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Don’t let Retirement Benefits go down the drain!

By Robin Crouch

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 8.44.10 AMIf there is no beneficiary named on your retirement account, who inherits and how is the the required distribution calculated?

Unfortunately, there are cases where Dad died, Mom was the named beneficiary, but she predeceased him. OR, Mom inherited the IRA and died before naming her own beneficiary.

Each IRA has it's own rules and each IRA custodian has their own agreement with language that will indicate who inherits the IRA when there are no named beneficiaries. Most agreements default to the estate of the deceased IRA owner.

A designated beneficiary is a living, breathing person who can stretch distributions over their own life expectancy and pay the income tax accordingly. Traditional IRAs are typically funded with pretax dollars. Distributions out of the account after age 59½ are taxed as ordinary income at each individual's tax rate.

“The Estate of” does not have a life expectancy and has a limited ability to stretch distributions. If the IRA owner died before April 1 of the year after he turned 70½, the IRA must be emptied in five years. If he died after the required beginning date, you may have the option to stretch distributions over his remaining life expectancy.

Most IRA custodians will only make payments to the estate and not to the beneficiaries of the estate so stretching the distribution may not be an option. Instead, the custodian will pay the entire IRA balance to the estate. Not only is this is a taxable distribution and cannot be undone, the probate attorney and the executor's fees are based on the assets of the estate.

So, don't let your retirement funds go down the drain. It is very important that you seek professional advice to understand how your tax-qualified account works after you pass away and that your beneficiaries are named correctly to avoid the pitfalls of paying unnecessary taxes and probate fees.

Contact Us Today For A Free Consultation

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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.

What are Activities of Daily Living (ADL’s) and why do they matter?

By Michelle Mason

Screen Shot 2014-01-28 at 8.37.57 AMThe activities of daily living are basic tasks of everyday life. This is a term that is used in healthcare to refer to daily self-care activities within an individual's place of residence or in an outdoor environment. Many programs use ADLs to determine not only the functional abilities but also the level of care and the benefits available to the individual.

Assessing a senior's functional abilities helps the family and medical professionals determine a person's current care needs. Assessments can be valuable, by showing patterns of either progress or decline.

Whether the senior is able to perform all of the activities of daily living independently, or if they need help with just a few of them, the assessment will help the professional team create a care plan to meet each individual's needs.

Activities of Daily Living (ADL's)

Most senior healthcare providers group the activities of daily living into the following categories:

Bathing and showering: being able to bathe or shower with no assistance.

Personal grooming: Shaving, brushing teeth and coming hair.

Dressing: choosing appropriate garments and being able to dress and undress, having no trouble with buttons or zippers.

Preparing meals and eating: making appropriate food choices and preparing meals safely. Being able to feed their self.

Organizing and taking medications: taking the appropriate medications and correct dosages on time.

Mobility/Transferring: being able to walk or being able to transfer oneself from the bed to the wheelchair and back with no assistance.

Toileting: using the restroom independently

Maintaining the home: doing housekeeping and laundry or making arrangements for the housekeeping and laundry to be done.

Managing finances: budgeting or paying rent and utility bills on time, etc.

Using transportation: being able to drive or use public transportation for appointments, shopping etc.

Shopping: being able to shop for groceries and other small necessities, and transport purchases from store to home.

If you have a loved one who is age 60 or older and needs help with 2 or more of the Activities of Daily Living, our firm may be able to help you apply for a program called Passport Waiver, which offers in home healthcare. Passport Waiver is an alternative program to help keep older adults safely and independently in their homes with quality services. Please call for an appointment to find out more.

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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.

Honoring the Dangers of Spaceflight

By Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 4.49.12 PMThe achievements of human space exploration has afforded mankind with innumerable benefits. While many of us take these benefits for granted, these achievements have come at a high price.

This week is marked as the deadliest week in the history of manned space exploration. The span from January 26 to February 1 has seen three major tragedies resulting in the loss of the entire crew in all cases. Below is a brief synopsis of these tragic missions. Today we remember the lives of these brave pioneers who gave their lives in the name of science and discovery:

January 27, 1967 – Apollo 1

January 26, 1986- Space Shuttle Challenger

February 1, 2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia

 

image via Wikipedia

The never ending Nursing Home process

by Jess LoPiccolo

Every month, our firm makes many benefits applications. It takes a lot of time and effort to get the applications approved and the client on benefits. Our client must compile 5 years of financial statements then we review each statement and the county reviews them, looking for any gifts that have been made in the past 5 years. The benefits application process usually takes from one to three months, sometimes shorter and sometimes longer. All of the hard work and time put into an application is well worth it when our client's application is approved and they are able to get the help they need, and in some cases, protect some of the assets or money that they have worked their whole lifetime to accumulate.

