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Four Tips for Anyone Expecting an Inheritance

Financial Consultants Say Planning Will Help You Avoid Regrets

The odds are good that you will inherit money or assets in the coming years. And, if you're like most people, you'll save only half.

The largest transfer of wealth in history is underway, with beneficiaries expected to receive $59 trillion over the next four decades, according to a Boston College study. But those heirs will lose, spend or donate half of their inheritances, if a 2012 study by Ohio University holds true.

"People need to plan for inheriting wealth to avoid the pitfalls that result in so many heirs making emotional or ill-informed decisions they later regret," says Michael Abbott, a veteran financial consultant and CFO of The Abbott Bennett Group, (www.theabbottbennettgroup.com).

It's never wise to make important financial decisions based on emotion, and inheritance often starts with grief -- one of the most profound emotions we ever experience, adds Chris Bennett, co-founding partner of the firm.

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Handling Incapacity Through a Power of Attorney

Black news from Pasadena - Personal Finance - Importance of Power of Attorney documentA core document of any good estate plan is a Power of Attorney. A Power of Attorney is a legal document which you can use to give someone (your agent) the ability to handle financial transactions on your behalf. You can give your agent limited power (only for a specific transaction) or you can grant him or her general power over your affairs. You can also give the agent immediate authority or you can allow his or her authority to act to become effective only after the determination of your incapacity by a doctor. A Power of Attorney can save a great deal of time and expense should it be necessary for someone to handle your financial affairs for you.

You must understand that a Power of Attorney has absolutely no effect once its creator has passed away. For example, a relative may give you Power of Attorney. You can handle your incapacitated family member's finances while he or she is ill, but as soon as that person passes away you can no longer act on his or her behalf based on the Power of Attorney. In that situation, if the deceased person doesn't have a living trust which gives you power to act as a successor trustee, in most circumstances you will have to get permission from the court through a probate proceeding to continue to handle the affairs.

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