Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Avoid Elder Financial Planning ‘Red Flags’

Red-flagAbout ten thousand people will turn sixty five each day until 2030, and by 2050 more than twenty percent of the U.S. population will be over sixty five.  With a greater share of the population entering into old age, more people are expected to suffer from some type of diminished capacity.  Regulators are applying increasing scrutiny to financial planners in order to protect the elderly from being taken advantage of.  Financial advisers should avoid certain “red flags” when consulting elderly clients.  Planners should avoid making investments that are risky and speculative. Advisers with elderly clients should also avoid promoting certain complex and difficult to explain investment products.

See Miriam Rozen, Elder Financial Abuse: Regulators’ Red Flags, Financial Planning, May 26, 2015. 

May 28, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

How To Prepare Client For Death Of Spouse

Wedding RingsThe hardest part of estate planning is when a client faces the imminent death of a spouse and needs help to prepare for the event. To smooth over the transition, get an early start and let the client work out all the details with the spouse so that a full understanding of the assets, obligations, and last wishes of the passing party are fully understood. Another tip is to make sure all bank accounts have the names of both spouses since that would speed up the transfer of control after death. Ultimately, it is better to have clients thinking about the future problems and issues so that they may be avoided and save much stress down the line.

See Miriam Rozen, Helping Clients Prepare for the Loss of a Spouse, Financial Planning, May 27, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

May 28, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Five Scams That Target Senior Citizens

DementiaScam artists often prey on vulnerable senior citizens.  These are five common scams that are often used to take advantage of elderly individuals:

  1. Reverse Mortgage Scams.  This involves fraudsters pretending to be government agencies offering homeowners lower tax burdens in exchange for hundreds in fees.
  2. Funeral Scams.  Some scam artists will research local obituaries and then show up to the funeral claiming to be an unpaid creditor of the deceased. 
  3. Investment Scams. Senior citizens are often frequently target by investment scams.  One of the most famous examples of this was the Bernie Madoff pyramid scheme.
  4. Internet Scams. Elderly individuals who lack experience with the internet can often be targeted with email viruses to steal personal financial information. 
  5. Medicare and Health Insurance Scams.  One of the most common types of scams involves fraudsters posing as Medicare or health insurance company representatives to trick seniors into revealing personal information about themselves.  These scam artists then use that information to bill Medicare or the health insurance company and escape with the money.   

See J. Wesley Harned, Elder Abuse – Five common scams aimed at seniors, DelCotto Law Group PLLC, Lexology, May 21, 2015.

May 27, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 25, 2015

Major Estate Disputes That Have Been Reported On

New bb kingThere have been a few high profile estate disputes that have involved major celebrities and people of interest.  The estates of BB King, Michael Jackson, Leona Helmlsey, Ted Williams, Nelson Mandela, Nina Wang, and Liliane Bettencourt have all been subject to high profile disputes over a wide variety of issues.  These problems range from disputes over things like inheritance, guardianship, pet trusts, mental capacity, power of attorney, and what to do with a body after death.  These highly reported on celebrity disputes bring attention to the wide range of problems that poor estate planning can cause.  It shows the complex factors that a wise estate planner needs to account for when creating wills and trusts and helping a client plan for their future. 

See The who’s who battle for wills, bodies, and legacies, BBC News, May 24, 2015.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Understanding the New Qualified Longevity Annuity Contract Regulations

Understand-and-implement71-crop-600x338It is important for retirees to know about how to use the new regulations on Qualified Longevity Annuity Contracts (QLACs).  These contracts are essentially “wrappers” that house deferred income annuities (DIAs).  This can permit individuals to delay payments to fill potential income needs that might come up later in life.  There are several income options that a person can choose from, QLACs offer clients more flexibility than what a traditional retirement plan might have given. 

In order to be successful a QLAC should take a holistic approach which factors in the client’s individual life needs.  It is good to consult with a proper tax advisor to work out a plan because a QLAC is “not a transactional sale, but more of a planning-based sale.”  Be creative when working with a client, create a plan that best suits their individual financial needs. 

