Monthly Archives: May 2011

Social Security and Medicare Funds To Run Out Sooner Than Expected

Federal officials said Friday that the recent economic downturn has resulted in the trust funds that support both Medicare and Social Security shrinking faster than expected. The Medicare insurance fund is expected to run out five years earlier than previously projected –as soon as 2024. Social Security fared somewhat better, expected to be out of resources by 2936, only a year ahead of previous estimates.

Social Security FundsThese reports highlight the urgency with which the government needs to address the problems with these systems, and the employment levels which directly correlate to their success. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, commenting on this report, pointed to “the need to act sooner rather than later to make reforms to our entitlement programs. … We should not wait for the trust funds to be exhausted to make the reforms necessary to protect our current and future retirees.”

If your parents’ retirement savings is supplemented by Social Security, or they are entirely reliant upon it, consider speaking with a Massachusetts estate planning attorney. Unless these systems receive a significant overhaul soon, it will be necessary to plan your parents’ futures around other sources of income. Augmenting Social Security payments with other investments is a strategy that should be planned for early, so if you are concerned about the effect medical care costs and Social Security dwindling could have on your family’s future, contact Estate Planning Attorney, Adam J. Tobin today. It’s never too soon to plan for a safe and comfortable future.

Estate Planning – Family Businesses

Family Business Estate PlanningSmall businesses can be tricky to manage. One of the most difficult types of small businesses to deal with is the family business. These companies are often easily recognized with business signs which read something along the lines of “Smith and Sons” or taglines that say “family owned and operated.”

In addition to the usual tension that goes along with almost any family business atmosphere, there’s always the issue of estate planning. This tension usually escalates when it comes to determining succession within the business. Many times this “planning” doesn’t occur until after the head of the family business is incapacitated or has passed away. During such a stressful time for the family it can be extremely difficult to come to a rational decision for how the business should be carried on. This is why it’s important to obtain a reliable estate planning attorney prior to the establishment of a family business. In creating a plan for business succession the added stress of this type of decision can be avoided in the future.

Contact Estate Planning Attorney Adam J. Tobin to arrange a free consultation or to learn more about estate planning.

Social Security Payments Going Paperless – How To Handle Direct Deposits

As of May 1st, the U.S. Treasury is no longer offering paper checks for Social Security, Veterans Affairs, and other government payments. Instead, the new paperless plan employs direct deposit to any bank account. This offers many practical advantages, but to many senior citizens and their families, putting trust in this system can be a significant challenge.

Here are a few suggestions for how to manage the transition:

1) If your parents don’t already have a bank account, set one up as soon as

possible. Local banks and credit unions usually offer fee-free checking and savings accounts, but not always online banking. Make sure you choose a bank that lets you access your account online.

Estate planning for the new paperless social security checks
2) Offer to log in and make sure all is well with the direct deposits. It only takes a few minutes a day to offer a lot of peace of mind. Plus, you might catch a mistake such as overdrawing the account in time to prevent it from costing your parents more of their money.
3) Don’t elect to get payments on a prepaid debit card. Take the time to set up a bank account for your parents if need be – prepaid cards are too easy to lose or misplace.
4)Make sure your parents’ estate planning accounts for their Social Security or other payments. Wills and trusts may rely in part on government payments, so be sure to notify your elder law attorney if you are changing your parents’ financial institution or their payment plan.

If you help your parents through this process, they will soon find that direct deposit makes their lives easier. This plan was put in place by the Treasury to benefit the environment and reduce cost, but it can also directly benefit your parents’ quality of life. How often can you say that? Contact Elder Law Attorney Adam Tobin today to find out more information.