Six Ideas to Protect Your Finances this Year

Although New Year’s resolutions might have fallen by the wayside, having a great financial and estate plan is important all year round. Thinking about your health and long-term care security issues can prompt you to do the important work around protecting your individual interests and establishing a next step with your estate planning. The support of an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer can help guide you through accomplishing each of these individual steps. Here are six things you can do to get your financial strategy up leveled or back on track:

  • Maintain your health by investing in healthy diet and exercise plans.
  • Make sleep a priority every night as this can have important implications on your physical health.
  • When it’s time, sit down and review Medicare benefits with a financial professional to make sure that the plan you’ve selected is aligned with your individual needs.
  • Discuss your wishes and resources for long term care with your loved ones. For example, if you have a long-term care insurance policy, make sure your spouse and other loved ones know where to find it.
  • Consider long term care insurance or Medicaid planning strategies that can help you qualify for Medicaid more quickly and easily if and when the time comes.
  • Set up an annual physical and review all of your medications. Discuss options for getting off certain medications where possible.

All of these issues can help you to protect your health for as long a period as possible, and to give you powerful insights and next steps for your planning strategies. Learn more about estate planning by meeting with a lawyer in Virginia Beach today.



How Many People Don’t Have the Resources to Support Themselves with Long-Term Care?

Long-term care expenses can be catastrophic for a single person or even for the other spouse of a married couple. Most people anticipate aging in place or relying on family and friends as caregivers. But extensive long-term care needs might require assisted living or a nursing home.

A recent study indicates that 60% of those people who will have moderate or severe long term care needs will not have the financial or family resources to meet those needs. Medicaid will step in to provide assistance for some of them but without Medicaid in place nearly 16% of today’s 65-year-olds will have severe enough care needs that they will be unable to cover them with private resources. This highlights the importance of having a plan to qualify for Medicaid if and when that time comes.

Automatic qualification for Medicaid is very difficult since many people do not anticipate the illness or disabling injury that requires them to seek out long-term care. If you find yourself in the position of needing support from an experienced Medicaid planning lawyer, now is a good opportunity to walk through your options and see how your current strategy lines up with the possible expenses of the average long term care stay.

While there are plenty of nursing homes and great care facilities in Virginia, most people are caught off guard by both the expense of staying at one and the possibility for staying there a long time. In both these situations, it helps to plan ahead by thinking about the assets you can use to support yourself and assets you wish to pass on in your estate and how these impact Medicaid eligibility. Talk to a Virginia Beach lawyer today.

Short Term Versus Legacy: Your Financial Plan

It can be difficult to ensure that you have enough funds set aside for retirement and that you’ve done the appropriate strategies and planning to protect yourself later on.

But this also must be balanced with your interest in creating a legacy. How do you know which one should take priority? The truth is that both of these goals of short term financial support and a long term legacy are important and there may have to be tradeoffs as well.

Creative and knowledgeable planning can decrease the possibility of disruption in your life, but only when done with the help of experienced estate planning lawyer in your area.

Longevity is one of the most unplanned for gaps in a retirement plan. A study from 2018, for example, showed that men between ages 60 and 79 have biological ages that were 4 years lower than men in earlier generations. This suggests that not only do they have the possibility of living longer than previous generations, but they are living healthier lives longer.

If you are in the 60 or older age group, this means that you might need to set aside a lot more money than your current plans allow for. 50% of the population lives beyond the life expectancy for the age group they belong to. This creates a longevity income gap that can expose you and your loved ones to unnecessary financial pressure. Set aside time to meet with an experienced and knowledgeable estate planning lawyer and work with your financial professional team to ensure that you have considered possible risks and inflation in the future.



What Are Transfer on Death Accounts?

Transfer on death accounts are those accounts that allow you to move ownership to a beneficiary when you, as the owner, pass away. This is recognized under certain state laws and doesn’t require the involvement of the probate courts. Many different assets can be covered by the transfer on death umbrella.

