Retirement – The Law Firm of Myrna Serrano Setty, P.A. https://www.serranosetty.com Estate Planning, Medical Directives, Guardianship, Special Needs Planning Fri, 13 Mar 2020 16:11:59 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4 How can you protect your finances this year? https://www.serranosetty.com/florida/estate-planning-attorney/money/how-can-you-protect-your-finances-this-year/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=5-financial-things-to-review-annually Tue, 28 Jan 2020 17:05:10 +0000 https://www.serranosetty.com/?p=2278

How can you protect your finances this year?

Start with reviewing the following documents at least once this year.

1. Estate Planning Documents 

To help ensure that your property and money ends up where you want it, look over your will, trusts, and other estate planning documents at least once a year to see if there is anything you’d like changed.

For example, you may want to make a change if you’re recently married or divorced, added a new child to the family, received an inheritance, or experienced any number of other major life events. Or you may simply want to make a change because you’ve changed your mind about some part of your estate plan. Review your choices for who would manage your finances and health care if you ever become incapacitated. Are you still satisfied with your choices?

We can update your documents for you, as well as review them to see if adjustments are needed due to any changes in the tax laws. How much does an estate plan cost?

2. Life Insurance Policies 

Things can change quickly in life, and the life insurance coverage that was sufficient to protect your family five or ten years ago may not be enough in your current financial situation. To help ensure that your life insurance coverage keeps pace with changes in your life (marriages, new children, new home, new business, pay increases, etc.), it’s a good idea to review your coverage at least once a year.

3. Beneficiary Designations 

You should review your beneficiary designations annually and when major life events (marriages, births, deaths, etc.) occur. Regardless of the instructions in your will, the beneficiaries you put down on your forms will generally inherit those assets.  Assets that you may have named a beneficiary for include checking and savings accounts, annuities, medical and health savings accounts and life insurance policies.

4. Credit Reports

Not checking your credit report regularly may cost you. Errors that creep into your credit report and that are not caught may result in you being denied credit or paying higher interest rates than necessary or new credit cards or loans. It could also keep you from you from getting a new job, and cost you more for your car insurance.

Check your credit reports for errors at least once a year and before applying for a new loan or job. And while you are looking for errors, also look for signs of potential fraud such as accounts you did not open. You are entitled to a free credit report once every twelve months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. You can order your free reports online at www.AnnualCreditReport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

5. Social Security Statement 

Even if you are a long time away from retirement, review your Social Security Statement annually. Make sure that your earnings for the prior year have been accurately recorded. That is because your earnings record determines the amount of your monthly Social Security benefit in retirement. If there are any earnings missing from your record, you may receive lower benefits in retirement than you deserve. Review your statement online at www.ssa.gov/myaccount.

Do you want more smart ideas for your finances? Check out this article on bright ideas for your money.

This article is a service of the Law Firm of Myrna Serrano Setty, P.A. We don’t just draft documents. We help you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Planning Session. Call our office today to schedule a Planning Session. Mention this article to learn how to get this $500 session at no charge. 

Call us at (813) 902-3189.

Are you a senior worried about student loans?

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Seniors and Student Loans https://www.serranosetty.com/tampa/estate-planning-attorney/debt/seniors-and-student-loan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=seniors-and-student-loans Thu, 18 Apr 2019 07:00:29 +0000 http://www.tampaestateplan.com/?p=1274 Seniors and Student Loans

The number of older Americans with student loan debt – either theirs or someone else’s — is growing. Sadly, learning how to deal with this debt is now a fact of life for many seniors heading into retirement.

According to by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the number of older borrowers increased by at least 20 percent between 2012 and 2017. Some of these borrowers were borrowing for themselves, but the majority was borrowing for others. The study found that 73 percent of student loan borrowers age 60 and older borrowed for a child’s or grandchild’s education.

Before you co-sign a student loan for a child or grandchild, you need to understand your obligations.

The co-signer not only vouches for the loan recipient’s ability to pay back the loan, but is also personally responsible for repaying the loan if the recipient cannot pay. Because of this, you need to carefully consider the risk before taking on this responsibility. In some circumstances, it is possible to obtain a co-signer release from a loan after the loan recipient has made a few on-time payments. If you are a co-signer on a loan that has not defaulted, check with the lender about getting a release. You can also ask the lender for payment information to make sure the borrower is keeping up with the payments.

If the borrower defaulted and you are obliged to pay the loan back or you are the borrower yourself, you will need to manage your finances. Having to pay back student loan debt can lead to working longer, fewer retirement savings, delayed health care, and credit issues, among other things. If you are struggling to make payments, you can request a new repayment plan that has lower monthly payments. With a federal student loan, you have the option to make payments based on your income. To request an “income-driven repayment plan,” go to: https://studentloans.gov/myDirectLoan/index.action.

Defaulting on a student loan may affect your Social Security benefits.

If you have a private student loan, a debt collector cannot garnish your Social Security benefits to pay back the loan. In the case of federal student loans, the government can take 15 percent of your Social Security check as long as the remaining balance doesn’t drop below $750. There is no statute of limitations on student loan debt, so it doesn’t matter how long ago the debt occurred. If you do default on a federal loan, contact the U.S. Department of Education right away to see if you can arrange a new repayment plan.

