Broker Check

August Newsletter


 

August 6, 2019

 

“We Formed A Singing Group…”

A month ago, my Mom left me a voice message, I heard the word hospital and I rushed to her home.  In less than two hours she received the diagnosis of acute leukemia.  Later that week she peacefully passed away. This is not necessarily a happy story, but an important story; we all need to understand a loved one’s wishes and have knowledge of their financial picture to avoid unpleasant surprises.

My Mom had ongoing medical concerns so I would often go along to doctor appointments with her and help with her financial matters.  I was the second set of eyes and ears and I had first-hand knowledge of her wishes and financial picture. 

There are many things to consider when a loved one needs assistance with various health and financial aspects of their life.  Make sure someone has been legally designated to make health care decisions in case your loved one is unable to do so.  Most people are familiar with a Durable Power of Attorney for health care matters, but you should also be aware of the MOST (Medical Orders for Scope of Treatment) form. This form lists advanced directives and should be used in situations where there is an existing serious health concern.   By posting this on your refrigerator, any emergency responder called to the house will refer to the form and carry out the advanced directives listed.

Assigning a power of attorney for financial matters is a very important estate planning tool.  There are several types that can be used for different purposes.  A power of attorney document assigns power to a person that you have selected to act in your place for different purposes. There are four main types:

Limited.       A limited power of attorney gives someone else the power to act in your stead for a very limited purpose. For example, a limited power of attorney could give someone the right to sign a deed to property for you, on a day when you are out of town. It generally ends at a time specified in the document.

General. A general power of attorney is comprehensive and gives someone else all the powers and rights to act on behalf of an individual. It gives the right to sign documents, pay bills and conduct financial transactions on their behalf. A general power of attorney ends at your death or incapacity unless you rescind it.

Durable. A durable power of attorney can be general or limited in scope, but it remains in effect after you become incapacitated. If you become incapacitated without the durable power of attorney document, no one can represent you until a court appoints a conservator or guardian. A durable power of attorney will remain in effect until your death unless you rescind it when you are not incapacitated.

Springing. Like a durable power of attorney, a springing power of attorney becomes effective when someone is incapacitated. If you are using a springing power of attorney, it is very important that the standard for determining incapacity which triggers the power of attorney be clearly laid out in the document.

Should you be appointed in someone’s will as their representative you should be familiar with probate and non-probate assets.  If an estate goes through probate, it costs money, takes time and is a public process in the court system.  However, should an estate be subject to probate, it can help settle potential legal liabilities as well as administer the estate in an orderly fashion.  Intelligent Investment Management, LLP can help review account titles and explain what the estate settlement process may entail.  Keep in mind that the Colorado small estate affidavit, can be used by a representative for a decedent whose estate value was less than $66,000 at the time of the decedent's death. It is very useful in shortening the time of settlement for small estates.  If you are the representative for someone the web link below outlines detailed information on important items and considerations that need to happen in the first ten days after the death.   http://bit.ly/importantstepstotake.

If you need help or guidance with estate planning concerns, please give Steve or me a call. Although most estates will not be subject to the federal estate tax under current law, there are still planning opportunities available to minimize income taxes for a decedent’s heirs. We are happy to sit down and review this process with you.

In recent market news, The Federal Reserve Board moved to cut interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on July 31, the first such reduction since 2008.  This was a pre-emptive move to cushion the economy from a continued global slowdown. The Fed is using the rate cut as an “insurance policy” to extend economic expansion. This is an area to watch closely as the Fed has hinted at additional rate cuts throughout 2019. 

On Monday, the US equity markets were down sharply due to heightened trade tensions.  As we monitor market volatility, we keep our eyes focused not just on what is in front of us today, but how this will affect your investment portfolio over the long haul.  We carefully evaluate buying opportunities while we stick to a prudent equity allocation. While US equity markets were down three percent on Monday, our aggregate globally diversified portfolio was down less than one and a half percent.  When there is volatility in the equity markets our portfolio is also subject to some volatility, but due to portfolio construction and diversification, our portfolio does not have the same large swings as the equity markets. This is one significant reason why we have performed so well on a long-term basis. 

On a lighter note, I hope that you are enjoying summer and you and your family are planning for a beautiful fall season including the excitement of a new school year.  No matter what your age, it is wise to remember that learning never stops.  Take a minute to reflect on a new skill you may want to add to your “life portfolio” and take a step in that direction.  Young pups aren’t the only ones who can learn new tricks!!

Sincerely,

Intelligent Investment Management, LLP           

James Brost, CFP®, APMA®, AWMA®