Expensive Cities to Live In (or avoid) When Retiring

Investopedia can always be depended on for some light reading and interesting factoids.

One article that arrived to my inbox… Top 10 Most Expensive Cities in the U.S. By Lisa Goetz ( June 13, 2017)

Luckily none of the ‘most expensive’ cities are in my state of Colorado.

No real surprise that New York and Honolulu made the list, along with several California cities.

Check out the Investopedia.com  website for the complete list.

If you live in one of these cities and are planning for retirement, be prepared for some higher bills than other cities.

If you are planning to relocate after retiring, check out the ‘vital stats’ on any city, town you are considering.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

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Trust – A Matter of Privacy

Once upon a time…using a trust to avoid estate taxes is what motivated many people.  Now, each person can pass $5.9 million at their death – virtually estate tax free (some exceptions apply).

(There are many types of trusts and it is beyond the scope of this article to review all of them.  Each trust will have a ‘benefit’ for example-the special needs trust.)

Skip forward to 2017…The big motivator for creating a trust, for many, is now the matter of privacy.  I have written many times that probate proceedings are a matter of public record.  Many do not realize how intrusive “public” actually means.

One acquaintance told me their story- they had dealt with the probate themselves without an attorney and provided the required probate contact information.  Subsequently, they were being ‘hounded’ with mail and telephone calls

Their probate documents were public records as was the will. There are people and companies “trolling” for information by using those records.  Probate proceedings are public and yes, a third-party could attend all of the hearings in open court, get a copy of a will, and gain knowledge about all of the assets that an individual owned at the time of their death.

There are instances where probate ‘court’ is not required, but keep in mind that probate documents are still available as ‘public’.

Companies use contact information derived from the probate documents to make various ‘offers’ – offers that vary…from purchasing the property of the deceased to making loans to the ‘recently bereaved’.  And the companies can be very persistent.

Doubtless, to get those kinds of offers from complete strangers while dealing with the grief and loss of a loved can be stressful.

Avoiding probate to maintain privacy remains a strong motivator for utilizing a trust in estate planning.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

 Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more than 200 articles and printable infographics

Estate Planning – More Than You Think!

People often comment that my blog articles are far- ranging, covering many topics.  (I have to offer thanks to my researcher for keeping up with many of these topics.)

Many blog/articles might be thought to be outside the guidance of an estate planning attorney.

I think the best way to respond is with a page from my website…the How I Can Help You page.

Clearly, Estate Planning covers many more issues than developing wills and trusts for clients.  Even the list below is not all-inclusive when it comes to the advice and help that a client might need.

(Situations often arise for my clients that fall outside even these broad-ranging issues.  When this happens, I am often able to use my professional networks to provide clients with additional useful advice and guidance.)

Estate Planning…  covers much more than you think! Visit my website (under Categories) for more than 200 articles for the scope of subjects.

Creating/revising a Will

A will is being contested

Creating a Trust or Revising the terms of a Trust

Retirement Planning

International Relocation Planning

Moving to/from a Community Property State – Knowing the Laws

Business Succession Planning/Perpetuation Planning

Buy-Sell Agreements

Buying/Selling a Business

Probate-Executorship-Guardianship

Charitable Giving/Gifting Plan

Family business agreements

Passing family business on to a successor

Giving/Receiving an Inheritance

Designating a guardian for your child

“Windfall” of money and need a plan

Legacy Planning

Digital Asset Protection

Pre- Nuptial Agreement

Family Business issues

Creating an Estate Plan

Loved one has died…duties of an Executor/Representative

Going through probate

Going through divorce and revision of an Estate Plan

Review a business contract

Disposition of assets; including fine art valuations

Conservation Easement

Deciding what kind of Trust document is best for a particular situation

Protecting the future of a special needs child

Dealing with legal issues of a “blended” family

Corporation Agreements

LLC Agreements

Real Estate Deeds

Beneficiary Designations

Powers of Attorney

Litigation of a will

Special Needs situations

And more….

Yes, Estate Planning – it’s more than you think it is!

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

 Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for over 200 more articles and printable infographics

 

Social Security’s Representative Payment Program

For those individuals (usually adults) with special needs and for those taking care of someone with special needs there is a program that helps recipients to manage their finances, the Representative Payment Program.

According to the Social Security website:  “Social Security’s Representative Payment Program provides financial management for the Social Security and SSI payments of our beneficiaries who are incapable of managing their Social Security or SSI payments.”

Social Security states – “Generally, (we) look for family or friends to serve as representative payees.”…  “When friends or family are not able to serve as payees, Social Security looks for qualified organizations to be representative payees.”

A person (or organization) who is a representative payee helps Social Security beneficiaries in managing their benefits.

What are the duties of a representative payee?

