Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law https://frankenmuthlaw.com Attorney in Frankenmuth, MI Thu, 27 Aug 2020 19:59:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.2 Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones with a Financial Power of Attorney https://frankenmuthlaw.com/protecting-yourself-and-your-loved-ones-with-a-financial-power-of-attorney/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/protecting-yourself-and-your-loved-ones-with-a-financial-power-of-attorney/#comments_reply Thu, 27 Aug 2020 17:56:29 +0000 https://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1093 Many Americans spend a lot of time and effort in managing their finances. While most are worried about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact their income—whether that’s because they are temporarily furloughed, find themselves suddenly without a job, or watching…

The post Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones with a Financial Power of Attorney appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
Many Americans spend a lot of time and effort in managing their finances. While most are worried about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact their income—whether that’s because they are temporarily furloughed, find themselves suddenly without a job, or watching their investment and retirement accounts dwindle—there is another way COVID-19 can wreak havoc on American’s finances: lack of incapacity planning.

As the coronavirus continues to expand across the country, thousands of Americans are unable to carry out normal financial responsibilities because they are too ill, or they are stuck abroad and unable to travel home, or from a lack of resources due to being isolated at home.

While feeling healthy, individuals should plan ahead now and ensure that someone will take care of their financial duties by setting up a Financial Power of Attorney. This important legal document will not only protect your finances should you fall ill from COVID-19 but also from any events that might leave you incapacitated, like an injury or accident.

Power of Attorney

Power of Attorney

Financial Power of Attorney: what is it?

A Financial Power of Attorney (FPA) allows you to select a trusted family member or friend who will be responsible for managing your money and other property if you become mentally incapacitated (unable to make your own decisions) due to illness or injury. Without this document, bills won’t get paid, tax returns won’t be filed, bank and investment accounts held in your name will become inaccessible, retirement distributions can’t be requested, and property can’t be bought, sold, or managed.

What happens if I don’t have one and get sick?

If you get sick and are unable to make or communicate your financial decisions and don’t have an updated FPA in place, a judge can appoint someone to take control of your assets and make all personal and medical decisions for you through a court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship.

Why would a court do that?—You may ask.  As an adult, no one is automatically able to act for you, you must legally appoint them through the use of an FPA. Without it, you and your loved ones could lose valuable time, money, and control.

Power of Attorney

estate planning

WORD OF CAUTION: Don’t think you’re protected just because your assets are held jointly with your spouse, child, or family member. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t rely on joint ownership:

  1. Limited power. While a joint account holder may be able to access your bank account to pay bills or access your brokerage account to manage investments, a joint owner of real estate will not be able to mortgage or sell the property without the consent of all other owners.
  2. Tax liability. By adding a family member’s name to your accounts or real estate titles you might be saddling them with gift tax liability.
  3. Property seizure. You read that correctly. If your joint owner is sued than your property could be seized in order to pay their debt.
  4. Medicaid disqualification. Putting a loved one’s name on a joint bank account or property title can disqualify them from receiving government benefits, such as Medicaid.

Financial Power of Attorney Infographic

Only a comprehensive incapacity plan will protect you and your assets from a court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship and the misdeeds of your joint owners. Do not rely on joint ownership as your plan—it’s simply too risky and unreliable.

Already got one? Chances are it’s outdated.

An FPA can become “obsolete” in as short as one year. This is because many institutions don’t want to rely on stale, outdated documents. Depending on your circumstances, a stale, obsolete power of attorney may not be able to help you and your family with insurance contracts, retirement plans, banking and investment accounts, online personal accounts such as email, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and elder care and special needs planning.

If it’s been more than a year or two since you’ve signed your power of attorney, it might be time for a fresh one. Call us! We can help make sure you and your family are fully protected by helping you determine:

  • Who would be the best choice for this responsibility,
  • How much authority you should give your financial agent, and
  • When to make your power of attorney become effective.

Regardless of your priorities, there is a financial power of attorney right for your situation and goals. Determine your specific needs while you are of sound mind. Of course, nothing tops the advice and recommendations of an attorney experienced in these matters.  So if you are wavering between your options, give us a call.

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Start estate plan

Check us out on Facebook!

lcplfa_member_logo      Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

Power of Attorney

The post Protecting Yourself and Your Loved Ones with a Financial Power of Attorney appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/protecting-yourself-and-your-loved-ones-with-a-financial-power-of-attorney/feed/ 0
Family Caregiving During the Coronavirus https://frankenmuthlaw.com/family-caregiving-during-the-coronavirus/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/family-caregiving-during-the-coronavirus/#comments_reply Mon, 15 Jun 2020 17:28:04 +0000 https://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1083 Family Caregiving. There are new challenges to meet for family systems with loved ones who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus yet still require caregiving. Family caregivers that use to aid their family directly, now find themselves learning how to…

The post Family Caregiving During the Coronavirus appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
Family Caregiving.

There are new challenges to meet for family systems with loved ones who are most vulnerable to the coronavirus yet still require caregiving. Family caregivers that use to aid their family directly, now find themselves learning how to be long-distance providers during this pandemic. US News reports that before the coronavirus, thirteen percent of Americans provided long-distance care. The new reality is that all family caregivers must employ protocols that maintain social distancing to protect their loved ones.

The best way to stay close from far away with ease is to employ technology in your parent’s home, making wellness checks, or using camera monitoring if they are particularly frail. Many homes are already fully alarmed with cameras and motion detectors inside and out. Sharing access codes will allow a family caregiver to visually check-in and ensure all is well. As access codes can be changed, a parent can know if the future permits, they can reassert their independence by simply changing their code. Camera systems are an incredibly valuable tool in the event you cannot reach your parent by phone.

