As our clients progress through various life stages, they are confronted with many issues and questions surrounding all the elements of what we call “Wealth Preservation". These elements include, but are not limited to Estate & Legacy Strategies, Retirement Planning, Social Security Planning, Health Care, Long Term Care and Medicare Planning. Our goal is to provide answers to their questions and help guide them in their decision making. Along the way, we work to ensure their understanding of specific concepts as well as insurance and annuity products which may prove valuable as they plan for and enter each new phase of their lives.
ESTATE, LEGACY & WEALTH TRANSFER STRATEGIES
The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (which was signed into law on January 2nd 2013) made significant and supposedly “permanent” changes to the estate, gift and generation skipping tax rates as well as to the use (portability) of the exemptions that are built into the new law. While many of these changes were positive, there remain numerous issues that clients need to consider. We work with our client’s legal and tax advisors to help them navigate these and other issues including the following:
- Developing an estate plan that is designed to minimize federal and state income & estate taxes.
- Identifying tax-efficient strategies and techniques to pay any estate and gift taxes that may be due in the future.
- Developing gifting strategies to maximize tax efficient transfer of wealth to future generations.
- Planning the transfer/transition of business ownership in a manner that maximizes value, minimizes taxes and maintains control to the extent desired.
- Establishing and funding Special Needs Trusts to meet the specific needs of family members while preserving access to other sources of aid and financial assistance that may be available.
- Achieving charitable goals by balancing lifetime gifts and testamentary bequests. Identifying trustees and custodians to carry out a client’s objectives in an appropriate, effective and cost-efficient manner.
PENSION/IRA DISTRIBUTION & RETIREMENT PLANNING:
Today’s qualified retirement plans provide participants with choices in funding and distributions. We work with our clients and their tax advisors to ensure that they are able to make informed decisions as they approach and plan for retirement as well as plan for the most tax efficient means of transferring qualified retirement assets to their heirs.
HEALTHCARE & MEDICARE PLANNING:
As our clients approach retirement and contemplate transitioning away from their employer sponsored health insurance, they confront numerous questions and issues including whether to elect COBRA and/or whether (and when) to enroll in Medicare. We work to address any/all questions they may have including the following:
- When am I eligible to Enroll in Medicare?
- Should I remain on my Employer’s health insurance when I turn 65 or should I enroll in Medicare?
- When I retire and terminate employment, should I retain my employer sponsored health coverage by electing COBRA or should I enroll in Medicare?
- Should I elect “Original Medicare” (Part A & B) or “Medicare Advantage Plan” (Part C)?
- What if my spouse is younger and not yet Medicare eligible?
- If I remain covered under my Employer’s health plan, when is Medicare Primary or Secondary?
- Do I need to sign up for Part B if still covered by my Employer’s health plan?
- What is the cost to enroll in Part A, B, & D?
- What if I don’t sign up in time?
- What are General and Special Enrollment periods?
- Does my income level impact my premium costs?
- Do I need Part D if I enroll in a Medicare Advantage Plan?
- Can I switch between Original Medicare and Medicare Advantage?
- What is the Medicare Part D “Donut Hole”?
- Does Medicare cover services/expenses associated with Long Term Care?
- How does the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) affect Medicare and my choices for health care
- What are Private Agreements?
- Will Medicare cover any medical expenses incurred while travelling abroad? Practical Considerations and Questions:
- Do all Doctors/Providers have to treat patients covered by Medicare?
- What does it mean when Doctors accept Medicare Assignment?
- What happens if my Doctors does not accept Medicare Assignment?
- Will my Doctor receive less for treating me once I enroll in Medicare and am no longer covered by my Employer’s health plan?
- What if my Doctor does not accept Medicare?
SOCIAL SECURITY PLANNING
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 made significant changes to Social Security including eliminating certain claiming strategies that married couples and families have historically relied on to increase benefits such as the “file and suspend” and “restricted claiming” strategies. While the changes will simplify some of the decision making that our clients will fact as they contemplate retirement, they will still confront numerous questions and issues in regard to Social Security. We work to address any/all questions they may have including the following:
- When am I eligible to receive Social Security income benefits?
- What is my Normal Retirement Age?
- Should I defer taking benefits beyond my Normal Retirement Age?
- Should I elect retirement (e.g. at age 62)?
- How much can I expect to receive from Social Security when I retire?
- Will my Spouse receive a benefit?
- How will my Social Security income be impacted upon my spouse’s death?
- How much of my Social Security income will be taxable?
- If I continue to work, will my Social Security income be reduced?
LONG TERM CARE:
With advances in medical science, people are living longer and increasingly requiring Long Term Care assistance for extended periods of time due to chronic illnesses, cognitive issues and debilitating injuries. Most clients prefer to have Long Term Care provided, if at all possible, in a home setting. We assist our clients in planning for their future Long Term Care needs by addressing the following:
- Determining whether Long Term Care insurance is necessary and/or feasible when considering each client’s unique situation.
- Evaluating the various different types of Long Term Care Insurance.
- Home Care: The Practical Aspects.
- What are the costs?
- What are the Pros and Cons of using an Agency vs Private Care Givers?
- How do Home Health Care Agencies charge?
- The advantages of Male Care Givers.
- Reliability of Care Givers.
- "No Show" support.
- Coverage during Holidays.
- 24/7 care can create problems with “overtime pay”.