Category Archives: In The News

Plan Early, Plan Often to Combat Rising Costs

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By Managing Partner, Mitch Adel

 

  We’re told that we live in a time of low inflation, but seniors continue to see costs rise. Whether its additional taxes or growing health care expenses, retirees are squeezed from all directions. But, even with these challenges there are steps every senior can take to reduce their expenses and their exposure to many of these encroaching costs.The most important step is to create a plan, then revise it as the circumstances change and new challenges emerge. This type of plan—often legal as well as financial—is not something we can “set and forget.”

 

  Let’s look at three areas where costs are rising, but where smart seniors can take control.

 

Choose Wisely: Medical expenses and long-term care
The most difficult costs to forecast—and some of the most difficult for seniors to manage—come from health care and long-term care. Even with Medicare coverage and some positive affordable care act changes, out-of-pocket costs are rising and means-testing is taking a bigger bite out of the budgets of higher-income seniors.

 

  As provisions of the Affordable Care Act roll out over the next few years, the system will continue to shift, so seniors should watch their costs and their insurance choices closely to make sure they are keeping up with the changes. Recent ACA revisions also mean that seniors may be able to restart an existing plan that was slated to be canceled. Seniors also have access to new Medicare plans under the law that are worth a look as they may increase prescription drug coverage for some seniors.

 

  In addition to medical costs, the average senior will require three years of long-term care in their lifetime, and these costs (which can range from $40,000 to more than $70,000 per year) are cove-red by Medicaid only after a “spend down” of available assets. The past year has seen a drastic shift in the long-term care insurance market, with policies become much more expensive if they are offered at all. More and more, families are turning to estate planning solutions to problems to avoid losing assets such as houses and farms to cover these costs.

 

New taxes, new challenges, some relief

There are a number of new taxes coming into effect in 2014 that will have an impact for many Ohio seniors with high incomes:

  • 3.8 percent surtax on net investment income
  • 0.9 percent Medicare tax on earned income

Screen Shot 2014-03-31 at 11.08.31 AMWhile both of these new taxes will affect higher-income families ($250,000 for couples and $200,000 for individuals), they will combine to add on to the extra burdens of the ACA and means-testing for Medicare.
 

That said, the modest inflation we’ve had in 2013 (after several years of very low or nonexistent inflation) will amount to modest savings for most taxpayers in 2014, as federal income tax brackets and a multitude of other provisions adjust automatically to keep pace with inflation. This relief will make an impact, but seniors will also be paying more for many basic items because of the inflation, so it can’t be counted on as true savings.

 

You don’t have to do it alone

  With any of these financial challenges, the best advice is always to plan ahead and take advantage of the many financial and legal experts that can help you along the way. Navigating the maze of retirement and estate planning has never been more complicated, so it’s critical to find the advice and support your family needs to make the best possible choices.

 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

An Uncertain Future

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Evolving retirement and financial security realities in 2014 

By Mitch Adel

When it comes to retirement and estate planning, retirees face a notably different set of challenges that their parents did. Unlike the “Greatest Generation”—who retired with a basic social safety net that covered the two most important components of retirement— income and healthcare—Baby Boomers find themselves in much less certain (and far more turbulent) circumstances.

When WWII veterans and their contemporaries were retiring, So- cial Security and Medicare were relatively healthy programs, sup- ported by a booming population of working Americans. The prob- lem, however, is that this favorable demographic imbalance has not continued.As Baby Boomers begin to move into retirement, the bur- den of funding retirement programs has become far more difficult to bear their children.There are three primary factors that have further muddied the retirement and estate planning waters: the ongoing problems with government pension management, a new wave of complex tax laws that have made years of estate planning obsolete, and the impact of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).The cumulative ef- fect of these issues—much of them taking place shortly after many Americans have only just begun to recover from the stresses of the recent recessionary cycle—is to make planning for a safe and secure retirement a far more complex proposition today than it has been in the past.

The reality is that the rules of the game have changed in some significant ways. If Boomers do not adjust their legal, financial and healthcare planning strategies to evolve and adapt to these new realities, they are in trouble. Boomers who base their retirement on what their parents did will likely experience poor or even disas- trous results.

