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Where do I Find a Good Attorney for my Estate Needs?

There are thousands of attorneys that specialize in estate planning, so choosing the right one for you can be a challenge. If possible, referrals are the best approach. Your Financial Advisor should definitely have resources and a network available to recommend a reliable estate and/or tax attorney for you — someone he or she has been working with for a number of years at least. Ultimately, the best source is a referral from a friend or someone else you trust. Continue reading...

What is Form 2848: Power of Attorney and Declaration of Representative?

IRS Link to Form — Found Here Sometimes individuals need representation to argue their case to the IRS or the tax court. To this end, there is an IRS form, the 2848, which designates an individual to represent the taxpayer on tax matters. The person receiving agency must be qualified and certified to perform such work. CPAs, Enrolled Agents (EAs), tax attorneys, and a few other professionals are qualified to represent taxpayers (or non-taxpayers, as the case may be) on tax matters in a tax court or IRS audit. To give one of these registered tax advisors the authority to serve as your agent and proxy for such matters before the IRS and tax courts, you must file a Form 2848. Continue reading...

What is Bankruptcy Court?

Bankruptcy court is a special judicial proceeding which determines how a debtor can settle accounts and move on. Bankruptcy courts are always federal, and not state, courts. They were established in the Constitution and given structure by the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978. They give debtors a means of moving beyond debts that cannot be fully repaid. There are several kinds of bankruptcy filings (found here — ‘chapter 7-15’, some for individuals, some for businesses, some involving foreign entities or persons operating in the US. Some are for absolution and the dissolution of a business entity, and other filings are requests for partial debt forgiveness and reorganization of the entity. Continue reading...

How Much Does it Cost to Prepare a Trust?

The cost of setting up a trust varies depending on the type of trust and its complexity, but generally speaking a trust will cost between a few hundred to a few thousand dollars. Basic trusts can typically be setup using online tools and guides from trusted sources, whereas complex trusts often require the help of an estate planning attorney and a tax attorney. There is also the matter of paying the trustees an annual fee for oversight of the trust, and there may be annual expenses associated with keeping the trust up to date with changes to the law and/or your estate plan. Continue reading...

How Much Does it Cost to Prepare a Will?

A simple will can be created for free if a person uses an online template from a trusted source and/or creates the document themselves. Having an attorney create a will may cost a few hundred dollars, depending on the complexity of the estate. If you opt for an online will, the cost will be extremely cheap compared to hiring a professional (possibly a few hundred dollars or even significantly less). Continue reading...

What is a Living Will? (in-depth)

A living will is sometimes called an advance directive or a medical directive, and it specifies a person’s wishes regarding life-prolonging medical procedures and other end-of-life issues. If a person is in a coma, for instance, it is intended to provide instructions for their care, including whether or not to use oxygen or “feeding tubes” to keep them alive. This might require a Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) waiver of some kind, which tells medical staff not to intervene if the person is dying. The living will is different than the “will” that most people are familiar with, which is a Last Will and Testament, stipulating the person’s wishes for their estate after he or she has died. Continue reading...

Do I Need Professional Help to Prepare a Trust?

In most cases, you should consult a tax professional and/or an estate planning attorney for help in setting up a trust. If you’re setting up a trust in the first place, it is likely because you have estate planning needs – which also means you have a level of assets that requires estate planning. Preparing a trust on your own runs the risk of setting it up incorrectly, which can lend itself to legal risks such as challenges from heirs and/or creditors. Continue reading...

What is a No-Cost Mortgage?

No-Cost Mortgages waive the initial closing costs by making a repayment structure for those costs into the interest payments on a mortgage loan. Closing costs can range from 2%-5% of the total cost of the home, and include attorney fees, underwriting fees, application fees, and so on. These costs are deferred and are paid in the form of additional interest on the loan. Closing costs are separate from down-payments of equity, and are a miscellaneous hodgepodge of a wide range of fees associated with closing a mortgage deal. These costs are sometimes covered by the seller, but most often they are paid by the buyer. Continue reading...

What is a No-Fee Mortgage?

No-fee mortgages are synonymous with no-cost mortgages, which might apply to first mortgages or refinancing arrangements where the closing costs are paid by the lender, broker, or bank, but a higher interest rate is charged on the loan as a means of recouping those waived fees. Closing costs and fees are calculated based on the total amount being loaned, and might be about 3% for a first mortgage and 1.5% for a refinanced mortgage. When the fees and closing costs associated with a mortgage loan are waived for the borrower, they are usually baked in to a higher interest rate on the loan. Continue reading...

