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Is Alzheimer’s Disease Fatal?

By Rick Law of Law ElderLaw. Rick hosts multiple seminars a month at the Estate, Asset Protection, and Retirement Tax law firm at LEL in Western Chicagoland in Illinois.

There is a common misconception: that Alzheimer’s is not a fatal disease.

Most people still do not realize the basics of Alzheimer’s. Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, degenerative, and ultimately fatal. Unfortunately, most people still think about the disease as “a little bit of memory loss.”

We hear it from people all the time, people from all over the country. Many times, when I say that Alzheimer’s disease is progressive, degenerative, and fatal, people respond, “Alzheimer’s disease isn’t fatal!” Well-educated people in high positions will argue back at me, “You don’t die of Alzheimer’s disease!”

According to Dr. Maurizio Grimaldi of agingcare.com, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is very complex and always fatal. It manifests initially with marked memory failure, but as it progresses, it also has an effect on higher brain functions. In the later stages of the disease, balance and coordination as well as autonomic functions like heart rate, breathing, digestion and sleep cycles are severely affected.

When the clinical picture of the disease is fully developed, a patient will be unable to perform the tasks that keep our bodies alive and functioning. Neurological damage causes the patient to lose the ability to coordinate even simple movements. Eventually, they are unable to walk, communicate, maintain control of their bladder and bowels, feed themselves, chew, and swallow food without significant assistance and careful supervision. The later stages can be both emotionally and physically taxing not only for patients themselves, but also for their family caregivers. At this point, if the subject has not already been discussed, family members may wish to consider hospice care for their loved one.

Denial is a really powerful evolutionary protection, we often see it when early symptoms appear. If we simply accept all the terrible things that go on in the world every day and don’t operate on some level of denial, we would all cease to function.

Denial helps us to deal with everyday life. Unfortunately, denial as related to Alzheimer’s disease leads to many bad outcomes.

If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney at the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Know Your Rights: Patient Transfers/Discharges

By Rick Law, elder law and estate planning attorney in Aurora, IL.  Rick and his attorney daughter Diana Law are partners at the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law ElderLaw. 

Although each state has its own rules regarding transfers and discharges, if the facility accepts Medicaid and/or Medicare, it is bound by the federal rules.

A nursing home may only transfer or discharge a patient under federal law if it is

  • necessary for the resident’s welfare and the resident’s needs cannot be met in the facility;
  • appropriate because the resident’s health has improved sufficiently so the resident no longer needs the services provided by the facility;
  • the safety of individuals in the facility is endangered;
  • the health of individuals in the facility would otherwise be endangered;
  • the resident has failed, after reasonable and appropriate notice, to pay for (or to have paid under Medicare or Medicaid) a stay at the facility (or a resident who becomes eligible for Medicaid after admission to a facility, the facility may charge a resident only allowable charges under Medicaid); or
  • the facility ceases to operate.

Facilities must give notice to the resident and resident’s representative and the notice must provide the following:

  • the reasons for the transfer and discharge
  • the effective date of the transfer or discharge
  • where the resident will be transferred or discharged to
  • a statement informing the resident the he/she has the right to appeal the action to the state
  • the name, address, and telephone number for the state’s long-term care ombudsman

The facility is required to provide 30 days’ notice from the effective date of the transfer or discharge except for emergency situations.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney at the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Nursing Home Residents Can Still Participate in Their Own Care!

By Rick Law, elder law attorney and managing partner at the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax Law firm of Law ElderLaw. LEL is a multi-generational law firm serving seniors and their families, and helping them prepare for changes to healthcare and retirement planning.

Nursing home residents are entitled to manage their personal finances and choose their health-care providers.

The nursing home must keep residents informed of any plan of care and any changes in that plan and must allow the residents to be an active participant in their own health-care plan. This includes allowing residents to refuse treatment. The fact that people are residents of a nursing home doesn’t mean they lose their rights.

Nursing homes must assess a resident’s needs every 12 months and create a health-care plan appropriate to the needs of the particular resident.  Although each state has its own rules regarding transfers and discharges, if the facility accepts Medicaid and/or Medicare, it is bound by the federal rules.

A friend of the family had early-onset Alzheimer’s, which means that he was affected by Alzheimer’s before the age of 65. He became incapacitated at the age of 46, and during the next six years until he died, he was moved from one nursing home to another 16 times.