A worrisome diagnosis
Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 9.38.37 AMOf all the issues that today’s retirees need to be factoring in to their thinking with regard to retirement and long-term financial planning, the Affordable Care Act is potentially the most significant. While the true near-term and longer-term impacts of the Affordable Care Act remain to be seen, there is little doubt that healthcare fun- damentals going forward will be very different for America’s seniors. One of the defining characteristics of the ACA is the way in which it recalibrates the social contract: instead of younger Americans sup- porting their parents, seniors are now being asked to take on some of the burden of supporting today’s youth.

For Medicare recipients, reimbursement rates to healthcare pro- viders will be reduced by $716 billion over the next decade.The ACA achieves these cuts by scaling back the Medicare reimburse- ment rate from its current level of around 81% of what private in- surance pays, to a leaner (and, some would argue, unsustainable) 56%—which is the current reimbursement rate for Medicaid.While doctors, hospitals, clinics and other healthcare professionals will bear some of that burden, it seems difficult to envision a way that se- niors will not take a hit. Some estimate that seniors may be forced to ante up more than $450 billion over the next ten years—this would be, by far, the largest share of the costs needed to fund the changes mandated by the ACA.

Seniors who currently utilize Medicare Advantage programs may also be in for some cuts in the next ten years. Participants in the program, which permits Medicare recipients to supplement their coverage with private insurance, may see their benefits trimmed by about $136 billion. The bottom line for seniors? With increased costs and reduced accessibility to healthcare providers, traditional assumptions about how much money you need to safely retire may quickly become obsolete. At a time when there are more retiring seniors than ever before who will require healthcare, this is a wor- rying trend. 

What seniors can do
The first and possibly most important step that any retiree or pre-retiree can do is to appreciate the scale and scope of the problem. It is never a good idea to take your financial security for granted—today more so than ever. Business as usual will not get it done. Educate yourself and your family about these new realities, and consider how they will impact your current retirement plan- ning strategies. Be proactive and be engaged: plan carefully for your financial and legal future, and do so with the understanding that the foundations of financial stability for seniors have changed in some profound ways.

With approximately 10,000 Boomers turning 65 every day until the year 2029, none of these structural problems are likely to get bet- ter anytime soon. The burden of responsible investment, sufficient savings for a healthy and happy retirement, and the implementa- tion of sophisticated estate planning strategies falls directly upon the backs of Boomers. Subsequently, it is almost always a good idea to secure the counsel and guidance of a trusted retirement planning and wealth management professional or a certified elder law attor- ney to help develop a retirement and savings strategy that accounts for these changes. 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

The downsides of downsizing

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Consider the financial and emotional costs of relocating—as well as the benefits 

My parents, in their early 80s, moved recently from their East Coast home to be near my sis- ters in California. It was in many ways a classic retirement downsizing. They replaced a five-bedroom colonial with a small ranch, profiting after 43 years of ownership. In their new residence, they’re thrilled to benefit from lower utility costs and property tax- es, milder weather, and the company of two young grandsons who live four blocks away.

Despite those benefits, my parents and I discovered that moving in retirement also has unique financial and emotional challenges. They gave up a neighbor- hood, friends, and a place of worship they knew and loved well. They discovered costs to moving that they hadn’t anticipated.

IS RELOCATING FOR YOU?
Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 8.22.04 AMAs much as people talk about simplifying their lives by downsizing in retirement, most don’t choose it. When Consumer Reports National Research Center recently asked retired Consumer Reports subscribers ages 55 to 75 about moves they’d made in retirement, only 10 percent said that they’d downsized.

That figure doesn’t include the experience of older retirees, who may end up moving to a smaller, more manageable space or moving in with family. But the survey finding rings true for Ed Kohlhepp, a certified financial planner in Doylestown, Pa. “Clients don’t necessarily want go from 2,400 to 1,500 square feet, or from three bedrooms to one,” he says.

Rather, many want to keep conveniences they’re used to and even add new ones.