In the absence of cameras previously installed in the care recipient’s home, solutions such as Briocare or LifePod remotely address a senior’s quality of life. Both of these solutions meet the needs of self-care, independence, and safety while allowing access to you, the remote caregiver. Briocare employs Amazon’s virtual assistant technology (smart speaker) by overlaying their mobile application (app) with customized care subgroups like dementia care, diabetes care, hypertension care, and general wellness.

Daily routines can be set, including medication reminders, family calls, emergency calls and alerts, medical device integration, and entertainment activities. Similarly, LifePod uses the capabilities of smart speakers for family caregivers to configure reminders and remotely check in with their loved ones. Telemedicine interactions with their physicians are also possible using a smart speaker. A remote appointment can provide much-needed assurance, prescription dosage changes, or determination that, despite the pandemic, medical intervention is required. Smart speaker voice-activated technology that is appropriately configured to meet your parent’s specific needs is a lifeline between remote family caregivers and their loved ones.

Beyond organizing daily activities, medical needs, and monitoring the safety of your at-home senior, there are other essential needs to address like food and finances. Restaurant food delivery services are readily available in all but the most rural of locations to provide prepared meals to your senior’s doorstep. Restaurants must meet strict guidelines for food preparation and handling to ensure safety during the coronavirus. Meanwhile, at the grocery store, personal shopping assistants can gather all the food and pharmacy needs on your list for delivery to your parent’s home.

Check with the local stores your parent prefers for instructions on how to get home delivery or check out instacart, an online food shopping service provider, that in some areas can deliver groceries in as little as an hour. Fully one-third of family caregivers are now millennials who have a comfort level leveraging technology to simplify caregiving to their family. If you are a baby boomer and are unsure about using these online food services, enlist the help of your children or a trusted friend who is comfortable with technology.

An Amazon Prime account can send packaged food goods and even connect a user to Whole Foods Market for fresh meat, fish, and produce shopping. Tips on how to save money and expeditiously choose and use food products are outlined on these sites. Read through the information provided on the website as a little planning goes a long way to purchasing efficiency and proper nutrition for your care recipient.

To ensure your parent’s finances are in good order, again turn to technology. During this pandemic, many older people are rightly experiencing a lot of fear as they are primary targets of the new scams associated with the coronavirus. Even if you have never checked on your parent’s finances before, now is an excellent time to have a look. Check for unusual activity in credit card balances or credit score data. Seniors tend to accumulate many and varied account types such as investment accounts, credit and debit card accounts, business entities, real estate, and more. If you feel out of your depth in overseeing their finances, implement some online financial services.

Individualized shared platforms like EverSafe and Onist monitor all types of financial accounts and provide simple tools that let you organize, analyze, and track your loved one’s finances all in one place. Each program is customizable to grant access to family members and even financial professionals if managing monies is not your expertise. Artificial intelligence tools are designed for oversite, identifying account anomalies like unusual withdrawals, missing deposits, changes in spending habits, and will provide suspicious activity alerts to your email, text, or phone. Look for platforms with highly secure 2048-bit encryption to ensure online security.

There are many practical considerations to address when caregiving remotely for your family loved one, but using technology can solve most of them quite easily. While nothing can replace human contact, the basics of care for your parent are within reach because of the digital age.

We help families who are caring for aging parents. If you have questions or would like to discuss your family situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out.

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Start estate plan

lcplfa_member_logo      Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

The post Family Caregiving During the Coronavirus appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/family-caregiving-during-the-coronavirus/feed/ 0
How to Talk to Aging Parents About Finances and Estate Planning https://frankenmuthlaw.com/talk-to-aging-parents/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/talk-to-aging-parents/#comments_reply Mon, 15 Jun 2020 17:25:05 +0000 https://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1060 Talk to your aging parents. It is essential that as your parents’ age, you have conversations with them about their finances. To broach the topic, you might bring up current events like the coronavirus pandemic, its effect on economic conditions,…

The post How to Talk to Aging Parents About Finances and Estate Planning appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
Talk to your aging parents. It is essential that as your parents’ age, you have conversations with them about their finances. To broach the topic, you might bring up current events like the coronavirus pandemic, its effect on economic conditions, and how it relates to the security of their financial future. The conversation should come from a calming place of love and concern. Speak to them respectfully about how the coronavirus pandemic has you thinking about the importance of their planning and preparedness.

elder law attorney saginaw michigan

Talking to your parents about estate planning

Once you begin the conversation, move away from the pandemic as your introductory technique as you do not want to create a sense of panic or fear.  Instead, delve into legal and financial reviews, processes, and parameters. US News reports that your parents’ financial analysis should include essential legal documents, financial accounts, and associated vital contacts, long-term care decisions, and claims. If you live apart, lay the groundwork to help them with their finances remotely.

It is generally most comfortable to begin your conversation with legal documents that hopefully your parents already have in place like a will, trust, living will, and a health care proxy. If your parents do not have these documents, they must retain an attorney and create the ones that best suit their needs. If you need to help your parents manage their finances, you must have a durable power of attorney. A durable power of attorney allows you to make financial decisions for your parents in the event they become incapacitated. This is an essential estate planning document. In the absence of a durable power of attorney, the courts become involved, and solving health or financial issues becomes a lengthy, expensive process over which you have little control. If your parents already have their legal documents drawn up, find out where they keep them and review them carefully. If any documents need to be amended, suggest that your parents meet with an attorney to make the relevant changes. Be sure their documents reflect the state law in which they reside.

Estate planning

Estate Planning

Once you have assessed your parents’ legal documents, it is time for some financial discovery. Even if your parents do not currently need help, having an overview of their finances and a durable power of attorney to help them in the future is crucial to their aging success. Begin by listing all of their accounts, account numbers, usernames, and passwords as well as employee contact names. Include insurance policies, the agent’s name, and where the policy is, as well as how they pay their premiums. Include any online medical accounts or list their doctors’ names and office numbers. The idea is to create a comprehensive list of all of these accounts. Gather your parents’ Medicare and Social Security numbers and their drivers’ license numbers. Know where they keep this information so that in the future you will know where to look. Also, learn about any online bill paying or automated, re-occurring activity. These usually include monthly bills like electricity, natural gas, water, etc. but may also include quarterly payments or annual subscriptions. It helps to talk to your aging parents and gather this information ahead of time.