Some Alzheimer’s sufferers exhibit rage, anger, and aggression.  This client was young and strong and a threat to nursing home staff.  If a client poses a threat to an employee or another resident, the nursing home doesn’t have to give a 30-day notice. Staff will call the family and say, “Come and get your loved one within the next 24 hours!”

This example clearly demonstrates why it is so important to find a facility that knows how to deal with residents with Alzheimer’s disease. Sometimes the staff can actually minimize the rage by being more agreeable with the resident and by diverting their attention to something else.

Too many families needlessly lose everything they have.  Don’t let that be you.  If you need help paying the overwhelming cost of long term care, give our office a call at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now, because when you’re out of money, you’re out of options!

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney at the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm of Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Alzheimer’s Disease and Home-Care

 

By Rick Law, elder law and estate planning attorney at the Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Law Firm of Law ElderLaw in Aurora, IL.  

Finding a dependable, trustworthy, long-term caregiver is something that families often grapple with…  retaining a great caregiver is the other half of the struggle that families encounter when faced with disabilities and/or long-term diseases. The majority of the folks we encounter are impacted by Alzheimer’s Disease and the resulting progressive dementia. Alzheimer’s often causes people to lose their inhibitions and judgement, or what my mother calls our “thin veneer of civilization.”

Mike Rohan is the president of All-Trust Home Care, a firm that helps place professional caregivers in the home environment, as well as assisted living and nursing home situations.  He once shared with me that his company used to have a constant problem in staffing for Alzheimer’s clients; caregivers would often quit or demand reassignment after only a week or two.  He said, “People with AD can present challenging behaviors, such as screaming, repetitive questions, paranoia, non-cooperation, and even violent aggression.  Very few caregivers have been trained in how to deal positively with these challenges.”

In an effort to serve both his employees and the All-Trust clients, Mike decided to seek out a solution. He signed up for a program offered through the Alzheimer’s Association called the “Best Friends Approach to Dementia”, and attended the “Train the Trainer” classes for the best friends approach.  After completing the program, Mike began to teach his firm’s caregivers how to implement the Alzheimer’s care ideas included in the best friends approach.  The results have been nothing short of revolutionary.

It has worked out so well, that All-Trust has been offering training classes every Tuesday at their Hinsdale office, and every Thursday at their Deerfield office with some Saturday classes.  The classes are not only for their employees, client family members, but for members of the community as well. You can find out more about Mike and All-Trust Home Care at www.alltrusthomecare.com

Caregivers now have the tools that need to communicate effectively with their clients, despite the barriers of the clients’ dementia-related behaviors.  The quality of life for both the caregivers and care receivers has been remarkably improved.  In fact, Mike smiled broadly when he stated, “Before we implemented the best friends approach training, it was difficult to retain staff.  But now I cannot think of anyone who has quit.”

Similarly, at Law ElderLaw, we’ve added new seminars several times a month to serve the community at large. We address the issues important to you and your family, from estate, retirement and asset protection topics to navigating the ever changing and often uncertain landscape of aging, planning, and preparing. RSVP today for one of our complimentary upcoming seminars at lawelderlaw.com/events.

If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

 

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


What’s in a Name?

By Rick Law of the Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax law firm at Law ElderLaw.  Rick, his attorney daughter Diana, and the rest of the team at LEL are located in Aurora, IL.

My, how time flies! It’s been almost a decade since my daughter and partner, attorney Diana Law, insisted that I come into the conference room to meet Gladys Kaminski…

A true sparkler, when Gladys enters a room, merriment walks in with her.  Upon our first meeting, we exchanged laugh-filled greetings, and then I asked Gladys why she wanted us to do her estate protection planning.

She quickly responded, “I don’t want to lose everything to long-term care expenses.  Even though I don’t have a lot, I want to make sure that my kids and grandkids can enjoy at least a part of it.”  She was working with Diana to prepare an Estate and Longevity Plan.  Her goal is to never be out of money or quality health care options as long as she lives.  One of the ways that we help clients achieve their goals is the use of very carefully designed trusts.

Most trusts take the name of the trustmaker—so ordinarily Gladys would have named her trust the “Gladys Kaminski Trust”—but she wanted to have it her way!  She wanted to call her new asset protection trust “The Happy Bottom Family Trust.”  Unusual, but legally a trust maker can choose any non-deceptive name for a trust.  I asked Gladys why she wanted a “Happy Bottom Trust.”  Giving me a wink, Gladys flashed a big smile and began her story.

