Assistance to Loved Ones

We take a visionary multigenerational approach in planning for the long-term by building a roadmap to help you provide assistance to those you care most about

Assistance to Loved Ones photo concept with Old grandmother and adult granddaughter hugging at home and looking at each other. Happy senior mother and young daughter embracing with love on sofa. Happy young woman hugging from behind grandma with love.

An important aspect to consider when reviewing the seven pillars of financial planning is your desired level of assistance to loved ones.  This may include planning for those you care about, those who live in your household, and your activities that impact them.

By planning to assist your loved ones, you prepare for a variety of situations that can occur during your lifetime.  This may include caring for children or grandchildren, helping adult children and other family members, paying for college, making major purchases, changes in marital status, caring for aging parents and keeping them safe, and even providing for the care of a loved family pet.  Below we cover some of the more popular ways to offer assistance to loved ones.

Activities Included in Assistance to Loved Ones

Funding College

Helping fund the education of a loved one may be a dream of yours and there are a variety of ways to accomplish this goal. Some ways to provide future opportunities for your college-bound family members include education savings accounts like  529 college savings plans, a UGMA/UTMA custodial account, and other avenues like a Roth.

Benefits of education savings accounts. With education savings accounts there are no contribution limits. Additionally, transfers can be completed as gifts and qualify for the annual gift exclusion. There are also no restrictions imposed on the use of distributions, as long as they are for the minor’s education benefit.

UTMA / UGMA custodial accounts. The Uniform Gift to Minors Act (UGMA) established a simple way for minors to own securities without requiring the services of an attorney to prepare trust documents or the court appointment of a trustee.  The Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) allows an appointed custodian to manage the minor’s account. In many states, accounts do not terminate until age 21, though most states give 18-year-olds the legal status to open new accounts on their own. Because minors typically become old enough to receive legal control of UTMA accounts during their college years, these funds give students a good way to pay their extra expenses associated with college.

Roth IRA’s for children. The Roth IRA is most commonly used as a vehicle for retirement savings, however, the rules governing withdrawals provide for an advantageous exception when it is applied to qualified higher education expenses.  If a child plans to work part-time during the school year or the summer break, he or she will have earned income and could potentially begin contributing to a Roth IRA, depending upon the state you live in.

Help With Handling an Inheritance or Windfall

Whether you or a family member gains an inheritance of money, material assets like a house, a big lottery win, or some other windfall, the steps are generally similar. We help you:

  • Carefully consider any strings that may be attached to the windfall. You may find that there are limits placed on the money or assets you receive.
  • Adjust your current financial plans. People often build their plans around the resources they have before receiving any windfall.
  • A large sum of money is easier to spend than anticipated. Your good luck may not linger, especially when splurging on a well-deserved big-ticket item.
  • Anticipate business partnership schemes and hard-luck stories from family and friends.  Be sure to seek your investment advisor’s advice before making these types of investment decisions. An added bonus is that, for the sake of relationships, you will have someone to blame if you need to say “no”.
  • Seek professional advice for tax implications. Before making any final decisions about spending, saving, investing, or paying off debt with your windfall, seek the advice of a trusted advisor. It may be surprising, but there are many tax and other implications that can come with each.

Elder Care

If you are among the “sandwich generation,” you may be supporting your aging parents as well as your children.  Managing senior living options and elder care for an aging parent, spouse or close friend can present difficult challenges.  We work with you to create strategies for managing the day-to-day affairs and medical decisions of those not mentally or physically able to do so.

Providing for the Care of a Pet

All U.S. states have enacted legislation authorizing the establishment of pet trusts.  If you are worried about a fur baby, you can formally plan for the care of your pet in your estate planning.  With a pet trust, a pet owner can designate an individual to care for a pet after his or her death and provide funding for the pet’s ongoing care.

Just knowing that you are prepared to help those that matter most to you can be a comfort.

Check out our carefully curated articles on life planning.


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