Wealth Management Oversight® for:

 

Wealth Management Oversight® for:

 

Congratulations, . 

You have completed your personalized Objective Second Opinion™!

While you will find below some areas where good progress has been made, there appear to be a number of areas that you should consider addressing:* 

SureUp™ Score

1

Deficiency Summary

Please remember, that the observations in this Objective Second Opinion™ should not be construed as advice as many unanswered questions remain. Our goal is to provide you with insight into your financial life that will foster further critical thought to your benefit. Importantly, you should consider engaging an objective professional for further help before acting upon any of the items outlined below.

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Cash Reserves Review

Cash reserves are among the most important building blocks for a secure financial future. Aside from the ability to maintain functional day to day cash flow, the adequacy of your cash reserves enables you to manage unpredictable items like a car repair or a fallen tree without utilizing credit cards to do so.  


As a part of our initial analysis, we have reviewed the information you conveyed regarding your current cash reserves.

 

Your current cash reserves may be inadequate given your current monthly spending. You might consider increasing your cash reserves.  A good rule of thumb is to work to build cash reserves to a value equivalent to six times your monthly spending.


Establishing sufficient reserves, and then monitoring your cash reserve level on a regular basis, is among the best measures of your overall financial health.

Estate Plan Review

Proper planning not only allows you to have a say in how your assets are distributed at death but also creates assurances that financial issues remain manageable while you're living as well.  


Take for instance, an unforeseen illness that incapacitates you for a period of time. Provided you have the required documentation in place, someone you trust can handle your financial affairs on your behalf until you recover enough to do so yourself.


As a part of our initial analysis, we have reviewed the information you conveyed regarding the estate plan documentation you have in place currently.

 

Your current estate plan as we understand it may be inadequate. Below is some additional information you might find helpful.

Estate Planning Documents Explained

There are five estate planning documents you may need, regardless of your age, health, or wealth. In addition, the sixth, is the often overlooked beneficiary designation:


1.  Durable power of attorney
2.  Advance medical directives
3.  Will
4.  Letter of instruction
5.  Living trust
6.  Beneficiary Designations
 

Durable Power of Attorney

A durable power of attorney (DPOA) can help protect your property in the event you become physically unable or mentally incompetent to handle financial matters. If no one is ready to look after your financial affairs when you can't, your property may be wasted, abused, or lost. A DPOA allows you to authorize someone else to act on your behalf, so he or she can do things like pay everyday expenses, collect benefits, watch over your investments, and file taxes.


There are two types of DPOAs: (1) an immediate DPOA, which is effective immediately (this may be appropriate, for example, if you face a serious operation or illness), and (2) a springing DPOA, which is not effective unless you have become incapacitated.


Caution: A springing DPOA is not permitted in some states, so you'll want to check with an attorney.


Advance Medical Directives

Advance medical directives let others know what medical treatment you would want, or allows someone to make medical decisions for you, in the event you can't express your wishes yourself. If you don't have an advance medical directive, medical care providers must prolong your life using artificial means, if necessary. With today's technology, physicians can sustain you for days and weeks (if not months or even years).


There are three types of advance medical directives.


Each state allows only a certain type (or types). You may find that one, two, or all three types are necessary to carry out all of your wishes for medical treatment. (Just make sure all documents are consistent.)


First, a living will allows you to approve or decline certain types of medical care, even if you will die as a result of that choice. In most states, living wills take effect only under certain circumstances, such as terminal injury or illness. Generally, one can be used only to decline medical treatment that "serves only to postpone the moment of death." In those states that do not allow living wills, you may still want to have one to serve as evidence of your wishes.


Second, a durable power of attorney for health care (known as a health-care proxy in some states) allows you to appoint a representative to make medical decisions for you. You decide how much power your representative will or won't have.  


Finally, a Do Not Resuscitate order (DNR) is a doctor's order that tells medical personnel not to perform CPR if you go into cardiac arrest. There are two types of DNRs. One is effective only while you are hospitalized. The other is used while you are outside the hospital.


Will

A will is often said to be the cornerstone of any estate plan. The main purpose of a will is to disburse property to heirs after your death. If you don't leave a will, disbursements will be made according to state law, which might not be what you would want.


There are two other equally important aspects of a will:


1. You can name the person (executor) who will manage and settle your estate. If you do not name someone, the court will appoint an administrator, who might not be someone you would choose. 


2. You can name a legal guardian for minor children or dependents with special needs. If you don't appoint a guardian, the state will appoint one for you. Keep in mind that a will is a legal document, and the courts are very reluctant to overturn any provisions within it. Therefore, it's crucial that your will be well written and articulated, and properly executed under your state's laws. It's also important to keep your will up-to-date.


Letter of Instruction

A letter of instruction (also called a testamentary letter or side letter) is an informal, non-legal document that generally accompanies your will and is used to express your personal thoughts and directions regarding what is in the will (or about other things, such as your burial wishes or where to locate other documents). This can be the most helpful document you leave for your family members and your executor.


