Managing Your Money All-in-One For Dummies

Managing Your Money All-in-One For Dummies

by The Experts at Dummies
Managing Your Money All-in-One For Dummies

Managing Your Money All-in-One For Dummies

by The Experts at Dummies

Paperback(2nd ed.)

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A hands-on, power-packed guide to managing all things money

Time and money. Those are the two most important assets you have, and smart people manage both of them wisely. Managing Your Money All-in-One For Dummies is your one-stop resource to turn to when you’re ready to manage your money. It offers everything you need to confidently handle your finances. When you’re ready to create a budget, pay down debt, and scale back your expenses, you’ll find the support you need here. If you’re eyeing the future, you’ll find advice on improving your credit score, saving for college and retirement, and planning an estate. As if all of that isn’t enough, this comprehensive book covers other financial topics such as buying insurance, investing in your 401(k), and so much more.

The authors of Managing Your Money All-in-One For Dummies explain how to handle your money in a way that encourages you to think and act positively, no matter what your financial situation looks like. And as you move toward financial freedom, you can come back to this book to get advice on topics that go beyond day-to-day money management, such as taking out a mortgage, investing online, and more.

  • Get your financial life in order, whatever your stage of life
  • Make a budget, manage your credit, and pay down your debt
  • Demystify financial reports, online investing, and retirement plans
  • Save for college and learn how to balance your saving and spending habits in any economy
  • Navigate the new norm of online banking

Spend some time learning how to manage your money today. It’ll be a wise investment of both of your most valuable assets.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781119883357
Publisher: Wiley
Publication date: 06/28/2022
Series: For Dummies Books
Edition description: 2nd ed.
Pages: 720
Sales rank: 354,811
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 7.20(h) x 1.70(d)

About the Author

Ted Benna and Brenda Watson Newmann are coauthors of 401(k)s & IRAs For Dummies. John Ventura was the coauthor of Managing Debt For Dummies with Mary Reed. Eric Tyson is coauthor with Robert S. Griswold on Mortgage Management For Dummies. Jack Hungelmann is author of Insurance For Dummies. Melyssa Barrett, Steve Bucci, Rod Griffin are coauthors of Credit Repair Kit For Dummies. Other authors include Matt Krantz, Deborah Taylor-Hough, James P. Caher, John M. Caher, Kathleen Sindell, Margaret Atkins Munro, N. Brian Caverly, and Jordan S. Simon.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