“In 1941 I graduated from eighth grade.  I worked as a salesgirl at the dime store at 31st Street and Halsted in Chicago.  My boss, Mr. Fox, loved to tease me.  One day he came over to me and said loudly, “Gladaaas!  Gladaaaas!  Did you know your name translates as Happy Bottom?”  I laughed and laughed.  And I’ve been telling that story all my life.  Nobody remembers me when just I tell them my name is Gladys.  But everyone remembers me when I tell my name is Gladys and that means Happy Bottom.”

Now both Diana and I were laughing with her, and we agreed that The Happy Bottom Family Trust now made sense to us.  This trust is designed to protect a portion of her assets in the event she ever suffers unending long-term care costs.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

8 times named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine, Rick has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Asset Protection, and Retirement Taxes. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!

 


Do You Have Someone Who Will Advocate For You?

By Rick L. Law of the Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorneys at Law ElderLaw in west suburban Aurora, Illinois.

Older adults have often lamented of doctors and/or hospital staff who ignored the wishes of a loved one, and proceeded with pursuing life-prolonging care.  Even when they had insisted that their loved one did not want life-prolonging treatment, a doctor nevertheless ordered feeding tubes, ventilators, and other life-prolonging measures.  It is through my encounters with these individuals that I have discovered that these situations can and do happen.  Part of of my philosophy of end-of life planning is to help my clients to ensure that their wishes will be adhered to. 

I once taught a two-hour continuing education course about advance directives for an audience of hospital administrators, nurses, and social workers.  “Advance directives” are documents such as the Living Will, the Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR), and the Health Care Power of Attorney.  A primary goal for people who sign these forms is to avoid unwanted resuscitation and other “heroic measures” when there is no hope of recovery and returning to an enjoyable life.

Unfortunately, studies show a “lack of regard” for a patient’s preferences in life-sustaining treatment decisions by doctors and hospital staff.  This trend is quite frightening.  “Despite patients’ wishes, the indiscriminate use of technology and the lack of communication between patients and health care providers have been shown to result in unnecessary pain and suffering for patients.” (ncbi.nlm.nih.gov) In addition, the study notes that the medical costs of prolonging a dying patient’s life via artificial ventilation and intensive care often range between $11,000 and $36,000.  

 

It has been demonstrated that 46% of dying patients received mechanical ventilation in the last three days of their lives.  Many of those individuals never wanted to be on a ventilator—yet they live on in a state of hopeless suffering because of their physician’s decisions.

What can you do to prevent this scenario from happening to you or someone that you love?

  • Create a written advance directive such as a Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and/or a Do Not Resuscitate Order (DNR) in appropriate circumstances;
  • Insist that your advance directives are placed in all of your medical records and that your physician is well aware of the existence of such documents;
  • Have “the talk” with your family and doctor to make sure that everyone is very aware of your feelings regarding life-sustaining treatment in the event there is no hope of recovery. This will allow you to get all of your family members “on the same page”; and
  • Choose an “advocate” as your Health Care Power of Attorney and/or surrogate decision maker.  That advocate is someone who can look a medical professional in the eye and insist that your wishes be carried out.  I recommend that you look through your family and friends and choose someone who can insist that your desire regarding life-prolonging treatment be respected by the medical profession.

If your loved one has memory problems and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at 800-310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorney

8 times named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine, Rick has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate, Asset, and Retirement Taxes. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


A Dreaded Diagnosis in Middle Age

By Rick Law, Founder and Managing Partner of Law ElderLaw, Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorneys.

Huntington’s Disease is a long-term illness that strikes at an average age of 39.  That’s well before the age that most people plan to retire, and increasingly, it’s well before a lot of people have even begun planning for retirement.

I recently encountered a widow who had served as her husband’s primary caregiver for more than 16 years.  She spoke with both passion and pain, describing her caregiving sojourn as “the loneliest time of my life.”  For this reason, she wanted to speak out and be an encouragement to others who might be on the same road.

Her husband had been diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, and to paraphrase her words, “While my husband had the diagnosis, the disease took from both of us.” For at least eleven of the sixteen years of his disease, he was not able to hold her, kiss her, or care for her. She continued, “He was stolen from me.  I no longer had a lover, a soul mate, someone who could really share with me.  Our days as a couple were at an end.”

