The President signed a new law titled the SECURE ACT, short for “Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement.” Catchy acronyms for laws can be deceiving. Critics might call it the GRABER ACT, or the Grabbing Retirement Accounts Back Earlier. The result is to severely reduce the amount children will inherit from parents by requiring them to pay income taxes on Iras and 401ks within ten years of the parent’s death. The law is effective January 1, 2020, and gives small businesses tax incentives to provide automatic enrollment in retirement plans for employees, and permits small businesses to join with other employers to offer retirement accounts to employees. Whether this is practical is very uncertain, and the part that allows states to establish such plans appears to have failed in Connecticut.
Family caregivers often devote an incredible number of hours giving care to parents and other relatives to keep them out of a nursing home. This can not only take an emotional toll on them, but result in financial sacrifice. There are government regulations which permit compensation to family caregivers, but not to the spouse, in certain situations. There are also government programs that could pay eligible family caregivers.
For years traditional estate planning was oriented toward estate tax avoidance and controlling assets for young or inexperienced heirs. Estate tax avoidance is no longer a worry for most Connecticut families because the exemption is $5.1 million on January 1, 2020, and the federal exemption is $11.2 million. That means only a tiny percentage of Connecticut residents will ever pay inheritance tax. But taxes are not the only reason to do estate planning..
With Thanksgiving done and leftovers in the refrigerator it’s time to think of any health issues you may have noticed in the family’s oldest generation. Did grandma or grandpa have difficulty walking? Did they exhibit severe memory problems? If you were at their home, was it tidy, or did it show neglect? Did you notice bills that appeared to be past due, or were financial records scattered about? In general, were you left with a concern that some help or occasional checking on them is needed. If so, here are some thoughts and suggested action which this column has addressed in years past.
This digital world is divided into two parts. The first part is exemplified by a fourteen-year-old grandchild who can use her thumbs and mouse to navigate digital and online information and services in the blink of an eye. Maybe when she is 80 years old her thumbs will be crippled from constant clicking, but for now, she is a guru of the digital world.
When defining an estate plan, what should you consider? The first thing that often comes to mind is the Last Will and Testament. This well-known document dictates how an individual's assets should be distributed after death. However, the Will does not control everything. This can often lead to unintended consequences in a person's estate plan.