Life Crisis

Divorce is a complex and taxing process which takes a toll on your emotions and your disposition, disrupting your family life and making it difficult to think clearly and strategically.  This results in settlements that are less than optimal for the parties involved. 

In most cases, your personal situation takes center stage, while other aspects of your life fade to the background, such as financial issues, but even when money is tight and parties are distracted by the pain of a breakup, financial and tax planning need to be front and center in divorce planning.

If you are filing for a divorce, you should seek professional help from a divorce lawyer, familiar with the legal issues involved in the process.  A financial and tax adviser are also recommended, in order to make the best, informed decisions on aspects that will affect your future.


Family Finances

  • Financial Planning is crucial when a marriage breaks up. Hire a financial planner to help you with your financial situation before and after the divorce becomes final. Budgeting early in the process may cut down on the risk of overspending, which is a temptation after a painful event.  Both necessary and unnecessary spending after a divorce is a key reason the newly single tip into bankruptcy.
  • Know your family’s assets, what their value is and where they are; know the approximate family income and be familiar with your joint tax return.
  • Be mindful of any sudden change in financial habits by your spouse and ask questions. A spouse may sometimes begin to funnel joint assets into separate accounts. When this happens, assets that might otherwise get divided often disappear.
  • College-age children may have the right to demand financial support or college funding at the state level so their education isn't interrupted. Be aware of your state's divorce laws with respect to secondary child support.
  • Get help documenting child support.  A majority of child support orders go unpaid, make sure you know the laws to force compliance.

Assets before, during and after divorce

  • Be logicalin evaluating income and expenses. Mind that getting the house, doesn’t guarantee a secure financial future.  Don't end up house-rich and cash-poor.
  • Pay attention to what’s important and be objective: Custody of minor children is of paramount importance, getting the house, however, may not be.
  • Manage your risks by insuring alimony and child support, or other settlement obligations to be paid over time. Life and disability insurance can be critical components of a good divorce settlement.
  • Avoid signing settlement paperwork prematurely.
  • Update your estate and confirm that the paperwork required to implement the divorce agreement was submitted and processed properly.  Change your wills, health care proxies and guardianship documents to reflect your new life and updated wishes. Company retirement plans and IRAs tend to get overlooked.


  • Consider the tax implications of selling or distributing assets; also, know the tax ramifications of alimony and file taxes wisely. There are always special situations in a divorce that will determine whether a couple will need to file jointly or separately during the last year that the marriage exists. It's best for both sides to get some assistance filing their taxes during their divorce year and the year afterward.

As you consider your divorce settlement, you may be tempted to sign to get it over with, but  remember, your goal is to arrive at a fair and equitable settlement that is exactly what you think it is — without hidden costs, hidden taxes, or foolish mistakes.

At StateTrust, our team of experienced financial planners can help you achieve that.  Our goal is to deliver ongoing, personalized financial consulting services in order to assist you in making appropriate financial planning and investment decisions.  

You might be faced with the situation of having to take care of a loved one, a parent, a spouse, an aging relative or a friend, that needs help. It can mean planning for assistance to get them through their daily lives or it can mean dealing with a sudden and serious health crisis.


In order to lighten the burden on your finances and those who care about you, you should plan ahead for long term care, for yourself and loved ones.  Through planning, you and your planner can handle the important issues before it’s too late.


Here are some major things you should have in place:

  1. Create an emergency fundwith six months' worth of living expenses in a joint account; also consider establishing a standby line of credit to be used only for a serious emergency. In the case of an aging relative, you should start by evaluating the senior's finances.
  2. Make sure key documents are in place, such as a current will, relevant legal and health powers of attorney and any written instructions relevant to your/their care, funeral wishes and other property issues. All that information should be stored in an agreed-upon place that all key decision-makers can get to easily. Also add alist of critical phone numbers and include everyone: doctors, babysitters, human resource managers at your (and your spouse's) employer, attorneys, financial planners, bankers and credit card companies.
  3. Update wills,health care advance directives, health care powers of attorney and financial powers of attorney.  You should also create an index of all your assets: savings, investments and other key assets.
  4. Pre-arrange for your pet’s care with a friend or loved one in the case of your incapacity or death.

In putting together a Financial Plan for seniors, you should consider to include, along with retirement and estate planning:

  • Long-term health planning, including degenerative diseases
  • Instructions on how to handle medical debt
  • Insurance for long-term care
  • Elder Care options
  • Start researching care options now and be sure to review insurance options to make sure those services are paid for.
  • Make sure the care option fits the stage of health as well as the budget.
  • Be prepared to negotiate room on rates and fees and consider shared rooms if money is tight.

Making financial decisions is a reality in this time of grief.

Your Statetrust financial advisor can help you get informed and to sort out the most important tasks that you must carry out, so that you can make wise decisions, with the less impact on your family's financial well-being.


