partnering with an advisor who provides skilled management and guidance.    Russell Investments identified up to an additional annualized […]

Balancing Saving and Giving

Most of our clients aspire to be financially self-sufficient.  As those clients age, we notice some amount of transition into wanting to benefit others with accumulated resources.  This giving can range from donations to charities of interest to paying for a grandchild’s education to helping a friend in need.   We have been fortunate since the […]