“A representative payee’s responsibilities include:  Using benefits to pay for the current and foreseeable needs of the beneficiaries;  appropriately saving any remaining benefits; and keeping good records of how you spend the benefits.”

A Representative Payee can be an individual..or it can be an organization (Organizational Representative Payee).

One such organization in Colorado is CFPD (www.cfpd.org)

According the their website: “CFPD was approved as an Organizational Representative Payee (RP or Rep Payee) by the Social Security Administration in 2010, and receives regular audits.”

What does CFPD do?

“CFPD can receive any government benefit payments on behalf of beneficiaries; deposit those funds into a special account; and disburse them based on a personalized budget created with beneficiaries and their support teams.”

There is a charge for their service, allowable by Social Security.  The charge comes from the beneficiary’s account (or from the beneficiary’s trust if one exists) each month.

CFPD offers other services for beneficiaries.

Keep in mind that a Representative Payee is not the same as an adult guardianship, although both are not mutually exclusive and an in- depth legal analysis of both in beyond the scope of this article.

Only a court can determine if an adult needs a guardian. In Colorado – “The Court may appoint a guardian for an adult with or without restrictions when the Respondent *is determined to be incapacitated.**”…

*  Respondent is a person for whom the appointment of a Guardian is required.  A Ward is a person for whom a Guardian has been appointed.

**“An incapacitated adult is defined (by the Court) as one who is unable to effectively receive or evaluate information or both or make or communicate decisions to such an extent that the individual lacks the ability to satisfy essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care, even with appropriate and reasonably available technological assistance.”

Note:  Application for Guardianship is a legal process and best handled with the advice of a legal professional.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for over 200 more articles and printable infographics

Student Loan Debt-We Are Not Alone

Student loan debt has been the focus of some of my recent articles.  Why such an interest?  For Estate Planning purposes it is necessary to quantify all debt and that includes your own, your spouse, and your child or grandchild (if you have assumed -or plan to assume – any of their loan indebtedness).  Such debt affects your financial planning; your retirement planning and your estate planning.

So it was interesting to know that we in the U.S. are not alone is dealing with the ‘student loan debt crisis’.

It seems that British students are also struggling with increasing student debt.  Our neighbors ‘across the pond’ have concerns about how to deal with the situation.

According to the website:  thisismoney.co.uk in the article titled: How to avoid student debt disaster: Should parents borrow to pay off loans or let children go £50k into the red? We explain all – British parents are grappling with questions of student loan debt for their offspring.  Formerly, decades ago, a university education in the U.K. was within the grasp of a talented student who wanted further education.

Presently, according to the article:

“Around 320,000 18-year-olds have applied to go to university in the UK this year…

According to the Institute for Fiscal Studies they face average debts of £50,800..

If you started university before 2012, rates on loans were just 1.25% (in the U.K.)…

But if you started after then, you will pay a lot more…”

REMEMBER:  THIS DATA IS RELEVANT ONLY TO THE U.K.

An interesting twist for British student loans:  Unlike conventional loans, the amount British students repay each month after graduation is linked to their earnings (in a certain formula) and after 30 years any outstanding debt is ‘wiped’ by the Government.  However, student loan payments are taken directly out of wages by the employer, thus former students cannot miss payments, and their debt does not go into collection.

There are a number of other caveats of the student loan system in the U.K. beyond the scope of this article to explain.

The point is, parents in the U.K. (like those in the U.S.) have increasing concerns about how their children will be able to afford a university education and how their loans can be repaid.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  http://www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and printable infographics

 

Small Business Trends

Most of my readers know that my family has been involved in running a small business for decades and that, as a lawyer, small business topics are of special interest to me.

For those of you who own a small business, this free webinar is too good to pass up. Did I mention that it is FREE?

Our friends at the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB.com) have the Marketing Advisor for ECommerce Fed Ex, Kevin Chung as a presenter of the webinar.

According to the NFIB website, the webinar will be about recent trends in ECommerce.

Some of the topics include the growth of on- line spending; the use of mobile devices in ECommerce and using gift cards and discounts to improve business opportunities.

The webinar is free, (did I mention that?) but you must register before Sept. 20, 2917, by going to the NFIB website, NFIB.com, learn more about the webinars on offer and register.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  http://www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and printable infographics

Social Security and Divorce

In the U.S. nearly 50% of first marriages end in divorce and a higher percentage of second marriages fail.

These are glum statistics, but perhaps the thing that people forget is that even in divorce the social security benefits for ex-spouses can live on – depending on circumstances.

Yes, even if you are divorced, you may be able to claim social security  benefits based on your ex-spouse record .

If the marriage was a long term (official) relationship that marriage still counts as far as social security is concerned even after divorce.