During her husband’s illness, she had to sacrifice her own feelings for the benefit of her spouse. She felt abandoned by her husband’s own family. When she called her husband’s brothers and reminded them of how important it was to her husband that they visit, they responded with, “I just can’t stand to see him that way.”  In the end, her burden could have been lighter if family and friends had stayed more involved.

“I was a widow with a living husband”…

My feeling is that we could all do a better job in helping others carry the load of long term illness by providing support, and not just sympathy.  In addition, there needs to be more awareness of what family members are going through during what is likely the loneliest and most difficult time of their lives.  

If your loved one has a serious diagnosis and you’re afraid of the consequences that may bring, give our office a call today at (800) 310-3100.  Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorney

8 times named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine, Rick has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate, Asset and Retirement Taxes. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Planning to Protect

By Law ElderLaw’s Rick Law. The LEL team is comprised of Estate, Asset & Retirement Tax Planning attorneys in the Western Chicago suburb of Aurora in Illinois.

Planning ahead to protect your surviving spouse is one of the best things you can do to protect your loved ones.  The problem is, some people wait until it’s too late.  I’ve said it before, when you’re out of money, you’re out of options.

So what are some of the things you need to plan and protect against?

  • Loss of a Social Security Check
  • Possible loss of pension
  • Survivor’s taxes may be higher because
    • Single person tax brackets are compressed
    • The big 4 tax deductions are gone
      • Mortgage Interest
      • Dependent children
      • Charities
      • 401k & IRA deductions
  • Inflation

There could be a myriad of reasons why these items would affect you, but now is the time to protect your spouse’s future income with tax planning to increase the net spendable dollars.

In the end, it’s all about your family – your surviving spouse and your children.  At Law ElderLaw, we can help create trusts tailored specifically to each beneficiary.

This level of targeted planning can help protect your adult child’s inheritance from:

  • Divorce
  • Bankruptcy
  • Creditors
  • Predators
  • Inability to handle money
  • Poor decisions
  • Taxes
  • Eccentricities

But what about you?  An estate and asset protection plan also needs to protect you!  Are your assets at risk? Will you lose your house if long-term care is required?  Depending where you are on the elder care journey, our firm may be able to help you better navigate the twists and turns, and the pitfalls and roadblocks of planning to live.  That’s right, because we all know we’re going to die… but what if you live? What if a protracted illness sees you stuck in a care facility for an extended period of time? Will you have the resources to survive without leaving your spouse destitute? Will your children have an inheritance when you’re gone?

That’s where the experienced professionals at Law ElderLaw come in.  Our team is ready to help you plan and protect your future, for better or worse.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Estate, Asset, and Retirement Tax Attorney

8 times named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine, Rick has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate, Asset and Retirement Taxes. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!


Do You Need to Strengthen Your Financial Plan?

by Rick Law, Aurora, Illinois Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorney.  Rick Is Founder of the Estate Planning Center at Law ElderLaw and presents multiple complementary workshops every month on how you can plan and protect your future.

Back in 2008 I had the pleasure of working with Rocky Greene as he held the hand of one of his clients who was beginning to slip into the early stages of dementia.

Because of his proactive concern for his clients, he worked with his clients (a husband and wife in their 70’s) and their adult children in helping them to modify their existing estate plan into a long-term care plan with asset preservation for the healthy spouse and appropriate distributions for the children at the time of the death of both of the spouses.

I decided to give Rocky a call to ask him what was going on in the financial investment world from his perspective.

There are four crucial areas of investment management, all of which need to be addressed to have a truly healthy financial plan for the future:

  • Level of Risk.  When someone asks Rocky about investment management, he counters by asking them a question right back: How you are going to manage your money, not only in an up market, but also in a down market, or in a sideways market?  The key to getting the most out of your investments is not by blindly following your financial advisor, but by doing what is right for you.  The key to good investment management is communication.  Individuals need to be able to share with their financial manager what level of risk they are willing to tolerate.  Some will be comfortable playing the market and hoping they’ll win big.  But for those who insist upon guarantees, an annuity may be the best choice available to them.
  • Proper Insurance Planning.  No matter what your level of risk, investment management also includes the having proper insurance for any of life’s risks.  This includes not only the obvious, life insurance, but also the less obvious: long-term care insurance, and appropriate liability insurance in the event that you are sued.
  • Estate Planning.  It is absolutely critical that you put together a proper estate plan so that your inheritance goals will be properly structured in writing, not only from a tax standpoint but also to determine who is in charge.  Every person, regardless of the size of his or her estate, needs to take the time to put together a plan with directions to loved ones, detailing not only what should be done, but what should not be done with the worldly assets that are left behind.
  • Medicaid/Public Benefits Planning.  Lastly, Rocky believes that Medicaid/public benefits planning is essential!  In today’s environment, even a $2 million net worth individual or couple can have their life savings completely destroyed by failure to properly plan for long-term care.  These days, when you have the very real possibility of one or both individuals needing long-term care for 8 to 12 years, it is easy to take an estate from $2 million or more to absolute zero in that period of time.  To avoid this, you need more than basic planning—you need long-term care planning as well.

A healthy body isn’t achieved by fixing one aspect of your lifestyle and then stopping; it includes giving attention to diet, exercise, mental health, and environmental factors.  Neither does a healthy financial plan stop after making a change in just one area.  You must give attention to all the components of your body of investments to have a truly healthy financial portfolio.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Estate, Asset and Retirement Tax Attorney

Rick has been named #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine 8 times in a row. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now


Is It Too Late To Start My Retirement Planning Over?

By Rick Law,  Estate, Asset & Retirement Tax Attorney at Law ElderLaw in Western Chicagoland.

It’s a statement I used to hear all too regularly at the height of the recession.  Clients coming into my office would lament,  “We have lost so much in our mutual funds that I should just sell EVERYTHING and start over.”  I would ask, “How do you know that you have a taxable loss?”  Typically, the answer was something along the lines of, “Everybody knows that the whole market is down by at least 40%! That’s how I know.”

The markets are arguably in a better place than even a couple years ago, but still, many people are panicking and making the same big mistakes in dealing with investment losses.  The two main errors made are:

  • Thinking that perceived investment losses are the same as tax losses; and
  • Failing to understand that any withdrawal from an IRA, 401(k), or 403(b) will always be treated as ordinary income.

The loss our client feels is what I call the “the quarterly statement loss,” but it is not usually the same as a taxable loss. If you ignore Mr. Taxman’s rules, you could wind up compounding your losses.  The way to compute a taxable loss is to look up what you originally paid for an asset and compare that purchase price to the current sale price.  Let’s say that your rental property would sell today for $200,000, but in 2015, it would have sold for $300,000. What kind of a loss have you suffered?  Does the tax-man think that you have a loss?  The answer is, no!

If you bought your investment real estate at $300,000 in 2014, and in 2016 you sell at $200,000, then Mr. Taxman will agree that you have a long-term capital loss of $100,000 (please assume that we are ignoring depreciation and other adjustments).

But, if you are like most of my clients, you may have purchased the asset a long time ago at a price that is lower than today’s sale price.  If you sell today, you may have a significant tax bill, even though you feel like you have ‘suffered’ a loss of value.

For example, if you bought the rental property in 1975 for $50,000, the actual gain or loss will be computed from the original sales price (less any depreciation that you took as a deduction on an annual basis) compared to the current sales price.  So, if you sell that property now, you will be looking at a significant taxable gain.

It’s critical that you remember that money in your IRA represents deferred wages.  No matter when or how the money comes out of your IRA, it will be treated as if you are now receiving those wages.  You pay the income tax rate to the federal and state government.  The government never allows you to treat IRA withdrawals as a tax loss.

If you’re ready to start getting your estate in order and secure your assets for the “worst-case” scenario, please give our office a call at 800-310-3100. Your first consultation is absolutely free.  We’ll let you know what steps you need to take, right now, to protect yourself and your family.  Call now.

Sincerely,

Rick L. Law, Attorney, Estate Planner for Retirees.

Rick was named the #1 Illinois elder law estate planning attorney by Leading Lawyer Magazine. He has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, AARP Magazine, TheStreet.com, and numerous newspapers and articles. Rick is the lead attorney for Law ElderLaw, LLP, focusing in Estate Planning, Guardianship, and Nursing Home Solutions. His goal is to give retirees an informed edge when it comes to dealing with an uncertain future.  Get flexible retirement strategies that work during good times and bad, plus information on how you can save your home and assets from being used to pay for long term care.  Call 800-310-3100 for your free consultation now!