Should I sell my house without a real estate broker?

While it is possible to sell your house without a broker, it may prove to be more trouble than it’s worth. If a person can sell their own house or property without a real estate broker, he or she can avoid paying broker’s fees out of the proceeds. A person should realize, however that brokers are well-acquainted with the real estate marketplace, and may possibly already have some potential buyers in their pipeline.They are also ready to spend the time and money to market and show your property. Continue reading...

What is a Mortgage Rate Lock?

Mortgages take a while to process, but a broker or bank can lock in a rate for themselves or their clients. Locking-in rates costs money somewhere along the line, and the longer the rate is locked in, the more it costs. 60 days is generally the longest time frame you will see a rate locked in, due to the cost associated with that risk. Mortgage rates can be locked in for a period of time long enough to underwrite the loan. This might be for a period as short as 20 days or as long as 60 days. Continue reading...

How Do I Prepare a Will?

If your balance sheet is a relatively simple one, and you have very little or no debt, then it may be fine to simply use a trusted online resource. More complicated wills usually require the help of an attorney who can help you and guide you through the process. Be warned though: hiring an attorney will not be cheap, but it may very well be worth the cost in the long run. Do I Need Professional Help to Prepare a Will? How Much Does it Cost to Prepare a Will? Continue reading...

Should I Notarize my Will?

In general, a will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses, each of whom must also sign your will. Whether or not a notarized will is accepted by the court depends on the rules of the state in which you live. You should cross-reference the rules of your state and comply to them, or simply consult an estate planning attorney for the best approach. How is a Will Implemented After my Death? Do I Need Professional Help to Prepare a Will? What is Probate? Continue reading...

What Is Form 1099-NEC?

Form 1099-NEC, the Internal Revenue Service's (IRS) designated form for reporting nonemployee compensation, plays a vital role in the financial landscape of businesses and independent workers alike. This article aims to demystify this crucial form, explaining its purpose, key features, and how to navigate it efficiently. Form 1099-NEC is the IRS's solution to the confusion surrounding income and compensation reporting. Before 2020, all nonemployee compensation was reported in box 7 of Form 1099-MISC, causing headaches for many payers who faced dual-filing deadlines. Continue reading...

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will is a document that dictates your wishes in the event you become incapable of making decisions, whether because of illness or injury. The directives in a living will are almost always related to person's desires regarding their medical treatment in those circumstances of incapacitation, in which they are no longer able to express informed consent. What is Probate? Should I Notarize my Will? Continue reading...

Can I Use Standard Online Wills?

While online will templates may be useful for those with straightforward estate plans, they lack customization and legal guidance. To avoid the risk of creating a contested or unenforceable will, individuals should only use templates from trusted sources and consult an estate planning attorney for complex estate plans, significant assets, or unusual circumstances. Ultimately, a well-crafted will provides peace of mind and security for loved ones, and individuals should take the time to make informed decisions when creating a will. Continue reading...

What if My Long-Term Care Insurance Doesn’t Pay for My Expenses?

Most long-term care insurance policies are designed to mitigate the cost of long-term assisted living care, not to cover the entire daily cost. Retirees should plan to absorb some of the cost themselves, assuming that daily supervised care is needed. That being said, if you own a long-term care insurance policy and the insurance company is refusing to pay benefits for the care you need, then you may have a fight ahead of you. Continue reading...

How many financial advisors do I need?

It’s good to have the opinion of advisors who are knowledgeable in various areas of your planning and portfolio, but for most portfolios this can be reasonably accomplished with one advisor. It’s a good idea to have one Financial Advisor who oversees all of your assets, and if the individual parts of your portfolio are of significant size, you might consider having a specialist in those fields to oversee them. Continue reading...

What Does 'Irrevocable Trust' Refer To?

When it comes to safeguarding your assets, minimizing estate taxes, or securing a financial legacy, irrevocable trusts can be a powerful tool in your financial arsenal. In this article, we will delve into what irrevocable trusts are, how they function, their types, and their diverse range of applications. An irrevocable trust is a legal arrangement that serves a dual purpose: it relocates the assets from the grantor's control and name to that of the beneficiary, effectively reducing the grantor's taxable estate and protecting the assets from creditors. Continue reading...

How is Conservatorship Defined? What are its Mechanisms, Classifications, and Alternatives?

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