Long Term Health Care Plans

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Elliot S. Schlissel has more than 35 years experience representing clients in all aspects of estate and long term care planning.  He and his associates are available for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802 or by sending an email to schlissel.law@att.net.

Scams Targeting Senior Citizens

To watch today’s video blog, please click on the link below:

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Elliot S. Schlissel is an elder law attorney with more than 35 years experience.  He and his associates represent clients with regard to wills, trusts, estate planning and probate administration.  He can be reached for consultation at 516-561-6645, 718-350-2802, 1-800-344-6431 or by email to schlissel.law@att.net.

IRA Distributions and IRS Penalties

Long Island attorney for estate and financial planningIf you have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA), once you reach the age of 70 ½ years, you must start making distributions out of the account each and every year. Should you fail to make these annual distributions, significant fines are triggered. These fines can equal up to 50% of the money which was supposed to be distributed in that year from the account. Individuals who have IRAs usually wait until the end of the year to make their minimum distributions. They take this action to maximize the interest rate returned on their funds. It is estimated that three-quarters of a million Americans hold IRAs which require distributions each year. It is estimated one-quarter of a million of these IRA holders miss the deadline for taking minimum distributions. The distributions amount to approximately $350 million dollars which triggers potential fines and penalties of up to $175 million dollars.

Bank Notification of IRA Distributions

The IRS has recently been cracking down on IRA holders who fail to make their minimum distributions. It is up to the financial institution that holds the IRA investments to notify you each and every year of the amount of required distributions to be made by the end of that year. The first year the minimum distributions are required to be made, you have until April 1st to make those distributions. Thereafter, in subsequent years, you have until December 31st to make distributions.

Death of the IRA Holder

In the event the individual who owned the IRA dies, the beneficiary of the IRA must make the deceased IRA holder’s distributions in the year of that individual’s death. Beneficiaries who are not the spouse of the IRA holder must continue making distributions in the year after the death of the IRA owner. Unfortunately, financial institutions do not provide these individuals with notice of the minimum distributions.

IRA distributions can be confusing. Seniors should make every effort to meet with their accountant or their attorney to determine what amount they need to distribute each and every year.

estate planning attorney on Long IslandElliot S. Schlissel is an elder law attorney. He drafts wills and trusts. He probates wills and represents beneficiaries of estates.

Collecting Social Security Benefits

Can you collect your spouse’s Social Security benefits? If you are already collecting your own Social Security benefits, can you elect to collect your spouse’s benefits instead of yours? What do you have to do to collect your spouse’s Social Security benefits? These questions and others are common questions seniors have concerning Social Security benefits.

If you and your spouse divorce, you are entitled to collect either your spouse’s Social Security benefits or your Social Security benefits, whichever is larger of the two. Although you cannot collect both your Social Security benefits and your spouse’s, you can elect to receive your ex-spouse’s benefits provided you meet the following criteria:

1.   You must be at least 60 years of age or be over 50 years of age and disabled.

2.   At the time of your divorce from your ex-spouse you had to have been married at least 10 years.

3.   Your spouse’s Social Security benefits are higher than your Social Security benefits.

4.   After divorcing your spouse, you didn’t remarry before you turned 60 years of age.

Early Social Security Benefits

If you start receiving Social Security benefits prior to age 66, this has a permanent effect on reducing your monthly payments. This applies also if you elect to receive your spouse’s Social Security benefits. The key to obtaining Social Security benefits from a spouse is to stay married at least 10 years.

social security benefitsElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. is an elder law attorney representing clients concerning elder law planning issues involving wills, trusts, estates, healthcare proxies, taxation on estates, and medicaid benefits. Elliot has been providing elder care consultations for seniors for more than three decades.

Retirement Problems in America

ny wills and estates attorneyAmericans are facing downward mobility during their retirement years. Americans simply have not saved enough money to meet their retirement expectations. In a study conducted in 2010, it showed that 3/4 of the Americans approaching their retirement years had approximately $30,000 or less in savings.

What’s Needed to Maintain Your Standard of Living in Retirement?

It is estimated, to maintain a family’s standard of living, approximately twenty times the family’s annual income is needed to be accumulated in savings. Under this theory, a man earning $50,000 per year, living by himself, would need approximately $1,000,000 in savings to retire and maintain his standard of living. This is in addition to what he will receive from Social Security Benefits.