If your parents still live in their long-time home, discuss if it is viable that they live out their days there, or if downsizing to a retirement community or moving closer to where you live appeals to them. Help them come to a decision that is best for their set of circumstances.  If they do not have long-term care insurance or some other mechanism to aid them in times of need, talk about the topic, and try to come up with a solution. If they do have long-term care, be sure you have a copy of the policy, contact information, and the name of the insurer and agent. Review the requirements for receiving benefits so you can help them when they need to file a claim as most policies have a waiting period of 30 to 90 days before benefits begin. Know what to expect.

Digital technology has made oversight of parents and their finances easier than ever as long as you have a durable power of attorney and access to their account information. If they do not yet pay their bills online, or use auto payment, help them set up this option for their monthly bills. Remind them you will provide oversight to ensure proper billing. Offer to help them with their annual tax filings. Your help relieves some pressure on them and provides you with information about the goings-on in your parents’ accounts. For your parents’ peace of mind, you can establish a monthly video chat to let them know their bill payments are progressing normally. Your involvement will allow you to identify any abnormalities in account activity, which may indicate scam attempts.

Having these financial and planning conversations with your parents today can help them live more securely and with less stress as they age. Most parents will try to avoid these discussions with their children because they may not be adequately prepared for what can lie ahead. Conversations that focus on proper legal documents and gathering financial account information will give you the data you need to help protect your parents.

We would be happy to help you and your parents with critical planning documents. We are open and taking new clients, and we hope to talk with you soon about your particular needs.

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. talk to your aging parents

lcplfa_member_logo      Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

                 

The post How to Talk to Aging Parents About Finances and Estate Planning appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/talk-to-aging-parents/feed/ 0
Estate Planning From Start to Finish, Now Online? https://frankenmuthlaw.com/estate-planning-online/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/estate-planning-online/#comments_reply Sat, 09 May 2020 16:12:32 +0000 https://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1058 Estate Planning Online? No we are not talking about legal zoom. As you have probably heard by now, keeping physical distance between us is crucial to stop this virus. Call or email us to find out how we can help…

The post Estate Planning From Start to Finish, Now Online? appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
Estate Planning Online? No we are not talking about legal zoom. As you have probably heard by now, keeping physical distance between us is crucial to stop this virus. Call or email us to find out how we can help you complete your estate plan without taking a single step outside your safe home.

Estate Planning Online

Estate Planning Online

Formerly, Michigan required that important legal documents must be signed in person. During the course of this epidemic, then, we have been doing all we can to follow that law, to get your documents signed in person and still protect your health.

Recently, however, Governor G. Whitmer has issued emergency orders to change that law. Now we can offer you the entire estate-planning process, start to finish, all completed while you stay safe at home and connected with us by internet instead and telephone.

Please consider that especially under these circumstances, it would be most wise to get your plan done. You will have made sure that trusted people can step in for you, to take care of bills and health-care decisions if you become unable. At the same time, you will have taken care of your heirs, to protect your family’s legacy as smoothly as possible when the time comes.

How quickly things change. It may be that now we can do it all by internet, to get you to the peace of mind that doesn’t change. You will know that a trusted person can pick up the reins for you, so you or your loved ones get the care you need, and you will know that your estate legacy will be preserved and protected.

Call or email us to see whether we can get the whole process done using video. There’s nothing “remote” about that.

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Start estate plan

lcplfa_member_logo      Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

                 

The post Estate Planning From Start to Finish, Now Online? appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/estate-planning-online/feed/ 0
How an Elder Care Coordinator Can Help When You and Your Loved One Need Caregiving https://frankenmuthlaw.com/elder-care-coordinator-and-families/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/elder-care-coordinator-and-families/#comments_reply Fri, 08 May 2020 18:16:57 +0000 https://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1062 Caring for your loved ones is very important. At Dafoe Law, we provide not just legal documents but assistance from an Elder Care Coordinator. The Elder Care Coordinator can help families with the organizing and arranging of care, which can…

The post How an Elder Care Coordinator Can Help When You and Your Loved One Need Caregiving appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
Caring for your loved ones is very important. At Dafoe Law, we provide not just legal documents but assistance from an Elder Care Coordinator. The Elder Care Coordinator can help families with the organizing and arranging of care, which can help take the pressure off the family. After you read about the challenges that families can have in caring for a loved, please give us a call and ask about what our Elder Care Coordinator can do for your family.

Family systems have a natural habit of stepping in to provide health care to their aging relatives. The love and care many adult children receive growing up become reciprocal, particularly in the case of their aging parents. But with the advent of longer lives, it is not atypical that a senior parent may still be caring for their parents or spouse. More than 16 percent of adult Americans are unpaid caregivers to someone age 50 or more according to Right at Home, a leader in the in-home senior care industry, and the number is projected to increase.

Elder Care Coordinator

Caregiver

Many of these caregivers are trying to cope with their health challenges like osteoarthritis, diabetes, and more, while still providing care for others. The Family Caregiver Alliance reports that over one-third of caregivers are more than 65 years of age, with one-third of these older caregivers reporting their health to be fair or poor. The workload for many of these family caregivers precludes them from prioritizing a healthy lifestyle for themselves, often forgoing needed medical appointments or services, and some even lacking healthcare coverage at all. Some steps can be taken to break the cycle of a family caregiver putting their health at risk, which results in the same caregiving patterns and problems for the later generations.

