Archive for the ‘Estate Planning’ Category

Why You Need to Prepare for Retirement, Loss of Independence, or Death Now

Sunday, September 30th, 2018
Prepare for retirement

If you fail to plan for retirement, loss of independence, and death, you plan to fail your family. Get prepared!

Death, it isn’t a favorite topic of conversation for most people. But it is an event all must face someday, some sooner than later. And what about your retirement? Have you taken the time to prepare for retirement? Are your affairs in order for those who must go on without you? What if you were to lose your independence? Have you made your wishes known, written them down, so your loved ones can handle your affairs as you want? Sadly, many people don’t or haven’t.

Why Should You Prepare for Retirement, Loss of Independence, or Death?

Before the housing market crash of 2008, paying off the mortgage was what Americans did as they reached retirement. And being debt-free or largely debt-free was part of that plan.

But nowadays, people aren’t prepared for retirement, the possibility of their loss of physical independence, or even death. And it causes a lot of unnecessary trouble for their families who are left behind.

Interest.com says, “Today, more of us are carrying home loans into our golden years, or even taking on new mortgage debt by tapping our home equity to pay the bills.

Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates 30% of Americans ages 65-74 still hold a mortgage, and even 14% of us who are 75 and older are saddled with home debt.

Those numbers have risen dramatically since 2001, according to an earlier study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, as has the average mortgage balance older Americans are carrying.”

And they’re only talking about home debt.

Prepare for Retirement

Save. That’s pretty simple, huh? Start saving money to prepare for retirement and pay off debt now. When it comes to saving money for retirement, the sooner you start the better off you’ll be in retirement.

Okay, so save for retirement. But how much? And when should I start?

The question, “How much should I save,” is typically answered with “As much as you can.” But many financial planners recommend saving ten percent to fifteen percent of your income for retirement. And when should you start? In your twenties.

But let’s get real and little more specific. I mean, how many of you reading this post are already past your twenties? And how many of you started saving ten to fifteen percent of your income in your twenties?

You need to establish a savings goal that shows you how much to set aside now in order to reach your retirement goals. Use an awesome online calculator to help you determine a realistic savings goal for your retirement at your age now.

CNN Money also states: “As a general rule, you’ll need at least $15 to $20 in savings to cover each dollar of the annual shortfall between your income and your expenses. So for example if your projected retirement expenses exceed Social Security and pensions by $20,000 a year, you might need a nest egg of $300,000 to $400,000 to bridge the gap.”

Fisher Investments offers a FREE downloadable 15-Minute Retirement Plan™. This pdf will help you develop a retirement investment strategy for your goals and your financial situation.

Prepare for Loss of Independence

Prepare for retirement

Just like saving your money for retirement, preparing now for the loss of independence is best. No, loss of your independence may not happen. But what if it does? Shouldn’t you be prepared for your own sake and the sakes of your family members as well?

Planning early for the loss of independence is important because disability can happen at any age, even before you hit 70. Believe it or not, this includes conditions such as dementia or Alzheimer’s. And yes, before the age of 70.

Also, establishing a plan for care involving dementia or Alzheimer’s differs greatly from establishing a plan for care due to physical limitations or disabilities. This is another important reason to prepare for retirement early.

Both mental disability and physical disability must be considered and planned for early for the sakes of those who will care for you. Many times assistance and care are needed for a long time. If this kind of care becomes necessary, your family could struggle greatly financially to pay for your care. And why would anyone want to do that to their family? Early preparation is vital.

Think about it. If you become mentally disabled, how will you make your desires for your care known to your family? How will they make decisions on your behalf if they don’t know what you want? They need your plan to guide them.

Prepare for Death

This hard to type and read, let alone think about. But are you prepared for death? I’m not talking about a diagnosis. I’m talking about estate planning. I’ve interacted with many families whose parent(s) has died, unprepared. Their affairs were not in order. Homes are going into probate or their heirs must deal with reverse mortgages. There are so many issues between family members created because of a lack of planning.

Investopedia has put together a 16-point checklist of things you need to do before you die. Why? Because “You must implement your plan and make sure others know about it and understand your wishes. As Benjamin Franklin’s famous quote goes, ‘By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.’”

Prepare for Retirement

Help is Available

Planning your estate is difficult. But you don’t need to plan alone. You have two very good options available to help you prepare for retirement, loss of independence, or death. Consider hiring a mediator and/or an elder law attorney.

Mediator or care manager – Mediators are experienced professionals who help families work through their decisions for the care of a parent or loved one. They also help families work through emotions they may be struggling with any issues that arise with different individual “agendas.”

Elder law attorney – Elder law attorneys are equipped to handle a wide range of legal matters. They can handle issues related to your health care, long-term care planning, guardianship, retirement, Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, and more. You can hire them to help you write your will, trust, advance medical directive, or financial power of attorney so that your documents are legally valid. State laws are very specific about what can and cannot be included in a will, trust, advance medical directive, or financial power of attorney.

