Our Blog

Who is manning the front door at Cooper and Adel?

By Kevin Trimble

Cooper and Adel want you and your family to have the most pleasant experience possible from the time you enter our doors. When you enter the doors of our Centerburg offices there are 2 people waiting to courteously greet you and ensure that you are comfortable.

Dustin Snyder, the Receptionist will greet you with a smile and offer you refreshments to keep you comfortable in preparation for your consultation with Mr. Cooper or meetings with any other of our staff members. By the time you enter our office, you may already have spoken with Dustin as he would have called you previously to confirm your appointment. Should you wish to strike up a conversation with Dustin, be sure to ask him about his two dogs and a cat that he believes are like children. Besides his time greeting clients at Cooper and Adel, Dustin enjoys traveling to Columbus to visit family and playing computer games.

The second person to ensure that you have a pleasant visit with us is our Administrative Assistant, Mary Beth (Poole) Rees. Mary Beth is the first person to call you after attending one of our seminars or being referred to us by one of our great clients. She assists all of our departments with their administrative needs and along with Dustin will make sure you are comfortable and will gladly offer you some refreshment. Want to get Mary Beth talking, just ask her about her 10 grandchildren. Besides spending time with her grandchildren, Mary Beth is also a licensed fire fighter, photography buff, camper and wife to her husband of 28 years.

Mary Beth and Dustin will gladly go out of their way to ensure that you are comfortable from the moment you step into our Centerburg offices. Should you need anything, please ask them!

Image Map
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.

Do I Need an Estate Plan if I’m Single with No Children?

By Jill Besl

Screen Shot 2014-03-21 at 8.35.27 AMMost people don't give it a second thought: “Who will take care of me in my old age?”, “Who will see to my needs?”, “Who will see to it my end-of-life wishes are fulfilled?” Your children of course! Obviously that's not the reason we have children in the first place, but knowing you'll have a support system in your sunset years is a comforting thought. But for the growing number of people who have made the decision to remain single and/or childless, those same questions may incur a certain level of anxiety.

Common concerns of those without kids are similar to those with kids: not wasting resources at the end of life, dying a natural death and not being a burden on anyone. But who will carry out those wishes should you become incapacitated or die if you don't have kids? Many will turn to nieces, nephews, cousins or even close friends. However many questions still remain: How will they know (or remember) my wishes? How can they pay for my end-of-life expenses? How can I be assured I will be permitted to die a natural death and not be kept alive on life support indefinitely?

Proper estate planning can provide peace-of-mind that these questions and others are answered and wishes fulfilled. Those who are single and/or childless are in need of Estate Planning as much as, if not more so than those with immediate family to care for them. At Cooper, Adel and Associates, we can help you achieve that peace-of-mind. Call us today at 1-800-798-5297 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.   

Image Map
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.

Are you aging well?

This infographic outlines a number of important factors that impact our ability to age well, including personal capacity to react to life’s transitions, individual behaviors and health status, societal factors, and the individual’s ability to engage with their community and remain independent. More information is available at http://www.philips-thecenter.org/aging-well

PCHW-Aging-Well_700px

Image Map
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.

Do you need a Plan or Trust Review?

By Bethany Smith

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.31.33 PMMany people believe that once their trust has been signed, they can place it somewhere for safe keeping and forget about it. That can be a costly misconception. Trusts are fluid documents, meaning they can be changed and should be kept updated. That is why at Cooper, Adel & Associates, our attorneys recommend a review of work done with our firm every three to five years.

There several reasons you might need to have changes made to your trust. First are changes to the law. While we make every effort to keep our clients aware of changes in laws that may affect them, we still need to meet with you to review how the law affects your plan specifically. Your trust may also need to be reviewed and potentially updated any time you have life-changing personal events such as deaths, births, marriages or divorces. These situations may require thoughtful consideration about who is in charge, who your beneficiaries will be and who may have a difficult situation for which you need to plan. Of course, changes in your financial situation such as retirement, inheriting money or land or even winning the lottery are all times that you should think about a Review. Finally, serious changes in your health that may mean you will need extra care should make you consider a Trust Review.

Not every plan includes a trust but that doesn't mean you should not review your plan periodically. Even if you do not have a trust, changes in the law, changes in your money, family or health should motivate you to seek the counsel of an experienced elder law attorney.

Please call our office at 1-800-798-5297 to schedule your review if you feel that you need additional assistance getting your ducks in a row.

Image Map
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.

If I’m Divorced, can my ex-spouse get my things when I die?

By Chris Meyer

Screen Shot 2014-03-18 at 12.19.16 PMOne question we are often asked here at Cooper, Adel & Associates is “will my ex-spouse receive anything of mine after I die?” The answer to this question is not necessarily – but it can happen. Although ex-spouses do not receive anything titled in your name (unless the divorce court decrees that they should), you can make an unintended and unfortunate mistake if the beneficiaries are not updated on all of your assets.

Make sure your IRAs, deeded property, titled property, mutual funds, etc. have a named beneficiary who is the person you want your asset to go to when you are gone. If your ex is the beneficiary of an asset when you die, that asset will go to your ex.

Also, make sure that all of your legal documents – trusts, wills, powers of attorney – are updated to reflect your wishes after a divorce. If you are incapacitated or at your death, you want to be the one who set the course – not your ex.

