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Wealth management is more than just investment advice – it includes all aspects of a client’s financial life.

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At Virtus Wealth Management, we believe we can help you no matter what age you are, what life stage you are in, or how much money you are working with. We want you to feel educated, empowered, and involved in the planning of your financial future.

There Is Much More to Financial Planning Part 1

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  • There Is Much More to Financial Planning Part 1

by | Apr 27, 2021

There is Much More to Financial Planning Than Investing

A key to the coordination and integration of a financial plan is ownership and transfer of your assets. The following are “bullet” points to consider when discussing with your financial advisor, financial planner, wealth manager and ultimately an estate planning attorney. We at Virtus Wealth Management are not attorneys, and do not practice law. That said, we are very comfortable discussing the various options and allowing our clients to think through the choices available to them and the expected result of their decisions.

Ownership and Beneficiary Arrangements

Wills and Trusts

  • Specify the distribution of assets
  • Avoid problems of intestacy (having no valid will)
  • Protection of minor children
  • Authorizes continuation of business
  • Tax savings and property management through trusts

Assets Passed by Will

  • Assets subject to probate
  • Non-probate assets pass by ownership or beneficiary designation

Forms of Ownership

  • Separate property/Severalty/Individual/Fee Simple
  • Joint Tenancy
    1. Tenants in Common
    2. Joint Tenancy with Rights of Survivorship
    3. Tenancy by the Entirety
  • Community Property

Individual Ownership

  • Control over transfer of property
  • Property subject to probate
  • Or may pass by beneficiary arrangement

Tenants in Common

  • Control over transfer of portion of property owned
  • Purchase agreement may restrict control
  • Portion of property owned subject to probate
  • May pass by beneficiary arrangement

Joint Tenants with Right of Survivor ship

  • Limited personal control over property
  • Not subject to probate until all joint tenants have died
  • Not passed by will or intestacy laws

Tenants by the Entirety

  • Similar to Joint Tenancy with Right of Survivorship
  • Not available in all states
  • Helps protect marital assets (not subject to creditors)
  • Not subject to probate
  • Not passed by will or intestacy laws

Advantages to Joint Tenancy

  • Probate avoidance
  • Convenience (Accounts held in joint tenancy may be withdrawn by any joint tenant)

Disadvantages of Joint Tenancy

  • Loss of control (doesn’t pass by will)
  • May be subject to creditors of either tenant
  • Assets may not reach children (second marriage)
  • Potential tax penalties
    • Gift tax when joint tenancy created
    • Estate tax – bypasses credit shelter trusts
    • Income tax – assets receive step up in basis only on decedents half of assets
  • If survivor and executor differ, survivor may spend everything leaving inadequate liquidity to settle

Community Property

  • Nine community property states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin
  • Passes between spouses at a step up in basis with no probate
  • May pass to named beneficiaries through community property agreement

Other Non-Probate Assets

  • Passbook or savings account passed by a Totten Trust (pay on death or POD)
  • Transfer on death (TOD)
  • Lifetime gifts
  • Revocable Living Trust assets
  • Life Insurance

Transfer on Death

  • Uniform TOD Security Registration Act
  • Transfer to named beneficiary on death of owner or all joint owners
  • Subject to creditors
  • Substitute beneficiaries (contingent) are allowed (sub bene)
  • As is LDPS or lineal descendants per stirpes (important when there are grandchildren)

We have provided a lot of information here, and the list continues in part two of this series. We are always available to sit down with you and discuss the above in more detail and in relation to your specific situation. If it is time to review your estate plan, or this article has sparked any questions, please give us a call at (817)717-3812 to schedule a meeting with one of our trusted advisors. We are always here to assist you in the complexities involved in the transfer of assets.


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