Open a dialogue with your loved one’s healthcare provider as well as your own. If you do not have a doctor and annual physicals, it is time to get that in order. Inform both physicians that you are a caregiver and outline your routine and hours spent in the care for another. All health providers should know that caregiving is a known potential health risk that must be addressed. Take their advice to heart and implement strategies to protect your health.

Call a family meeting (which can be done via videoconference) with all siblings, adult children, and any other relevant family members. If family members lives in different areas, they still need to be part of the discussion and the solution for the caregiving of their relatives. Caregiving roles often seem to happen by default. One family member starts with a few minor tasks, and it turns into something much more significant. You cannot and should not provide care alone. Especially a spousal caregiver can find it challenging to ask for help and, as such, suffer higher levels of depression, relationship strains, as well as physical and financial burdens. Caregiving works best when everyone participates in the best ways they can.

Check out support services both online and locally. Many adult caregiving guides can inform the family about the scope of their undertaking and provide a structure that can be divvied up among family members. Senior service agencies can recommend support and care services for your loved one as well as the primary caregiver. Devise a plan to meet the challenges head-on. Make amendments as health needs change and know there will likely come a time when your loved one would do better in an assisted living facility.

Elder Care Coodinator

Elder Care Coordinator

If an outside living facility is not possible, then get some downtime by bringing in a professional caregiver to lighten the workload on the primary caregiver. It can be just a few hours a week or a few days a week that someone else can reliably provide personal care, housekeeping, meal prep, transportation, and other services. Do some research to identify the right match of a professional caregiver to your family.

Knowing that you do not have to go it alone while providing care for a family member and risk your health in the process has a positive impact on both the care receiver as well as the caregiver. The time that is spent together is less stressful and guilt-ridden when caregiving is a shared responsibility.

We help families navigate the difficult decisions around caregiving and how to pay for care. We practice Life Care Planning, which is a more holistic and client centered approach to elder law. It also includes the utilization of an Elder Care Coordinator. The Elder Care Coordinator is not an attorney, but is someone who specializes in helping families with the issues that seniors face.  We would be happy to meet with you to discuss your particular needs. Please call us at (989) 321-2330.

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Start estate plan

lcplfa_member_logo      Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

The post How an Elder Care Coordinator Can Help When You and Your Loved One Need Caregiving appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/elder-care-coordinator-and-families/feed/ 0
Don’t Risk it: Protect Your Finances From Coronavirus Complications https://frankenmuthlaw.com/power-of-attorney-covid19/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/power-of-attorney-covid19/#comments_reply Mon, 27 Apr 2020 17:00:38 +0000 https://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1054 Power of Attorney Many Americans spend a lot of time and effort in managing their finances. While most are worried about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact their income—whether that’s because they are temporarily furloughed, find themselves suddenly without a…

The post Don’t Risk it: Protect Your Finances From Coronavirus Complications appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
Power of Attorney

Many Americans spend a lot of time and effort in managing their finances. While most are worried about how the coronavirus (COVID-19) will impact their income—whether that’s because they are temporarily furloughed, find themselves suddenly without a job, or watching their investment and retirement accounts dwindle—there is another way COVID-19 can wreak havoc on American’s finances: lack of incapacity planning. A power of attorney is key tool in incapacity planning.

Power of AttorneyAs the coronavirus continues to expand across the country, thousands of Americans are unable to carry out normal financial responsibilities because they are too ill, or they are stuck abroad and unable to travel home, or from a lack of resources due to being isolated at home.

While feeling healthy, individuals should plan ahead now and ensure that someone will take care of their financial duties by setting up a Financial Power of Attorney. This important legal document will not only protect your finances should you fall ill from COVID-19 but also from any events that might leave you incapacitated, like an injury or accident.

Financial Power of Attorney: what is it?

 A Financial Power of Attorney (FPA or DPOA) allows you to select a trusted family member or friend who will be responsible for managing your money and other property if you become mentally incapacitated (unable to make your own decisions) due to illness or injury. Without this document, bills won’t get paid, tax returns won’t be filed, bank and investment accounts held in your name will become inaccessible, retirement distributions can’t be requested, and property can’t be bought, sold, or managed.

What happens if I don’t have one and get sick?

If you get sick and are unable to make or communicate your financial decisions and don’t have an updated FPA in place, a judge can appoint someone to take control of your assets and make all personal and medical decisions for you through a court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship.

Why would a court do that?—You may ask.  As an adult, no one is automatically able to act for you, you must legally appoint them through the use of an FPA. Without it, you and your loved ones could lose valuable time, money, and control. Also the Guardianship and Conservatorship proceedings are more expensive than putting a Power of Attorney in place.

WORD OF CAUTION: Don’t think you’re protected just because your assets are held jointly with your spouse, child, or family member. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t rely on joint ownership:

  1. Limited power. While a joint account holder may be able to access your bank account to pay bills or access your brokerage account to manage investments, a joint owner of real estate will not be able to mortgage or sell the property without the consent of all other owners.
  2. Tax liability. By adding a family member’s name to your accounts or real estate titles you might be saddling them with gift tax liability.
  3. Property seizure. You read that correctly. If your joint owner is sued than your property could be seized in order to pay their debt.
  4. Medicaid disqualification. Putting a loved one’s name on a joint bank account or property title can disqualify them from receiving government benefits, such as Medicaid.

Only a comprehensive incapacity plan will protect you and your assets from a court-supervised guardianship or conservatorship and the misdeeds of your joint owners. Do not rely on joint ownership as your plan—it’s simply too risky and unreliable.

Already got one? Chances are it’s outdated.

An FPA can become “obsolete” in as short as one year. This is because many institutions don’t want to rely on stale, outdated documents. Depending on your circumstances, a stale, obsolete power of attorney may not be able to help you and your family with insurance contracts, retirement plans, banking and investment accounts, online personal accounts such as email, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn, and elder care and special needs planning.