About This Book 1

Foolish Assumptions 2

Icons Used in This Book 3

Beyond the Book 3

Where to Go from Here 3

Book 1: Taking Charge of Your Finances 5

Chapter 1: Assessing Where You Are Financially 7

Asking Some Preliminary Questions 8

Evaluating Your Relationship with Money 9

Recognizing emotional spending 9

Living for the moment 9

Checking Out Your Credit Reports 10

Getting copies of your credit reports 10

Knowing why your reports matter 11

Finding Out Your FICO Score 11

Comparing Spending and Income 12

Gathering the necessary materials 12

Categorizing your expenses 13

Figuring out the fritter factor 17

Totaling spending and earnings 17

Calculating your financial bottom line 18

Assessing Your Spending Habits 18

Cataloging What You Own 20

Adding Up What You Owe 22

Chapter 2: Improving Your Relationship with Money 25

Working with Your Partner to Achieve Financial Goals 26

Recognizing your financial strengths and weaknesses 26

Identifying long-term goals 28

Establishing savings goals 29

Finding peaceful solutions to differences 29

Pulling together with your spouse or partner 30

Talking money with your children 31

Believing in Yourself 33

Handling Setbacks 35

Asking for Help 37

Digging Out of Debt 38

Step 1: Acknowledge the problem 38

Step 2: Cut the cards 38

Step 3: Set a good budget and live within it 39

Step 4: Contact your creditors 39

Budgeting for the Future 39

Step 1: Categorize your expenses 40

Step 2: Estimate what you spend 41

Step 3: Calculate and adjust 41

Chapter 3: Building and Sticking to a Budget 43

Comparing Monthly Spending and Income 44

Tackling a Budget Deficit 49

Cutting expenses 49

Reducing debt before saving 49

Using other strategies 50

Paying the Important Stuff If You Can’t Pay Everything 52

Distinguishing between secured and unsecured debt 52

Knowing when to prioritize an unsecured debt 53

Examining a Budget Surplus 54

Finalizing and Sticking to Your Budget 54

Steeling your resolve 55

Checking your progress each month 55

Chapter 4: Cutting Spending and Boosting Income 59

Finding Ways to Spend Less 60

Looking for good deals 60

Spending less on your housing 60

Lowering your utility bills 61

Eating for less 62

Paying less for transportation 64

Having fun for less 65

Looking good for less 66

Dressing for less 66

Reducing your phone costs 67

Saving on prescription drugs 67

Inching down your insurance costs 68

Bringing in More Bucks 70

Earning more at your current job 71

Looking for a new job 71

Getting (and surviving) a second job 74

Considering freelancing 75

Chapter 5: Cleaning Up Your Credit Reports 77

Understanding the True Value of Good Credit 78

Reviewing Your Reports for Problems 81

Using the Law to Get Your Credit Record Clean and Keep It That Way 84

Identifying and Disputing Inaccurate Information 87

Understanding the dispute process 87

Correcting all your credit reports 88

Contacting the creditor 93

Adding Positive Information to Your Credit Report 94

Asking your landlord to report your rent payments 94

Adding your utility and cell-phone payments to your report 94

Opening new credit accounts 95

Adding a 100-word statement 95

Book 2: Managing Home and Personal Finances 97

Chapter 1: Running a Money-Smart Household 99

Reaching Out to Touch Someone 99

Saving on phone bills 100

Using email and texting to stay in touch 100

Rediscovering the joys of letter writing 100

Saving on Climate Control 101

Dressing for the weather 101

Keeping your cool when the weather’s not 101

Warming the house 104

Cutting Back on Electricity and Gas Use 106

Improving your appliance efficiency 107

Shedding some light on the subject 107

Trash Talk: Controlling Garbage Costs 108

Reducing what you throw away 108

Reusing household items in creative ways 109

Cutting Down on Water Use 110

Keeping a Ceiling on Housing Budgets 111

Saving money on rent 111

Saving money on home ownership 112

Cutting Transportation Costs 115

Finding a deal on a set of wheels 115

