For years we have been telling our clients, if you have questions or anything changes, call us; however, we are finding we get the question somewhat frequently, “but specifically when should I call you?” Or we find out about a major life change several months or a year after the fact because clients or their family members did not realize that they could or should call us. We thought we would try to clear some of that up and give you some guidelines on when you might want to think about picking up the phone or shooting us an email. We’re here to be a resource for our clients, and we never want you to feel like you just have to figure it out on your own. Here are some reasons you might want to reach out:
Families tend to be at the center of holidays.
The holiday season is a great time to gather to celebrate and carry on our family traditions. This year, some of our traditions needed to be modified or changed, but I find that most families have adapted and found ways to stay connected. In estate planning, we’ve found that communicating with our families about their estate plan is necessary to ensure their estate plans will actually work, and that their family is taken care of. That’s why we’ve included a family care meeting in our estate planning process, whereby you, your trusted advisers, and your family members meet to discuss your estate plan and how best to take care of you and your family in the event of incapacity and death. Remember, we do not have to disclose the value of assets in these meetings (because we don’t know the value of the assets when you die), but it is important that your family meets your trusted advisors, understands what your intent is regarding your estate plan, and knows that you’ve taken the steps necessary to make things easier for them when you die.
Every 4 years, a change in our Presidential elections results in a flurry of literature, workshops, and newsletters regarding potential changes in income and estate tax laws. This year was no exception, as the significant increase in the federal deficit resulting from costs associated with COVID-19 has placed more pressure on tax increases, including potential tax increases in the estate planning realm. The federal exemption amount, which is $11.7 million as of January 1, 2021, will, under the current law, decrease to about $6.7 million in 2026. Many believe that this decrease in the coupon will occur earlier or may even go down below the $6.7M returning to the former $3.5M. All of this is speculation at this point, but we must be prepared to act quickly, as some of these tax law changes may act retroactively.
Every year, at the start of the year, many of us make New Year’s resolutions. We think about the things we want to be different in our lives, and we resolve that we’re going to change them. For some of us, this actually results in life changes every year. For most of us, we have the best of intentions, but life gets busy, or challenges come up, and by February our resolutions are a thing of the past. Personally, I’m resolving to make more time for creativity in 2021—dust off my keyboard, do some more crafts and artwork with my kids. You can ask me in a few weeks what we’ve created, and we’ll see how it goes. I’m pretty sure my 1st grader and preschooler are resolving to find a way to get me to bake more cookies in 2021.
What a year it has been!
We all know that it’s been a crazy year navigating a global pandemic and keeping our family safe, but it’s also been an extraordinary year when it comes to estate tax, estate planning and changes in the law.
By: Scott Maibor, CFE
This week, here at Family Estate Planning Law Group we are excited to have Scott Maibor, of Senior Benefits Boston, guest blogging for us. We know many of our families have questions about Medicare coverage, and we think Scott has some great experience and expertise to share with you.
After 12 years in the Insurance Industry Scott founded Senior Benefits Boston to help clients with their Medicare health insurance needs. He enjoys simplifying an overly complex system with the goal of maximizing coverage and reducing costs.
In 2017 Scott decided to focus exclusively on Medicare and on helping clients approaching eligibility age. He is a Certified Financial Educator and Medicare (AHiP) Certified for 2021. As an independent Advisor he works with multiple carriers to enable him to serve as a fiduciary for his clients.
We recently blogged about how the CARES Act waived required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020 and even allows for an IRA owner or a beneficiary under an inherited IRA who had taken an RMD from their IRA to put it back. But here’s the catch: it has to be returned before August 31, 2020, which is approaching very quickly.
We highly recommend checking out the full blog here, but here are the highlights:
- The CARES Act waived RMDs for 2020 for both IRA owners and beneficiaries under inherited IRAs.
- For inherited IRAs: This only applies to beneficiaries of inherited IRAs from people who died prior to January 1, 2020. For those inheriting money under the new SECURE Act, you still have to liquidate the IRA within 10 years.
- If you already took an RMD for 2020 and do not actually need or want to use the money, you can put it back (but only the RMD amount, not any additional distributions you may have taken).
- You only have until August 31, 2020, to return the money, or you will have to keep it, so if you want to return any RMDs, please contact your accountant and/or financial advisor right away to figure out the best way to return this money.
As always, our team here at Family Estate Planning Law Group would love to help you think holistically about estate planning, from how to set up a plan to make sure your assets are aligned and your whole team of financial professionals and/or caregivers or loved ones are involved. To learn more about how we can help you take care of your loved ones, visit our website, check out our blog, or schedule your complimentary consultation today!
In this infographic, learn how Family Estate Planning Law Group will work with your family to create plan that not only addresses your goals and concerns, now, but one that will take care of your family when it matters most. Click the image to view the full infographic:
Perhaps because of Hollywood or other fictional portrayals—Knives Out being a recent (and fun) cinematic example—wills and inheritances seem to not bring out the best in people. Most people don’t want to think about the potential for a family fight when it comes to planning their estate.
But, as the old saying goes, ‘failing to plan is planning to fail.’ It’s not just planning for animosity or sibling rivalry—what if your wishes aren’t clear? What if your estate goes through probate and causes misunderstandings opening the family to a stressful and public process? Probate is something you can avoid with the right planning, but you have to take care of now to prevent probate from happening through smart planning and communication.
According to an AARP survey, about 90 percent of American seniors want to live in their own homes as long as possible. Known as “aging in place,” it’s no surprise that most seniors would much prefer living in their own homes as opposed to facility care. Unfortunately, physical or cognitive issues can often make this a difficult option.
Family members who fully understand the benefits associated with aging in place—a sense of independence, better health outcomes, and the comfort that only “home” can provide—may consider an in-home caregiver for their elderly loved one.
Your loved one might benefit from an in-home caregiver for medical needs as well as with assistance in light housekeeping, routine errands, and other daily living activities. Once you have made the decision to hire a caregiver, it is important that you understand how to choose the best in-home caregiver for your elderly loved one. [Read more…]