If it’s been more than a year or two since you’ve signed your power of attorney, it might be time for a fresh one. Call us! We can help make sure you and your family are fully protected by helping you determine:

  • Who would be the best choice for this responsibility,
  • How much authority you should give your financial agent, and
  • When to make your power of attorney become effective.

Regardless of your priorities, there is a financial power of attorney right for your situation and goals. Determine your specific needs while you are of sound mind. Of course, nothing tops the advice and recommendations of an attorney experienced in these matters.  So if you are wavering between your options, give us a call (989) 321-2330.

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Start estate plan

lcplfa_member_logo      Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

The post Don’t Risk it: Protect Your Finances From Coronavirus Complications appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/power-of-attorney-covid19/feed/ 0
The Importance of Planning for the Unexpected https://frankenmuthlaw.com/the-importance-of-planning-for-the-unexpected/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/the-importance-of-planning-for-the-unexpected/#comments_reply Wed, 25 Mar 2020 18:20:40 +0000 http://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1044 Planning, Planning, and more Planning. The sudden rise of the coronavirus, COVID-19, has left many unprepared and confused. There are numerous reports of shortages of antibacterial hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and even toilet paper. While we can’t predict when something…

The post The Importance of Planning for the Unexpected appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
Planning, Planning, and more Planning. The sudden rise of the coronavirus, COVID-19, has left many unprepared and confused. There are numerous reports of shortages of antibacterial hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, and even toilet paper. While we can’t predict when something like COVID-19 might strike, we can take steps to prepare for an unexpected crisis to help reduce the stress on ourselves and family members.

Estate Planning and Elder law

Estate Planning and Elder Law

Designate a family member who will check on elderly relatives. Make sure everyone knows who will responsible for checking in with an elderly loved one each day. Also set up a process for notifying other family members of an elderly loved one’s condition – this may including sending an email, text messaging, or phone calls. The method is not as important as agreeing to a process and sticking to it so all family members stay informed.

Seek medical advice in the event of a health care crisis. There has been a great deal of reporting about COVID-19, and some of it has been inconsistent. Reach out to your trusted medical team to understand what you and your loved ones should be doing in this, or any, health care crisis.

Make sure someone knows how to get your bills paid if you are unable to. This type of power can be provided to an agent under a financial power of attorney. Powers of attorney can include numerous powers so it is critical to talk with legal counsel before signing any type of legal document that gives someone else authority over your finances.

Be sure there is an accurate list of medical prescriptions readily available in your home. If you become ill, it is important that someone knows the medicines you take and the dosage. Keep this in your home where others can find it, and make sure the list is dated, noting any time it is updated. Many of us assume that our doctor has an updated prescription list, but if you are seeing multiple specialists, that may not be true.

Designate someone you trust to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to. This should not be a form that is downloaded from the internet. Deciding what type of treatment you want, where you want to live, and what should happen if you have a terminal illness are serious topics that should be considered carefully, then translated into a proper legal document.

Planning for an unexpected health care or financial crisis can help relieve a great deal of stress for you and your family. We would welcome the opportunity to help you come up with a plan that works for you. We can meet virtually during the shelter in place order, if you are interested. Please call 989-321-2330 or email travis@frankenmuthlaw.com

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association. Start estate plan

   lcplfa_member_logo    Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

The post The Importance of Planning for the Unexpected appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/the-importance-of-planning-for-the-unexpected/feed/ 0
Common Estate Planning Myths https://frankenmuthlaw.com/estate-planning-myths/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/estate-planning-myths/#comments_reply Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:49:45 +0000 http://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1021 Estate Planning Myths: Estate planning can be a very difficult process. While it’s not brain surgery, making the decision to move forward with the planning requires us to face the fact that we will not live forever. This thought can…

The post Common Estate Planning Myths appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
Estate Planning Myths: Estate planning can be a very difficult process. While it’s not brain surgery, making the decision to move forward with the planning requires us to face the fact that we will not live forever. This thought can stop many people right in their tracks. Others talk themselves out of seeing a qualified attorney to put together an estate plan based on some of the following common myths:

Estate Planning Myths – Myth #1: Only the Rich Need Estate Planning

When we hear about estate planning on the news or read about it on the internet, it is usually in regards to a wealthy businessman or celebrity who made some error, did no planning, or has family members who are angry about the planning that was actually done. The topic catches people’s attention: Rich people have so much that surely they need planning and can afford to have the planning done correctly. By comparison, when the average person thinks about their own property and planning needs, they assume that it is not necessary because they do not  have anything close to Bill Gates’ billions.

estate planning myths

However, this could not be further from the truth. Estate planning is about more than just the money. While proper planning allows you to determine who gets your money and property upon your death, the planning process also addresses what happens if you become incapacitated and someone has to make decisions on your behalf–a far more likely scenario. If you have not done any planning, the court will have to appoint someone to make your medical and financial decisions for you. This can be very time consuming, expensive, and public. It can also wreak havoc on a family if they disagree about who should be appointed and how decisions should be made.

Even for those of modest means, who gets your hard-earned savings when you die is an important consideration. Without any planning, state law will decide who gets what—and many times, what the government’s best guess as to what you would want is contrary to what you actually want. But, because you did not take the opportunity to formalize your wishes in an estate plan, the state has to step in and do it for you.

Estate Planning Myths – Myth #2: I Don’t Have to Plan Because My Spouse Will Get Everything

For many married couples, it is common to own property or bank accounts jointly. If these assets are owned jointly or as tenants by the entirety, when one spouse dies, then the surviving spouse automatically becomes the sole owner. In most cases, this is the desired outcome for married individuals.

However, this approach can be dangerous. While it is convenient for assets to pass automatically to the surviving spouse, this outright distribution offers no protection. What happens if, after your spouse dies, you get into a car accident and are sued? If the assets you owned jointly automatically became yours alone, this money and property are available to satisfy any judgment that could be entered against you resulting from a lawsuit.