Using public transportation 117

Biking and walking 117

Finding bargains on airfare and rental cars 118

Opting to travel by train or bus 119

Purchasing Appliances 119

Keeping energy efficiency in mind 119

Shopping for scratch-and-dent and secondhand 120

Thinking twice about renting-to-own 120

Chapter 2: Selecting the Best Home Purchase Loan 121

Three Questions to Help You Pick the Right Mortgage 122

How long do you plan to keep your mortgage? 122

How much financial risk can you accept? 123

How much money do you need? 124

Fixed-Rate Mortgages: No Surprises 125

Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs) 127

How an ARM’s interest rate is determined 129

How often does the interest rate adjust? 132

What are the limits on rate adjustments? 132

Does the loan have negative amortization? 133

Fine-Tuning Your Thought Process 135

Finding funds 136

Making the 30-year versus 15-year mortgage decision 136

Getting a Loan When Rates Are High 137

Chapter 3: Handling a Mortgage Meltdown 139

Assessing the Damage from a Mortgage Meltdown 140

Understanding How Mortgages Differ from Other Loans 141

Spotting a foreclosure on the horizon 142

Counting to 90 142

Knowing Where to Turn for Help 143

Finding good help for free 143

Working with your mortgage servicer 144

Avoiding help that hurts 145

Considering Alternatives to Going Down with the Ship 146

What to do first 146

What to do for more serious problems 147

What to do to end matters 147

Managing a foreclosure 148

Strategic default: Stopping payments 149

Dealing with Deficiencies 151

Preparing for “Credit Winter” 152

Chapter 4: Keeping a Lid on Medical Costs 155

Saving on Medical Expenses 155

Keeping a close eye on bills 155

Looking into payment plans 156

Coordinating insurance benefits 156

Finding less-expensive prescriptions 156

Discovering What Makes a Great Health Insurance Plan 157

Deciding Between Individual and Group 158

Pricing 158

Underwriting 158

Benefit levels 159

Renewability 159

Coverage flexibility 159

Saving Money on Individual Coverage 160

Saving directly 160

Saving indirectly with self-care 163

Coping with Health Insurance Problems 164

Insuring the uninsurable 164

Staying insured through hard times 165

Insuring your kids when your policy no longer covers them 165

Evaluating insurance available through college 166

Understanding temporary health insurance 167

Continuing coverage following a divorce 168

Deciding on a conversion policy 169

Considering HIPAA instead 170

Taking Decisive Action 174

Reviewing bills with a fine-tooth comb 175

Making your plan pay what it should 175

Taking advantage of hospital discounts 176

Reducing your medical debt 177

Chapter 5: Using the Internet to Help Manage Your Finances 179

Giving Yourself an Online Financial Makeover 180

Using the Internet to Budget 181

Finding Online Resources to Track Your Income and Expenses 184

Using the Internet to Get Free Financial Advice 185

Finding Out What You’re Worth 186

Book 3: Dealing with Debt 189

Chapter 1: Tackling What You Owe 191

Taking Stock of Your Finances 192

Using a Budget to Get Out of Debt 193

Taking the Right Steps When You Have Too Much Debt 194

Handling Debt Collectors 195

Realizing your rights 196

Understanding why debt collectors behave as they do 197

Getting a Financial Education 198

The difference between good debt and bad debt 198

Distinguishing between types of credit 199

Seeing yourself through a creditor’s eyes 200

Building a better credit history 201

Chapter 2: Starting or Restarting Your Credit in Real Life 203

Debunking Misinformation about Banking and Credit 204

Why you need credit 205

Why credit is safe 206

Obtaining Credit: Starting Out on the Right Foot 207

Establishing a credit file without a Social Security number 208

Setting goals before you set out 209

Establishing a relationship with a financial institution 210

Using prepaid and reloadable cards 212

Fattening up your credit file 212