Visit the excellent government website:  Retirement Planner: If You Are Divorced

https://www.ssa.gov/planners/retire/divspouse.html

Some information from that website:

“If you are divorced, but your marriage lasted 10 years or longer, you can receive benefits on your ex-spouse’s record (even if they have remarried) if:

  • You are unmarried;
  • You are age 62 or older;
  • Your ex-spouse is entitled to Social Security retirement or disability benefits and
  • The benefit you are entitled to receive based on your own work is less than the benefit you would receive based on your ex-spouse’s work.”

Keep in mind that even if your marriage ended in divorce over a decade ago, you might still be eligible.

If you are approaching retirement, have been divorced, have not remarried (or your second marriage ended), visit the social security website or your social security office to find out more about your rights to claim.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

 Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and printable infographics

 

More About Reverse Mortgage Program

Our thanks to the NCLC National Consumer Law Center for their timely reminder about a change coming to the reverse mortgage program “rules.”

You can find complete information on the website: www.nclc.org under the title:

HUD Again Makes Major Changes to the HECM Reverse Mortgage Program

Accoring to the NCLC:  “The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which oversees the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgage program, has once again announced major changes to the program.”

Referring to the reverse mortgage programs (loans) – The NCLC noted that “The proceeds that older adults can receive from the loans will also be lower.”

Changes will take effect Oct. 2, 2017.

There is also a free webinar on offer for Sept. 12, 2017 from the NCLC about nursing home debt.  (Nursing Home Debt Collection is the title of the webinar)

Registration is required for the webinar attendance.

Working to Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

 Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and printable infographics

 

 

200 and Counting

Since the inception of my website (www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com), there are now over 200 articles accessible to my readers. You might well ask… what is there to write about in Estate Planning?  Isn’t it just a matter of making a will or creating a trust?

To give some idea of the wide-ranging topics that are included in Estate Planning – here is a short list from the Categories on my website (there are also other unique topics of special interest in addition to this listing)  –

In alphabetical order the short list is ——

Advanced Directives; Aging; Agreements; Asset Titling; Banking Documents; Beneficiaries;  Blended Families; Business Contracts; Business Planning; Buy-Sell Agreement; Charitable Giving; Contracts and Contract Law; Cyber Security; Deeds; Dementia; Digital Assets; Digital Inheritance; Disabilities;Divorce; Durable Power of Attorney; Easements; Elder Care; Elder Law; Elder Fraud; Electronic Wills; Estate Planning; Executor; Family Care Agreements; Family Finances; Family Loans; Financial Planning; Foundations; Gifts and Gifting; Guardianship; Incentive Trust; Identity Theft; Inheritance; IRAs; I.R.S.; Irrevocable Trust; Land Trusts; Legacy Planning; Loans; Marital Planning; Medical Debt; Millennials; Minors; Perpetuation Planning; Philanthropy; Pre-Nuptial Agreements; Power of Attorney; Probate; Protecting Assets; Relocation; Remarriage; Retirement; Reverse Mortgages; Revocable Trusts; Small Business; Social Security; Special Needs; Taxation; Tax Planning; Trusts; Wealth Transfer; Wills….

and there are more

Each of the above topics has its own set of specific legal issues.

So although a person might believe that they have no need of Estate Planning – think again – any one of the above matters could influence a decision that you make or an action that you take– now or in the future.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

 Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and printable infographics

 

Banks and Safe Deposit Boxes

When opening a bank account you should be offered by the bank – a beneficiary form and you can request the BANK’S Power of Attorney Form.

Do not assume that your Power of Attorney form will be adequate for every financial institution.  Many financial institutions require their own POA forms to be filed.

The reason the two forms are important is that upon death, the bank account of the deceased, along with their safe deposit box could be ‘frozen’ – access can be denied.

Some exceptions apply, for example, if the bank account is in joint names and there is right of survivorship.

If there are two names (signatures) on the safe deposit box documents, access could be available to the second party upon the death of the first person.  NOTE: There might be exceptions to this also, depending upon banking policies.

Also, there is the question of who holds the safe deposit key(s) and whether the other person named on the safe deposit signature card knows there the key is kept.

Keeping all this in mind, when you open ANY account with a bank, make sure you know which documents you should be signing and what could happen upon your death or disability.

If you have questions, talk to your attorney or financial advisor.

For example, if you are disabled and there are important documents in your safe deposit box, how would those documents be accessed and by whom?  Get the details in writing from the bank and read the fine print.

Asking a banking agent  questions about their beneficiary forms and Power of Attorney forms, and completing the correct bank documents/forms could help to alleviate problems in the future.

Do not assume that your next of kin will be given access to either your accounts or your safe deposit box.

Working To Preserve Your Wealth and Protect Your Future…in a Constantly Changing World

Please read my full Disclaimer and How I Can Help You

Visit my website:  www.attorneybarbaradalvano.weebly.com for more articles and printable infographics