Additionally, what if, after you die, your spouse gets remarried? If the brokerage account you owned jointly becomes your spouse’s only, your spouse is now able to spend it all in any way he or she wants without any consideration for your wishes or the next generation. Your spouse’s new spouse could go out and buy a sports car with the money you intended to pass to your children. With blended families being common today, this is a real concern for many people.

Estate planning does not mean that you have to disinherit your spouse. Rather, it means the two of you can sit down and plan out what happens to your joint property and accounts upon either of your deaths, ensuring that the survivor is provided for and that any remaining money and property are gifted in a way that is agreeable to both of you.

Estate Planning Myths – Myth #3: A Will Avoids Probate

Many people believe that once they have created a will—whether drafted by an experienced attorney, or using a DIY solution or online form— they have avoided probate. Unfortunately, they are wrong.

While a will is a great way to designate a person to wind up your affairs once you have passed, determine who will get your hard earned savings and property, and, if necessary, appoint a guardian to care for your minor children, this document has to be submitted to the probate court to begin the process of distributing your money and property. The level of involvement by the probate court can vary depending on the circumstances, but this process is not private, as the will becomes a matter of public record.

Summary Proceedings: In some states, if the value of your estate (i.e., what you own at your death) is below a certain monetary threshold, then anyone who is entitled to inherit from the decedent can file a petition and have the property distributed outside of the traditional probate proceedings. The filing may require a court appearance and formal legal notice to anyone who might be interested before allowing your property to be distributed.

Affidavit Procedure: Some states allow for an affidavit to be used to collect and distribute a decedent’s money and property. In some states, this affidavit can be self-executed, while others require that the document be filed with the court. Generally, affidavits require the passing of time from the date of a decedent’s death—ranging from a few days to a few months. After that, a “successor” to the decedent (a spouse or heir) signs the affidavit and presents the affidavit to collect the decedent’s assets for distribution to his or her rightful heirs.

Supervised Probate: With this type of proceeding, the probate judge oversees every step of the administration process and has to approve of the Personal Representative’s actions. During a supervised probate, all pleadings and required documents have to be filed with the probate court and then served on interested persons or parties. This can be a very time consuming and expensive process. Each time the Personal Representative has to take an action, a legal pleading has to be filed and served on the interested party, which, in contentious situations, opens up the possibility for disagreements and attorneys’ fees.

Unsupervised Probate: In cases where there are no controversies and the parties all get along, an unsupervised probate administration may be the best option. In this situation, although the administration is not supervised by a court, there are still actions the Personal Representative needs to take, but the Personal Representative may not be required to file petitions and documents for each of those steps. However, a Personal Representative may be required to file  some steps, such as the preparation of the inventory, with the court and the interested parties, but no corresponding hearing is scheduled. While this is less complicated and possibly less expensive than a supervised probate, it can still be time consuming and your financial and personal affairs would become a matter of public record.

We are here to help answer any questions you may have about estate planning, the estate planning process, or probate. Together, we can craft a one-of-a-kind plan to ensure that you and your family are properly protected. Give us a call today (989) 321-2330 or click here to schedule an appointment.

 

 

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, end of life preparations, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association.

   lcplfa_member_logo    Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

                   

Elder Law

Travis Dafoe

The materials on this website have been prepared by Dafoe Law, PLLC for informational purposes. Legal advice can be acquired only from talking with an attorney at Dafoe law. The information on this website should not be construed as legal advice. Furthermore, the information on this page relates to Michigan law.
Sending or receiving information contained on this website or other communication with Dafoe Law, PLLC via the internet or email does not constitute or create a lawyer-client relationship. You should not send us any confidential information in response to this website. Such responses will not create a lawyer-client relationship, and whatever you disclose to us will not be privileged or confidential unless we have agreed to act as your legal counsel and you have signed a written retainer agreement with Dafoe Law, PLLC. The material on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments. The content and interpretation of the law addressed herein is subject to change. We disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law. Do not act or refrain from acting upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel. Estate Planning Myths

The post Common Estate Planning Myths appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/estate-planning-myths/feed/ 0
Estate Planning Awareness Week: The Importance to You and Your Family of Having an Estate Plan https://frankenmuthlaw.com/estate-planning-awareness-week/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/estate-planning-awareness-week/#comments_reply Sun, 13 Oct 2019 16:33:13 +0000 http://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1014 In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, which designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Nevertheless, according to a…

The post Estate Planning Awareness Week: The Importance to You and Your Family of Having an Estate Plan appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
In 2008, Congress recognized the need for the public to understand the importance and benefits of estate planning by passing House Resolution 1499, which designated the third week of October as National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Nevertheless, according to a 2019 survey carried out by Caring.com, 57% of adults in the United States have not prepared any estate planning documents such as a will or trust despite the fact that 76% viewed them as important. Many of the respondents said this was due to procrastination, but many others mistakenly believed that it was not necessary because they did not have many assets.

Why should you have an estate plan?Estate Planning Awareness Week

An estate plan can provide significant peace of mind by ensuring your assets are protected, plans are in place in the event you become ill, and your property is passed down according to your wishes.

Estate Planning Awareness WeekWhat key topics should you consider?

  • Do you have a last will and testament and/or a trust? If you do not have these important documents, state law will determine who will inherit your property—and thus it may not occur in the way you would have chosen. In addition, someone appointed by the court, instead of a trusted person of your choosing, will be in charge of caring for any children or pets. Spelling out your wishes in a will or trust will also prevent unnecessary confusion, anxiety, and expense for other family members when you are gone.