Avoiding high interest, fees, and scams 214

Overcoming Credit Fears and Mistakes 215

Qualifying for First-Time Cards and Lending 217

Getting a credit card 217

Using savings for credit 219

Considering Credit for Students and Military Members 220

Giving credit to students 220

Following military credit rules 222

Chapter 3: Consolidating Your Debts 225

Knowing When Debt Consolidation Makes Sense 225

Considering Your Options 226

Transferring balances 227

Getting a bank loan 229

Borrowing against your life insurance policy 233

Borrowing from your 401(k) retirement plan 234

Avoiding Dangerous Debt-Consolidation Possibilities 236

Chapter 4: Negotiating with Creditors and Getting Help 237

Getting Ready to Negotiate 238

Listing all your debts 239

Zeroing in on certain debts first 239

Reviewing your budget 240

Pulling together your financial information 241

Getting Down to Business: Contacting Creditors 243

Making the Agreement Official: Putting It in Writing 244

Knowing the Deal with Credit Counseling 246

Finding a Reputable Credit Counseling Agency 246

Differentiating the good from the bad 247

Locating agencies in your area 248

Knowing what to ask and what to expect 249

Working with a Credit Counselor 250

Sharing your financial situation 251

Whittling down your debt with a debt management plan 251

Avoiding Debt Settlement Firms 254

Being wary of false promises 254

Preventing worse financial problems 255

Getting Relief If You Get Ripped Off 255

Chapter 5: Considering Bankruptcy 257

Viewing Bankruptcy in a Historical Context 258

Debunking Bankruptcy Myths 260

“People who go bankrupt are sleazy deadbeats” 260

“Bankruptcy is the easy way out for folks who can pay their bills” 262

“Bankruptcy threatens the ethical foundations of our society” 262

“Honest folks pay a ‘tax’ to support people who are bankrupt” 263

Understanding What You Can Gain Through Bankruptcy 263

Stopping creditors in their tracks 265

Wiping out most of your debts 266

Catching up on back mortgage and car payments 267

Filing bankruptcy to pay some debts over time 267

Using bankruptcy to pay all your debts 267

Knowing What You Can Lose in Bankruptcy 268

Considering Alternatives to Bankruptcy 269

Introducing the Different Types of Personal Bankruptcy 270

Liquidations (Chapter 7) 271

Consumer reorganizations (Chapter 13) 271

Weighing the Consequences of Not Filing Bankruptcy 272

Claims secured by your car 272

Claims secured by your home 273

Student loans 273

Support obligations 273

Fines and restitution 273

Taxes 274

Lawsuits 274

Using the Statute of Limitations 274

Book 4: Saving and Investing 275

Chapter 1: Becoming a Saver 277

Eliminating Most of the Fat 278

Making lists of where you are now 278

Carving away the truly wasteful 279

Lowering Your Debt 280

Trimming Other Costs 282

Changing Your Perspective and Watching Your Savings Grow 283

Paying yourself first 283

Educating yourself about investing 284

Taking advantage of giveaways 287

Saving While in Debt 289

Chapter 2: Investing in Stocks, Bonds, and Mutual Funds 291

Stock: Owning a Piece of the Rock 292

Understanding stock 292

Conducting business in stock exchanges 293

Brushing up: A quick stock glossary 294

Picking a stock investment strategy 296

Buying Bonds for Fixed Income 297

Understanding bonds 297

Sorting out different kinds of bonds 298

Interpreting bond ratings 299

Mutual Funds: The Power of Many 301

Understanding mutual funds 301

Defining different kinds of mutual funds 302

Doing It Your Way versus Using a Broker 302

Full-service brokers 303

Discount brokers 304

Online brokers 304

Avoiding Five Common Investing Mistakes 304

Investing before you’re ready 305

Investing without goals 305

Believing those “hot” tips 306

Not diversifying your portfolio 307

Selling too soon (or too late) 307

Chapter 3: Saving for Retirement 309

Targeting Your Retirement Date 310

Getting Your Hands on Your Money 311

Drawing on your Social Security 311

