07/20/2018










Having the Tough “Talk” with Your Aging Parents

Estate PlanningHaving the difficult “talk” with your aging parents about elderly living arrangements, end-of-life care, and finances during retirement is one discussion most people would rather put off as long as possible. Putting off this talk too long, however, can delay the discussion until it is too late. If your parents become incapacitated and can no longer communicate their wishes, you would be left in the dark about what arrangements they would want.

When Should You Have the Talk?

Correct timing of this important discussion can help avoid many uncomfortable feelings and make sure you know your parents’ wishes in plenty of time before something happens. Discussing their end-of-life requests before they retire can raise these topics before they are overly worried about their own mortality, yet it will let them know you have their best interests at heart.

Try to bring up the topic in normal conversation, such as talking about someone who has recently put their end-of-life plans into effect. By talking about someone else first, it becomes much easier to casually approach the subject with your parents about their own affairs.

What Should You Talk About?

Some things that you will want to discuss with your parents include retirement finances, assisted living arrangements, and medical contact. You need to know where your parents have financial accounts, insurance policies, and other accounts including social media accounts so you can close these properly when the time comes. If your parents don’t have records of these accounts in one place, help them organize the information to make it easier for them to keep track of and for your own future information.

Ask your parents where they would like to live as they age. Do they want to live out their days in the family home with the help of a home health aide, or would they rather live in a retirement community where they can socialize with other elders and not worry about home upkeep? Review their financial situation to make sure their finances will support their wishes.

Also ask your parents about their medical information. Knowing how to contact their doctors or if they have a living will in place will help you in case of a medical emergency.

What Should You Do After the Talk?

Once you and your parents know how they would like to live out their days and you have all of their account information documented, make sure they put everything in writing and leave the information in a place where you can easily find it, such as a bank deposit box.

For help in preparing documents including wills, living wills, or power of attorney documents, contact an attorney for assistance. The experts at the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin are ready to help you make sure your parents are cared for according to their wishes during their final days. Call us at (516) 605-0625, or contact us through our online contact form to schedule an appointment today. For your convenience, we can meet at our office or in the comfort of your own home.

5 Steps to Finding Happiness in Retirement

retired coupleRetirement is a major step in life. You switch from a life of routine to doing whatever you want, while depending only on yourself. Fortunately, the right moves can make this time liberating rather than scary. Here are five steps to finding happiness in your golden years.

1. Wait to Retire

If you work longer, then you will have more time to save and prepare for retirement. Social Security benefits also increase for each year that you wait to retire up to age 70. You can retire and receive reduced benefits starting at 62, but the higher payments will let you use your savings for things such as vacations rather than everyday essentials. Remember to apply for Social Security three months before you plan to retire.

2. Save

Start to save for your retirement as soon as possible so that interest can accumulate. Even if you just finished college, you should save as much as you can. IRAs, 401ks, and other investment accounts have some very nice tax benefits. You should also work hard to pay off debts like a mortgage or car payment before retirement. Extra bills will leave you with less money to enjoy later.

3. Downsize

Minimize your expenses whenever possible. In many cases, you don’t need to spend a lot of money to be happy. For example, you could buy a cheap used car with cash instead of worrying about car payments. Many people move into smaller houses, condos, or apartments at retirement since their children no longer live with them and they need less space.

4. Stay Busy

Make new friends, reconnect with old ones, and spend time with family. Find a hobby, go on a fun vacation, or volunteer. Many colleges offer free or discounted classes to senior citizens so that they can expand their minds. You can even get a part-time job to help keep you active, healthy, and happy.

5. Prepare or Update Legal Documents

No one wants to think about death or illness, but it’s a necessary part of life. Prepare or update important legal documents such as a will and power of attorney, and review the beneficiaries on retirement plans and insurance. This way, you can make decisions about your own funeral arrangements and make sure that family members will be cared for. Planning ahead saves relatives from the stress of making arrangements while grieving. You also get peace of mind from knowing that a person you trust will make decisions if you are incapacitated.

Contact Us

Contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. at (516) 605-0625 for more help with finding happiness in retirement. We specialize in elder law and estate planning, including Wills and Trusts, Medicaid planning, and estate administration. Call us today or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Handling Elderly Loved Ones with Deteriorating Driving Skills

The ability to drive is more than a skill. It is a symbol of a person’s independence. Thus, when people get to an age that driving may no longer be advisable, the situation needs to be approached with care. Though this type of conversation is not bound to be easy, failure to have it could result in the elderly person or someone else being injured or even killed.

Taking a Sensitive Approach

No one wants to give up his or her freedom. Not driving because of old age may seem like good sense, but much more is at stake for the person giving up the keys. Aging forces people to face many changes, and admitting to an inability to drive is one of the more difficult ones. Remain compassionate when talking to an elderly person about this topic, and be prepared to listen to a range of emotions. Consider what it would feel like to suddenly have to rely on others to go to the store, the post office, visit friends, etc. It can feel humiliating.