The initial application is the hardest part, but it is not the end of the road for Medicaid recipients. Every year, Medicaid requires an annual medicaid reapplication. It is like a review. It is not as time-consuming nor does it require the Medicaid recipient to provide as much information and paperwork as the initial application. At the annual Medicaid reapplication the county only needs updated financial statements, income and health insurance premium amounts. This process is done once a year, usually around the same time every year, during the lifetime of the Medicaid recipient.

When the Medicaid recipient passes away, the Medicaid process is still not over. There is a program called Medicaid Estate Recovery. This is where the States tries to recoup monies that were paid out by Medicaid, for care of the Medicaid recipient.

Here at Cooper, Adel and Associates, we have a Medicaid team dedicated to making applications and reapplications easier for our clients. Please call our office if you or a loved are interested in learning more about Medicaid or Estate Recovery in Ohio.

 

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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.

What matters most to U.S. seniors

The United States of Aging Survey, conducted by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), UnitedHealthcare and USA TODAY, explores what underlies American seniors’ perspectives on aging, and how the country can better prepare for a booming senior population.

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 8.56.42 AM

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 8.57.04 AMWhat matters most to you?  It takes planning to protect your wealth.  It takes planning to assure that your wealth is not adversely affected if you have a catastrophic health condition or require long term care at home or in a nursing home.  See your elder law attorney to help you put a plan in place for you and your family.  It’s a small price to pay for peace of mind.

 

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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 Biggest Law Change Since Social Security

By Thom L. Cooper
Certified Elder Law Attorney*

69e8f8_73e97fd807b0f9eb4a29adb4eb8d72ef.jpg_srz_307_362_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srzA friend once told me that dealing with “change in the world” is like trying to figure out how to deal with a stream of water flowing down a hill. You can excavate and build dams to channel and control the water or you can just figure where the water is going to flow and be there when it gets there.

It is the same way in the area if elder law. It's a lot less work to anticipate and plan ahead of actual law changes rather than to try to deal with legal changes as they continually cascade upon us. Right now with Obamacare, I believe that we have upon us the biggest law change since Social Security. I think that the law will dramatically impact on way every senior in the country receives health care services in two very important ways:

The first is our ability to access care. In our new book Over the Hill and Under Obamacare, we have reviewed universal health care programs in the England, Canada and Massachusetts (where we had RomneyCare for several years). What we found was long waits for the most basic care and even longer waits to see a specialist.

The second is our ability to have confidence in the recommendations of our doctors. In the past, our interests have always coincided with the interests of our personal physicians. As patients, we have always wanted the best care for ourselves and our loved ones, and our personal physicians have always been paid to provide it. Our book details the move under Obamacare toward the “clinical team practice of medicine.” Under this new model, our direct treatment will be provided by those with less training under governmental guidelines and treatment categories that are designed to prevent “over-utilization” of medical services. Under this new model, those involved with our care, including our physicians, will be incentivized to provide less care. How can we have faith in the recommendations of our treatment team, including our doctors, if they are paid to provide less diagnostic tests and care?

Time will tell with respect to how this new law will specifically impact on our senior clients. My recommendation is that seniors be more involved in their care recommendations and be prepared to privately pay for tests and health care themselves. They may even need to travel to get the care. Our website, www.OverTheHillAndUnderObamacare.com, provides our specific predictions, as set forth in our book, with respect to the new law. We intend to keep our clients posted with how we did with respect to each of the predictions. The site will also provide some suggestions as to what our clients can do to cope with changes in store for them. Also, we will keep you informed about what is happening with these laws as they evolve in the future. In this way, we hope to show you “where the stream” is going to be with respect to health care and how you can be prepared to deal with the cascade of health changes coming to us all in the biggest change in senior law since Social Security.

 

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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.

What is trust funding?

Screen-Shot-2013-01-30-at-8.55.45-AM8-300x2576By Carmen Potterton

People create trusts for a variety of reasons; to avoid probate, to protect a home from a nursing home spend down, to protect a child's inheritance from creditors/predators, etc. For a trust to fulfill its intended purpose, it has to be funded. Funding is the processing of changing ownership of assets (anything with a deed, title or account number) so that the rules of a trust apply to those assets.

To fund a financial account, such as a checking account, brokerage account or insurance policy to a trust, your financial institutions must be informed that you created a trust and that it is your desire to change the owner and/or beneficiary of the account/policy at that institution. This is accomplished by preparing a letter of instruction or completing company-specific forms that are sent the institution indicating the changes to be made. For example, you may indicate that the ownership of your bank account is to be changed from you personally to you as trustee of your trust. Along with the letter of instruction, most institutions also require specific pages from your trust that show the names of the creators of the trust, the date it was created, names of the current trustees and the successor trustees. In addition, a trust memorandum is also sent to show that the current trustee has the power to make the requested change of ownership or beneficiary.