 

  • Have the proper powers of attorney been prepared? A financial power of attorney will allow you to designate an individual to make financial and property decisions for you should you become unable to handle your own affairs. A medical power of attorney enables you to designate a person you trust to make medical decisions for you when you are otherwise unable to speak for yourself.
  • Make sure that you have an advanced directive, also called a living will, which memorializes your wishes concerning your end of life care, such as whether you would like to receive life support if you are in a vegative state or terminal condition.

 

  • Do you have insurance? If you become incapacitated or die, it is important for your family or loved ones to have information about your insurance (such as life, health, disability, longterm care, etc.) so that claims can be filed.

Estate Planning Awareness Week

  • Compile a list of all of your accounts and other important information, including bank and investment accounts, titles to vehicles and homes, credit card accounts or loans, digital accounts (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter) and passwords, Social Security cards, passports and birth certificates, which may be needed to manage your property when you are incapacitated or settle your estate once you are gone. This information should be kept in a safe place and shared only with trusted family members or loved ones.

 

  • A list of legal, financial, and medical professionals who have performed services for you is also important. The list should include their contact information so your family can easily reach them in the event their help is needed if you become disabled or die. If desired, you should also ensure HIPAA authorizations are in place with medical professionals to ensure your family members are able to obtain needed information.

How should you encourage your family members to create an estate plan?

Estate Planning Awareness Week is a great opportunity not only to take steps to make sure your own estate plan is in place, but also to talk to your family members, especially elderly parents, about creating an estate plan. Estate planning is often a difficult topic to broach, as it brings the unpleasant topics of aging and death to the forefront of our minds. Here are a few tips to help you start the conversation.

  • Be sensitive to your family members’ feelings. Put yourself in their shoes, and keep in mind that few people are eager to dwell on the subject of their own death. One way to begin the conversation is to talk first about the need to plan for an illness and to provide instructions in the event they become too ill to communicate with doctors or handle financial matters for themselves. The conversation can then naturally progress to the importance of having an estate plan that will enable their assets to be transferred in the way that they wish, provide for the care of any dependents or pets, and minimize any taxes, court costs, and legal fees. Communicate that you are not trying to control their decisions, but only want to ensure that their own wishes regarding their medical care and their property are known—and that all their instructions are in writing to guarantee they are carried out.

Estate Planning Awareness Week

  • Involve other family members in the conversation. If you are planning to speak to your parents about the need for an estate plan, it is important to try to include any siblings in the discussion to avoid giving the impression that you are trying to influence or control your parents’ choices. You and your siblings should emphasize to your parents that none of you are asking about what you will inherit, but just want to make sure that their wishes are carried out if they become ill or pass away.

Consult an estate planning attorney. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you and your family members create an estate plan tailored to meet each of your unique needs and carry out your wishes—or help you update a pre-existing estate plan. We can provide each family member with guidance and information about the options available to them. We can help each of you put a plan in place that will prevent unnecessary stress, legal expenses and taxes, uneven inheritances, disputes between family members, and delays in passing life savings on to loved ones. In addition, it will provide you and your family members with the peace of mind that comes with knowing there are plans in place for your care if any of you become ill and that your wishes will be honored once you pass away. Call us today to set up a meeting.

Estate Planning Awareness Week

 

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, end of life preparations, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association.

   lcplfa_member_logo    Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

                   

Elder Law

Travis Dafoe

The materials on this website have been prepared by Dafoe Law, PLLC for informational purposes. Legal advice can be acquired only from talking with an attorney at Dafoe law. The information on this website should not be construed as legal advice. Furthermore, the information on this page relates to Michigan law.
Sending or receiving information contained on this website or other communication with Dafoe Law, PLLC via the internet or email does not constitute or create a lawyer-client relationship. You should not send us any confidential information in response to this website. Such responses will not create a lawyer-client relationship, and whatever you disclose to us will not be privileged or confidential unless we have agreed to act as your legal counsel and you have signed a written retainer agreement with Dafoe Law, PLLC. The material on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments. The content and interpretation of the law addressed herein is subject to change. We disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law. Do not act or refrain from acting upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel. Estate Planning Awareness Week & Estate Planning Awareness Week

The post Estate Planning Awareness Week: The Importance to You and Your Family of Having an Estate Plan appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/estate-planning-awareness-week/feed/ 0
Retirement: Six Things to Consider Before Making the Decision https://frankenmuthlaw.com/retirement/ https://frankenmuthlaw.com/retirement/#comments_reply Fri, 04 Oct 2019 14:06:52 +0000 http://frankenmuthlaw.com/?p=1006 Before you retire or leave full-time employment for other pursuits, consider the impacts of your decision on the financial well being of your future. The transition to your next phase of life, whether full or semi-retirement, adventure seeking, or family…

The post Retirement: Six Things to Consider Before Making the Decision appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
Before you retire or leave full-time employment for other pursuits, consider the impacts of your decision on the financial well being of your future. The transition to your next phase of life, whether full or semi-retirement, adventure seeking, or family driven, requires thoughtful planning to avoid needless surprises that can mean the difference between financial success or financial stress. Whether you have been planning your retirement for decades or days, contemplating these six key retirement elements can help you avoid unexpected problems.

Health insurance and the cost of health care throughout your retirement years is the first key consideration. If you have been on an employer-sponsored plan, it is crucial to understand the depth and breadth of coverage options and associated costs when you leave your full-time employment. Health care costs will rise as you get older, and according to Fidelity Investments, the average 65-year-old couple will spend $280,000 on health care costs during retirement.

RETIREMENT

https://www.fidelity.com/life-events/planning-for-rising-healthcare-costs

 

Medicare is a definite help once you reach the age of 65; however, it does not cover the cost of everything, which is why supplemental health insurance becomes necessary. Learn what Medicare does cover and then explore insurances that will fill in the gaps you most need to cover, such as dental, vision, and long-term care. If you are younger than 65, you will have to supply your health care coverage through vehicles like COBRA if that is an option available through your current employer. If not a COBRA plan you can try the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Employing this option and depending on your income, you may even qualify for a subsidy, but open enrollment periods are limited, and you must plan your retirement accordingly. Other insurance options include less robust coverage choices with short-term plans. These plans are only viable for generally healthy people who have no pre-existing conditions.