Kohlhepp moved in his early 60s to a house about 10 miles away that’s a bit larger than his previous one. In their new community, he and his wife pay a monthly fee for all outside maintenance. “It was al- most a parallel move financially, but we get someone else doing the outdoor chores, security, and a master bedroom on the first floor,” he explains.

If you’ve owned your home for decades, you may well gain from selling it, despite the recent downturn in many real estate markets. But too large a gain can subject you to significant taxes. Couples and unmar- ried widows or widowers must pay federal capital gains tax on home-sale profits that exceed an exclu- sion of $500,000. (For single and divorced people, the exclusion is $250,000.) If your marginal income tax rate is 15 percent or less in the year you sell, you may not owe any tax on the profit. But high earn- ers can face a federal long-term capital gains rate of 20 percent plus a new, 3.8 percent net investment income tax, as well as any state capital gains taxes.

Even without a tax bill, a move generates signifi- cant expenses. Major costs include fees for real estate brokers and lawyers, and movers’ expenses. My par- ents paid someone to haul carloads of unwanted stuff from their house to the dump, and another person to sweep up before the closing.

They paid for an appraisal fora piano they wanted to donate. And they left me with an old car that they feared wouldn’t pass California’s emissions standards.

Some expenses may be higher in your new digs— or at least no less costly. Kohlhepp says his condo’s initial maintenance fee of $240 per month was about equal to what he used to pay on average for shoveling, landscaping, and other outside work. But his property taxes—for a larger, newer space—were higher. 

WILL YOU LOSE BENEFITS?
A home sale could affect other aspects of your financial life. If, for instance, Veterans Affairs provides you with health care benefits based on your income, home-sale profits that improve your financial status could trigger an end to that ben- efit, says Mitch Adel, an elder law specialist and senior partner at Cooper, Adel & Associates in Centerburg, Ohio. Veterans receiving benefits are required to report to the VA any changes in net worth and growth in household income, among other bottom-line developments.

According to the VA, household income of $31,443 or more could disqualify certain ben- eficiaries. Similarly, downsizing can create nightmares for seniors receiving Medicaid as- sistance for in-home care, Adel says. Your home is exempt from Medicaid’s asset-based eligibil- ity formula, but a home-sale profit that raises your assets above a given threshold could negate those benefits temporarily. You would have to spend down that profit on out-of-pocket medical expenses before Medicaid would resume your benefit, Adel explains.

And uprooting has emotional costs, even when seniors are moving nearby. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with a new routine and neighbors, and per- haps new places to worship and shop. That may in part explain why only 35 percent of respondents in our survey said they’d moved since retiring.

Kohlhepp says that even his 10-mile relocation required adjusting. “Your neighbors are not your friends anymore,” he says. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

14 Money Valentines to Gift Your Sweetheart

Screen Shot 2014-02-12 at 8.01.55 AMby Sheryl Nance-Nash

Your typical Valentine’s Day conjures up images of flowers, candy and a candlelight dinner. Money—other than what you paid for the champagne and oysters—probably doesn’t come to mind.

But if you’re serious about making sure that your love story has a happy ending, you can use the romantic holiday to give each other gifts that say both “I love you” and “I want us to have a secure future together.”

Whether you’re in a serious relationship, engaged or already married, we’ve gathered ideas for 14 financial Valentines that you can gift your sweetie this year.

1. A Couple’s Financial Consultation

Normally, telling your significant other that you both need professional help isn’t a great sign for the longevity of a relationship. But signing up for a couple’s consultation with a financial planner may be a gift that actually increases your relationship’s long-term staying power, says Jennifer S. Faherty, a Certified Financial Planner™ and founder of Redbird Partners.

That’s because fighting about money is why most married couples split up, according to a study by Kansas State University researcher Sonya Britt. She found that couples who argue over money early on in their relationships were at a greater risk of divorce—regardless of their income, debt or net worth levels.

By meeting with an adviser, you’re making sure that both of you are involved in financial decision-making, and that you are on the same page when it comes to your bigger goals and how you’ll reach them.

