Make Sure Your Retirement Planning Includes the Costs of Long Term Care

You might be relatively healthy now and assume that this will continue for many years. But considering that plenty of research shows that most people entering retirement will need long term care assistance at some point in their life, you should never neglect the possible health care costs of long term care in your retirement plan. 

The most expensive long-term care options, a nursing home, can cost up to $97,000 per year. Many Americans have a blind spot when it comes to retirement planning because they do not incorporate long term care at all.  

Many underestimate the costs of health care planning and assume that their health insurance will cover it but Medicare is extremely limited as far as the coverage provided to those individuals in nursing homes and Medicaid can be difficult to qualify for if you do have access.

This means you might be required to spend through your assets or to self-fund your long-term care until Medicaid kicks in. The U.S. government has conducted research showing that up to 70% of people aged 65 will receive some type of long term care during their lives. This could add up to nearly $150,000 in long term care costs over the lifetime of an elderly person, according to research released by a 2007 Bipartisan Policy Center report.

Up to two-thirds of Americans aged 40 and older admit that they have done no planning for their long-term care needs, according to research shared by the Associated Press NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Your retirement planning should always incorporate long term care needs. Schedule a consultation directly with an experienced attorney today.

Entering Retirement with Significant Debt May Affect Your Estate Plans

A recent study completed by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that older individuals today are more likely to enter retirement with debt than compared with previous decades. 

The number of older people taking on mortgages, for example, has increased significantly when compared with previous age cohorts. Massive debt generated by American households has been featured in plenty of different academic studies but very little has been done to determine how senior citizens are affected by debt or the volume debt they accumulate close to retirement.

The study was analyzing financial vulnerability and older individuals’ debt by comparing information collected by the National Financial Capability Study and the Health and Retirement Study. Planning ahead for your assets and ensuring that your debts as they decrease are incorporated into your estate plan is extremely important.

It is also crucial to consider how indebtedness in retirement years may affect your ability to pay for your own care such as long-term care support and other medical needs that you may develop over the course of your retirement. Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney about these issues and ensuring that your retirement plan, estate plan and long-term care plan are all working together can make for a better retirement for you.

Common Retirement Issues You May Not Be Planning For

It can be overwhelming to think about retirement and estate planning. However, these are crucial processes that should be considered by any adult. Many people put off the process every time in estate planning because they assume they will have time to make up for it in the future. plan for your retirement

However, a sudden issue or disability can illustrate to you just how important it is to engage in these estate planning and retirement planning issues. Be aware of these common challenges that many people face but neglect to think about. They include:

  •      Inflation
  •      Taxes
  •      Estate planning
  •      Long term care

The reality is that many people underestimate the risks that they will face both in retirement and towards the end of their life. For this reason, they neglect taking part in the planning process and can make it more difficult for them when they approach that age and realize they have not set enough aside. By thinking about the potential risks and the steps that you’ll take to guard against them now, you can get the peace of mind that if something happens to you, your family members will not be disadvantaged.

What Makes IRAs Different from Other Types of Inherited Assets?

Passing on an IRA is different from stipulating another piece of property in your estate planning materials like a will to pass on to someone else if something happens to you. IRAs are managed differently and there are a complex set of regulations involved in this process. 

There are a few different ways that IRAs may surprise you in terms of how they are classified and how they impact your beneficiaries. These include:

  •       IRA beneficiaries may be eligible for particular tax breaks that are often missed.
  •       IRAs are distributed in a different manner than any other asset, both after death and during life.
  •       IRAs cannot be jointly owned or change ownership during the life of a person who manages it.
  •       An IRA may require a unique and separate estate plan.
  •       The investment gains inside an IRA do not always have to be subject to the 3.8% investment income surtax.
  •       An IRA passes on to someone else by contract rather than by a will.

Depending on the estate in question, the IRAs could be subjected to double tax at death; an estate tax and an income tax.

The deductions available to IRA beneficiaries are easy to overlook because it requires the coordination of tax planning between the settling the estate and the IRA beneficiary. It is valuable for both of these entities to work together to identify tax saving opportunities. The distributions from an inherited IRA could be taxable to the beneficiary. However, it is a good idea to explore tax planning opportunities well in advance to avoid this situation, if possible.

What You Need to Know About Updating Transfer on Death Deeds

 

One common question that people present to their estate planning attorney is whether or not they can revoke or change the transfer on death deed in the future. This is one of the major benefits associated with the ToD deed because it can be changed at the later date, as it is not irrevocable. This is because the grantor has not transferred any interests in the real estate or given up any rights, so they maintain the eligibility to change it at any time. 

Remember that the action putting together a transfer on death deed basically adds a beneficiary to real estate. It is quite similar to the process of naming a payable on death beneficiary to your bank account. There is no actual interest in the real estate created, rather an expectation has been created. In order for a transfer on death deed to be effective and legally valid, it has to be recorded and put with the county recorder’s office directly. This also means that another item will have to be filed with the recorder’s office if the grantor changes his or her mind.

This change typically comes in format of a new ToD deed. This is one of the downsides of using a ToD deed because it is not that simple to update. If you change your mind about a provision for payable on death beneficiaries on your savings account, you can visit the bank and be helped by a customer service representative. In order to change a transfer on death deed, however, you will most likely need to hire an attorney to ensure that it is filed properly. This can give you a great deal of peace of mind that the details have been managed effectively, but it can also create an additional obstacle or layer of frustration if you do need to update it.

