Fleming & Curti, PLC, is a Tucson, Arizona law firm with an elder law focus. We discuss elder law issues, including legal problems facing those with special needs (and their families and professional advisers). Our practice is limited to Arizona law, and our podcast is not a substitute for specific legal advice.
Charitable Planning — During Life and After Death
We were listening to a local radio station's public service announcements about the concept of charitable planning. The radio station only had 30-60 seconds to explain what they were talking about. We have much longer in our podcasts, and no fixed time limit. So we decided to go through some of the charitable planning choices the radio station seemed to be alluding to.
Of course you can make direct charitable gifts of cash during your life. It's a good idea, and it allows you to support your favorite charities. It can also leave you with a warm glow of satisfaction.
But the radio announcement talked about making various kinds of gifts that would take effect only at your death. Some of those, as the announcement suggested, can even produce lifetime financial benefits for you. What might they have been hinting about?
In this discussion, we touch on charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, charitable lead trusts, and some of the other, creative ways you can satisfy both your charitable preferences and your desire to maximize the effect of your gifts.
Another easy and obvious way to engage in charitable planning is to name your favorite charity in your will or trust. We can also help you with that --whether your favorite charity is that helpful radio station or a completely different organization. Oh, wait -- you can even do all this in a way that lets you change your charity of choice later!
Case Management and Care Planning
Case management and care planning are central to our elder law practice. We have to actively monitor the care arrangements for the beneficiaries of our trusts. We also act as guardian (of the person) or conservator (of the estate). Both require us to manage care for vulnerable individuals.
In this podcast episode, we discuss some of our experience with case management issues. If you are responsible for overseeing the care of an aging and vulnerable individual, we might have some insight to share about those techniques and goals.
Of course, your goal in handling the affairs of another individual should be to support, but not necessarily control, the individual. Maintaining individual autonomy and balancing the need for safety can be challenging. Also rewarding.
Retirement Account Update for 2022
The last two years have certainly been disruptive. One thing you might not have expected to change, though, was your retirement plan. Turns out that a retirement account update for 2022 is very much in order.
You probably realize that the SECURE Act of 2019 changed many retirement rules. The best-publicized change: most beneficiaries (other than spouses) have just ten years after the owner's death to withdraw all of the funds from an inherited IRA, 401(k), 403b or even Roth account. That's clearly bad news for most retirement account owners. But less discussed: there's also some good news to share.
First, there's good news in the retirement account update for 2022. Your life expectancy just got extended! Well, most people's life expectancy did, anyway.
For a 75-year-old IRA owner, for example, pre-2022 life expectancy was another 22.9 years -- or almost age 98. Now, the IRA owner turning 75 in 2022 has been given almost two extra years to live! The current 75-year-old is (actuarially) expected to live to age 99.6 -- another 24.6 years.
Want some quick illustrations?
Imagine that you turn 75 this year, and you have accumulated a $100,000 IRA. Your minimum distribution amount: $4,065 and change. But if you had turned 75 in 2019, you would have had to withdraw a little more than $300 more -- and pay the additional tax. Of course, if your IRA is $1 million you can multiply those numbers by ten. And all owners of IRAs, 401(k), and most other defined contribution plans get the same benefit.
Not a huge difference, but there is some good news for 2022. There's also some good news in the SECURE Act itself.
Chief among the good news items is that the minimum distribution requirement doesn't even start until age 72 -- up from 70.5 in previous times. Of course, 2020 was a holiday for virtually all required distributions. And that holiday extended even the five- and ten-year distribution requirements by the missed year.
The bottom line: there's both good news and less-good news in the retirement account update for 2022. Join us for our podcast discussion of some of the changes.
Going Into 2022
Here we are, going into 2022. We're also creeping up on the second full year of pandemic restrictions. What's in our future?
Who knows? But we have some observations to share about the new year, and the next chapter.
Not, of course, about the course of the pandemic itself. We're not qualified to make medical predictions. But join us for our podcast discussion of the effects of our past two years' experience and the coming year.
Beneficiary Deeds – Explanation and Discussion
Beneficiary deeds are very popular in Arizona. A property owner who signs such a deed can avoid probate and simplify administration of their estate. It's pretty easy to create and sign a beneficiary deed -- many people do it without involving a lawyer. We want to shed a little light on how the process works. We discuss who should consider taking such a step -- and who should not.
To be clear, we discuss only Arizona law. Other states may have a similar kind of document available. In fact, one source reports that something similar is available in 29 states (and the District of Columbia). We aren't vouching for the accuracy of that list, and we don't know how it works in those states. Your experience in another state could be very different. Check with a local estate planning attorney.
But in Arizona, beneficiary deeds have been around for two decades. In fact, we reported about the then-new idea back in 2001. There have been some changes in the law since then, but the idea remains the same.
The basic premise almost sounds too good to be true. You sign and record the document. Maybe the only cost is a $30 recording fee. When you die, the person listed on the document records a copy of your death certificate -- and they own the property.
But, as we discuss in this podcast episode, the beneficiary deed is not for everyone. People with complicated personal circumstances, particular intentions for their property, or large families might not be good candidates for a beneficiary deed.
Here's the thing: the difficult part is not preparing beneficiary deeds. It's figuring out whether that's the right approach. That's when a qualified estate planning attorney should be involved. Come see us first if you are an Arizona property owner.
Christmas Gifts for Seniors
We have some ideas for last-minute Christmas gifts for seniors. Here's the thing: we think your mother/father/grandparent would mostly like to hear from you. A regular message is better than candy -- even better than flowers.
We've made recommendations for gifts in the past. Some of those have come from our own experience with family members. Others are reports from clients about what has worked well.
But our best ideas are more about regular contact than new stuff. Not that stuff won't be appreciated.
We also have some ideas about the best ways to visit with your aging family member. Consider the limitations they might have in vision or hearing. Give some thought to going to their place rather than bringing them to large family gatherings. But don't skip getting together with them just because it can be challenging.
Of course, in pandemic times you also have to be concerned with safety. It may be easier to maintain distance in a series of smaller visits to your elderly relative's home or apartment. Spreading the visits out, and keeping them small, might be safer and more generous.
Christmas gifts for seniors can be difficult, no doubt. Didn't you give slippers last year? How much candy do they need. But there's no limit to the amount of loving contact they can use.
Robert is one the nation's leading elder law attorneys. He and Elizabeth do a great job explaining the intricate issues of elder law. The episode on "whether you need a trust" is GOLD. Many people are sold trusts when it's really not what the client needs. Robert and Elizabeth discuss when you need one or not. That discussion is crucial. Good job.
Clear concise information. Helpful and not too detailed