3 Steps To Get Your Financial Documents In Good Order for Your Loved Ones

Wondering what paperwork you need have at the ready for your spouse or children so that when you pass you don’t leave behind a collection of mysteries for them to solve? Here’s what you’ll need:

 STEP #1
Create a Financial File

Function is More Important Than Form

Many heirs spend days, weeks, or months searching for a decedent’s financial and legal documents. They may even discover a savings bond, a certificate of deposit, or a life insurance policy years after their loved one passes. So, your first step is to create a financial file. Maybe it is an actual accordion or manila folder; maybe it is a file on a computer desktop; or maybe it is secured within an online vault. Clients of Weiss Financial Group can use their Secure Client Portal. The form matters less than the function. The function this file will serve is to provide your heirs with the documentation and direction they need to help them settle your estate.

STEP #2
Put The Right Stuff in The File

Your Heirs Will Need to Supplement the File

Now that you’ve chosen your filing system, it’s time to start putting the right stuff in it. Here’s what should go it in it…

Your Financial File Contents:

  • Your Will
  • Durable Power of Attorney
  • Healthcare Proxy
  • Trust Instruments
  • Insurance Policies
  • List of Financial Accounts
  • Usernames & Passwords
  • Contact info for your financial professionals

Your heirs will want to supplement your “final file” with contributions of their own. Perhaps the most important supplement will be your death certificate. A funeral home may tell your heirs that they will need only a few copies. In reality, they may need several – or more – if your business or financial situation is particularly involved.

STEP #3
Tell Your Heirs About the File

It Will Do No Good if Nobody Knows About It!

Be sure to tell your heirs about your “final file.” They need to know that you have created it and they need to know where it is. It will do no good if you are the only one who knows those things when you die.


Sources:

  1. This material was prepared, in part, by MarketingPro, Inc.
  2. marketwatch.com/story/13-steps-to-organizing-your-accounts-and-assets-2016-03-03 
  3. reuters.com/article/us-retirement-death-folder-idUSKBN0FK1RW20140715

How Much Can You Contribute to Your Retirement Plan in 2017?

A new year brings new opportunities to try and max out your retirement savings. Here’s a rundown of the 2017 contribution limits:

IRAs

For 2017 they remain the same as 2016: $5,500 for IRA owners who will be 49 and younger this year, $6,500 for IRA owners who will be 50 or older this year. These limits apply to both Roth and traditional IRAs. What if you own multiple IRAs? The total combined contributions cannot exceed the maximum allowed

401(k)s, 403(b)s, & 457s

Each of these workplace retirement plans have 2017 contribution limits of $18,000, $24,000 if you will be 50 or older this year. Now, If you are a participant in a 457 plan and within three years of what your employer deems “normal” retirement age, you can contribute up to $36,000 annually to your plan during the last three years preceding that “normal” retirement date.

2017.Contribution.Limits

High Earners

High earners may find their ability to make a full Roth IRA contribution restricted. This applies to a single filer or head of household whose modified adjusted gross income (MAGI) falls within the $118,000-133,000 range, and to married couples with a MAGI of $186,000-196,000. If your MAGI exceeds the high ends of those phase-out ranges, you may not make a 2017 Roth IRA contribution. (For tax year 2016, the respective phase-out ranges are $117,000-132,000 for single and $184,000-194,000 for married)

SIMPLE IRAs & SEP-IRAs

In 2017, the contribution limit for a SIMPLE IRA is $12,500; those who will be 50 or older this year may contribute up to $15,500. Federal law requires business owners to match these annual contributions to at least some degree; self-employed individuals can make both employee and employer contributions to a SIMPLE IRA. Both Business owners and the self-employed can contribute to SEP-IRAs. The annual contribution limit on a SEP-IRA is very high – in 2017, it is either $54,000 or 25% of your income, whichever is lower.


Sources

  1. This material was prepared, in part, by MarketingPro, Inc.
  2. fool.com/retirement/2017/01/17/roth-vs-traditional-ira-which-is-better.aspx
  3. money.usnews.com/money/retirement/iras/articles/2016-12-19/how-saving-in-an-ira-can-reduce-your-2016-tax-bill
  4. forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2016/10/27/irs-announces-2017-retirement-plans-contributions-limits-for-401ks-and-more/ 
  5. fool.com/retirement/2016/12/19/457-plan-contribution-limits-in-2017.aspx 
  6. money.cnn.com/2017/01/13/retirement/ira-myths/