Millions of people find themselves in a middle class bind as they enter the midpoint of their retirement period. A good eight (8) to ten (10) years into retirement, many individuals are able to physically continue to live in their home and afford the upkeep and maintenance of their home with their retirement savings

 
Especially if the individual’s home is single-story, as health problems mature, many individuals will be physically able to maneuver their way around their home with little assistance. Multi-story homes become more difficult because climbing stairs may be a problem. Individuals in the midpoint of their retirement are generally still able to care for themselves. Many of them even hold permanent part-time jobs.

 
The sources of income for individuals in retirement are the fixed income they receive from a pension, an individual retirement account (IRA), Social Security, and 401K savings. Variable income is received through part-time job wages and other financial instruments like an annuity and cash savings.

Beginning in 2020, Medicare supplement insurance policies, known as Medigap plans, will offer fewer choices to individuals who reach age 65 after January 1, 2020. Individuals who turn age 65 before 2020 will not be affected by these changes.

 
The ABCs of Medigap plains

Medigap plans, which are sold by private insurance companies, help cover cost-sharing aspects of Medicare Parts A and B, including copays, coinsurance, and deductibles. Some Medigap plans cover services such as hospitalization and medical care when you travel outside of the United States. Medigap policies generally don’t cover long-term care, vision or dental care, hearing aids, eyeglasses, or private-duty nursing. Source: Medicare.

The present-day court structure was established in 1691, when the New York Assembly established the New York Supreme Court of Judicature with the same common law jurisdiction as the King’s Bench, Common Pleas and Exchequer of England. The court was granted jurisdiction in equity in 1846 by statute, taking over equity matters from the Court of Chancery, and became a court of general common law and equity jurisdiction.

 
The current court structure — made up of 11 separate trial courts with varying jurisdictions — is complex and costly. For example, the Surrogate’s Court, established in 1787, has jurisdiction in probate and administration of estates matters. There is a Surrogate’s Court in each of the sixty-two (62) counties in New York. The Surrogate’s Courts also have concurrent jurisdiction with the Family Courts, over guardianships of the person and property of infants and adoption proceedings. Each county has a separate Family Court. So, there are sixty-two (62) of the courts as well. It is easy to see why any legal proceeding is expensive and the challenge of understanding which court can help you solve a problem.

 
Like any government agency, the New York State court system has a top executive, the Chief Judge Janet DiFiore. In her February state of the judiciary address, she announced an objective to “modernize” the state’s court system. Since then, many organizations and groups from a wide range of New York life – government groups, advocates against domestic violence, legal service providers, bar associations, community groups, and even private citizens – have banded together to lobby for court simplification.

My doctors always advise me that medications are meant to help me live better not longer. I always walk away from the experience scratching my head a bit because most of my medications have made me live longer but worse than before. The worst part of taking medication daily is remembering to take medication daily. It seems like such a simple task, but part of my brain still fights that I even have to take medications in the first place.

 
The second worst part of taking daily medications to live better are the side effects, especially interactions with other drugs. Some of the news is easy to ignore, and to a certain extent makes me laugh. For every story I read about the harmful effects of drinking coffee daily, there is another one saying daily coffee consumption would kill me. What kills me, however, is skipping a cup, the headache is the worst.

 
There is news you should pay attention to and at least discuss with your doctor if it raises any concern with the management of any of your health conditions.

Single, childless seniors do not have the same support as those with a spouse, life partner, or adult children who can step in when needed to provide care and financial support as they age and require assistance to care for themselves or a serious medical condition.

  •   Close to nine percent (9%) of adults 50 or older have never married.
  •   About one third (1/3) of baby boomers don’t have any children.

Trusts are an excellent way to pass and preserve wealth privately. Two of the main benefits of using a trust to pass your assets – timeliness and cost – were explored in our previous post. Unlike the probate process that accompanies the settlement of an estate by will, a trust provides your heirs with immediate access to the trust benefits. The settlement of an estate passed by will can also gobble over 4% of an estate’s value, regardless of size. A third reason people use trusts to pass wealth is that they also enable the settlor, or donor, to minimize estate taxes, making more of your wealth available to your beneficiaries. 

Married couples

The death of a spouse is devastating. Whether the death was sudden or after a long illness, one day you are married and the other day you are not. The deceased spouse wants to be able to provide for the living spouse, especially if the living spouse is battling a chronic health condition. Paying for your spouse’s living expenses and medical care and expenses, including long-term medical care is of paramount importance to the deceased spouse. Married couples can benefit from the establishment of a revocable trust. 

Trusts are an excellent method for individuals with substantial assets to pass their wishes and wealth to others or a charitable organization when they pass. The key to an effective trust begins and ends with documentation. The proper documents, when drafted carefully by a qualified attorney, ensures your beneficiaries will reap the benefits of the trust and its property. A trust will fail, if the documentation is improper, negating the settlor’s wishes. 

What is a trust?

A trust is a legal document that contains the settlor’s final instructions about to whom his or her assets will pass when they die. There are three separate people involved in a trust creation, administration, and distribution: a settlor, trustee, and beneficiary. Their roles are as follows:

By all accounts drug prices continue to soar. According to a RX Savings Solutions Study, a heavily prescribed antidepressant, fluoxetine marketed as Prozac, has increased in price 879%.  More than 3,400 drugs have increased their price in the first six months of 2019, representing a 17% increase from the year before. The Trump administration is trying to rein in the prescription drug prices, but at every turn prescriptions cost continues to rise.

 
In addition to fluoxetine, other commonly used drugs with big price increases so far in 2019 include:

  •         Mometasone 0.1% Topical Cream. This topical steroid has increased 381% this year, Rx Savings Solutions found. Mometasone treats skin conditions like eczema, hay fever, and asthma.

One of the most important decisions when contemplating retirement is deciding when to start claiming Social Security benefits. A major study found that almost all Americans take Social Security at the wrong time. This timing problem has cost retirees about $111,000 per household. Retirees typically claim Social Security benefits at 63, the earliest age a person may claim Social Security benefits is 62. Every year they wait to start drawing benefits means a larger Social Security payout. Their recommendation: start drawing Social Security benefits later in your retirement.

 
Among the Report’s main findings are:

 

  •         Only 4% of retirees claim Social Security at the most financially optimal time.

In our last post we reviewed reverse mortgages as a way to cash out of the equity in your home while allowing you to remain in your home. As long as you are 62 and older, own your home, and plan to live in it, it is possible to convert the equity in your home into a monthly income, a line of credit, or a lump sum, with some restrictions on the latter with respect to timing of the lump sum distribution. At some point, however, the loan becomes due and payable, which begs the questions of when and who pays?

Triggering events

A insured home equity conversion mortgage (HECM) reverse mortgage loan becomes due and payable when a triggering event occurs. This means that the borrower owes the lender the total amount of money the lender has disbursed to the borrower, plus interest and fees accrued during the life of the loan. Triggering events include:

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