Tapping into other sources 316

Living the retirement life 317

Testing the waters in your gene pool 318

Developing Your Retirement Savings Plan 318

Cutting down on your expenses 318

Picturing your progress 320

Counting on compounding 324

Chapter 4: Saving for College 327

Doing the Numbers 328

Exploring Section 529 Plans 329

Checking Out Coverdell Accounts 329

But Wait! There’s More! 330

Maximizing Your Savings, Minimizing Your Tax 332

Checking Out the Cost of College 332

Tackling tuition 333

Accounting for housing 333

Factoring in books and supplies 335

Looking into the Costs of Various Types of Schools 336

Exploring career and vocational training schools 336

Taking community college and continuing education classes 336

Going for a four-year public education 337

Getting your education in private 337

Chapter 5: Working with an Online Broker 339

Finding the Best Broker for You 340

The nine main factors to consider 340

Gotchas to watch out for 342

Separating the Types of Brokerages 342

Paying the minimum with a deep discounter 343

Get more with a discounter 344

Full-service traditional 348

Avoiding Hidden Fees 350

Finding Out What Reviewers Think 351

Is Your Money Safe? Checking Out Your Broker 352

Cutting the Cord: Mobile Trading 354

Opening and Setting Up Your Account 355

The checklist of what you need to know 356

The checklist of what you need to have 356

Book 5: Protecting Your Money and Assets 357

Chapter 1: Combating Identity Theft 359

Keeping Thieves at Bay 360

Getting on the technology train 361

Looking out for phishing scams 361

Safeguarding your computer data 363

Keeping passwords secret 364

Protecting your mail 365

Storing financial data in your home 366

Putting your credit information on ice 366

Shielding your credit card number 367

Catching Identity Thieves in the Act 369

Watching for early-warning notices 370

Getting early warnings from the IRS 371

Handling a collections call 372

Detecting unauthorized charges 372

Being denied credit or account access 373

Noticing missing account statements 373

Taking Fast Action When Identity Theft Occurs 374

Communicating with the right people 374

Protecting your identity through the FACT Act 377

Sending out a fraud alert 379

Blocking fraudulent credit lines 380

Getting and Using Credit After Identity Theft 380

Closing and reopening your accounts 380

Altering your PINs and passwords 381

Changing your Social Security number and driver’s license number 382

Chapter 2: Online Banking 383

Online and Traditional Banks 383

Advantages of online banking 384

Online bank access 384

Accounting for Your Accounts 385

Savings account 385

Basic checking account 386

Interest-bearing checking account 386

MMDA or MMA 386

cd 386

Choosing an Online Bank That’s Right for You 387

Identifying your user profile 387

Noting the fees when you shop 388

Opening Your Online Bank Account 390

Chapter 3: Homeowner’s Insurance: Protecting Your Stuff 393

Introducing the Six Parts of a Homeowner’s Policy 394

Insuring your residence (Coverage A) 394

Insuring detached structures (Coverage B) 396

Insuring your belongings (Coverage C) 397

Insuring additional living expenses (Coverage D) 398

Insuring your personal liability (Coverage E) 399

Insuring guests’ medical bills (Coverage F) 401

Choosing the Right Homeowner’s Property Coverages 401

Understanding the causes-of-loss options 402

Introducing the six most common homeowner’s policies 403

Establishing Property Coverage Limits 404

Determining the replacement cost of your home 405

Guaranteeing you’ll have enough insurance to rebuild 407

Estimating the cost to replace belongings 408

Choosing your deductible 409

Documenting Your Claim 411

Chapter 4: Auto Insurance Basics 413

Managing Your Lawsuit Risks 413

Reviewing noninsurance strategies 414

Buying liability insurance 414

Insuring Your Personal Injuries 419

Understanding how uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage works 420