2. A Life Insurance Policy

Ensuring that your partner is taken care of in the event that something happens to you—and vice versa—offers the gift of peace of mind. “You never know where the road of life will take you, and planning ahead for illness or death as well as having life insurance can help couples be ready,” says Mitchell Adel, a certified elder law attorney and managing partner at Cooper, Adel & Associates, a law firm specializing in estate planning and elder law.

Life insurance is especially important if you think that your loved one might have difficulties meeting monthly living expenses and paying one-time costs in the event of your death, like funeral expenses, as well as such longer-term bills as a mortgage—not to mention just the general cost of raising children.

RELATED: Checklist: I Want to Get Life Insurance

3. A Will

Death isn’t the most romantic dinner date topic, but being proactive about crafting a will can ensure that your money and belongings are distributed to the people you love, rather than leaving it up to the law. If you haven’t put your wishes down on paper yet, you’re not alone: Some 41% of Boomers and 71% of those under 34 polled by AARP said that they didn’t have a will.

Currently, intestacy laws (those related to the succession of your assets if you don’t have a will) don’t take into consideration cohabitation or domestic partners—making wills all the more valuable if you are unmarried. And even if you are married, all assets don’t automatically go to your spouse—much of it depends on state laws, says Josh Fatoullah, founder and C.E.O. of JR Wealth Advisors LLC.

RELATED: Death Dinners: Why Dying Is a Supper Topic Du Jour

4. A “Special Occasion” Fund

One study of more than 1,200 Americans conducted by psychologists Leaf Van Boven and Thomas Gilovich found that people derived greater happiness from investing in life experiences, like travel or a concert, rather than from purchasing material goods. “So creating a special savings fund toward these types of experiences is a good idea,” Faherty says.

What’s more romantic than having an account labeled “Second Honeymoon” or “My Sweetheart’s 40th Birthday Bash”? Once you’ve set up a separate bank account for a short-term goal that you share, create a priority goal folder for it in your LearnVest Money Center, so you and your honey can watch the money grow. After all, those shared experiences could be what gets you through the challenging times.

5. A Beneficiary Designation

Even if you’ve named your sweetie in a will, you’re not off the hook with important paperwork. You still need to name your significant other as a beneficiary to your retirement savings, financial accounts, trusts—anything with a deed or title. That’s because “beneficiaries supersede what’s written in a will, and assets with named beneficiaries avoid probate,” which is the court process that administers a will, Fatoullah points out.

So it’s important to make the designation official on accounts like your IRA or pension. Your 401(k), by law, goes to your surviving spouse, unless you’ve made arrangements for another beneficiary (you can only do this with your spouse’s consent). Even so, it’s still better to have it on record, especially in the case of a domestic partnership, so you can solidify your relationship even further in the eyes of the law, whether the partnership is officially registered or not. “Show your commitment by making sure your beneficiary understands their next steps and their options when you pass away,” Adel says.

RELATED: 6 Documents Everyone Should Have to Protect Their Finances

6. A “Gift Card” Redeemable for Financial Duties

Often one partner assumes the heavy lifting when it comes to managing household finances. If your significant other is typically the one who makes sure that the bills get paid on time, Faherty suggests offering a Valentine that lets you switch roles for a period, so you can both be involved in money matters.

As an added bonus, you could pair your symbolic gift card with a real one that can be used toward an activity that replaces your partner’s bill-paying time, such as a massage or dinner with friends.

7. A College Fund

Maybe you already have small children … or maybe you just have babies on the brain. In either case, as soon as you both know that kids are part of the picture, it’s smart to start saving for their college education. Although it will be years until they hit campus, planning early will help save you and your sweetheart some financial worry in the future: Inflation in college tuition has historically outpaced regular inflation—sometimes as much as 2 to 1.

So explore the various vehicles together, and be sure to get professional advice before you pick an investment route. “Especially if children are not yet in the picture,” Adel says, “work with financial and legal professionals to ensure you’re setting up an account that takes advantage of tax incentives.”

