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What Happens To My Stuff When I Die?

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Amy and Dan Smith

Only in the rarest of circumstances will the state receive the property of a decedent.

Joint tenancy. If you hold property jointly with another person “with survivorship,” it is presumed that the survivor is entitled to all the property upon the death of the first to die. Typically, a deed or investment account will indicate “joint tenants with right of survivorship.” Joint ownership by a husband and wife with survivorship rights is called a “tenancy by the entireties.” Property owned by two or more people without survivorship is called a tenancy in common. This intention should be clearly stated in the title to avoid conflict upon the death of the first tenant. … Continue Reading

Your Retirement Plan B

August 3, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Your Retirement Plan B
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Take the time to design an alternative retirement plan should retirement come earlier than expected.

Imagine this. You’ve spend decades working, saving, and planning for your version of the ideal retirement. Your company was just acquired, and your boss is now strongly encouraging you to take an early retirement – five years before you’re ready.

So, What Now? … Continue Reading

Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits

July 6, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Time To Add Discipline To Your Good Money Habits
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– By Amy and Dan Smith

For many, their 30’s is a time to build a family and a stronger financial future
That 30th birthday can be a somewhat traumatic event, but with people living longer, they say 50 is the new 30. If that’s the case, then you’re just a kid!

That doesn’t mean, however, that you should be childlike about your finances. If your 20’s are the years when you lay the foundation for good financial habits, then your 30’s are when you build on that foundation.

By now you’re likely employed in your field, possibly married or in a committed relationship, and thinking about building a family. It’s important to factor in these life events when you are planning. A financial advisor can work with you to create a solid plan and provide objective guidance no matter how investment savvy you are.

Your priority should be saving and avoiding non-mortgage debt. Without debt, saving seems easy. And there’s a lot to save for: the wedding, starting a family, buying a house, sending your kids to college and retirement. Not to mention all the surprises in between. This is where the long-term plan you and your financial advisor create comes in. It’s important to stick to it.

Another key element is to review your financial plans periodically to make sure they still meet your goals. If you are part of a couple, consider making “financial dates” with your spouse or partner to proactively talk about money. It’s a good way to make sure both parties in a relationship are aware of the other’s goals for the future.

To Help You Get Started on your Journey, Here’s a Checklist for 30-Somethings:

Save for retirement. Are you taking advantage of the retirement plan offered by your employer? It allows you to invest a portion of every paycheck before taxes –or after taxes in the case of a Roth 401(k). While you’re at it, analyze other employer benefits. Are you taking advantage of all the benefits your employer offers? Look at everything, form flexible spending accounts to group discounts.
Pay off personal debt. Have you paid off all your high-interest debt? Paying off a credit card that charges 25 percent interest means substantial savings.

Write a simple will and also a living will. How will your property be handled if you die? A simple will can keep your loved ones from having to decide. What do you want to happen if you become seriously ill? A living will records your wishes and removes that burden form your family.

Name a guardian for your children, if you have any. Who will be responsible for your children if you and your spouse/partner die? Protect them by legally naming a guardian.

Review your insurance. If you’ve recently married or started a family, are life and disability insurance adequate given your new status? Also, the younger you are, the less long-term care and disability policies cost. It’s also a good idea to review your auto and home policies to ensure your family and property are fully covered. You may also be eligible for package discounts.

Start a college fund for your children if you have any. As soon as you are out of debt, begin an education fund. The costs for education are soaring, so the earlier you can begin saving the better.
Think about your future housing needs. Is your family going to outgrow your house? Will your parents eventually move in with you? A separate savings fund for housing can accommodate these possibilities.

The foregoing article contains general legal information only and is not intended to convey legal advice. For legal advice regarding estate planning, the reader should contact his/her lawyer. The foregoing contains general information only and is not intended to convey investment advice. Legal advice and services are not offered through Raymond James. Amy V. Smith CFP ® CIMA. Amy Smith Wealth Management, LLC, is an independent firm offering securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Her office is located at 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Suite 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. (Tel. 703 669-5022, www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com. Dan Smith is not affiliated with Raymond James.

Do It Yourself Legal Products Bargain or Trap?