Unlike your will, a letter of instruction remains private. Therefore, it is an opportunity to say the things you would rather not make public. A letter of instruction is not a substitute for a will. Any directions you include in the letter are only suggestions and are not binding. The people to whom you address the letter may follow or disregard any instructions.


Living Trust

A living trust (also known as a revocable or inter vivos trust) is a separate legal entity you create to own property, such as your home or investments. The trust is called a living trust because it's meant to function while you're alive.


You control the property in the trust, and, whenever you wish, you can change the trust terms, transfer property in and out of the trust, or end the trust altogether. Not everyone needs a living trust, but it can be used to accomplish various purposes. The primary function is typically to avoid probate. This is possible because property in a living trust is not included in the probate estate.


Depending on your situation and your state's laws, the probate process can be simple, easy, and inexpensive, or it can be relatively complex, resulting in delay and expense. This may be the case, for instance, if you own property in more than one state or in a foreign country, or have heirs that live overseas.


Further, probate takes time, and your property generally won't be distributed until the process is completed. A small family allowance is sometimes paid, but it may be insufficient to provide for a family's ongoing needs. Transferring property through a living trust provides for a quicker, almost immediate transfer of property to those who need it. Probate can also interfere with the management of property like a closely held business or stock portfolio.


Although your executor is responsible for managing the property until probate is completed, he or she may not have the expertise or authority to make significant management decisions, and the property may lose value. Transferring the property with a living trust can result in a smoother transition in management.


Finally, avoiding probate may be desirable if you're concerned about privacy. Probated documents (e.g., will, inventory) become a matter of public record. Generally, a trust document does not.


Note:  A living trust, isn't always necessary, but it's included here because it's a vital component of many estate plans.


Caution: Although a living trust transfers property like a will, you should still also have a will because the trust will be unable to accomplish certain things that only a will can, such as naming an executor or a guardian for minor children.


Tip: There are other ways to avoid the probate process besides creating a living trust, such as titling property jointly.


Caution: Living trusts do not generally minimize estate taxes or protect property from future creditors or ex-spouses.


Beneficiary Designation 

Insurance policies, retirement plans etc. all provide you with an opportunity to designate both a primary beneficiary and a secondary, contingent beneficiary should the primary beneficiary predecease you or simply elect not to receive the proceeds of the account or policy.  


Should you have either elected to leave your beneficiary designation blank or simply neglected to add one, depending upon state law, your account / insurance policy is likely to pass through your estate. This may create unintended consequences and additional tax burden that could have been easily avoided.  


Take the time to double check that you have added a beneficiary designation to all accounts and insurance policies providing you with that opportunity and that your beneficiary designations match your current desires.   

Investment Portfolio Review

The money you have accumulated to date requires careful management. Whether you leverage experienced professionals, or elect to go it alone, it is important for you to have a thorough understanding of the inner workings of your investment portfolio. Again, these observations should not be construed as advice. We would suggest you consider engaging an objective professional for further guidance before implementing any of the items outlined below to ensure your chosen course of action will be of benefit to you.


Beyond the issues outlined below, careful attention must also be paid to what vehicles you are utilizing to fill the various asset allocation segments within your investment portfolio. Significant unintentional institutional risks may be imposed by leveraging commonly used vehicles.

As a part of our initial analysis, we have reviewed the information you conveyed about your current portfolio against your stated preference for risk.  We have also overlaid the information you conveyed about the mixture of your pre-tax and post-tax accumulated savings.

 

Based on your stated preference for risk, your current portfolio may require attention as your mixture of holdings may not be aligned with your expressed comfort level.  


While this may be intentional, we find by realigning your portfolio with your stated preference for risk, you are better able to sustain significant market events without over reacting.

Suggested Portfolio Mix
Stocks
Alternative
Fixed & Cash

We may have some concern about the mixture of your pre-tax and post-tax savings. You may not be taking full advantage of tax deferral and savings opportunities, which can make a significant difference in your long term accumulation.  


We understand the immediate need for cash flow and liquidity and that is why we initially focus on ensuring you have adequate cash reserves. But we’re concerned that you may be inadvertently lessening the likelihood of fully achieving your potential by saving in the manner you are currently.  


Managing this pre-tax / post-tax mixture will be a key element in reaching your full potential and in avoiding well established tax traps.

Insurance Coverage Review

Insurance coverage, when purchased for the right reasons, can preserve and protect your net worth when the unexpected occurs.  As a part of our initial analysis, we have reviewed the insurance information you have provided.

 

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* We reiterate that this Objective Second Opinion™ is educational in nature and should not be construed as advice. It relies upon the validity and completeness of the information you have input, which we have no way to verify independently and for which we are not responsible. We strongly urge you to seek out an appropriate financial, tax or legal professional for additional insight before any action is taken.

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