RELATED: 9 Mistakes Not to Make With 529 Savings Plans

8. A Monthly ‘Money Date’ Night

It’s not pillow talk, but it’s just as necessary. Smart financial planning between couples is all about communication, after all. And Valentine’s Day can serve as the perfect opportunity to launch a monthly financial meeting of the minds, so to speak. It doesn’t have to be formal, either—it can be a once-a-month “date night with purpose”. “To keep the mood light, open a bottle of wine, play music and order takeout,” Faherty says.

What’s important is that you devote the time to discuss whatever financial issues are on your mind. You could plan to tackle one financial to-do each month, such as investigating how to reduce your cable bill, shopping around for cheaper car insurance or even just seeing how well you’re both sticking to your monthly budget.

9. A Joint Charitable Gift

Love begets love, and giving back can be a gift that warms both of your hearts. Have a heart-to-heart about the societal ills that concern you both, and then research charities that are working to address those problems.

To check that a charity is worthy of your money, go to reputable sites like charitynavigator.org and guidestar.org. And remember that the organization must be recognized as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS in order to get a tax credit for your donation.

10. An Investment Account for Your Future

Now, for a Valentine that represents your long-term goals. There’s nothing that says commitment more than saving up for a future home or the globetrotting you’ll do in retirement. Whatever the ultimate objective, starting an extra nest egg outside of your retirement savings helps you to both picture a future together.

As with your special-occasion fund, connect the account to a specific, future goal and determine when you want to accomplish it. This will not only remind you of the goal, says Faherty, but it will also help determine the best investment vehicle and asset allocation to fund it. Use this checklist to learn how to get started.

RELATED: 3 People, 3 Portfolios: What the Ups and Downs of the Stock Market Have Taught Me

11. A Plan to Pay Off Student Loans Together

In 2013, student loan borrowers owed the federal government more than $1 trillion. That’s a hefty debt—and what you owe as a couple could be keeping you both from other financial rites of passage, such as buying a first home.

Although student loans are better debt to carry than, say, credit card debt, it’s still ideal to have a plan to steadily pay them off together, says Faherty. “When my spouse and I got married, we had about $15,000 in combined student loans, and we put the money we received as wedding gifts toward paying them off,” she says. “We wanted to begin our lives together fresh. With this burden off our shoulders as soon as possible, we would be able to focus on and work toward other financial goals.”

RELATED: I Want to Pay Off My Student Loans

12. An Emergency Savings Fund

Every couple gets hit with the unexpected at some point, whether it’s a job loss, illness or even natural-disaster-related repairs. An emergency situation can put even more stress on a relationship if there isn’t a cushion of money to get you through the ordeal.

And don’t think it can’t happen to you: In a poll conducted by Bankrate.com, only 24% of those surveyed said they had enough to cover six months of expenses. Spare yourselves the future drama, and commit to building at least six months’ worth of expenses for those “just in case” moments. Figure out how much you can sock away each month, and then contribute together.

13. A Long-Term-Care Insurance Policy

Picture yourself growing old together. Now picture yourself growing old together without stressing over home- or health-related costs. Sounds better, right? Long-term-care insurance can help cover costs associated with assisted living or nursing homes, as well as expenses tied to receiving care at home, so the grayer versions of you and your sweetie can have peace of mind.

That time of life may seem far off, so why look into a policy now? Because the earlier you sign up for it, the better value you can expect for your premium dollar. And often, when you sign up together, says Fatoullah, you get a discount.

So be sure to start looking into long-term care insurance for you and your partner once you hit 50, and if you’re under 40, you may want to consider coverage for your parents. Almost nothing is less romantic than having your mother-in-law move in with you because she didn’t have a proper plan in place for her own long-term care!

RELATED: Long-Term Care Insurance 101

14. A Financial Filing System

According to Faherty, much of your personal financial success depends on one major factor: organization. Paying bills, rebalancing accounts, updating beneficiaries and locating documents for filing taxes are all less likely to fall through the cracks if you’ve nailed down a system for keeping them in one place.