Hiring an elder law attorney is good for establishing some form of checks and balances for your family in the handling of your money. And in the case of elder abuse, because it does happen, they are able to handle such challenging situations.

Don’t Delay

Are your important documents in order? Do you still need to prepare for retirement, loss of your independence, or even death? I cannot overemphasize the importance of early planning.

Don’t delay. Have these unpleasant conversations with your heirs about your care of you as you age. Consider your financial situation and your range of care options if assistance becomes necessary. Then, execute those plans.

I have helped a lot of clients deal with homes that are going into probate and reverse mortgages lately. There are so many issues between family members because the elderly were not prepared. They didn’t have things in order.

Speak to an accountant or elder care lawyer. We all work so hard to get to a certain point in life. We must learn how to protect everything, especially our families after we’re gone.

I will continue to help people through issues with their families. It is important to me to focus on the whole family, not just the sale.

Contact me, Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] with your questions about how important it is to get prepared for retirement, loss of independence, or death today.



Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]Sales.com

Why It’s Important to Talk About Money Matters Now

Tuesday, July 31st, 2018
Money matters

Money matters matter, a lot. Talk about them with your kids now and prevent the sadness of family discord after you’re gone.

You’re dead and buried. Your adult children are gathered around a table in your lawyer’s office. Fights among your children ensue … Your heart breaks thinking about the possibility of your family being torn apart. And there’s nothing you can do about it. Or is there? What can you do now to prevent bitter arguments over who gets what when “that” time comes? There is something you can do about it, and the solution is simple. Talk about money matters now.

When It’s Most Necessary to Talk about Money Matters

Do you struggle with talking about money matters with your children? Most parents and even grandparents do. But if you want to keep your children from making a scene at your estate attorney’s office, you really must overcome your feelings of discomfort now, while you are “of sound mind and body.” Here are three occasions when it’s important to start the money matters conversations:

  1. At retirement
  2. During health care planning
  3. And during estate planning

How to Prevent Family Feuds Over Money Matters

Michigan estate attorney P. Mark Accettura and Lori Sackler, a senior vice president at Morgan Stanley Wealth Management in New Jersey offer this advice:

  • Draw up an estate plan, and tell your children the basics.

Call a family meeting to discuss any plans that might impact adult children, such as money allotted for grandchildren’s education. It’s time to set children straight. “Sometimes they have a grandiose vision of an inheritance,” Sackler says. But there’s no need to go into detail. “Estate planning is not a democratic process. You don’t need children buying into it, and you don’t want to open a can of worms while you’re alive,” Accettura says.

  • Divide the estate equally.

Resist the temptation to give more to the neediest among your children; it often leaves the more successful kids feeling penalized and causes resentment among siblings, Sackler says. “The will that provides equal distribution is the will that probably provides the least conflict,” she adds. Accettura also is adamant that an estate should be divided equally. “Even getting a dollar less than another sibling can be a psychological blow,” he says.

  • Name an executor.

Try to have some reason for choosing one child over another. Perhaps it’s the oldest child (unless he or she lives too far away) or another child with specific legal or financial skills. Also, think about including a fee for the executor. “Handling an estate can be a lot of work, and if the executor is going to charge a fee, he probably deserves it,” Sackler says. Accettura suggests that parents include everyone in some capacity in the will. “Get people’s names on the pages either as executor or helping in another way.”

  • Specify gifts and loans.

If parents have given adult children money, they should make it clear in the will whether it’s a gift or a loan. If a loan, is it to be forgiven or repaid to the estate? When parents aren’t clear, it can cause conflict, Sackler says.

  • Make a plan for family jewels.

Even if it’s not expensive, Grandma’s engagement ring can cause fights because of the sentimental value attached. “Have a family conversation, and come up with a plan for people choosing and getting on board with the selection process,” Sackler says.

Mark Accettura wrote a book, Blood & Money on how to avoid family feuds. Lori Sackler is the author of The M Word. It is a guide to family financial matters that helps families overcome the difficulty felt when discussing money matters.

Take Care of Your Family Before You Die

Protect your family relationships after you’re gone. Get prepared now. You can prevent feuds over your inheritance by talking through your wishes with your children before you die. But getting prepared now goes beyond overcoming the difficulty of talking to your children and making sure your wishes are known to them. It also means taking care of them after you’re gone by getting your legal documents in order now.

Secure and protect your family assets and your family’s relationships long after you’re gone. Put the uncomfortable feelings you have in regards to talking about money matters with your children and get your legal documents in order today. Doing so will go a long way in keeping the peace tomorrow.

Charles D’Alessandro cares about all of us who live in the Brooklyn area. Do you have questions about getting your affairs in order or how to address money matters with your family before you die? Contact Charles D’Alessandro, your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent with Fillmore Real Estate. Call (718) 253-9600 ext.206 or email [email protected] today.


Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

 Charles D’Alessandro

Your Brooklyn Real Estate Agent

718-253-9600 ext. 206

[email protected]