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The Secure Act and The Demise of The Stretch IRA

The Secure Act has changed the way in which we engage in planning for Qualified Retirement Plans (herein after referred to as “QRP”).  Examples of QRPs are IRAs, 401(k)s and 403(b) plans. First the good news: under the Secure Act, you do not have to start taking your required minimum distributions until age 72. You … Continue reading “The Secure Act and The Demise of The Stretch IRA”

Health Care Decisions: How To Ensure Your Wishes Are Followed When You Can No Longer Make Decisions For Yourself

We have the right to accept or refuse medical treatment for ourselves if we have capacity to make health care decisions. “ ‘Capacity to make health care decisions’ means the ability to understand and appreciate the nature and consequences of health care decisions, including the benefits and risks of and alternatives to any proposed health … Continue reading “Health Care Decisions: How To Ensure Your Wishes Are Followed When You Can No Longer Make Decisions For Yourself”

Medicare Open Enrollment Period Has Begun

By Guest Blogger, Lewis Knopf For 2020 coverage, open enrollment for Medicare will run from October 15, 2019, to December 7, 2019. During the annual enrollment period you can sign up or make changes to your existing coverage. If you are currently receiving Social Security benefits, you are automatically enrolled in Medicare Parts A and … Continue reading “Medicare Open Enrollment Period Has Begun”

THE PITFALLS OF GIFTING REAL ESTATE

One of the most important assets that most people have is their home. Very often parents want to ensure that their children and/or grandchildren receive a share of this valuable asset. However, there are pitfalls to be avoided. Giving the Property Away During Lifetime There are three ways to give real property away during your … Continue reading “THE PITFALLS OF GIFTING REAL ESTATE”

5 THINGS TRUSTEES CAN DO TO AVOID BEING SUED

Being a Trustee is an important responsibility.  If one does not handle the duties of a Trustee appropriately, he can be liable to the beneficiaries of the Trust for the improper actions taken.  This article gives general guidelines to Trustees but is not legal or tax advice.  Every situation is different, and you should consult … Continue reading “5 THINGS TRUSTEES CAN DO TO AVOID BEING SUED”

How to Avoid Disinheriting Your Children

Most people who are married for the second time do not wish to disinherit their children from a previous marriage.  However, that can happen very easily.  Here are some examples: Tom and Sue are married for the second time and both have children from their previous marriages. They have done nothing to plan their estate … Continue reading “How to Avoid Disinheriting Your Children”

Beneficiary Designations on Bank and Brokerage Accounts: an Easy Way to Avoid Probate or a Possible Nightmare for Your Family

John went to his bank and set up payable upon death (POD) accounts for his three children. This seemed to John like a simple thing to do to avoid probate and pass his assets directly to his beneficiaries. Unfortunately, one of his children predeceased him. His predeceased child had children of his own. However, because … Continue reading “Beneficiary Designations on Bank and Brokerage Accounts: an Easy Way to Avoid Probate or a Possible Nightmare for Your Family”

IS YOUR REVOCABLE TRUST WORTH THE PAPER IT IS WRITTEN ON?

Joe has created a revocable trust and he thinks that he has completed everything he needs to do to obtain the benefits of having such a trust. However, if he has not funded his trust (that is, retitled his assets into the trust), his trust document is just a piece of paper. Having it drawn … Continue reading “IS YOUR REVOCABLE TRUST WORTH THE PAPER IT IS WRITTEN ON?”

Putting Assets into Children’s Names

Transferring assets into children’s names (a.k.a. gifting) is very effective for Medicaid planning. Once the assets are transferred to another, they are no longer available to the individual and after any applicable penalty periods (five years for nursing home) the individual will qualify for Medicaid. However, is this a good idea? Whenever one considers transferring … Continue reading “Putting Assets into Children’s Names”