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Americans Increasingly Avoiding Medical Care

Despite the fact there are increased numbers of insured Americans, fewer are going to the doctor’s office. Why is this happening? The answer is lack of affordability. Even with the benefits of health insurance, many are struggling to afford medical costs. Kaiser Health Foundation polls since 2015 show continued rising costs.  37% of those polled report having trouble paying their health insurance premiums, 43% had trouble paying their deductibles and 31% had trouble affording co-pays for doctor visits and prescription drugs. According to another survey by the West Health Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago between a third and a half of people aged 45 – 59 and a quarter of those 60 or more went without needed health care in the past [...]

2020-04-15T09:30:22-05:00April 9th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Americans Increasingly Avoiding Medical Care

When Should You Take Social Security Benefits?

The Social Security Administration has changed the formularies for benefit payouts. Seniors and near seniors need to understand what these changes are in order to optimize their benefit. If you are sixty years of age or more, you are in the forefront of a big change in social security. The full retirement age (FRA), when you can collect your entire earned benefit, has been changed from66 to 67. The implementation of this change will occur in two-month increments over the next six years. While you are still able to begin your social security benefit payments at 62, delaying it until later years, up until the age of 70, will still ensure you receive a larger check for each month you opt to postpone payouts. However, [...]

2020-04-02T08:56:32-05:00April 2nd, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on When Should You Take Social Security Benefits?


The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enrichment Act of 2019 or the SECURE Act, was set into law on January 1, 2020. The Act changed many of the long-standing rules about Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). The new rules that went into effect include: Increasing the age for withdrawing required minimum distributions (RMDs) from retirement accounts from age 70 1/2 to age 72. Eliminating the previous age restrictions for contributing to traditional IRAs. Eliminating the ability of most non-spouse beneficiaries to 'stretch out' the RMDs on inherited retirement plans The elimination of the "stretch out" is what we find most concerning. Traditionally, at the age of 70 1/2 people were required to begin withdrawing funds from their retirement plan(s). The withdrawal amount was based on [...]

2020-01-20T13:05:28-05:00January 20th, 2020|Uncategorized|Comments Off on DID THE SECURE ACT RUIN YOUR ESTATE PLAN?

Seniors More Indebted Than Ever

America experienced its worst financial crisis since the great depression between 2007 and 2010. Known as the subprime mortgage crisis, it happened because home prices fell in 2006, triggering loan defaults. Then the risk spread into pension funds, mutual funds, and corporations who owned the derivatives. It also spread into the global credit market resulting in higher interest rates and reduced availability of credit. Quantitative easing was necessary for several years to lower interest rates and spur economic growth. The cautionary tale to all Americans was learning to live beneath their means and do not carry excessive amounts of debt. Many Americans did not take heed and as a result, they are in substantial debt. One of the saddest cases of all of the debtors [...]

2020-04-15T09:13:47-05:00December 20th, 2019|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Seniors More Indebted Than Ever

Considerations in Naming Guardians for Children

What About The Kids?! If you’re like us, and like a lot of our clients, you have young children.  Raymond and his wife have a 5-year-old daughter, and Scott and his wife have a 5-year-old son and a 19-month-old daughter.  You’ve probably thought about what life might look like if you weren’t around to care for them.  Studies show that 1.2 million children will lose a parent because of their death prior to the age of 15.  While we all hope that this will never happen to our family, we as parents must prepare for it. Any time that we work with clients who have children who are under the age of 18, we spend considerable time with them developing a clear picture about [...]

2020-04-15T10:10:31-05:00November 21st, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Considerations in Naming Guardians for Children

Six Reasons to Have an Estate Plan in Place

In the estate planning world, we see study after study showing that the majority of Americans still do not have a written estate plan. (60% according to the AARP: here) However, when we talk to friends and family, we hear time and again that everyone knows they SHOULD have a plan in place, they just haven't done it yet. So, why is it important for families to have a plan in place? Here are 6 reasons why our clients have come in to create an estate plan, see if any of them might apply to you: 1. We don't want our money to go to the government when we pass. Many families are not facing the need to pay a federal estate tax after they [...]

2018-10-24T20:37:16-05:00July 5th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Six Reasons to Have an Estate Plan in Place

Important Tips for Incorporating Long-Term Care Into Your Estate Plan

Many people equate estate planning with postmortem concerns. Basically, what happens to their property and money after they pass on. However, an estate plan can, and should, incorporate long-term care. Why It is So Critical to Have a Plan in Place for Your Long-Term Care If you or your spouse need to stay in a skilled long-term care facility, expect to pay on average $7,500 per month (depending on the type of care you need). Many people do not have sufficient savings to bear that financial burden. As a result, their financial assets are depleted much sooner than expected. This can place tremendous strain on you, and your family. Oh, and do not expect Medicare to pick up the tab. Many people are surprised to learn that traditional Medicare does [...]

2020-04-15T17:39:15-05:00April 12th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Important Tips for Incorporating Long-Term Care Into Your Estate Plan

Is Your Kid College Bound? Here are the Estate Planning Documents They Need

It's one of the proudest moments a parent can experience – sending their child off to college. It is a recognition that your child is entering a new chapter in life where they will (hopefully) learn to become an independent, self-sufficient adult. But this venture into adulthood also means that you, as a parent, will no longer be able to access your child's medical and financial records or make decisions on their behalf when they reach the age of majority (i.e. 18 in most states), according to the Wall Street Journal. This means it is critically important for your college-bound child to have an estate plan in place that includes the appointment of trusted individuals who are capable of making important decisions concerning your child's medical [...]

2020-04-15T17:40:41-05:00April 4th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Is Your Kid College Bound? Here are the Estate Planning Documents They Need

When To Review Your Estate Plan

A commonly asked question by clients is "when should I schedule a comprehensive review of my estate plan?" First and foremost, if you are asking this question, you are ahead of the game. A recent survey showed nearly 65 percent of Americans lack even the most basic estate planning documents such as a Last Will and Testament. In regards to when you should review your estate plan, the answer depends on your particular situation. If you have a sudden life-changing event (e.g., marriage, divorce, death in the family, etc.) you should take action right away. In addition, at the very minimum, you should update your estate plan at a minimum every five years, and actually sit down with your St. Charles estate planning lawyer at least once [...]

2018-03-09T18:22:46-05:00March 9th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on When To Review Your Estate Plan

Three Key Benefits to Avoiding Probate

When you are creating your estate plan, an objective you should strive for is structuring your plan in a way to avoid probate. Probate is a statutorily-based  way of settling an estate requiring the oversight of a court. When probate is required, a surviving spouse or other love one, is typically appointed by the court if your deceased loved one had no Will, or if they did leave a Will and named you as the Executor or Executrix. Once appointed, the executor possess the authority to distribute the assets of the decedent along with paying any outstanding bills and taxes. Why You Should Try to Avoid Probate A big reason to avoid probate is cost. There are a myriad of mandatory fees that the estate must [...]

2018-02-13T17:14:53-05:00February 13th, 2018|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Three Key Benefits to Avoiding Probate