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Should you always delay taking your Social Security retirement benefits until age 70?

Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 11.13.53 AMBy Roy Whited

This information was taken in part from a March 16, 2014 post from the Wall Street Journal where two financial advisors locked horns over which is the smarter move; taking the sure thing now, or holding out for the larger payment down the road. One of the advisors said it is better not to wait, while the other advisor said that waiting is by far a better option.

In reality they could both be right or wrong depending on the individuals situation. The choice as to when you should start receiving Social Security retirement benefits can be effected by many things. For example, your health, your money, your family, or your current employment opportunities.

A case for not waiting. One spouse is a retired school teacher and is receiving a state teacher monthly pension. Should the retired teacher die their spouse will continue to receive a pension from the deceased spouse pension. However, should the spouse who is getting a monthly Social Security check die, the retired teacher does not receive any monthly retirement benefits from Social Security. Why not take the monthly payments from Social Security at age 66 and use part of it to purchase life insurance that could be used to provide an additional pension for the spouse who is going to lose the Social Security benefits of their deceased spouse?

Regardless of the individuals situation it is very important that retirees understand their options. It is equally important for retirees to understand how they can use certain planning techniques to protect their homes and other assets from being lost to the cost of health care including the costs of a nursing home stay. Todays cost of long term care can be over $80,000 a year.

Why not call the professionals at Cooper, Adel & Associates to schedule a free 1 hour consultation and learn how to protect your assets. 1-800-798-5297 or fill out our online form.

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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.

Pet Trusts – Not Just For Cats & Dogs

By Attorney Keith Stevens

What do you think of when you hear the word “pet”? Dogs, cats, goldfish, maybe parrots are the first things that occur to most of us. Some people may also think about their geckoes, pythons, and tortoises. There is a staggering variety of creatures being kept as pets and it is only growing.

Our tools for dealing with a variety of animals should be equally flexible. If you were to pass away tomorrow, would your family have access funds to get veterinary care for your horse? If you became mentally incapacitated, would they know how to properly maintain your chinchilla?

Dogs and cats may be the most mainstream of American pets, but they are not the only ones that would benefit from planning. What animals are good candidates for a Pet Trust?

  1. Screen Shot 2014-04-08 at 10.43.46 AMThe long lived. If a friend or family member commits to taking care of your pet after death or incapacity, the longer the pet lives, the greater the potential strain on the caretakers. By providing financially for the pet, you can relieve the stress of an inherited pet. Examples include parrots and tortoises at the extremes, but horses, dogs, cats, even tarantulas and some aquarium fish may live more than twenty years.

  2. The expensive or high maintenance. Some animals simply require more resources for their care than others. If you leave a horse behind, how many people could afford to feed it, let alone house it? For animals that need a greater commitment of resources, a legal solution is the best way to provide for them.

  3. The exotic. A quick search of the Internet reveals Ohio breeders marketing a wide range of exotic pets, including patagonian cavies, kinkajous, African pygmy hedgehogs, flying squirrels, porcupines, lemurs, and even leopards. These make more familiar exotics like ferrets, sugar gliders, llamas and alpacas look routine. If you own an unusual pet, the likelihood that your appointed caregiver will have the resources to meet its unique needs are slim. Using a Pet Trust, you can provide not only financial resources for the pet's care, but also instructions and guidance to its eventual caretaker.

To learn more about planning for your pets, contact the offices of Cooper, Adel & Associates today.

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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.

Medicare cost increases will affect seniors negatively

By Kathy Cooper

Kaiser Family Foundation recently reported that increase in seniors' share of the cost burden for Medicare under Obamacare will negatively affect most seniors. The purpose of the Kaiser study was to determine how well seniors would be able to absorb rising Medicare premiums, co-pays, deductibles and related costs. The study concluded that most seniors are of modest means – low income, low savings and low home equity.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 1.32.34 PMBaby boomers are just finding out how Medicare works and how much they will end up paying for normal healthcare expenses as they enter retirement. Medicare premiums, co-payments for doctor visits and some other services such as tests are deducted from their monthly Social Security checks and typically account for over 15% of those checks. Medigap insurance policies can help but often do not cover all of these out-of-pocket expenses. This picture does not include Part D which takes the cost to over 24% of their Social Security check this year. Unfortunately, the picture is only getting worse as you can see in this chart from the government estimating retiree medical costs.

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 1.32.50 PMFurther, Medicare does not pay for long term care and 50% of seniors have less savings that would be required to pay for just one year of care in a nursing home. According to Kaiser, half of Medicare beneficiaries have savings below $61,400.

If you are in the 94% of seniors below $1.1 million in savings, you need a plan and some good counseling to find benefits that may help you pay for healthcare in the future. Even if you have over a million dollars in savings, long term care can significantly reduce the amount you can leave your children or grandchildren – if you do not plan. An experienced elder law attorney can help.   

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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.

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.

Informational Elder Law Workshops Available Around Ohio

By Lori McBride

In spite of the storms this winter, Attorneys Thom Cooper and Mitch Adel have been on the road, providing free informational workshops to seniors and their families throughout Ohio.

In February, we were in Ahsland, Clintonville, Frankfort, Greenfield, Westerville, Etna, Granville, Mount Gilead, Hilliard, Deleware, Upper Arlington, Urbana , Bellefontaine, Loveland, Milford, Spencerville and Cridersville.

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The topics of discussion included:

  • How to protect your assets from Catastrophic Illness and Nursing Home cost without purchasing Nursing Home Insurance.

  • Expanded Estate Recovery Law- Government liens placed on Seniors' Real Estate.

  • How to lower your income taxes and avoid Capital Gains Tax.

  • How to Avoid Probate.

  • Pros and Cons of the Revocable Living Trust.

  • How to Avoid “Tax Traps” when transferring assets to children.

  • Emerging Trends where children are becoming responsible for their Parent's Healthcare.

If you missed one of our seminars in your areas or would like to make reservations for an upcoming workshop, please call me, Lori McBride, at 1-877-401-2175.

 

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!

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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.

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.   

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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.

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

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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.

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.

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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.

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.

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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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