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.
Let’s Talk About the Challenges of Aging
Challenges of aging: everyone knows that there are plenty. In this podcast episode, we discuss some of those challenges.
What special knowledge do we have about the challenges of aging? Well, for one thing, some of us are aging. But more importantly, we've worked with a lot of elderly clients since they weren't all that elderly.
In our role as Tucson elder law attorneys, we see aging up close and over time. We have seen too many clients (and friends) learn about mobility issues, fall risks, and other concerns.
Join Fleming & Curti partners Elizabeth Noble Rollings Friman and Robert B. Fleming for a discussion of the challenges each of us faces as we age. Maybe we'll get you thinking about how to plan for your own odyssey. Perhaps we'll spark questions or observations you'd like to share with us. If so, we will have succeeded in our goals.
What is the Role of the Public Fiduciary in Arizona?
Though it is little-known, every county in Arizona has one. But what is the role of the Public Fiduciary in Arizona?
No other state has precisely the same kind of position. Other states may have a public guardian, public conservator or public administrator. Some may have two of those offices. One or two states even have all three. But no other state has rolled all three positions into a single public office.
In this podcast episode, we review a little bit of the history of the Public Fiduciary's office, and particularly the one in Pima County (Tucson). We have some insight into the role of the Public Fiduciary -- one of us held the position for five years in the early 1980s.
Actually Using Your Power of Attorney
Using your power of attorney should be pretty straightforward. You signed the document so that someone could handle your finances and health decisions. Those are the two main "types" of power of attorney -- though different commentators variously insist that there are six, or five, or four, or three different kinds of documents.
But what happens when your agent needs to act?
Experiences vary widely. One big variable: the person reviewing your documents likely has no legal training. They might think the document is invalid, or insufficient. They might misunderstand its purpose and your authority.
We only know about Arizona law (it's what we practice), but even within one state experiences can be different. In this discussion, we hope to give you some reassurance that your documents will be effective. We also hope to help your agent understand that they should insist on being able to use your power of attorney.
This week's podcast is in response to a question we received from a regular listener:
My wife's mother (currently 93), signed a durable power of attorney 15 years ago. Mother's attorney told my wife that the POA could be used to place Mother in a care facility. My wife began managing Mother's finances when she turned 86 (seven years ago). My wife has been told repeatedly, however, that her mother's attorney was incorrect, and that no POA stretched the legal distance to allow her to sign her mother into a facility without a guardianship. Mother had to personally sign the necessary 22-page contract, initialing each page. Why cannot a POA be used for the agent to make placement of Mother into the care facility?
Signing Tax Returns For Someone Else
Signing tax returns can be difficult -- or even impossible -- for someone who is incapacitated. Can someone else sign for them? Who -- and how?
To be clear, we're not talking about an amanuensis signing. But we do like to use the word. That kind of signing involves a completely competent -- but physically challenged -- person directing someone else to sign on their behalf. Federal and state law recognize the ability to use that approach.
But what if the signer is mentally incompetent, or incapacitated? And who decides that, anyway?
And it's not just about signing tax returns -- though that problem is much on the minds of many of us in this tax season. There are all sorts of documents that might need to be signed.
In this podcast episode we try to give you some general information about signing for someone else. Do you hold a written, signed, power of attorney for them? Has a court appointed you as guardian of their person, or conservator of their estate? Let us explain some of the mechanics of signing for someone else.
Qualified Charitable Distributions and Your IRA
Qualified charitable distributions (QCDs, to the initiated) are a relatively recent addition to the federal income tax rules. Using them can make a real difference in the income taxes some IRA owners have to pay.
If you are over age 72 (or younger, if you inherited an IRA from someone else) you may know at least a little about required minimum distributions. Every year you must withdraw at least a minimum amount from your IRA. You can withdraw more, of course. But you pay tax on every dollar you withdraw.
There are exceptions and some special rules. If you have a Roth IRA, there are no minimum distribution rules (unless you inherited it). To the extent the IRA contributions were taxed before going in, withdrawals might not trigger taxation. But still, the income tax effect can be pretty overwhelming -- particularly to a retiree who doesn't actually need the minimum distribution to cover living expenses.
Try this illustration:
Imagine, for example, that you had $400,000 in your IRA on December 31 of last year. This year you turn 75. You'll have to withdraw almost $18,000. If you have plenty of other income, you could be paying as much as about $6,500 of additional tax. And that is on income you didn't really need at all.
Now imagine that you have a favorite charity, and last year you gave them $20,000. Unfortunately, you couldn't deduct the contribution last year. Especially with an expanded standard deduction, a lot of taxpayers find that they don't get any specific income tax benefit from charitable gifts -- even large ones.
Eureka! This year you can order your IRA custodian to send your minimum distribution directly to your charity! You don't get a deduction at all -- but you get something much better. You get the entire $18,000 out of your taxable income in the first place.
Join us for a discussion of this concept. Then ask your tax preparer or estate planning attorney if you benefit from using qualified charitable distributions.
LLCs and Trust Funding
For clients with some types of assets, we frequently encounter questions about LLCs and trust funding. Should your trust be a "member" of each limited liability company, or should the LLC manager be a trustee? Do you need to change your LLC operating agreement? How do you get these interests into your trust's name?
Not every estate planning client needs to worry about this issue. But those with rental real estate, for instance, might have already set up LLCs to hold those investment properties. They might even have established a separate LLC for each property. They wonder if they need to make changes to each LLC operating agreement, or rearrange the LLCs' ownership interests.
In this week's podcast we discuss the interrelationship of LLCs and trust funding. We describe some of the choices, and the usual approaches we consider. Spoiler alert: as is so often the case with legal questions, the answer begins with "it depends."
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.
Fix the sound !
Content is good and helpful. But please fix the audio. It is obnoxious to hear each host out of only one ear or the other. This should be a cheap and easy fix.
Clear concise information. Helpful and not too detailed