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Common Estate Planning Mistakes

The most common way to transfer assets to your heirs is also the messiest: to have a will that is so out of date that it doesn’t relate to your property or estate, to have your records scattered all over the place, to have social media, banking and email accounts whose passwords only you can find—and basically to leave a big mess for others to clean up. Is there a better way? Recently, a group of estate planning experts were asked for their advice on a better process to handle the transfer of assets at your death, and to articulate common mistakes.The list of mistakes included the following: Not regularly reviewing documents.What might have been a solid plan 15 or 20 years ago may not relate to your estate today. The experts recommended a full review every three to five years, to ensure that trustees, executors, guardians, beneficiaries and healthcare agents are all up-to-date.You might also consider creating a master document which lists all your social media and online accounts and pas…

Hot Stocks (Not) To Pick

This NY Times article Hot Stocks Can Make You Rich. But They Probably Won’t provides a succinct take on the odds of picking the next big winner. Before you jump headlong into stock picking, you should consider the odds. Over the long run, while the total stock market has prospered, most individual stocks have not.
“A new study by Hendrik Bessembinder, a finance professor at Arizona State University, demonstrates persuasively that while investing in the overall stock market makes sense, the obstacles facing individual stock pickers are formidable.
Professor Bessembinder found that a mere 4 percent of the stocks in the entire market — headed by Exxon Mobil and followed by Apple, General Electric, Microsoft and IBM — accounted for all of the net market returns from 1926 through 2015. By contrast, the most common single result for an individual stock over that period was a return of nearly negative 100 percent — almost a total loss.”
Yet more evidence that stock picking can be very harmf…