What Happens After You Die?

If you die still owing debt on a federal student loan, the debt will be discharged and your spouse or other heirs will not have to repay the loan. If you have a private student loan, whether your spouse or estate will be liable to pay back the debt will depend on the individual loan. You should check with your lender to find out the discharge policies. Depending on the loan, the lender may try to collect from the estate or any co-signers. In a community property state (where all assets acquired during a marriage are considered owned by both spouses equally), the spouse may be liable for the debt (some community property states have exceptions for student loan debt).

For tips from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help navigate problems with student loans, click here.

This article is a service of the Law Firm of Myrna Serrano Setty, P.A. We don’t just draft documents, we help you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. Call our office today to schedule a Planning Session. Mention this article to learn how to get this $500 session at no charge. 

Call us at (813) 902-3189.

 

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A Guide to Updating Your Estate Plan https://www.serranosetty.com/florida/estate-planning-attorney/1181/estate-planning/guide-to-updating-your-estate-plan/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=7-reasons-to-update-your-estate-plan https://www.serranosetty.com/florida/estate-planning-attorney/1181/estate-planning/guide-to-updating-your-estate-plan/#respond Tue, 05 Mar 2019 22:24:36 +0000 http://www.tampaestateplan.com/?p=1181

Even if you put together a solid estate plan, it might end up proving worthless if you don’t keep it updated. That’s because estate planning isn’t something you just do once and forget about it. If you’re life circumstances change, your estate plan needs to keep up too.

No matter who you are, your life will inevitably change. Families change. Laws change. Assets change. Even if you haven’t had any major life events, we recommend reviewing your plan annually to make sure its terms are up to date.

But you definitely need to update your plan ASAP if the following life events have occurred….that is if you care about keeping your loved ones out of Court and conflict.

#1 You get married.

Marriage not only changes your relationship status, it changes your legal status. Regardless of whether it’s your first marriage or fifth, you must take the proper steps to ensure your plan properly reflects your current wishes and needs.

After getting hitched, some of your most pressing concerns include: naming your new spouse as a beneficiary on your insurance policies and retirement accounts, granting him or her medical power of attorney and/or durable power of attorney (if that’s your wish), and adding him or her to your will and/or trust.

#2 You get divorced.

Since divorce can be so overwhelming, estate planning often gets overshadowed by the other dramatic new changes happening. But failing to update your plan for divorce can have devastating consequences.

Once divorce proceedings start, you’ll need to ensure your future ex is no longer eligible to receive any of your assets or make financial and medical decisions on your behalf—unless that’s your wish. Once the divorce is finalized and your property is divided, you’ll need to adjust your planning to match your new asset profile and living situation.

#3 You give birth or adopt.

Welcoming a new addition to your family can be a joyous occasion, but it also demands entirely new levels of planning and responsibility. At the top of your to-do list should be legally naming both long and short-term guardians for your child. Our Kids Protection Plan offers everything you need for that.

Once you’ve named guardians, consider putting planning tools, such as trusts, in place for your kids. These documents can make certain the assets you want your child to inherit will be passed on in the most effective and beneficial way possible for everyone involved. Consult with us to learn which planning strategies are best suited for your family.

#4 A loved one dies.

The death of a family member, partner, or close friend can have major consequences for both your life and estate plan. If the person was included in your plan, you need to update it accordingly to fill any gaps his or her absence creates. From naming new beneficiaries, executors, and guardians to identifying new heirs to receive assets allocated to the deceased, make sure you address all voids the death creates as soon as possible.

#5 You get seriously ill or injured.

If you’ve been diagnosed with a serious illness or are involved in a life-changing accident, you may want to review the people you’ve chosen to handle your healthcare decisions as well as how those decisions should be made. The person you want as your healthcare proxy can change with time, so be sure your plan reflects your current wishes.

#6 You move to a new state.

Since estate planning laws can vary widely from state to state, if you move to a different state, you’ll need to review and/or revise your plan to comply with your new home’s legal requirements. Some of these laws can be super complex, so consult with us to make sure your plan will still work exactly as you desire in your new location.

#7 Your assets or liabilities change significantly.

Whenever your estate’s value dramatically increases or decreases, you should revisit your plan to ensure it still offers the maximum protection and benefits for yourself and your loved ones. Whether you inherit a fortune, take out a new loan, close your business, or change your investment portfolio, your plan should be adjusted accordingly.

Count on us for ongoing guidance and support. In fact, we have built-in processes to make sure this happens—be sure to ask us about them.

We see reviewing your estate plan as a meaningful ritual that lets you see where your family has been and where you plan to go. But however you look at it, a regular review will put you at ease, knowing your family is protected and provided for no matter what happens. 

This article is a service of the Law Firm of Myrna Serrano Setty, P.A. We don’t just draft documents, we help you make informed and empowered decisions about life and death, for yourself and the people you love. That’s why we offer a Planning Session, during which you will get more financially organized than you’ve ever been before, and make all the best choices for the people you love. Call our office today to schedule a Planning Session. Mention this article to learn how to get this $500 session at no charge. 

Call us at (813) 902-3189.

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