June 1, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Do It Yourself Legal Products Bargain or Trap?
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The proliferation of online vendors offering legal documents and services for fixed fees is causing a real stir in the legal community. On the one hand there can be no question that the pricing of legal services puts personalized legal counsel out of reach for many people. On the other hand, most legal problems do not lend themselves to over-the-counter solutions.

The North Carolina State Bar Association tried to close down LegalZoom charging it with the unauthorized practice of law. A court order reversed the action. In the meantime, Rocket Lawyer, a competitor to LegalZoom, is teaming with the American Bar Association to offer legal advice to small businesses. The Virginia State Bar is carefully reviewing the situation in Virginia. … Continue Reading

Planning for Life Disclosure and Other Family Issues in Estate Planning

May 4, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Planning for Life Disclosure and Other Family Issues in Estate Planning
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What do we tell the kids?

Questions of how much and what type of information to give the children often arise during consultation. The answers depend on the circumstances of each family – the ages and maturity of the children being the most obvious factors. As a general rule the ideal is to advise the children as to the extent and nature of the parents’ assets and plans. This can lead to a smoother transition to the next generation.

Issues of entitlement, sibling rivalry (where there is more than one child involved), and perceptions of fair-ness may naturally surface with regard to the parents’ estate. Feelings may be particularly acute where one child has provided more care and attention to a parent than the other children, as is often the case. … Continue Reading

How To “File and Suspend” Before It Is Too Late

April 6, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on How To “File and Suspend” Before It Is Too Late
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With the recent changes to Social Security rules, filing and suspending will soon be phased out, but there’s still time to take advantage of the strategy.

Here’s a quick guide to maneuvering this rule while it still lasts, but as always, you should work with your financial advisor to discuss further how you can use this and other strategies in your financial plan. … Continue Reading

There If (Or When) You Need It

March 2, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on There If (Or When) You Need It
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By Amy and Dan Smith

Long-term care is one of the biggest and often unexpected expenses in retirement. Thinking about funding a long-term care plan now can save you later.

It seems we don’t pay much attention to long-term care until it directly affects us. Sure, it may pop up on our radar when consoling a friend who’s bearing the weight-physically and financially – of a loved one’s care or through the trials and tribulations of funding an aging parent’s assisted living needs. However, there may come a time when you or your spouse could face these challenges and decisions.
Few Americans place long-term care needs high on a list of concerns. In fact, more than half don’t have a plan for when they’re unable to independently bathe, dress, eat or get around, according to the 2012 State of Planning Survey. … Continue Reading

Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn

February 3, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Six Things to Know to Weather a Market Downturn
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It’s natural to be nervous when the markets head for negative territory. Keep a positive perspective with these six investing reminders.
It can be very unsettling for investors when their portfolios and the markets start heading for the red and fear sets in that all you’ve worked for and set aside for retirement and other goals could be at risk. Here are six investing basics to keep in mind during volatile times:

Periods of volatility are normal – All markets move in cycles and periods of steep contraction are completely normal. While the length of market contractions varies, periods of growth and expansion are usually waiting on the other side. Since 1973, stocks have fallen more than 10 percent and subsequently rebounded eight times.

Don’t Panic – Letting emotions dictate your investing strategy is a risk you should not take. Short-term decisions can have long-term consequences on your portfolio. Being patient can pay dividends.

Know your portfolio – Understand your investments and how specific investments represent different goals and outcomes. Keep in mind your risk tolerance and investment timeline, and if either has changed, consider talking to your financial advisor about rebalancing your portfolio. Diversification can potentially help balance risk during a downturn and mitigate extreme swings in value.

Stay the Course – Remember your financial plan and long-term goals and stick to them. A disciplined investment approach is the best strategy for handling market downturns and will likely enable you to participate when the markets rebound.

Consider opportunities – Working with your financial advisor, determine whether periods of volatility are a good time to take advantage of investment opportunities in line with your long-term plan.

You’re not alone – Your financial advisor is available to help you when you need it. He or she can guide you through difficult markets and be the independent voice and “information bodyguard” that helps you stay focused on your long-term goals.

Investing involves risk and investors may incur a profit or a loss. Past performance may not be indicative of future results. Diversification does not ensure a profit or protect against a loss. The foregoing contains general information only and is not intended to convey investment advice. Amy V. Smith Wealth Management, LLC, an independent firm, CFP, CIMA, offers securities through Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Her office is located at 161 Fort Evans Road, NE, Suite 345, Leesburg, VA 20176. (703-669-5022, www.amysmithwealthmanagement.com) Dan Smith is not affiliated with Raymond James.