A user-friendly, soup-to-nuts system, such as File Solutions’ Home Filing System, can give you the boost you need to start early on a couple’s spring-cleaning project. There are also digital options, like these apps, which can help you get virtually organized. Or you can use something as low-key as color-coordinated binders and folders to organize paperwork, adds Faherty.

Organization lessens stress. And the less stress you have, the more you’ll be in the mood for romance.

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

Elder Law Workshop provides help for seniors

By Portia Williams
 

PDT Staff Writer
 

AR-301089965WEST PORTSMOUTH — Senior Financial Survival in 2014 was the theme of a workshop offered to senior citizens Wednesday at Shawnee Lodge and Conference Center.
 

Cooper and Adel Financial Agency LLC offered information in a workshop designed to enlighten senior citizens to vital information about laws. Attorneys Tom Cooper and Mitchell Adel, are both certified Elder Law Specialists who facilitate the workshops.
 

Lori McBride, seminar coordinator for Cooper and Adel Financial Agency LLC, said the information being shared at the workshop is critical for many senior citizens.
 

“We are having a Elder Law workshop which is geared toward senior citizens in trying to help them, and give them planning strategies with regards to nursing homes, to protect their assets,” McBride said.
 

McBride said the information shared in the workshop is critical to the senior citizen population.
 

“It is critical because I think that a lot of people don’t think there is anything that they can do preserve their assets. I have seen people that have had farms in their family for generations, and if mom or dad gets sick and has to go into a nursing home, then they had to sell off the farm in order to help pay for that,” McBride said.
 

McBride said the workshop helps the public within the law to avoid conflict and to maintain their assets.
 

The workshop also deals with veteran benefits, and the benefits available to veterans.
 

Workshop topics include:

  • Pros and Cons of the Revocable Living Trust,
  • How to lower your income taxes and avoid Capital Gains Tax,
  • How to protect your assets from catastrophic illness and nursing home cost without purchasing nursing home insurance,
  • How to avoid tax traps when transferring assets to children,
  • Expanded Estate Recovery Law – Government liens placed on senior’s real estate,
  • How to avoid probate; and,
  • Emerging trends where children are becoming responsible for their parent’s health care.

 

“Basically, the workshop covers anything pertaining to senior citizens and the protection of their assets and how they can structure those assets should any type of catastrophe should occur in their lives,” McBride said.
 

The workshops are free, and open to the public.
 

Cooper and Adel Financial, Agency LLC has four offices in central Ohio, including Centerburg, Monroe, Sidney, and their newest location in Chillicothe. For more information regarding the Elder Law Workshops, call 1-877-401-2175.

Qualifying for Veterans Benefits

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Attorney Mitch Adel was a guest on Fox 28 recently to talk about veterans benefits and how to qualify. For even more information on the qualifications, be sure to check out our veterans benefits page

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

Certified Elder Law Attorney Mitch Adel on WTVN

Ohio Elder Law Attorney Mitch Adel

Be sure to catch our very own managing partner and Certified Elder Law Attorney Mitch Adel on WTVN News Radio Monday, Nov. 11th discussing Veterans Benefits. Check out http://www.610wtvn.com to listen live! 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

Don’t Short-change Beneficiary Decisions

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Strategies and circumstances to consider for your retirement planning 

By Attorney Mitch Adel – Senior Partner

When it comes to your long-term financial planning, among the most important and impactful decisions you will make involves selecting beneficiaries. Taking care of family and close friends when you are gone is the first priority for most of us—but, yet, we frequently treat beneficiary decisions casually and neglect to review them as often as we should.

You should name beneficiaries on all of your assets that have an account number, a deed or a title. You can name beneficiaries for each individual asset or, if it makes sense, you can fund your assets to a trust so you have only one place where your beneficiaries are named. A trust can also simplify the process of changing beneficiaries. Assigning and keeping your beneficiaries current with changes in your life is not always a simple or straightforward process. In addition, there are a number of financial and technical considerations that can have a big impact on who you decide to name as a beneficiary, particularly if you have one or more retirement accounts.