If you have any further questions or would like to schedule a complimentary consultation with either Thom Cooper or Mitchell Adel, please feel free to give or office a call at 800-798-5297. Also, be sure to Like us on Facebook for up to date blogs in regards to may different aspects of Trusts and estate planning.

Image Map
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

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 9.39.08 AM

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. 

Image Map
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.

Top 5 Reasons to Start a Trust

By Angela Hall

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.26.33 PM#1 Trusts are private and avoid probate:
A trust offers greater privacy then a will, because it does not go to probate, so there is no public record. This means that your assets can go to your heirs without the cost and involvement of the probate courts in your private financial affairs.

#2 Trusts can help you avoid guardianships:
Many people set up trusts so that they can name the individuals, called successor trustees, who will have the legal authority to manage their financial affairs if they become incapacitated. Having a living trust allows you to select someone to manage your assets without involving a court-appointed guardian.

#3 Trusts can also help you avoid family conflict or strife between the heirs:
A trust is a good tool to help avoid the conflict that sometime arrises when and estate is being settled. A trust can be customized to allow you to detail exactly how and when your assets should be distributed and who gets them. Unlike a will, a trust can be very detailed in its distribution.

#4 Trusts are difficult to contest:
Unlike a will, a revocable living trust is unlikely to be contested. A trust gives you greater protection against legal action from a beneficiary who may not be happy with their distribution of assets.

#5 Trusts can help you protect your heirs:
Trusts allow you to disburse your estate to your beneficiaries in a way that will benefit them the most. For instance, if you have children that have difficulty in managing money or who are in financial difficulty, then you can effectively set up different options which allow the money to be distributed in regular payments rather than lump sum. There are also ways to set up trusts for your children that insure that the money goes down your blood line and is protected against your child's creditors or predators.

Creating a trust or developing an estate plan can be a very complex project. It is very important that you contact an experienced elder law attorney before making your decision to start a trust. The attorneys at Cooper, Adel and Associates will be happy to assist you in your estate plan.  

 

Image Map
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 the Lookback Period?

by Michelle Mason

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.33.21 PMMedicaid has its own language and the Lookback Period is one of those Medicaid terms that causes a great deal of confusion.

The Look back Period refers to the five-year period prior to the first date when you entered a long-term care facility and applied for Ohio Medicaid assistance.

The Lookback Period is actually an audit period – a time period when the State of Ohio can audit what you've done with your money to see if you have have given away (“gifted”) any of your money, deeds, titled property or other assets. Assets that you gave away before the Lookback Period are not counted.

If you made gifts during the Lookback Period, you are normally required to wait before Medicaid will pay your benefits based on the size of the gift you made. Bigger gifts create longer periods before the State will pay – this is sometimes called a penalty period. The penalty period can be long (yes, it can be longer than 5 years) or short depending on when made the gift and several other factors. There are exceptions to the rules … it's complicated.

You cannot hide money. You cannot lie about what you did with your assets. However, you can legally work with their rules, just like you do with your taxes, to make the best of the situation.

Attorney Cooper asks our clients a simple question: If you knew it would take five years to plan to protect your money from a nursing home spenddown, when should you start to plan? The answer is now!

 

Image Map
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

Screen Shot 2014-03-13 at 8.22.33 AM

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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image Map
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.

Should I deed my property to my kids?

The Most Common Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning Mistake

By Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.17.42 PMAnswer: No. Not unless you (and your children) understand the risks and drawbacks.

In an effort to protect their real estate from nursing home or from estate taxes, many people consider deeding their real estate to their children. This is a very risky strategy for a variety of reasons.

Taxes – By transferring real estate to a child while you are still alive can create a future tax time-bomb for that child.

A gift of property during the owner's lifetime results in what is known as a carry-over in basis. Basis is the IRS term for the value of the property when you received it, being either the price you paid for it or the value it was worth when you inherited it. Basis is important when the property is sold. The sale price, minus your basis, equals your capital gain which is taxable at roughly 29% between Federal and State taxes.

For example, if you buy a piece of land for $100,000 and you sell it for $225,000, you have a capital gain of $125,000.

So if you have a piece of property that was worth $150,000 when you bought it and now it is worth $400,000, you have a lot of taxable appreciation. If you deed that property to a child, you pass on that taxable appreciation. Moreover, if the child holds onto the property for another 20 years and the value increases to $750,000 then they will owe tax on a $600,000 gain when they sell. This could result in $174,000 being lost to taxes.

Liability - if the property is owned by someone else, it is subject to the liabilities of that person.

Suppose you gift property to a child. Your child now owns that property. It is considered to be their personal asset, even if you continue to live there. If that child were to get a divorce, then that property is up for grabs along with all of their other assets.

What may be even worse is if that child gets sued, even for something that is no fault of their own, the entire property could be lost to pay their liabilities or judgement creditors, potentially leaving you without a place to live.

It is very important to understand the many potential consequences of gifting any assets, particularly real estate, before embarking on such a plan. You should seek the assistance of Elder Law Attorney to discuss the best strategies for protecting assets before taking on the challenge yourself.  

Image Map
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.



Related Posts with Thumbnails

Blog Subscribe via Email

Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On Twitter