You may think you want to retire fully; however, it is not uncommon to shift gears and decide for a sense of purpose that you want to work part-time in your “retirement”. Depending on your age, part-time work may affect your social security benefits if you have already begun claiming them. The second key consideration then is to know what your social security strategy is. Most retirees do not want to hold off on receiving their benefits at the age of 62 but the longer you can delay the larger your monthly checks will become. Your benefit increases 6 percent annually until full retirement age and then 8 percent annually until you reach the age of 70.

Since over half of Americans ages 60 – 64 are still working full or part-time, it is critical to know what effect your wages will have on your social security benefits. Nearly one-third of Americans ages 65 – 69 are still in the workforce, and their earned wages are also affecting their social security benefits. The penalty, when exceeding the earnings cap, is short-term substantial. If you make more than $17,640 in 2019, for every dollar you exceed the cap, your benefit will be reduced by one dollar for every two dollars you earn. The monetary penalization will come back to you when you reach full retirement age in a higher monthly benefit check however it depends on your overall income, and up to 85 percent of your benefit is subject to federal income tax. The scenarios get complicated, and it is essential to understand the nuances of social security benefit rules and how they relate to your situation.

When you are preparing to retire the third key consideration is evaluating your tax strategies based on your income. You may have provided for passive and multiple streams of income, and they have distinct tax implications depending on the type of financial retirement vehicle or product. Many people have a variety of retirement incomes such as 401(k)s, IRAs, taxable savings, investment accounts, health savings accounts (HAS) and business or trust incomes. All of these assets have optimal times to tap into for retirement income because of tax consequences. Know your strategy especially since your annual income can affect what you pay for Medicare.

The fourth key consideration is to check what the risks are in your retirement accounts and income plans. By the time you retire, most of your financial portfolio should be in risk-averse financial vehicles. Evaluating and allocating your portfolio to include financially stable products like bonds or well-researched annuities is essential. If you do not have to be overly risky in your strategy, then, by all means, do not be. It is better to live comfortably, or even modestly, in your retirement years then throw everything you have on a betting wheel and come up empty-handed. If you have had the same investment strategy since you were in your early twenties, it is beyond time to re-evaluate your choices.

retirementThe fifth key consideration is to prepare for an adverse event by having a financial cushion. Most financial advisors recommend that you keep several years of your income away from market-driven investments and maintain the cash in more stable vehicles like money markets, cash, and other investments that have minimal risk. The rule of thumb is never put the money you need to maintain your lifestyle for the next three years at risk. That allows you time to respond to any adverse event that may crop up while maintaining your retirement lifestyle. This way, if the investment markets are down, you will not have to sell those assets, potentially at a loss, to survive.

Finally, the sixth key consideration is to prepare emotionally for the ups and downs and loss of identity that you have cultivated during your career. Many retirees have a difficult time transitioning to retirement when so much of their life has been defined by what they did for a living rather than who they are as a person. Many people become inextricably linked to their identity through their career and moving into retirement without that career identity can create unforeseen depression. If you do not have to work, it is important to create a new life purpose. Volunteering and mentoring is a fantastic way to help your fellow humankind and ward off feelings of loneliness and lack of self-worth. Also, prepare yourself that the money and those asset accounts you have worked so hard for all your life are going to reflect the change of retirement brings. It can be hard to watch withdrawals for your retirement living chunk away at what you worked so hard to build. Do not go to places of dark imaginings. Retirement spending is exactly what you worked for your entire life.

It isn’t always easy to transition to retirement life. Your working norm must be redeveloped into your retirement norm. Think carefully through the issues that will be most important to your success and well being BEFORE you retire.  Contact our office today (989) 321-2330 and schedule an appointment to discuss how we can help you with your planning.

 

Dafoe Law, PLLC is a Life Care Planning law firm serving the Estate Planning, long-term care, end of life preparations, probate, and trust administration needs of clients in Saginaw, Bay, Genesee, Huron and Tuscola Counties. Dafoe Law serves Frankenmuth, Bridgeport, Birch Run, Reese, Millington, Clio, Vassar, Saginaw, Saginaw Township, Freeland, Thomas Township, Spaulding Township, Burt, Bay City, Essexville, Munger, Kochville Township, Caro, Cass City, Sebewaing, Unionville, Pigeon, Bad Axe. Travis I. Dafoe is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorney and WealthCounsel. Dafoe Law, PLLC is also a member of the Life Care Planning Law Firm Association.

   lcplfa_member_logo    Travis Dafoe Elder Law Attorney   

                   

Elder Law and retirement

Travis Dafoe

The materials on this website have been prepared by Dafoe Law, PLLC for informational purposes. Legal advice can be acquired only from talking with an attorney at Dafoe law. The information on this website should not be construed as legal advice. Furthermore, the information on this page relates to Michigan law.
Sending or receiving information contained on this website or other communication with Dafoe Law, PLLC via the internet or email does not constitute or create a lawyer-client relationship. You should not send us any confidential information in response to this website. Such responses will not create a lawyer-client relationship, and whatever you disclose to us will not be privileged or confidential unless we have agreed to act as your legal counsel and you have signed a written retainer agreement with Dafoe Law, PLLC. The material on this website may not reflect the most current legal developments. The content and interpretation of the law addressed herein is subject to change. We disclaim all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all of the contents of this site to the fullest extent permitted by law. Do not act or refrain from acting upon this information without seeking professional legal counsel.

The post Retirement: Six Things to Consider Before Making the Decision appeared first on Travis Dafoe, Attorney at Law.

]]>
https://frankenmuthlaw.com/retirement/feed/ 0