Think: Has your life changed since you first created your accounts and investments? Are you remarried or divorced? Did one of your beneficiaries marry a person with children? Chances are you need to update some of your beneficiary designations. The last thing you want is for your assets to be left to your estate (and up to the discretion of a probate court judge) or to get eaten up by significant taxes.

Here are a few simple reminders to help you make strategic and thoughtful primary and secondary beneficiary decisions:

Understand your options
While a spouse or significant other is the most common beneficiary choice, there are a number of circumstances where it might make sense to assign a different beneficiary. You do have other options, including non-spouse family members or trusts, however, alternative choices may require some additional planning.

When you select someone other than your spouse as a beneficiary, there can be additional legal and procedural considerations to take into account. Your spouse must sign off if you decide to leave your IRA to someone else, such as a child or grandchild. The problem is, unless you make special arrangements in advance, a beneficiary can cash in your IRA at your death. The result is the amount they withdraw is added to their taxable income in that year. As you might imagine, that could make for a bad tax year. On the other hand, if they keep their inherited IRA, they are building a future pension for themselves.

For the “pensionless” generation (think Detroit), this can be a big benefit. Also, depending on their age or their habits, you might want to set up a special trust to protect your IRAs or other inheritance you leave them from divorce, creditors or predators. While beneficiary decisions are personal, an experienced elder law attorney teamed up with a trusted and experienced wealth management professional can help you sort through these considerations and plan your beneficiary selection accordingly.

Make a clear, conscious choice
First, think honestly and carefully about what you want. Decide who you want to benefit and how. Next, ensure that the language in each trust, insurance policy, annuity or retirement vehicle is updated regularly to reflect your current wishes. Some employer plans have default language that may undercut your decision and bypass those you want to receive the benefit of your hard work. Did you specify a contingent or secondary beneficiary if your first choice is deceased? If you fail to do so, and your plan beneficiary selection defaults to your estate it could burden your family with the delays and added cost of probate.

Check yourself
Don’t just “set it and forget it” when it comes to choosing your beneficiaries. Personal and financial circumstances change.Families evolve and priorities change. Needless to say, financial policies and regulations change over time. It is a good idea to make a habit of reviewing your plan annually—and most certainly when a major life event such as the birth or death of a family member or a change in marital status occurs—to ensure your beneficiary choices are right. Remember, you may have made these decisions decades ago when you first filled out your paperwork—do they still hold true?

Communicate clearly
This may seem obvious, but it is an all-too-often-overlooked mistake that has led to many instances of financial and family stress. Your wishes must be clearly stated so that your representative after your death knows exactly what is required and can easily communicate them to all involved.

Also, make sure your representatives know where you keep your important papers and account information. If they can’t find it, it is as if it did not exist. It is heartbreaking to think about all of your conscientious consideration and planning going to waste because of something as simple as a misfiled or mislaid form.

Choosing the right beneficiaries is not rocket science, but it takes focus and persistence. Bringing in an attorney who is an estate planning specialist into the mix can help to ensure that your wishes are reflected throughout the process. 

FB

DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you. No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.  

Adel becomes Certified Elder Law Attorney

Screen Shot 2013-10-02 at 1.00.26 PMMitch Adel, Managing Partner of Cooper, Adel & Associates recently completed the rigorous process to become one of only 21 attorneys in Ohio certified as elder law attorneys (CELAs) by the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF).

Mitch joins a rich tradition of elder law attorneys who have been certified by NELF. In 1993, the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys assisted in forming NELF, the only national certifying program for elder law and special needs attorneys. NELF is approved by the Ohio Commission on Certification of Attorneys as Specialists and by the American Bar Association. The certification process includes a rigorous examination as well as peer endorsements and demonstration of on-going involvement in the practice of elder law. Once certified, CELAs are required to apply for recertification every five years, demonstrating that their practice is primarily elder law and that they have completed continuing education specifically targeted to advanced practitioners.

In 2013, there were 37,745 practicing attorneys in Ohio, only 21 are CELAs. Of law firms in Ohio with CELAs, only two have more than one CELA. Cooper, Adel & Associates is proud to be one of those two firms. Congratulations, Mitch!

