Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Probate, and how to avoid it. Also in the news: A Class of 2016 Postgrad student loan checklist, how to haggle down your rent by offering to do your own maintenance, and a few things to consider before moving to Canada.

Probate, and How to Avoid It
Learn the three common ways.

Class of 2016 Postgrad Student Loan Checklist
Get ready to start paying back those loans.

Haggle Down Your Rent By Offering to Do Your Own Maintenance
All they can say is no.

6 reasons to think twice before moving to Canada
Some things to consider.

Q&A: Clash over the state of their mother’s estate

Dear Liz: My husband’s mother passed away in January. His younger sister was executor of the estate. His mother had investments of close to $1 million prior to 2008. She supposedly lost half her investments with the downturn. When she passed away, my husband’s sister said that there was nothing left in the estate. What documents can he ask to see in order to make sure the estate is totally depleted? There wasn’t even a will shown to him.

Answer: If your mother-in-law had a will, or if she died “intestate” — without any estate planning documents — the sister would be required to open a probate case to settle the estate. Probate proceedings are public so your husband would be able to see an accounting of what’s left.

If your mother-in-law had a living trust, the sister wouldn’t have to open a probate case but she may be required to provide trust documents and an accounting of the estate to beneficiaries and heirs. The exact rules depend on the state where your mother-in-law died.

If the sister balks at providing this information, your husband may need to take her to court. He’d be smart to consult an attorney familiar with the relevant state’s laws.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Checking your credit doesn’t hurt your scores. Also in the news: Personal finance tips from NerdWallet moms, why you should prepare now for the death of a spouse, and the benefits of easing into a new savings budget.

Checking Your Credit Doesn’t Hurt Your Scores
Not checking your scores could hurt much more.

NerdWallet Moms Share Their Personal Finance Tips
Sharing lessons learned.

Why You Should Prepare Now for the Death of a Spouse
Making things easier down the road.

Boost Your Savings By 1% At a Time to Slowly Adjust to a New Budget
Easing into a new budget spares you from a shock to the system.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Wills-in-TexasToday’s top story: Ranking the cheapest cars to insure. Also in the news: Why you need to have a will, the financial perks of downsizing, and how much money you need to save monthly to reach your retirement goal.

Ranking the Cheapest Cars to Insure
Being a smart shopper.

Prince Had No Will, Reports Say — But You Should
Don’t let the government inherit your estate.

The Financial Perks of Downsizing
Going small can mean a bigger bank balance.

This Retirement Calculator Tells You How Much to Save Monthly to Reach Your Goal
How close are you?

Q&A: Creating a will

Dear Liz: I’m a 58-year-old man. I want to make a will just in case something happens to me. I have about $500,000 in stock and cash. I have a life partner and her son. I would like to split my assets between her and my sister. Any suggestions on how to go about this?

Answer: Just in case you turn out not to be immortal, having a will is a very good idea. Otherwise, your assets would be distributed according to state law, which means your lady friend probably would get nothing.

You also may want to consider probate, the court process that typically follows death. While probate is fairly simple in most states, in others — including California — it can be expensive and slow, making a living trust a worthwhile option.

You can prepare a will or living trust using do-it-yourself online legal sites and software such as Quicken WillMaker. If your relatives are likely to contest your will or your situation is otherwise complicated, you should consult with an estate planning attorney for help.

You could provide additional protections and advantages to your partner by getting married. As your wife, she could receive spousal and survivor benefits from Social Security based on your work record. You both would have visitation rights if the other were hospitalized and be empowered to make financial and health decisions if the other were incapacitated.

Marriage can have many other legal, financial and tax benefits as well. If you opt to remain unmarried, please talk to an attorney about available ways you can protect each other’s rights.

Thursday’s need-to-know money news

Wills-in-TexasToday’s top story: Tips for writing your will. Also in the news: The most important thing to ask your financial advisor, how to spend the rest of your FSA money, and how to calculate your tax refund by checking out your pay stubs.

5 Tips for Writing Your Will
An unpleasant but absolutely necessary task.

The Most Important Question To Ask Your Financial Advisor
No, it’s not “can you make me rich?”

3 Tips to Use Remaining Health Flexible Spending Account Money
Don’t let your FSA money go to waste.

3 Ways to Calculate Your Tax Refund Using Your Pay Stub
Get a preview of next year’s bounty.

How to Stop Making Excuses and Finally Get Your Finances in Order
Excuses are for wimps.

Tuesday’s need-to-know money news

Zemanta Related Posts ThumbnailToday’s top story: Protecting your 401(k). Also in the news: What to do if you have a large tax bill, rental mistakes to avoid, and the two legal documents you can’t live without.

How To Spot A 401(k) Rip-off
Don’t sell your retirement short.

Big Tax Bill? IRS Offers Payment Options
Taxes don’t have to drain your wallet all at once.

5 Mistakes Renters Make
Don’t let your rental become a money pit.

6 Financially Freeing Tasks Not to ‘Pass Over’
A festival of financial freedom.

2 Legal Documents You Can’t Live Without
They’re inevitable.

Wednesday’s need-to-know money news

1594411528_1512b1aad5_zToday’s top story: Capital One faces major backlash against home visit policy. Also in the news: Retirement strategies for the self-employed, how to choose between a will and a trust, a how your taxes could affect your chances of buying a home.

Capital One policy about home visits causes backlash
Customers aren’t thrilled with the idea of Capital One literally knocking on their doors.

Retirement Strategies for the Self-Employed
The best ways to build your retirement nest egg.

Wills vs. Trusts: What’s Best For Retirees?
Important differences to consider.

How Your Taxes Could Hurt Your Homebuying Chances
Saving money on taxes could increase the cost of a future home.

Double Trouble: Being an Identity Theft Victim Can Land You in Jail
Adding insult to injury.

Friday’s need-to-know money news

Today’s top story: Tips for baby boomers on making out a will. Also in the news: Money moves you can make to start building a successful retirement, credit thieves target Neiman Marcus, and how to build your 401(k) without running out of spending money.

What Baby Boomers Need To Know About Making Out A Will
It’s time to get serious about long-term financial planning.

5 Money Moves to Create a Successful Retirement
Simplifying your accounts plays a major role.

Neiman Marcus Security Breach Puts One Million-Plus Payment Cards at Risk
Credit thieves find another Target.

How to Fund Your 401(k) and Still Have Spending Money
A few small changes could leave you with extra cash.

4 Ways to Keep Your Cellphone From Getting Hacked
Hackers are after more than just our computers.