Saving money on medical coverage 423

Dealing with Damage to Your Vehicle 424

Choosing cost-effective deductibles 425

Knowing when to drop collision and comprehensive coverage 428

Evaluating Road Service and Car Rental Coverages 429

Chapter 5: Insuring Yourself: Life Insurance 431

Assessing the Need 431

Who doesn’t need life insurance 432

Who does need life insurance 432

Determining How Much Coverage You Need 433

Looking at a hypothetical family 433

Using the multiple of income method 434

Using the web to estimate needs 434

Speaking the Language 436

Understanding the Types of Life Insurance 437

Ideal use 437

Pricing 438

Agent commissions 438

Understanding the Variations of Permanent Life Insurance 439

Whole life 440

Universal life 441

Variable life 442

Cash value options when dropping permanent insurance 443

Understanding the Variations of Term Life Insurance 445

Annual renewable term (ART) 445

Fixed-rate level term 445

Decreasing term 447

Insurance from your mortgage company 447

Making Your Choice 448

Evaluating Life Insurance Sources 449

Considering an agent 450

Buying without an agent 452

Debunking Myths and Mistakes 454

Mistake: Trading cash value for death protection needs 454

Myth: Supplemental group life is cheaper 455

Mistake: Buying life insurance in pieces 455

Mistake: Accidental death/travel coverage 456

Mistake: Covering only one income 456

Mistake: Ignoring a stay-at-home parent’s value 456

Mistake: Covering children, not parents 457

Mistake: Decreasing term insurance 457

Mistake: Being unrealistic about how much life insurance you can afford 457

Mistake: Buying before you need it 458

Myth: It’s cheaper when you’re young 458

Book 6: Dealing with the Tax Man 459

Chapter 1: Tax Return Preparation Options and Tools 461

Preparing Your Own Return 462

Taking Advantage of IRS Publications 463

Perusing Tax-Preparation and Advice Guides 464

Using Software 464

Accessing Internet Tax Resources 465

Internal Revenue Service 466

Research 467

Tax preparation sites 468

Hiring Help 468

Deciding whether you really need a preparer 469

Unenrolled preparers 469

Enrolled agents (EAs) 470

Certified public accountants (CPAs) 470

Tax attorneys 471

Finding Tax Preparers and Advisors 473

Chapter 2: Getting and Staying Organized 475

Maintaining the Burden of Proof 476

Keeping Good Records 477

Ensuring a complete and accurate tax return 477

Setting up a record-keeping system 479

Tracking tax information on your computer 480

Deciding when to stash and when to trash 481

Reconstructing Missing Tax Records 481

Property received by inheritance or gift 482

Securities received by inheritance or gift 485

Improvements to a residence 485

Casualty losses 486

Business records 487

Using duplicate account statements 487

Understanding the Cohan Rule 488

Chapter 3: No Form Fits All (Or, What Kind of Taxpayer Are You?) 491

What Rendition of 1040 Shall You Play? 492

Form 1040 492

Form 1040-SR 493

Form 1040-NR 494

Choosing a Filing Status 494

Single 495

Married filing jointly 495

Married filing separately 496

Head of household 500

Qualifying widow(er) with dependent child 502

Counting your dependents 502

Deciding who is your dependent 503

Securing Social Security numbers for dependents 506

Filing for Children and Other Dependents 508

Defining Who Is a Qualifying Child 509

Age test 509

Relationship test 510

Residency test 510

Support test 510

Must You File? 511

When to file 513

If you don’t file 513

Where to file 514

How to file 514

Book 7: Retiring Comfortably 517

Chapter 1: Checking the Benefits of a 401(k) 519

Realizing What a 401(k) Does for You 520

Lowers how much tax you pay 520

Gets you matching funds from your employer 525

Makes room for a little something extra: Employer non-matching contribution 526

Allows you to save without tears 527

Vesting: When Your Employer’s Contribution Is Yours to Keep 527

Vesting of employer contributions 528

Making exceptions 529

Letting the Pros Work for You 530

Protecting Your Money 530

Meeting minimum standards 531

Avoiding losses in bankruptcy 532

Watching Out for Potential Pitfalls 532

Earning more may mean contributing less 532

Being at the mercy of your plan 533

Chapter 2: Retiring Your Way: IRAs 535

Looking at the Basics of Your IRA 535

Staying traditional 536

Touching on Roth IRAs 537

Benefiting from a spousal IRA 538

Starting an IRA for a child 538

Setting Up Your IRA 539

Deciding where to invest your money 540

Opening your account 541

Maintaining Your IRA 542

Moving Your IRA 542

Chapter 3: Paychecks from Your House: Reverse Mortgages 545

Grasping the Reverse Mortgage Basics 546

Considering common objections 547

Who can get a reverse mortgage? 548

