Approximately 20 percent of Americans over the age of 65 have been victimized by some form of financial abuse, with the average loss per victim exceeding $120,000. While financial abuse is sometimes perpetrated by family members or “friends,” it is often the result of organized online and telephone scams. According to a recent study by Wells Fargo, nearly half of all seniors report that they know someone who has fallen victim to a scam. If you are concerned about a family member falling for a financial scam, Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law can help you find resources to prevent this.
If something terrible happened to you and your spouse, what would become of your children? It’s not something anyone wants to think about, but think about it we must. By naming a guardian for your minor children, you can help ensure they will be raised according to your wishes. The question is, how do you choose the proper guardian? Santa Barbara Estate Planning can help you with this decision.
Charitable giving allows you to assist the people and organizations that have come to mean the most to you over the course of your life. It represents a thoughtful expression of your values and can ensure your legacy for generations to come. If done properly, it can also be an excellent way to significantly lower taxes, so that the greatest possible amount of your gift is available for the recipients of your generosity, and at the same time, more of your hard-earned wealth is preserved for you and your loved ones. Santa Barbara Estate Planning can provide advice on the best choices for you and your family. Please give us a call at (805)946-1550.
An article on kiplinger.com offers some strategies to avoid, or at least mitigate, taxes on Social Security benefits. Check our latest blog post to learn more.
Maybe you’re looking to relocate to a state you’ve always dreamed about living in. Or perhaps you just want to downsize to a more manageable property. Whatever the reason, the decision whether to buy or rent a home in retirement is a difficult one. A recent article in Consumer Reports Magazine offers some helpful advice on making this decision.
We understand how difficult it is to begin conversations of this nature and can help you find the best ways to broach them with your loved ones. Experience tells us that families who are able to open up in this manner draw closer together and feel a sense of relief afterwards. We welcome the opportunity to discuss this matter with you in a consultation appointment at Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law. Please call (805)946-1550 to make an appointment.
It’s impossible to predict what the new year has in store for us. However, if you follow some (or all) of these tips, 2022 should bring you greater peace of mind. Make sure to make a consultation appointment by calling Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law at (805)946-1550.
The holidays are the time of year that families gather and enjoy spending time together. While most of the year, estate planning does not cross most people’s minds, it is important to start estate planning conversations during the holidays. If you are interested in making sure you cover all of the important topics regarding your estate plan with your loved ones over the holidays, consider visiting with SB Estate Planning and Elder Law.
When we think about heirs fighting over assets, it is the big-ticket items that typically come to mind, such as the family home, investments, bank accounts and the like. However, it is often items of sentimental value—a mother’s necklace, for example, or a father’s watch—that cause the most contention. Learn more about this issue at our latest blog post.
Planning Options for Parents of Troubled Adult Children | Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law
For parents of adult children who suffer from mental illness or addiction to drugs or alcohol, the planning challenges combined with the strong emotions involved can seem overwhelming. The last thing you want to do is provide your loved one with assets that enable addiction or, in the case of mental illness, violate limitations on the number of assets a person can have and still qualify for government benefits.
Many people think that Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are interchangeable terms for the same medical condition. This is not the case. Dementia is an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of conditions associated with memory loss. Alzheimer’s disease, on the other hand, is a specific type of dementia. Let’s look at some of the similarities and differences between the two.
Choosing the right trustee for any trust is a difficult and extremely important decision. In the case of choosing the right trustee for the trust you have created to protect your loved one with special needs, the decision is even more important—particularly if your loved one is a young child. Let’s take a look at some of the options and discuss the pros and cons of each. If you would like more advice and help with setting up a Special Needs Trust, please call Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law today at (805)946-1550.
Advance directives give a person of your choosing the authority to make decisions on your behalf about the type of care you want in the event of incapacity or an end of life situation.
The Growing Problem of Conservatorship or Guardianship Abuse | Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law
Conservatorship is a process designed to protect seniors who can no longer manage their own affairs. Tragically, predators increasingly exploit the system to take advantage of vulnerable seniors for personal gain. Learn more by reading this blog post from Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law.