Funding can be complex and, for most of us, should not be a do-it-yourself project. Make sure that your attorney includes funding all of your assets to your trust(s) as part of your fee. The attorneys at Cooper, Adel & Associates fund the trusts we prepare for our clients. We would be happy to do the same for you. Give us a call if we can assist.

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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.

A Dream… A Belief…

JM Megail Gaumer

Screen Shot 2014-01-20 at 9.15.57 AMJanuary 20, 2014 is Martin Luther King day which recognizes the birthdate of a celebrated leader of nonviolent activism during the civil rights movement. Dr. King dreamed of a multiracial nation living in peace. After his assassination in 1968, President Ronald Reagan signed the federal holiday into law.

King was well known for his ability to communicate a message of hope and inclusiveness. Here are just a few:

Forgiveness is not an occasional act. It is a permanent attitude.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

We may have all come on different ships, but we're in the same boat now.

Everything that we see is a shadow cast by that which we do not see.

If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

The King Center remembers Dr. King in this way:

We commemorate Dr. King’s inspiring words, because his voice and his vision filled a great void in our nation, and answered our collective longing to become a country that truly lived by its noblest principles. Yet, Dr. King knew that it wasn’t enough just to talk the talk, that he had to walk the walk for his words to be credible. And so we commemorate on this holiday the man of action, who put his life on the line for freedom and justice every day, the man who braved threats and jail and beatings and who ultimately paid the highest price to make democracy a reality for all Americans.”

As you go about your day, take a moment to reflect on the accomplishments of Dr. King.  

VA Benefits for Desert Storm Veterans

by Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 9.11.00 AMThis week will mark the 23rd anniversary of the beginning of Operation Desert Storm on January 17, 1991. This marked the beginning of the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent liberation of Kuwait by coalition forces. Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait in August of 1990 sparking global outrage. The United States, together with over 30 other nations, formed a multinational coalition to free Kuwait from Iraqi control.

Operation Desert Storm began with one of the most vigorous air campaigns in military history, spanning nearly 5 weeks of 24 hour-a-day operations including air-to-air dogfights with Iraqi aircraft and strategic and systematic strikes against Iraqi command and control sites on the ground. The air campaign was the first to use many of the state of the art precision guided weapons, stealth aircraft and other modern military technology still in use today. The air war was followed by the now famous “100-hour” ground invasion driving the Iraqi Army from Kuwait and entirely defeating what was then the 4th largest army in the world in just under 4 days. Offensive operations in the Persian Gulf concluded on February 28th, 1991.

Over 650,000 Americans served in the Persian Gulf War and the VA offers many benefits for those who served. Many Gulf War veterans are not aware of these benefits which include disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial. (Click on any of these links for information directly from the VA website)

Additionally, there are a variety of illnesses and conditions that are linked to service in the Persian Gulf that can entitle veterans to special pension benefits.

See the link below for more details:

http://www.benefits.va.gov/persona/veteran-gulfwar.asp

(Image by Bryan Dorrough)

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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.

What was your world like in 1964 – Could you imagine how it would look today?

By Kathy Cooper

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 2.25.48 PMIn college, I loved science fiction and one of my favorite authors was Arthur C. Clark – Childhood's End, 2001 a Space Odyssey, and many more. He is and was a visionary. In 1964, Sir Arthur C. Clarke predicted how we would communicate and work with one another in the year 2000:

We could be in instant contact with each other, wherever we may be, where we can contact our friends anywhere on earth, even if we don’t know their actual physical location. It will be possible in that age, perhaps only 50 years from now, for a man to conduct his business from Tahiti or Bali just as well as he could from London…. Almost any executive skill, any administrative skill, even any physical skill, could be made independent of distance. I am perfectly serious when I suggest that one day we may have brain surgeons in Edinburgh operating on patients in New Zealand”

We still had dial phones in 1964 (every young girl wanted a princess phone then)– and there were no cordless or cellular phones. The first cellular phone was introduced in 1973 but not commercially available until 1983. Today, as Clarke suggested, we are always in touch no matter where we are, no cords required.

Interestingly, doctors began virtual surgery in 2001 and it is pretty popular today, particularly considering the advances in robotic surgery. Clarke got that right.

Thomas Friedman wrote a ground-breaking book in 2005 that talked about the ability of businesses to operate globally in a “flat” world, very much as Clarke predicted.

Are you as visionary as Sir Clarke? Do you know how your future will look and are you prepared for it? It's worth thinking about as we begin a new year.

http://www.openculture.com/2011/09/arthur_c_clarke_looks_into_the_future_1964.html

Credit for picture: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_DynaTAC

 

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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.



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