Getting Started with Estate Planning

It’s never too early to start estate planning. Having a plan in place at an early age is always preferable to finding you don’t have one when you really need it. If you’re a little lost on what you should be doing first start with these few steps:


Make a Comprehensive List of All Finances
One of your first steps to estate planning will be to sit down and figure out exactly what it is that you have. Make a list of everything major that you own, including obscure things which you might not think of but that have value, such as a stamp collection or antique furniture. Next make a list of what funds you have, whether it be savings, retirement funds, or investments. Finally make sure you note what debts you currently have as well, so you know the exact value of your assets and how much money you truly have.


Make a Plan for Your Inheritance
Deciding who gets what is a tough but important part to your estate planning. Of course, you will want to make sure that your assets and money will go to exactly who you hope to receive it. It’s also important to make note of how and when you want those people to receive things. If you’re leaving a large sum of money to a minor you might want to arrange circumstances where they cannot access that money until a reasonable age. Or if you are intending to leave money specifically for someone’s education look into a 529 plan which you could start using now.


Understand what passes through Probate

Generally, any investment account, life insurance or savings and checking accounts may pass directly to your beneficiaries by listing them as such on the accounts.  If you do not list a beneficiary on your accounts, these accounts will be subject to the probate process.  Furthermore, other items like your house, vehicles and personal items are passed through your state and county of residence through probate court.  Having a Will ensures these items are passed to your intended heirs through the probate process.  However, if you would like to avoid probate and bequeath items to your beneficiaries directly, it may be recommended to consider a trust such as a revocable trust.


Consider Who Should Be Making Important Decisions for You
Should the time come where you cannot make decisions for yourself regarding your own healthcare you will want to know that the right person is making them for you. Also consider who you would want to be in control of your finances or legal matters and create a power of attorney that can be as limited as you want it to be. These are good ways to maintain some sort of control over what happens to you.


Don’t Forget the Lawyer
Hiring a lawyer is important if you want to be sure you’ve completed all the paperwork correctly and you haven’t left room for any small mistakes. If your estate is quite sizable checking everything over with a lawyer will ensure your wishes will be fulfilled exactly how you imagine.

These are just the basics to get you started with planning what will happen to your estate after your passing. Be sure to remember to check in on these plans frequently as your circumstances and relationships will probably change which could lead to you needing to make updates.


Signature Services Program
Plotkin Financial Advisors’ (PFA) Signature Services program offers complimentary and comprehensive income tax and estate planning services to eligible clients. Our team can help coordinate annual income tax preparation and address estate planning needs. We understand that premium financial planning requires ongoing monitoring of our clients’ entire financial situation. PFA’s Signature Services complements our holistic financial planning approach.  Truly unique, this service speaks to our commitment to meeting the financial planning needs of our clientele. If you would like to learn more about our Signature Services and Plotkin Financial Advisors, LLC, please feel free to contact us today!

Securities offered through Independent Financial Group, LLC (IFG) a registered broker dealer and Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Plotkin Financial Advisors, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Plotkin Financial Advisors, LLC and IFG are unaffiliated entities.

Retirement Travel: A Time to Travel Like Never Before

What do you look forward to the most when you retire? Is it perfecting your golf game, or having the time to take the grandkids to Disney World? Your time opens up when you retire – how do you want to spend it? For those of you who want to travel the world, we couldn’t agree more! What better time to see the world than during your retirement?

Retirement brings about many perks, one of the best being the freedom from a full-time job. Now that you get to decide what to do with your time, traveling sounds like a great way to spend it. You’ve worked hard to build your assets and your nest egg – now it’s time to reward yourself with the trip of a lifetime!

Here are 3 trip ideas we highly recommend putting on your retirement bucket list. Say goodbye to your 9-5 with an incredible adventure!

Live Like Royalty

Celebrate your retirement freedom by spending a week in a privately-owned castle. Drummond Castle in Drogheda, Ireland and Kilcolgan Castle near Galway offer rooms for rent, some with rooftop patios. If you want to rent an entire castle, travel to Tudor Manor House in Somerset, England. You can’t get much more luxurious than that! Thinking about renting a castle? Airbnb makes it easy.