New Estate Tax and Gift Tax Thresholds Released for 2018

Every year the IRS evaluates inflation information to determine whether or not the gift and estate tax thresholds need to be boosted. The estate tax refers to the amount of money a person can have in their estate without triggering federal estate taxes and the gift tax refers to the maximum amount of money you can give to somebody else without tax implications every single year. 

Both of these were recently boosted for 2018. Estate taxes will be assessed on a single person’s estate if it is valued at $5.6 million or more, allowing married couples to only have to pay estate taxes if together they have an estate worth $11.2 million or more. This allows you to shield a great deal of money from estate tax liability.

Gift tax liability has been boosted to $15,000 per year, an increase from $14,000 that it has sat at since 2013. It is important to remember that you are not prohibited from giving gifts greater than $15,000 to someone. It will simply require the creation and submission of a gift tax return. In any of these situations, you may wish to use other strategies to pass on assets to your loved ones. Making use of the gift tax is one such strategy that can be extremely powerful when used properly. Schedule a call today with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer.

How A Death in The Family Can Generate Challenges for Your Loved Ones

It is never easy to find yourself contemplating your own mortality. However, it can be made much easier by considering how failing to plan could actually cause problems for your loved ones.

In the event that you pass away without having a plan clearly articulated for your loved ones, they may be faced with the challenges of going through the court system and awaiting someone to be appointed to serve as your personal representative.

Furthermore, family members who may not get along may suddenly find themselves in conflict with one another arguing about your intentions. These problems can emerge even before you pass away, such as in situations in which you did not articulate your end of life wishes.

Your family members may be distraught or confused over your intentions about whether you would like to receive life-sustaining care and this can pose problems for your beneficiaries when there is confusion about who is entitled to what and who should be empowered to make these decisions. In the heat of the moment you want to ensure that the appropriate people have been equipped with the ability to make decisions on your behalf.

If you fail to take these necessary planning steps, you could be exposing your entire family to a great deal of unnecessary stress and confusion, not to mention the expense and frustration of going through the court system. Having continuous planning and engaging with an estate planning lawyer regularly can help to decrease the chances of problems faced in the estate planning process.

Are Your Assets Enough to Warrant an Estate Plan?

The majority of estate plans are drafted by attorneys and this is primarily done because many people are not aware of their rights and responsibilities and may make mistakes in using online forms or do-it-yourself services. Many people also avoid the estate planning process because they do not want to contemplate their own chances of disability or death. This is a necessary component of approaching estate planning.

 

The good news is that you may have already started the process even if you are not aware of it. If you have designated beneficiaries on your life insurance policy or on your retirement accounts, you’ve already started the ball rolling with the estate planning process. Most people are under the impression that they simply shouldn’t engage in estate planning if they do not have an estate large enough to trigger the federal estate tax payment. 

This is not true because there are a variety of different issues such as who will take over for you if you become incapacitated and unable to manage your financial or health care decisions, as well as the distribution of your personal property, that should be incorporated in an estate plan regardless of the value of the various assets you own. Talking to an attorney allows you to formalize your goals and to learn more about the ways that you may have overlooked potential estate planning issues.

Everyone can benefit from the services provided by an experienced estate planning attorney, because even without having significant assets or millions of dollars that would trigger the federal estate tax payment, you can still learn more about how to protect your family and your loved ones if something were to happen to you.

What to Do If You’re Stressed Out by Receiving a Large Inheritance

If you find yourself overwhelmed and with some anxiety after receiving a large inheritance, you’re not alone. This can be a stressful situation for many people because the influx in assets could be the biggest sum of money that they’ve ever had to be individually responsible for. There are some things you must consider in order to put those assets to work as effectively as possible. 

The first is to set aside a cash cushion for emergencies. In addition, you’ll also want to think about the benefits of estate planning. There’s a good chance that the inheritance you just received is due at least in portion to well-prepared estate planning and now is a great time to ensure that these assets continue on if something were to happen to you before these assets can be used.

If you have not yet put together a trust or a will, now is the appropriate time to do so. If you already do have estate planning, receiving a large inheritance should encourage you to review these materials with a fine-tooth comb to ensure that you have articulated what will happen to these assets if you were to suddenly pass away. You may wish to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney to discuss things such as guardianship, wills versus trust, maintaining separate property and powers of attorney. Having the insight provided by an experienced lawyer can help you to figure out the next steps that you should take to protect yourself as well as to make the most of the inheritance you have just received.

What Art Collectors and Dealers Should Know About Proposed Reform

 

The tax code reform framework on the table in DC does have some important ramifications for art related businesses and art collectors. The new nine-page proposal promises bigger paychecks, more jobs and a more fair tax system; however, it proposes eliminating many of the itemized deductions and lobbying groups have already become involved.

It would lower the highest individual income tax rate to 35% from where it currently sits at 39.6%. This could have ramifications for how art collectors approach their estate planning. As of right now, collectors who have taxable estates must plan to address the estate tax on their art which is an illiquid asset. Elimination of the estate tax could alter this dynamic and motivate individuals to reconsider where will their artwork go after they pass away. The tax reform proposal, however, does not address how the tax code will manage inherited assets that have appreciated in value. 

Under current law, a child who inherits something that has grown in value since the time it was purchased, would be responsible for paying a stepped-up basis of the current value, such that capital gains taxes are levied on the profit from a higher basis. The proposal also does not address whether tax rates for capital gains on art would be maintained. Taxpayers may opt to categorize the profit from selling a piece of art as ordinary income or capital gains. The highest income tax bracket currently sits at nearly 40% versus the capital gains tax of 28%.

The right lawyer can help you if you need assistance with your estate planning for an art collection.