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Financial Planning > Trusts and Estates > Estate Planning

The Problems With Estate Planning and Software

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I just finished my 14-day free trial of Money Guide Pro. I gave this software serious consideration and found it has many useful features, but alas, it isn’t going to work for me. The problem is with the estate functionality. If you are in a common law state it works fine. But I am in a community property state and there is a deficiency.

The deficieny is that the software will not allow you to classify any asset with a beneficiary designation, such as qualified retirement plans, annuities, and life insurance, as community property. These assets will either fall on one side of the ledger or the other. They will either be his or hers, but not both. In a community property state, when one spouse has an IRA, the ownership is divided equally for each spouse no matter whose name is on it. You could use a workaround by splitting the asset in two and entering it twice, but I didn’t want to pay a lot of money for a program and have to do this. Maybe they’ll modify it, but in the meantime, I’ll have to pass.

New Office

My new office should be ready by the middle of this month. I had to buy a refrigerator and a microwave. I also bought a 32″ flat screen Plasma TV. I’ll put this in the conference room and whenever I prepare a financial plan for a client, I’ll give them the presentation on the big screen. Hey, maybe I’ll get a few snapshots of the client and their family and incorporate it into the presentation. Kind of like, “This is Your Life,” only I’d call it, “This is Your Plan!” People like to see themselves on TV, right? We’ll see.

New Custodian

I’ve met with most of my clients about changing custodians and so far everyone understands. My clients will see little difference except for slightly lower transaction fees. I’ll make my decision this week, inform the appropriate parties, and write about it in next week’s blog. I’ll also fill you in on my selection process and what I found with each. I have to say, there are many good choices out there when it comes to custodians.


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