How much money can you get and when? 549

When do you pay the money back? 551

What do you owe? 551

How is the loan repaid? 552

What’s the out-of-pocket cost of getting a reverse mortgage? 552

What are the other reverse mortgage costs? 553

What’s the total annual rate? 554

How do reverse mortgages affect your government-sponsored benefits? 555

Shopping for a Reverse Mortgage 555

Making major choices 556

Counseling 557

Deciding Whether You Want a Reverse Mortgage 557

Chapter 4: Determining How Much You Need for Retirement 559

Improving Your Chances of an Ideal Retirement 559

Deciding How Much of Your Salary to Put Aside 560

Making use of your salary deferral agreement 560

Measuring your plan’s maximums 561

Being highly paid means different rules 562

Estimating what your budget can afford 564

Building Your Nest (Egg) 566

If you’re retiring in the near future 566

If your retirement is farther off 569

Using a retirement calculator 570

Chapter 5: Managing Money in Retirement 573

Looking Forward to Retirement 574

Decisions, Decisions: What to Do with Your 401(k) Money 574

Being older can save you money 576

Foiling the dreaded early withdrawal penalty 577

Leaving money with your former employer 578

Making Withdrawals from Your IRA 579

Paying Uncle Sam His Due: Required Withdrawals 580

Developing a Strategy to Deal with the Tax Man 583

Which comes first: Plucking the chicken or emptying the nest egg? 583

Dealing with that darned company stock 584

Managing Your Investments in Retirement 585

Live long and prosper 585

Stay practical 586

Managing Risk 587

Balancing investments 587

Buying an annuity 588

Consolidating Your Accounts 590

Tending to Your Nest Egg 591

Row, Row, Row Your Boat, Gently Down the Income Stream 592

Treating Your Home Like the Asset It Is 594

Adding up the expenses 594

Making use of your equity 595

Book 8: Planning Your Estate and Will 597

Chapter 1: The Fundamentals of Estate Planning 599

What Is an Estate? 600

The basics: Definitions and terminology 600

Property types 603

Types of property interest 604

Why You Need to Plan Your Estate 607

Why Your Estate-Planning Goals Differ from Your Neighbors’ 608

The Critical Path Method to Planning Your Estate 610

Getting Help with Your Estate Planning 613

Making sure that your team of advisors is “FAIL” safe 614

Working with Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) and other professionals 615

Knowing what to expect from your accountant for your estate planning 616

Working with your insurance agent 617

Working with your attorney 617

Chapter 2: Where There’s a Will 619

Planning for Your Will 620

Knowing the Different Types of Wills 621

Simple wills 621

Other types of wills 622

Choosing Your Will’s Contents 623

Opening clauses 624

Giving clauses 625

Ending clauses 627

Safeguarding Your Will 628

Changing, Amending, and Revoking Your Will 629

Why you may need to change your will 630

Ways to change your will 631

Protecting Your Loved Ones from Your Unloved Ones 632

Figuring Out Your Will Status 633

Testacy: You’ve nailed everything down 633

Intestacy: You die with zero “will power” 633

Partial intestacy: The vultures start circling 634

Chapter 3: The Limitations of Wills: What You Can and Can’t Do 635

Making Your Peace with Statutes That Affect Your Will 636

Identifying Statutes That Your Will Can Change 636

Abatement: There’s not enough in the cupboard for everyone 637

Ademption: Some property is missing 639

Antilapse: Someone dies before you do 640

Divorce: High noon in Splitsville 640

Simultaneous death: Sorry, but we have to talk about it 641

Living (And Dying) with the Laws That Your Will Can’t Change 642

Community property 642

Spousal elective shares 644

Homestead allowance: Keeping a house for kiddies and spouse 645

Homestead exemption: How the law protects your house from your creditors 645

Exempt property: How the law protects your personal property from creditors 646

Family allowance: Drawing from your estate to protect your family 646

Oops! Taking care of VIPs who aren’t in the will 647

Chapter 4: Estate Planning with Online Resources 649

Understanding Wills and Trusts 650

Where there’s an online will, there’s a way 650

Avoiding probate 651

Getting the Basics of Trusts 652

Trusting in Living Trust to Avoid Probate 654

Joint Tenancy and Beneficiary Arrangements 655

Not all heirs are created equal 656

Don’t keep your estate plans hush-hush 657

Customizing Estate Planning for All Ages 657

Under 30 and loving it 658

Grooving in your midlife 659

Retired and enjoying the good life 660

Selecting an Estate Planner 661

Preparing to Meet Your Estate Planner 662

Index 663

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