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: When the Road To Success Leads Back Home

January 7, 2016 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: When the Road To Success Leads Back Home
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Despite our best efforts, sometimes grown children aren’t quite ready to enter the real world.

The day our children move out of the house, graduate from college, or land their first full-time job isn’t always-or even often-the day they achieve independence. Life is full of twists and turns, and even young adults with the best laid plans can veer off course, turning to their parents for support when things get tough. One study, conducted by Arizona Pathways to Life Success, says that half of recent graduates ages 23 to 26 depend on their family’s financial support to meet their current needs. … Continue Reading

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Giving and Taxes

December 2, 2015 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Giving and Taxes
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There is a relationship among income, gift and estate tax which can appear complex. However, in reality most of gifts are not affected by taxes.

This column addresses non-charitable gifts. Unlike a gift to charity, a gift to a person is not deductible by the donor for income tax purposes. A gift to a person is not taxable income to that person.

There is a federal gift tax but (with the exception of Connecticut and Tennessee) states don’t impose gift taxes. Here’s how the federal gift tax works: A person may make as many gifts as he/she wishes each year so long as the total value of gifts to each person for the year is within the amount of the “annual exclusion.” The annual exclusion is subject to adjustment each year and is $14,000 for 2015 and 2016. So Dad can give up to $14,000 of gifts apiece to each child, grandchild and neighbor without having to file a gift tax return, no matter how many children, grandchildren and neighbors he has. Furthermore, Mom can do the same. In fact, if Dad wants to give up to $28,000 per donee and Mom doesn’t want to give anything, Dad can “borrow” Mom’s annual exclusion for that year. However, Dad will have to file a gift tax return which Mom will sign to show she is allowing him to use her annual exclusion. (To avoid that requirement gifts can be made from joint property, as with a joint bank account.) … Continue Reading

Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Trusts

November 4, 2015 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on Amy and Dan Smith’s Planning for Life: Trusts
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A common estate planning device is the trust. A trust is simply an agreement between two people: the person who establishes the trust, who may be called the Settlor, the Grantor or the Trustor, and the person or institution who agrees to fulfill the terms of the trust, called the Trustee. There can be multiple Settlors, as, for example, a married couple; and there can be more than one Trustee. Quite often in estate planning the Settlor(s) and the Trustee(s) are the same person(s), as when a married couple creates a joint trust.

There are many different types of trust, too many to describe in the space of this article. In estate planning a “Revocable Living Trust” (RLT) is very common. This is a trust established during lifetime which the Settlor(s) can continue to change during lifetime. Usually the Settlor(s) and the Trustee(s) are the same person(s). … Continue Reading

How Divorce Affects Social Security Benefits

September 30, 2015 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on How Divorce Affects Social Security Benefits
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The 10-year rule and understanding your benefit options

When it comes to retirement income, Social Security typically accounts for the lion’s share, so it makes sense to understand how to maximize your benefits. As you may know, marital status is an important decision factor when it comes to timing benefits. But, did you know divorce also comes into play? Many people see divorce as a chance to start over, a clean slate, if you will. But just because your former spouse is out of the picture, doesn’t mean his or her Social Security benefits have to be, especially if he or she earns more money than you. In fact, your ex can actually mean extra when it comes to what you’re eligible to collect.

Here’s why. If you were married at least 10 years before your divorce, you may be eligible to receive Social Security benefits based on your ex-spouse’s record, assuming he or she is entitled to them. If your ex-spouse hasn’t applied for retirement benefits yet, you can still collect on his or her record if you’ve been divorced for at least two years. This holds true even if your former spouse has remarried. And, claiming benefits on his or her record has no effect on what a new spouse can claim. Of course, you have to qualify to do so. … Continue Reading

When To Take Social Security: Timing Is Everything

September 3, 2015 Amy and Dan Smith, Columns Comments Off on When To Take Social Security: Timing Is Everything
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As you approach retirement, there are several decisions that can impact the level of income you will receive when you stop working. One such decision will be about claiming your Social Security retirement benefit.

