KVIE's panel of experts answers viewers' questions about managing estate planning for women over 60.
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Melfrina Ford: Hello! Welcome to your money you legacy, I’m Melfrina Ford. If you are a woman over 60 chances are you have questions and concerns about money. How to manage it? How to ensure you family will be taking care of once you’re gone. It’s why we’re here today to start the conversation about building your financial legacy. Simple planning and making important decisions when it comes to your money, a state planning can be intimidating and often confusing to help ease some of that we have our paneled expert with real experience of helping women just like you. Meet Kay Brooks and the state planning Attorney. Kate Brooks: Hello Melfrina. Melfrina Ford: And Gene Gonzales a certified public accountant. Gene Gonzales: Nice to be here. Melfrina Ford: Together will help you answer your questions and offer some sound financial advice. To help begin our conversation will meet three women with real questions just like yours let’s get started. Female: My husbands recently pass away he use to do our financial planning. What should I do now? Melfrina Ford: It’s really hard thing in that situation having the do it when you are not use too. Some often women are loss and confuse when it comes to money. Gene is a CPA do you see that in your practice? Gene Gonzales: Oh most definitely, you know I very frequently see women who are very overwhelmed with the responsibility of handling there management of there money where up to butt. Kay Brooks: I actually worked with a woman who was in the same situation but had an added challenge, she herself was in poor health I meet here in here hospital room. And she said to me they tell me I have a million dollars but I don’t know and if I do I don’t know what to do with it because I’m dying and my husband just died and we didn’t have children. But we are able to complete and state plan for her in a matter of weeks the time she had remaining and it fit here she left some money to care for here animals and then she created a fund and her name and her husbands name to help school children. She’d been a teacher her whole life so even in that very difficult situation you can get his done. Melfrina Ford: Well that’s so wonderful that she had your help in that situation but when you can see it happens it’s very exciting. I think two often women worry about do they have enough money to live on and they forget there is going to be something left over after they’re gone. Kay Brooks: Well in the plan you know you should create a plan that fits to your family whatever that family looks like you may have children or grandchildren, you may have spouse or a partner or maybe a big extended family and those are the people you care about maybe long time friends or a cause you really care about or charity that you like to support and that’s what your state plan should reflect the things that matter to you. Melfrina Ford: Well a lot times you know there is no— too many perfects families. Parents women especially have concerns that there kids are going to plow the money ant it’s nice to know that you can tell them that there is options to give your children a lifetime income so isn’t just a pile of money. Gene Gonzales: Oh most definitely you know and I think that about plan it’s a good way to get a handle on what your property and positions are. Frequently many women don’t even know what there property is and so when they get a plan together it gets you time to put down in writing lists of all your assets. Kay Brooks: And the personal property too, I’ve seen problems come up for that where that’s actually a big you know just even deciding about those assets is an important thing. Melfrina Ford: One of the thins I loved is this set of necklace is my mothers and this watch is my aunts and there is going to be such a wonderful thing to have those things go from one generation to the next but sometimes people fight. Gene Gonzales: Most definitely and that’s the good point that you bring it up. It’s not only the major assets or the major properties of the property. Many times it is small personal items that have a lot of sentimental value that’s much more valuable to family members and maybe perhaps the parent’s thing. Melfrina Ford: Well there is someone doesn’t do a plan, what happens? Kay Brooks: Well actually the state has a plan for you, the problem is just that’s retirement and how so many families are different the chance of that state default plan suiting what you’d really want is pretty small and when people look at it they usually go ask and they want to do something different. And this is an opportunity for women to be in charge of there own plan and be proactive and have the plan reflect what they’re interest are. Melfrina Ford: I like to think of looking down from heaven and you look down and you say my money really help my family, they’re all happy, they’re getting along. But people really need help getting there. Gene where do you thing people should start? Gene Gonzales: You know that’s a good question because frequently they have a relationship with at least one professional that can help them. You know many people have a tax prepare or an account that they work it for years. And will sake there advice first ask for some help, but you know most of those professionals have a network of other professionals such as Attorneys, investment advisors, financial planners, you know insurance agents perhaps or even a good trusted friend that could give you a good referral. Melfrina Ford: I the certified financial planner where do you use to talking about money and goals and what they want to have happen on lifetime so it’s a natural conversation just to look at the state planning. Kay Brooks: Well to see attorney is great for me when the client has already thought about this with someone who’s known them a long time or someone they trust. You do need the attorney to document your wishes though, we also we’re trained to help and to make decisions if you do need that help but then getting it in writing is very important and not just in writing but getting it sign and finish. People sometimes think, oh I know what I want but if you haven’t put it in writing then it’s not going t be effective for you. Melfrina Ford: So if you don’t have an advisor and you can always ask friends because they have advisors and usually like they said birds in the same feather flock together so it might sot them to work with that up someone from they get from a friend but our public— local public television stations they have list of people so if really people are needing help there is help to be have. So the big problem though I think is cost, it’s a road block that people use to say, Kay it’s going to cost too much I think I should stop and not do it. Kay Brooks: Well and I think that’s important, many people may not work with the lawyer before and you should ask right up front what the cost is going to be. Lawyers usually have an hourly rate and you should ask how many hours they expect to spend. Sometimes these works is done in a fix rate or flat fee and find that out. But remember, you are the client and you’re telling this person what you want so you are really in control of the situation. Get you information up front, it may seem expensive but there is a lot of value to this work. Gene Gonzales: And there is no question, professional fees are typically very expensive and what you are going to look at is what do you getting for that for that expense and you’re getting a lot. You’re getting first of all privacy, state plan will allow you to avoid probe which is a public event and so having a little bit planning done get you some privacy. You get peace of mind which is a huge one because you will be able to organize your fairs and your finances in a manner that it’s easily accessible and readable by your family members. Kay Brooks: You know having it laid out and define then there is no question later because your wishes are known and that’s the huge to have that. Melfrina Ford: Only you avoid the negative consequences and I think that’s the biggest thing you avoid family members fighting and disagreeing and not talking with each other for better life. Gene Gonzales: And that’s one of the things that I see the most I mean because the fighting that can occur between a family members is really, really sad and I think if mom and dad had put a little of pot into what is going to be happen after the fact they wouldn’t be certain been more receptive t the value that they get for those planning. Melfrina Ford: Again, looking down from heaven and your family is all getting along and it’s all working out, it’s kind of priceless. Gene Gonzales: Priceless. Melfrina Ford: Isn’t it? Kay Brooks: Absolutely.