Financial Life Planning

7 Ways to Know if You Need an Estate Plan

February 13, 2017
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Some people say they are not able to bring themselves to prepare when it comes to estate planning, or think estate planning doesn’t apply to them. Creating an estate plan allows for you to determine how your estate will be distributed if something were to happen to you, rather than allowing the laws in your state to determine the distribution. Not having a proper will or estate plan is an invitation for confusion and can invite turmoil down the road if your wishes are not followed.

Simply stated, estate planning is creating a plan to determine how to distribute your property during your life and at your death. It is the process of developing and implementing a master plan that facilitates the distribution of your property after your death and according to your goals and objectives. Preparing a solid estate plan can ensure financial stability and peace of mind for a surviving spouse, preserve assets for children and grandchildren, minimize taxes and expenses and ensure your wishes are carried out.

You may need to plan your estate, especially if any of the following apply:

  1. You have children who are minors or who have special needs
  2. Your spouse is uncomfortable with or incapable of handling financial matters
  3. You’re a business owner
  4. You have property in more than one state
  5. You intend to contribute to charity
  6. You have strong feelings about health-care decisions
  7. You have privacy concerns or want to avoid probate

Proper estate planning may help to make sure that your loved ones are provided for or additionally, avoiding probate or reducing taxes. Estate planning can be as simple as implementing a will (the foundation of any estate plan) and purchasing life insurance or as complicated as executing trusts and exploring other sophisticated tax and estate planning techniques. Estate planning is extremely important if you are wealthy or have a smaller estate. In fact, estate planning is more important if you have a smaller estate because final expenses will have a greater impact on your overall estate and financial picture. Misusing even a single asset may cause your loved ones to suffer from lack of financial resources.

With planning, HFG Wealth Management can help make sure you are prepared for many of life’s challenges. At HFG Wealth Management, we embrace a more holistic method of financial planning known as Financial Life Planning™. We believe this is a financially effective and personally rewarding approach to creating a practical, lasting financial plan. As financial professionals using the life planning approach, our purpose is to assist individuals and families in creating a long-term vision that is consistent with their core values. At HFG we recognize that life events and life transitions can impact your financial responsibilities and your vision of the future. We are here to provide you with tips and strategies to get you started and help you reach your financial and life goals at every stage. For more information, please visit www.hfgwm.com or call 832.585.0110.

Key Financial Planning Updates for 2015

January 7, 2015
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As we begin the New Year, there are some important financial planning changes that you should be aware of; especially as many of you are currently making decisions that will affect your 2015 benefits. I believe the following changes are important to pay attention to and have identified those most likely to affect you:

  • The limit on employee contributions to a 401(k) plan have increased to $18,000, up $500 from 2014’s cap. Also, the “catch-up” for those age 50 and over has also been increased, allowing for an additional $6,000 in contributions instead of the $5,500 cap previously. These new contribution levels also apply to 403b accounts and most 457 plans as well. You’ll want to update your elections accordingly if you plan to max out your contributions.
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Why Should You Create a Financially Organized Life?

December 26, 2014
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Financial organization is the cornerstone of a healthy financial life. Financial organization saves time and money because it aids in paying bills on time, being able to find needed documents during tax season, providing proof of payment, disputing credit cards or billing errors and avoiding the stress of dealing with piles of unorganized bills and paperwork. It also sets the stage for better financial decisions surrounding investments, budgeting, debt and investment planning. And, that system needs to evolve over times as your financial situation in life grows.

“As you get more successful in life, your financial life tends to get more complicated and in depth. Being organized creates the framework and a strong foundation for your financial life to ensure you are getting the most out of your money. We have seen new clients join us that had old habits that were wasting money on fees and taxes when it could have been avoided,” said Larry Harvey, ChFC and Founder of HFG Wealth Management, LLC. “I have often found what used to be done to manage money and finances is not as effective anymore as it once was when a financial picture was less complicated,” said Harvey.

Beyond organizing the paperwork properly, I also suggest deciding what family members need to know and sharing with them where you are financially, and how that is in line with your goals. For couples, clearly establishing responsibilities for financial matters is an important priority. Here are some additional best practice questions that I suggest keeping in mind as you restart for the New Year. (more…)

How can a letter of wishes help your will?

November 10, 2014
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trust-estate-planning     Preparing your estate for a smooth transition to your heirs is not something most of us typically like to dwell on. But, with a little forethought you can help to save your family and loved ones any additional pain, unnecessary costs, or disagreements.     

     Most of us already have a standard will. Having a proper and up to date will is a necessary start for handling all the basic legal requirements for passing on your estate. But, there are a number of items that a will alone typically does not address. To deal with these topics, we recommend that our clients also draft a Letter of Wishes. The Letter of Wishes is designed to accompany the will, and makes sure that all of your last requests are known and clearly understood. And, it also is designed to avoid unnecessary delays, errors in executing your wishes, and helps minimize the costs involved for your loved ones.

     Here are several suggestions you may consider including in you or your loved one’s Letter of Wishes: (more…)