Retirement Solutions

Two potential retirement solutions are: (1) work longer and retire later, and (2) die young. I suspect the second option won’t be popular. Recent studies show approximately half of the Americans questioned about retirement, felt that their standard of living would decrease.

401(k)s and IRAs

401(k)s and IRAs have for the large part replaced defined benefit pension plans. Under defined benefit pension plans an individual receives a certain amount each year during the course of his retirement. These plans still exist for individuals employed by the Cities, States, the Federal government and some large corporations. However, the large majority of Americans are going to be relying on 401(k)s and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs) to fund their retirement years. This is what is referred to as a do-it-yourself retirement system. Unfortunately most Americans do not start saving early enough and long enough to accumulate enough money in their 401(k)s or IRA plans to fund their retirement. Many 401(k) plans give their participants the ability to borrow against these plans. Studies have shown borrowing against the 401(k) plans further reduces the individual’s ability to accumulate enough funds in retirement.

My retirement solution is to keep working and avoid retirement!

help in financial planning for retirementElliot S. Schlissel, Esq. has been drafting wills and trusts, and representing clients regarding probating wills for more than 30 years.

Spinning the mindset of the retirees – Why should the baby boom end with a whimper?

Between the years 1946 and 1964, around 78 million Americans were born and this generation came to be termed as the baby boomers. Undoubtedly the hard work of the boomers contributed a lot to shape the US economy in the last 40 years but this entire generation is approaching their retirement age. It was in 2006 that the first few baby boomers crossed the age of 60 and immediately 4 million baby boomers are not set to turn to their retirement age (60) year after year throughout the next 2 decades. The way we thought about retirement was entirely changed by this huge population as majority of the safety programs which were there in place for the previous generations have all disappeared as the boomers are nearing their retirement. There was always a dire need of a new strategy for generating income, which should be strikingly different from that of the parents of the boomers. Read on the concerns of this article to know how retirement planning has shifted focus and some possible solutions to their issues.

Changing lifestyles might mean increased expenses for the retirees

Previously, retirees were satiated with simply “getting by” during retirement but now the boomers usually wait for their retirement so that they might get an opportunity to live the lifestyles that they’ve dreamt of and pursue their hobbies so as to get a steady source of income. There are many seniors who see retirement as the best time to indulge in shopping for gadgets, plan some trips with their family and also enjoy the money that they’ve earned. In a nutshell, nowadays, the baby boomers are more interested in leading an active and productive lifestyle. More activity will certainly mean more spending and this will need effective retirement planning.

Are the boomers living longer?

Yes, with the improvements in the medical facilities and the lifestyle that the boomers lead, the baby boomers who’ve reached 60 in the year 2007 might be predicted to live for another 23 years. In fact, there are instances when retirement lasts for 4 decades or even more. As the life expectancy has become longer, this would certainly mean that retirement income is needed to last longer lest the retirees fall in debt. The cost of living of the seniors has also increased and so the impending retirees require saving more. To avert the financial risks from ruining your retired life, you need to pay more attention to retirement savings and building your nest egg.

Transforming savings into income – The new retirement issue

Previously, both the baby boomers and the financial advisors have focused their efforts on accumulation of wealth. No previous generation has ever required to perform this feat of saving money and this is the reason behind this vexing issue among the boomers. The previous generations didn’t have to live solely on their savings and so there’s nothing from which the present generation boomers would learn the secret of transforming savings into income. The question that immediately comes to your mind is how much savings should you spend every year. Don’t scrimp too much as this will deprive you of living the life you’ve dreamt of but on the other hand, you shouldn’t overspend too. So what is the option?

Creating your own pension plan to make your retirement income last longer

In order to ensure that your income lasts throughout the entire retirement phase, you might consider having a steady source of income to fall back on. How about replacing the former company pension plan and replace it with a personal pension plan. Finding an advisor is perhaps the first step to income planning and there are improved models that will help you create a personal pension plan. Take into account your life expectancy, the cost of living and inflation, the tax obligations that you owe, the type of assets that you own and your lifestyle.

Low income, relying solely on Social Security benefits, making it to Medicare and continuing with some kind of job are what comprises the retirement age. Take the required steps to ensure leading your retired life in the best way possible. Avoid incurring debts and take debt relief steps to eliminate them as soon as you start accumulating.

Anjelica Cullin is an aspiring financial writer. A resident of Kansas city, Missouri. She has been contributing to many finance niche blogs and sites for last couple of years. Ms. Cullin is a guest contributory writer of our blog.

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