More than half of eligible Americans take their benefits “early”-after they reach 62, even though they are locking in a permanent reduction in their monthly payment by as much as 25 percent. Still, “early” makes sense for many if they have little in savings and simply need the money. However, many do it because they can, without realizing they are giving up progressively higher payments each year they wait to claim, potentially losing as much as 32 percent than if they had waited to age 70. Surveys have shown that nearly 40 percent in this camp actually regret their decision to claim “early” once they realize how much they have given up in lifetime income. For some couples, this could translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars for not adopting a “wait to take” strategy. … Continue Reading


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Columns

The Company We Keep

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“Truly important and significant hypotheses will be found to have assumptions that are wildly inaccurate descriptive representations of reality and, in general, the more significant the theory, the more unrealistic the assumptions.” – Milton Freidman [1] “I am increasingly convinced …

What Happens To My Stuff When I Die?

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Amy and Dan Smith Only in the rarest of circumstances will the state receive the property of a decedent. Joint tenancy. If you hold property jointly with another person “with survivorship,” it is presumed that the survivor is entitled to …

Integrated Scientific Discovery

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By Mary Rose Lunde Many suggest that science is the gateway to the future. The rise in scientific discovery has driven more and more funding for research. The fact of the matter is, however, that science is far more complex …

A Man on the Move: Supervisor Ralph Buona, Vice Chairman Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Ralph Buona

By Samuel Moore-Sobel I first met Ralph Buona when I was a senior in high school. A “Youth in Government” day event allowed us to meet with our local supervisors. Chosen to sit next to the supervisor for my district, …

Dulles Air and Space Museum

airplane Dulles

You ever have those dreams, that (back – probably when you were a kid) you could fly? Not in any kind of man-made craft, mind you – I mean possessing the ability to levitate and travel the skies at will. …

New Book Helps Balance Children’s Screen-Time and Play Time

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By Amanda Clark Michael Oberschneider, a clinical psychologist and founder/director of Ashburn Psychological Psychiatric Services, has just released a book titled Ollie Outside. This book addresses the very timely and important topic of screen- and media-time management for children. Ollie …

Defending the Over-Pampered

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“The purpose of studying economics is to learn how not to be deceived by economists.” Joan Robinson, Professor of economics at Cambridge University, Basel Lecture, 1969. “[W]hereas classisists [economists] turned the spotlight on change, flow, process and dynamics, the neoclassicists …

Student News

Congratulations, Class of 2016

6 Jul 2016

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Woodgrove High School’s Class Of 2016 Graduation – By Amanda Clark On June 16, Woodgrove’s Class of 2016 was the 5th graduating class to walk the stage and accept their diploma. The ceremony was filled with anticipation as the chorus, …

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Buckland Earns Degree In Medicine

6 Jul 2016

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Molly Buckland, D.O., graduated from the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine with a degree of Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine on May 28. While at WVSOM, Dr. Buckland received the Dr. Roland P. Sharp President’s Award and the James R. …

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Adams Promoted To Lieutenant

6 Jul 2016

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Lt. James Adams, from Sterling and a Potomac Falls Halls Graduate, earned the promotion to the rank of Lieutenant. Adams is a Navy Week and Executive Outreach Planner for the Navy Office of Community Outreach in Millington, Tennessee. U.S. Navy …

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Calendar

September 2016
Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
August 29, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 30, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

August 31, 2016

Hot & Cool featuring glass artists Dave & Dale Barnes and abstract painter Kay Layne

September 1, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 2, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 3, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Dear Creek Live at North Gate Vineyard

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

Snaggy Mountain Boys

September 4, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 5, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 6, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 7, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 8, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 9, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 10, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

A PLACE TO BE: A THOUSAND STEPS

September 11, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Silk Scarf Painting with Penny

ART IN THE PARK

September 12, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 13, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 14, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 15, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 16, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 17, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 18, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

Artist Reception - Penny Hauffe

September 19, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 20, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 21, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

BLUE SKY PUPPETS: BARKER OF SEVILLE

September 22, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 23, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 24, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

UNIVERSAL DESIGN FOR LEARNING WORKSHOP

FOBR Annual Meeting

5th Annual Leesburg Fine Art Festival

September 25, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

5th Annual Leesburg Fine Art Festival

Music With A Cause - Pas de Deux

Gallery Coffeehouse: The Comedy Cult Improv

September 26, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 27, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 28, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 29, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