FB

DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you. No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.  

Don’t Short-change Beneficiary Decisions

As seen in:

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Strategies and circumstances to consider for your retirement planning

By Mitch Adel,Senior Partner

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 1.09.42 PMWhen it comes to your long-term financial planning, among the most important and impactful decisions you will make involves selecting beneficiaries. Taking care of family and close friends when you are gone is the first priority for most of us—but, yet, we frequently treat beneficiary decisions casually and neglect to review them as often as we should.

You should name beneficiaries on all of your assets that have an account number, a deed or a title. You can name beneficiaries for each individual asset or, if it makes sense, you can fund your assets to a trust so you have only one place where your beneficiaries are named. A trust can also simplify the process of changing beneficiaries. Assigning and keeping your beneficiaries current with changes in your life is not always a simple or straightforward process. In addition, there are a number of financial and technical considerations that can have a big impact on who you decide to name as a beneficiary, particularly if you have one or more retirement accounts.

Think: Has your life changed since you first created your accounts and investments? Are you remarried or divorced? Did one of your beneficiaries marry a person with children? Chances are you need to update some of your beneficiary designations. The last thing you want is for your assets to be left to your estate (and up to the discretion of a probate court judge) or to get eaten up by significant taxes.

Here are a few simple reminders to help you make strategic and thoughtful primary and secondary beneficiary decisions:

Understand your options
While a spouse or significant other is the most common beneficiary choice, there are a number of circumstances where it might make sense to assign a different beneficiary. You do have other options, including non-spouse family members or trusts, however, alternative choices may require some additional planning.

When you select someone other than your spouse as a beneficiary, there can be additional legal and procedural considerations to take into account. Your spouse must sign off if you decide to leave your IRA to someone else, such as a child or grandchild. The problem is, unless you make special arrangements in advance, a beneficiary can cash in your IRA at your death. The result is the amount they withdraw is added to their taxable income in that year. As you might imagine, that could make for a bad tax year. On the other hand, if they keep their inherited IRA, they are building a future pension for themselves. For the “pensionless” generation (think Detroit), this can be a big benefit. Also, depending on their age or their habits, you might want to set up a special trust to protect your IRAs or other inheritance you leave them from divorce, creditors or predators. While beneficiary decisions are personal, an experienced elder law attorney teamed up with a trusted and experienced wealth management professional can help you sort through these considerations and plan your beneficiary selection accordingly.

Make a clear, conscious choice
First, think honestly and carefully about what you want. Decide who you want to benefit and how. Next, ensure that the language in each trust, insurance policy, annuity or retirement vehicle is updated regularly to reflect your current wishes. Some employer plans have default language that may undercut your decision and bypass those you want to receive the benefit of your hard work. Did you specify a contingent or secondary beneficiary if your first choice is deceased? If you fail to do so, and your plan beneficiary selection defaults to your estate it could burden your family with the delays and added cost of probate.

Check yourself
Don’t just “set it and forget it” when it comes to choosing your beneficiaries. Personal and financial circumstances change. Families evolve and priorities change. Needless to say, financial policies and regulations change over time. It is a good idea to make a habit of reviewing your plan annually—and most certainly when a major life event such as the birth or death of a family member or a change in marital status occurs—to ensure your beneficiary choices are right. Remember, you may have made these decisions decades ago when you first filled out your paperwork—do they still hold true?

Communicate clearly
This may seem obvious, but it is an all-too-often-overlooked mistake that has led to many instances of financial and family stress. Your wishes must be clearly stated so that your representative after your death knows exactly what is required and can easily communicate them to all involved.

Also, make sure your representatives know where you keep your important papers and account information. If they can’t find it, it is as if it did not exist. It is heartbreaking to think about all of your conscientious consideration and planning going to waste because of something as simple as a misfiled or mislaid form.

Choosing the right beneficiaries is not rocket science, but it takes focus and persistence. Bringing in an attorney who is an estate planning specialist into the mix can help to ensure that your wishes are reflected throughout the process.

FB

DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you. No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.  



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