  1. Obtain multiple certified copies of the death certificate so that you can apply for death benefits, retirement and Social Security benefits; Settle the estate and assume sole control of assets such as bank accounts, investments, residence, vehicles and safe deposit box.
  2. Make funeral arrangements.  Also, review living wills and powers of attorney.
  3. Control spending and create an emergency budget.
  4. Find immediate cash or assistance from personal savings accounts, life insurance cash reserves, local or state agencies, state unemployment compensation, friends and relatives, and use it to pay the bills so you don't lose your good credit.If you are unable to meet some financial obligations, contact creditors as soon as possible to explain the situation. Many will be willing to delay or even renegotiate payments.
  5. Notify financial institutions and address tax payments.
  6. Transfer Ownership to your name for all financial relationships you've held jointly with your deceased loved one, such as bank accounts, investment accounts, loans, mortgage, automobiles, utilities and so on. You may want to obtain credit cards in your name in order to establish your own line of credit.
  7. Seek professional financial advice on how to handle your investments.
  8. Update wills and beneficiaries and review your life and disability insurance, as well.  As the sole breadwinner, adequate life insurance is critical if you have children or others who depend on you financially. You'll also want adequate disability insurance, which provides some replacement income should you become disabled to the point you can no longer work.
  9. Settle the Estate.  Generally, you have nine months from the date of death of your loved one in which to settle their estate. Usually it's good advice to have an estate planning attorney, working with your financial planner, review the will and other estate documents, and handle any legal aspects of the settlement.

Trough our Estate Planning Advisors StateTrust seeks to eliminate uncertainties over the administration of the disposition process of assets (probate) and maximize the value of your estate by reducing taxes and other expenses.  We also provide for Trust and Fiduciary Assistance in order to ensure that our client's estate is treated in accordance to their stated wishes and desires.  Estate Planning takes into consideration a wide range of unforeseen events, such as disability, untimely death, taxes, legal challenges, probate and others, which could ultimately affect the size and transfer of your estate.  The Estate Planning process will work to fulfill a variety of legal, financial and personal goals.

The estate plan carries out your requests through the implementation of legal documents that specify your instructions and wishes regarding your estate, and in some cases, what will happen to you if you become incapacitated to make decisions.  Our Estate Planning process encompasses wills, trusts, tax planning, life insurance and long-term care insurance.

When an unexpected event of a negative nature affects our lives, such as natural disasters, losing our job or getting ill, its impact on our wellbeing can be easily minimized by taking the time to craft a plan of action.

Having a plan will greatly minimize stress and financial hardships.


  1. Make a plan and make sure that all members of your family are aware of how to proceed accordingly.
  2. Review your insurancepolicies’coverage and estate planning documentsand make sure they are updated.
  3. Keep an updated list of relevant and important contacts, phone numbers, and policy numbers.
  4. Protect important documents bystoring them safely and securely and make backups of digital documents.
  5. Have an emergency fund that you can access in an emergency.


At StateTrust, our team of experienced financial planners and estate planning advisors can help you prepare for a disaster.  Our goal is to deliver ongoing, personalized financial consulting services in order to assist you in making appropriate financial planning and investment decisions.

Very regularly, new and more sophisticated ways of stealing your identity are created, allowing access to your money and credit.  It is a growing trend that could affect anyone.

Identity theft is when your personal information is accessed without your explicit permission and identity fraud occurs when that illegally obtained personal information is misused for financial gain.

Sadly,Identity theft occurs more frequently among families and groups of friends, but there are a great number of fraudulent sites on the internet, misrepresenting dating, job hunting, banking and social networking Web sites that are being used to gather critical data for a host of fraudulent activities.

You should take measures to protect yourself against identity theft and fraud.  Here are some ideas on how to keep your information safe:

  1. Protect your Social Security number by not carrying your card in your wallet and not using it as identification, unless you are required to do so by law.
  2. Safeguard your purse, wallet and cell phone and carry only the information you absolutely need.  Regularly clean out receipts and other data that would identify you.
  3. Shred credit card receipts, insurance forms, physician statements, checks and bank statements, tax-related evidence and other mail or forms that may contain personal information.
  4. Be careful when using the Internet as you might be vulnerable to online scams, "phishing" schemes and more.
  5. Select intricate passwords and change them often.
  6. Don't give out personal information over the phone, through the mail, or over the internet, with unknown emailers or on social networking sites and chat rooms unless you are sure that the company with which you are dealing is legitimate.
  7. Protect your mailbox with a key lock or install a high mail slot on a door with a strong lock.
  8. If possible, get your credit report once a year.  In the United States, by law, you're entitled to free copies of your credit report from each of the three major credit rating agencies — TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
  9. Use only ATM machines at established banks.
  10. Check your transactions daily so you can immediately spot irregularities.
  11. If you have wireless service on your laptop, try not to store any financial data on that machine. Scammers who use their wireless access to hack into your data can steal that data electronically.