Medicaid can pay for the long-term institutional care of individuals who meet certain income and asset requirements. However, if the applicant’s assets and income exceed these limits, he or she may not qualify for Medicaid assistance until the limits are met. Given the high cost of long-term care, people sometimes try to give away their assets before applying for Medicaid in order to become eligible. Of course, state Medicaid agencies want to prevent this, so they require the applicant to disclose all financial transactions made in the last five years. (California is an exception and only requires disclosure of financial transactions made in the last 30 months.) We at Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law may be able to help you create a trust that would allow you to obtain Medicaid benefits.
Worried About Running out of Money in Your So-Called “Golden” Years? You Are Hardly Alone | Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law
Americans are living longer than ever before. That’s great news, but it has a downside—the possibility of outliving our life savings. According to the Social Security Administration, a 65-year-old man can expect to live to age 84, on average, while a woman of the same age may make it closer to age 87. So if you retire at the age of 62, your nest egg may have to last for at least 20 years. Sure, Social Security will provide an income stream, but the amount is not enough for most retirees to live comfortably.
While Social Security is a crucial component of many Americans’ retirement income, it is particularly important to women. According to the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, 48 percent of elderly unmarried women relied on Social Security for 90 percent or more of their total income in 2017. The Social Security Administration (SSA) has written a booklet detailing what women should know about Social Security.
As Part of National Family Caregivers Month, Caregivers Should Remember to Care for Themselves | Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law
November is National Family Caregivers Month. It is a time to honor those who provide care to ailing loved ones, and to remind caregivers about the importance of caring for themselves. Caregivers often devote so much time and energy to caring for a loved one that they fall victim to what is known as caregiver burnout. Caregiver burnout can be defined as a state of physical and emotional exhaustion that may lead to a change in attitude, from positive and caring to negative and unconcerned. Sadly, many caregivers actually feel guilty if they spend time on themselves rather than focusing all of their energy on caring for their loved one.
Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law dispels some myths surrounding Alzheimer's disease, as well as other dementia-related diseases.
If something terrible happened to you and your spouse, what would become of your children? It’s not something anyone wants to think about, but think about it we must. By naming a guardian for your minor children, you can help ensure they will be raised according to your wishes. The question is, how do you choose the proper guardian? Here are several factors to consider.
When Should You Start Taking Your Social Security Benefits, Continued | Santa Barbara Elder Law and Estate Planning
What if you don’t start taking Social Security benefits until after your full retirement age? As you would expect, you’ll be rewarded for this. For example, if your full retirement age is 66, you’ll receive 108 percent of your monthly benefit by waiting until age 67. Wait until the age of 70 and your monthly benefit rises to 132 percent.
When Should You Start Taking Your Social Security Benefits? | Santa Barbara Estate Planning and Elder Law
Most advisors recommend waiting as long as possible to begin collecting Social Security benefits. Suze Orman, a contributor to AARP Magazine, makes a strong case for this approach. She argues that with people living longer than ever before, 70 is the new 65. What concerns her the most is not fund...
According to a two-year study, healthy eating, brain training, exercise, and sound medical management may prevent age-related cognitive decline and, perhaps, dementia. The study sampled 1,260 people, aged 60-77, randomly assigning one group to receive some general health advice and another group to follow a special program.
The Roth IRA vs the Traditional IRA- Which One Is Right For You? | Santa Barbara Estate Planning & Elder Law
Deciding whether to choose a Roth IRA or a Traditional IRA is an important decision and can have major financial consequences. Both options, however, are excellent ways to save for retirement. Let’s look as some of the biggest differences between the two. You can always contact us so that we can refer you to a financial planner for these decisions. Give us a call at (805)946-1550 if you would like some advice.
What If You and Your Child’s Other Parent Cannot Agree on a Guardian? | SB Estate Planning and Elder Law
It goes without saying that you and your child's other parent should name the same guardian for your children. But what if you are divorced, or for whatever reason you and your spouse cannot agree on the most suitable guardian? Naming different guardians will lead to a battle in court should y...