September 30, 2016

Dreams of Trees and Other Living Things

October 1, 2016

Notaviva Vineyards - Bluegrass Jam - FREE event

October 2, 2016
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Lifestyle

Skate ‘Til Midnight at the Catoctin SkatePark Closing Party

23 Sep 2016

Leesburg01

Catoctin SkatePark will host a late night skate on Sunday, September 25, 2016, from 7:00 p.m. to midnight, before closing for construction. Enjoy one last ride at the original Catoction SkatePark! Construction of the new concrete skate park will begin in early October, but before the old skate park closes, you can celebrate the end of an era. On Sunday, …

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Middleburg Film Festival Announces “La La Land” As Its 2016 Centerpiece Film

20 Sep 2016

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The Middleburg Film Festival announced the highly anticipated film La La Land as its 2016 Centerpiece selection. La La Land, starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, will screen on Saturday, October 22 with Oscar-nominated director Damien Chazelle (Whiplash) in attendance. The Festival runs October 20 through October 23.

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Sterling Apple Festival To Be Held September 24 and 25

16 Sep 2016

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The Loudoun Heritage Farm Museum will be hosting the 12th annual Autumn Apple Festival on Saturday, September 24, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and on Sunday, September 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The event will be held off Route 28 and Route 7 in Claude Moore Park in Sterling.

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Editorial

Grief and Greed

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By Matthew Parse What would drive a single individual to cause so much emotional stress and financial burden on hundreds, if not, thousands of families? What would drive the Town …

Op-ed

Opinion: Terrorism, Debt, and China: Oh My!

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– By Nick Reid world can be a very dangerous place sometimes, especially for a nation state such as the United States. Although danger is always present, the number and …

Metro Money Mess Pushing West

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– By Delegate Dave LaRock (R-33rd) A local paper recently quoted Loudoun Board Chair Phyllis Randall as saying that in her observation “some of the concerns raised by the people …

Dear Editor

Comstock Understands National Security

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On 9-11, I attended three ceremonies throughout Loudoun County honoring and remembering those 2,977 souls that we lost on that day of infamy. Our Congresswoman, Barbara Comstock was also there …

Lessons from Short Hill

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It’s been a little over two weeks since the Commission Permit for the proposed AT&T facility on Short Hill was overruled by the Board of Supervisors. This is just about …

View From the Ridge

An Open Letter to the Citizens of Purcellville

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Mark Your Calendar, They’ve Asked for Our Input So Let’s Give It To Them By Steady and Nobull The Purcellville Planning Commission has tentatively scheduled a series of public input …

Around Virginia

History’s Holy Places: Four Local Sites Worth Exploring This Fall

outandaboutloudoun

The Journey through Hallowed Ground is a 180-mile long, 75-mile wide trek from Gettysburg to Monticello, encompassing nine presidential homes and places, 18 national and state parks, and thousands of small and large historical sites. Dozens and dozens of these sites and related museums are short ride from just about …

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Land Trust Receives Large Donation

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On August 22, The Land Trust of Virginia received a $10,000 gift from the Sharon D. Virts Foundation, based in Herndon. The presentation of this grant was part of the Foundation’s official launch event, held at Selma Plantation in Leesburg. Notable speakers included Sharon D. Virts, FCiFederal Founder and Chair, …

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Farmers Urged To Be On The Lookout For Marijuana

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Farmers in Southwest Virginia are being urged to check their property for marijuana planted by trespassers. Within the past year, hundreds of marijuana plants have been discovered between rows of hay bales on farms in and around Pulaski County, according to the Claytor Lake Regional Drug Task Force. “Unfortunately this …

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Sports

Hunter’s First Professional Race

7 Sep 2016

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Drew Hunter and Loudoun Valley classmates at his first professional race, Sir Walter Miler in Raleigh, NC in early August , l to r:  Marcos Pierce, Matt Slook, Drew Hunter, Max McNerney. Hunter finished with a time of 3:57.15. Hunter turned professional and signed with Adidas.

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Let’s Make Some Memories

3 Aug 2016

baseball

American Legion Baseball At Fireman’s Field, August 3 – 7 By Andrea Gaines American Legion Baseball is here at Fireman’s Field in a big way, featuring five consecutive blockbuster Mid-Atlantic Tournament games – August 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Our local Leesburg Post 34 Rangers had some nice wins …

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