Certain states will allow transfer on death bank accounts, but you might also hear these referred to as payable on death bank accounts. Brokerage accounts, bonds, stocks, 401Ks, and IRAs could all potentially be considered transfer on death accounts. When you pass away, your beneficiary will just need to show proof of ID and possibly your death certificate to get access to those accounts. Each financial institution has different rules around what is required, so it’s worth placing a phone call first to make sure you have everything you need.

If you’re the one who currently owns these accounts, do an annual review to make sure they are properly updated and include the names of your chosen beneficiaries.

You’ll need to make sure that you’ve completed appropriate beneficiary designation forms with each one of these account managers, to ensure that a smooth transfer of assets occurs if something happens to you.

Transfer on death accounts are just a few of the assets that could pass to your loved ones after you death; an attorney can help you create a plan for the rest of your assets. Set aside time to speak with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney in the Virginia Beach area for more information.



Three Tips to Maintain Your Savings in Retirement

Approaching retirement means thinking about your finances and your working life differently. For plenty of soon-to-be American retirees, it’s just as important for them to protect their savings as it is to have a good plan for spending it during their retirement years.

There are many different risks that can impact retirement plans today, most particularly, their impact of long-term care expenses. Three tips can help retirees be more mindful of the balance inside their retirement savings accounts and how best to protect it. The first of these is to look for a fiduciary or a financial advisor who will put your best interests ahead.

There are many different financial professionals who are targeting the retiree market for those who are high net worth. It’s a good idea to work with someone who has a fiduciary responsibility and will help you understand where you are at now and where you hope to be in retirement. The second step is to make sure that you have an advanced wealth planning strategy and a relationship with an estate planning lawyer.

An estate planning lawyer could help you see some of the different ways that your retirement plan could be affected, not only to support you in your older years but to leave gifts behind for your loved ones. Finally, think about the big picture.

Maintaining wealth goes beyond income and investment returns. Look for advice from a variety of professionals that can help you better understand things like health care planning and taxes. For more information about drafting a retirement plan that aligns with your estate planning goals, schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer in Virginia Beach today.



Update Your Emergency Fund and Your Estate Plan in 2021

End of year provides unique planning opportunities to close up loopholes or to evaluate whether your life circumstances should prompt you to change strategies altogether. A couple of key tips can help you reorganize before 2021 and ensure that you enter the new year with a comprehensive plan and strategy to accomplish your individual or business goals.

One of the most important things you can do personally is to replenish or grow your emergency fund. One study found that just over half of Americans had an emergency fund to begin with and nearly 40% of those savers have had to tap into their emergency fund during the pandemic. Over half of the people who had an existing emergency fund before the pandemic had taken on additional debt rather than turning to their cash reserves.

This highlights just how important it is to have an emergency plan in place. Financial planning advice suggests that you have between 3 and 6 months of expenses stored up in an emergency fund. This can help to handle unanticipated bills or even a temporary loss of income. While it is challenging to build an emergency savings plan while things appear so uncertain, this and updating your estate planning documents are important end of year activities that can help you recalibrate and forge ahead into the new year.

If your life circumstances have changed over the last year or your financial planning picture has changed, this is a good opportunity to schedule a consultation with your estate planning and financial planning professionals in Virginia.


Is it Time to Revisit Your Financial Plan?

Deciding to retire brings with it a variety of different logistical decisions that need to be made but also plenty of emotions about making this transition in your life. Concerns about your financial future and excitement for the new freedom you might face are both common feelings and many people have these at the same time.

By reviewing or executing a financial plan for your retirement, which incorporates your estate plan and how you intend to take care of yourself in older age and pass on assets to your children will give you peace of mind so that you have something to build and adapt from.

A comprehensive financial plan needs to include many different components, looking at each aspect of your individual retirement. This includes spending habits, the design of your current portfolio, account balances, personal retirement plans like gifting, estate planning and travel, and insurance planning.