See Anthony Tocco, Understanding and implementing QLACs in a retirement plan, Life Health Pro, May 22, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

May 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

What Are Required Minimum Distributions During Retirement?

RetirementA person can find out what the required minimum distributions (RMDs) from a retirement plan are by visiting the IRS website and using the “Uniform Lifetime Table.”  Most people use the Uniform Lifetime Table to calculate their RMDs.  It is important to start taking RMDs on the Required Begin Date (RBD).  A person cannot begin taking RMD’s from a retirement plan, like an IRA or 401(k), until at least April 1 of the year following the calendar year in which that person reached the age of 70½. 

See Robert Powell, How much will my distributions be in retirement?, USA Today, May 23 2015. 

May 25, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, May 22, 2015

Choate's Bible Can Now Be Accessed Electronically In The Cloud

Choate bibleNatalie Choate’s book the Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits is considered to be the “bible” on the topic of Qualified Retirement Plans (QRP’s), and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRA’s).  The book has sold over 50,000 copies and has received excellent reviews on Amazon.  The book is read by lawyers, financial planners, CFPs, Accountants, IRA advisors, and many other professionals.  Choate’s book can now also be accessed electronically in the Cloud.  The Cloud version includes many new features like automatic updates, more content, and links to other information. 

The United States is estimated to have about $28 billion invested in QRP’s and IRA’s.  One major benefit of these types of retirement plans is that people can use them as tax avoidance technique.  The best way to be efficient about using these plans is to take distributions slowly to delay taxation of income. 

See Jonathan Blattmachr, Good News for Advisors of IRA and Qualified Retirement Plans: Choate’s Bible Now Is Available in the Cloud, TrustAdvisor, May 19, 2015. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

May 22, 2015 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Common Estate Planning Mistakes That People Need To Avoid

Plan aheadA large number of people often make estate planning mistakes.  Kyle E. Krull, an attorney involved in estate planning, wrote about his own embarrassing experience of forgetting to prepare a durable power of attorney for a loved one when he was a young captain in the U.S. Army.  Mr. Krull wants more people to become aware about the need to plan ahead.  He suggests that people update their wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and healthcare directives every five years or whenever a major life event happens.  Not planning ahead can lead to consequences if something unexpected happens to a loved one. 

See Kyle E. Krull, Avoiding Estate Planning Gotchas, Wealth Management, May 19, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.

May 22, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, May 21, 2015

The Right to Die Debate Is Heating Up In California

Right to die

In California, there is a pending lawsuit and a Senate bill revolving around a terminal persons right to die.  The lawsuit challenges California Penal Code section 401, which imposes a felony on those who "deliberately aid or advise or encourage another to commit suicide."  The lawsuit was filed by a major California firm representing two plaintiffs who are suffering from advanced stages of terminal cancer. 

In the California legislature Senate Bill 128, which is called the End of Life Option Act, would legalize aid in dying.  The California Medical Association recently came out in support of this legislation becoming the first state medical association in the country to change its position on this issue.  There are currently four states that legally permit aid in dying.  A similar lawsuit has also been filed in the state of Tennessee. 

See Reni Angelova, Right To Die Campaign Heats Up In Courts And California Legislature, Courthouse News Service, May 20, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 21, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

How To Help Clients Avoid Social Security Mistakes

Social SecurityMany retirees opt to take social security benefits early so they can fill in the gaps of their retirement income when they first leave the workforce. However, this strategy easily backfires as taking the payout early leaves a massive amount of money on the table that will be missed down the road. Some tips to avoid having to make that tradeoff include reverse mortgaging a home or saving extra in the last years working in order to float by until full retirement kicks in. Smart planning for the future can allow someone to always take the best option for the pocketbook rather than having to take less to fill an immediate need.

See Help Clients Avoid Social Security Mistakes: Retirement Scan, Financial Planning, May 14, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

 

 

 

 

 

May 20, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)