Toast Your Retirement

Toast your retirement with a tour through a breathtaking wine country at home or abroad. Whether you are a wine connoisseur or you’re thinking about taking your first wine tour – there’s a trip out there for everyone. For those of you who are true wine geeks, Georgia is your destination. Known as the “cradle of wine,” Georgia’s winemaking heritage traces way back in time. If you’re really looking to spend the big bucks, travel to Champagne for the wine tour of your dreams. The most luxurious wines are crafted here, and the city offers luxury hotel lodgings close by. If you’re looking for a little history with your wine, Virginia is a great place to start. Jefferson Vineyards is a short drive away from the 48-room Keswick Hall and Golf Club. Sip on wine and history by day and stay in the 1912 Italianate mansion at night. For more information about the world’s best wine tours, click here.

Discover Your Heritage

It’s natural to get a little nostalgic as we grow older. Instead of flipping through old family albums on the couch, embrace your heritage and visit your family’s country of origin! Now that you have the time, why not do a little research and find out where your roots really began? There’s nothing quite as awe-inspiring as walking down the streets where your ancestors grew up. If you’re not sure where to start, you can go to and type in your country of origin and family name.


Traveling in retirement can be everything you’ve envisioned it to be. Plotkin Financial Advisors is here to help you succeed in all your financial endeavors. Contact us to learn how we can serve you today!

Securities offered through Independent Financial Group, LLC (IFG) a registered broker dealer and Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Plotkin Financial Advisors, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Plotkin Financial Advisors, LLC and IFG are unaffiliated entities.

Real Estate & Your Portfolio

One recognizable allocation in the portfolios of endowments and experienced investors is that they have a percentage of their assets in real estate. Real estate investment may offer several key benefits to your portfolio, and these include:

  1.  Income – dividends, distributions, rent, etc.
  2.  Appreciation – increase in valuation
  3. Inflation Protection – assets like real estate generally move with inflation.

However, with these benefits investors need to also be aware there are also some risks, which include: market risk, illiquidity, and management risk.

Furthermore, you can gain exposure to real estate through some of these general investments:

  1. Publicly Traded REITs
  2. Non-Traded REITs
  3. Direct Real Estate Investment (purchasing a rental property)

The most accessible way to gain exposure to real estate is to invest in a publicly traded REIT listed on an exchange that can be purchased in your investment or retirement account1. Other publicly traded investment vehicles to access REITs include Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) and mutual funds that offer investors a diversified mix of publicly traded REITs. Another way certain qualified investors may increase their real estate exposure is to invest directly in a non-traded REIT2. However, it is important to understand the offering and discuss it with your advisor before investing. That said, these programs can be specialized in regions and properties tied to health care, storage facilities, multi-family apartments or retail centers. One may also purchase real estate directly and this may require aligning yourself with a lender, real estate professional as well as an accountant to ensure you are identifying and managing the property and liabilities correctly3. Unique to non-traded REITs and direct real estate investment is they offer investors the ability to purchase an asset that is not valued daily on a stock exchange where you can see the price fluctuate. This may be beneficial in reducing portfolio volatility as well as the emotions that result from intraday volatility.

Regardless of how you invest in real estate, you should make the determination of how it fits into your long-term goals and what investment is most appropriate for your financial situation. The NAREIT Equity REIT Index had an annualized return of 10.8% from 2002 – 20164 and offered one of the best asset class returns in equities and fixed income. That said, if you haven’t considered real estate yet in your investment portfolio, it may be worth exploring. 

Plotkin Financial Advisors, LLC is an independent advisor and we seek to find unique investment instruments in the marketplace and are not restricted to one manager style or company’s products. Thus, we can provide our clients investment diversification and customization to fit their short-term needs and long-term goals. We share a similar investment philosophy as the managers of the Yale and Harvard University Endowment Funds. This investment principle combines an array of alternative investments with traditional investments, such as equities and fixed income. If you are interested in learning more, please feel free to contact us today.

1 Shares and company value are subject to regional, national and stock market influences and risk.

2 Non-traded REITs are illiquid investments. While the market price of publicly traded REIT is readily accessible, it can be difficult to determine the value of a share of a non-traded REIT. Distributions may be paid from offering proceeds and borrowings, but reduces the value of the shares and the cash available to the company to purchase additional assets. Non-traded REITs typically have an external manager instead of their own employees, and this can lead to potential conflicts of interests with shareholders.

3 Understand that risks with direct investing include facing the possibility of bad tenants and other management hassles, making a poor financial choice, losing money on the sale of the property and assuming full liability past insurance coverage.

4 JP Morgan Guide to the Markets, 12/31/16