Each of these plays at least one small part in your overall retirement playbook. It’s a good idea to look at things from the data that can give you a good idea of what you need to have saved and some of the challenges that you might experience if you don’t adapt your savings plan now.

Plenty of people are nervous about having enough set aside for health care expenses, for example, so you might want to discuss with your elder lawyer whether or not the long term care plans you have in place will be enough. Schedule a consultation today with an elder lawyer in Virginia Beach to learn more.

Why Women Have to Take Control Over Their Finances and Their Planning

Women hold significant power when it comes to finances in some respects and yet many of them defer plenty of decisions to their spouses. Failing to take control of your finances as a woman means that you couldn’t neglect important long-term care planning opportunities and many of the important financial issues that surround the fact that women have greater longevity in the United States.

A recent research study completed by the Boston College Centre on Wealth and Philanthropy found that of the inter-generational wealth transfers that are anticipated in the next 40 years, women stand to inherit $41 trillion of it. The PEW Research Centre studies, however, have shown that women are more likely across generations to allow men to take control of finances, whereas women are more likely to take the lead role in investment decisions and in household financial decisions.

Asking these important questions and creating an open dialogue with a team of professionals can help you to identify your financial blind spots. When it comes to estate planning women often primarily on the caregiving aspect of their own children or their parents and then think about how this impacts the overall financial plan.

It is very important to ensure that you think about other opportunities within estate and financial planning and having advisors, such as an elder law attorney and estate planning attorney and a financial professional like a CPA to guide you through this can be instrumental in helping you to accomplish these goals. Schedule a consultation today with a trusted estate planning attorney.

How to Guard Against Financial Abuse of the Elderly

Whether you are care taking for an elderly loved one or concerned about the possibility of being targeted for elder abuse yourself, it is important to realize the signs and symptoms of someone attempting to take advantage of the elderly.

Some of the following behaviors are indications that someone has been involved in perpetrating financial abuse against an elderly person.

These include:

  • Using the property or possessions of the elderly person without permission.
  • Directly stealing money or property from the elderly person.
  • Forging the elderly individual’s signatures on documents or checks.
  • Forcing the elderly person to sign a legal document like a power of attorney deed or will, listing the perpetrator of the abuse as the one who is responsible for the elderly person and who will benefit when that elderly individual passes away.
  • Perpetrating telemarketing scams in which the elderly person is contacted and deceived.
  • Charging things against an elderly individual’s credit cards without the authorization of the card holder.

It is very important for every elderly person and family members who are helping to articulate a long term plan for those who could be exposed to financial abuse to know these challenges and to exercise tools such as a power of attorney to appoint a trust worthy agent to act on behalf of the elderly person.

Selecting the right power of attorney agent can have important implications for the loved one’s medical and financial decisions. Now is the time to speak with a dedicated Virginia lawyer about your power of attorney planning.



Five Steps to Organized Financial Affairs for Estate Planning

Do you feel organized when it comes to your financial affairs and long-term goals? Most people don’t because they haven’t had the opportunity or understanding of how important these financial and estate planning considerations can be.

Thankfully, a few important steps can get you started on the path to financial planning and give you further motivation to complete the more advanced aspects of your long-term goals.

The five things you need to do in order to stay on top of your financial planning include reviewing any estate planning documents that might have been completed in the past to ensure that they are up to date and accurate:

• Review your next steps for your taxes to see whether your individual situation has changed. Not every tax strategy is appropriate from one person to another, so you need an experienced professional to help you.

• Consider aspects of risk management that go beyond insurance. Insurance is just one method of covering any risk. The importance of this process is in identifying risk and then deciding if you can assume that risk or if you need another way to manage it.

• Review your debt situation because it is extremely important to take every step possible to keep your debt under control.

• Ensure that your investment portfolio reflects your current risk tolerance level, overall objectives, and goals. In some, completing all of these financial goals and considerations can give you peace of mind as well as alert you to problems before they become escalated to the point of having to do crisis management.

Understanding that a financial planner and an estate planner can help you are often important components of your final decision to take the reins with your financial and estate planning.