Here are some tips about approaching this delicate topic:

  • Set aside some quiet time to have the discussion.
  • Encourage honest feelings of fear, sadness, or anger.
  • Listen and reflect on what the person says to show understanding.
  • Offer empathy not judgment.
  • Don’t aim for immediate resolution; plan to talk again in a few days.

Know the Signs That Someone May Need to Stop Driving

Unless the elderly person suffers from a condition that renders him or her from making a sound decision, you cannot force someone to stop driving. Ultimately, your role is to be supportive not forceful. You can stay alert for signs that the person may need to stop driving, including:

  • An increased number of traffic citations
  • Trouble switching pedals
  • Slow response times
  • Episodes of disorientation and confusion
  • Limited mobility that could affect steering

Avoid telling that the person that he or she needs to stop driving. Inquire about how the driving process has been going and bring up something that brought on the concern, such as a recent fender bender. Don’t make general comments that friends and neighbors can help give rides to places; actually find out what services are available to the elderly, such as driving services from organizations like the YMCA. Once it is clear that a conversation needs to happen, plan to do it soon. Waiting could be catastrophic.

The Bottom Line

Life transitions are not always easy. Recognizing that it is time to stop driving can be very difficult to accept for some people. Having supportive family can make the process easier.

If you or your loved one needs assistance with elder law, including wills, estate planning, or retirement, call the Law Offices of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. today at (516) 605-0625 or fill out our online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours.

Five Retirement Mistakes You Should Avoid

When preparing to retire, the last thing you want is to face financial difficulties. While there is no one formula that can guarantee a happy, secure retirement, there are some common mistakes you should avoid so you don’t place your golden years in jeopardy.

Waiting to Start Saving

When you are just out of college and facing student loans and other bills for the first time, it can be tempting to forgo retirement savings. That’s a big mistake. Thanks to the magic of compound interest, the earlier you start putting money away, the more it will accumulate by the time you retire. If you don’t start saving until your thirties or later, you could be costing yourself a bundle.

Not Saving Enough

In addition to starting early, don’t skimp on the amount you put aside, since you might need to live off your savings for two decades or more. If possible, contribute the maximum to your IRA and 401(k) accounts each year and consider a separate investment portfolio so you can put away even more. Take advantage of any matching programs offered by your employer, which are the equivalent of a tax-free raise.

Overly Conservative Investments

The last recession has scared some investors away from the stock market, and as you get closer to retirement age, conservative plans are a good idea so you don’t risk a downturn right before you need your money. However, when your account still has decades to grow, stocks produce significantly higher returns over time than safer options like bonds or CDs, which can make a difference of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Retiring too Early

Early retirement might sound like a blessing, but if you jump the gun, you can do triple damage to your net worth. For one thing, you are forgoing the extra income you could be earning by working a few more years. At the same time, you start spending your savings instead of adding to them and accumulating more years of interest. Finally, you don’t qualify for full Social Security benefits until you turn 66, so if you sign up early, that monthly paycheck will be smaller for the rest of your life.

Falling for Rip-offs and Scams

Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who want nothing more than to get their hands on your nest egg. Beware of financial products that promise lucrative returns, but in reality siphon off your savings via excessive fees. Some people even target the elderly for outright deception and theft. When considering an investment account, annuity, insurance, or other product, research and make sure any people or companies you deal with are legitimate and reputable. Always remember, if it looks too good to be true, it is.

Legal Help

Andrew M. Lamkin can help you handle your retirement and estate planning and steer you away from major mistakes. Call today or fill out our contact form to consult with Andrew M. Lamkin and ensure that you make the most of your savings and enjoy your retirement in comfort and security.

Estate Planning for a Second Family

The purpose behind estate planning is to simplify a potentially complicated situation for family members. When a second family is involved, estate planning may be a bit more involved, but it is no less important. Several factors influence the best course of action to take when determining an estate plan for a second family. It is vital to note that every family situation has different dynamics and ultimately, the decision is yours. This can be based on your relationship with family members as well as the amount of money and/or possessions you have to divide. The goal is to create as little tension as possible to prevent bitterness from developing between people that you care about.

Factors to Consider

The division of money or possessions to a second family should be based on several variables. Things to consider are:

  • How long has the second family been established?
  • What plan for the home and property makes the most sense?
  • What arrangements will cause the least amount of family discord?

A Newer Second Family

Perhaps the second family was acquired later in life following years of marriage to someone else. You will be obligated to your first family simply because of the unbalanced amount of time you invested in the first versus the second. Children you raised with your first spouse until adulthood should not suddenly become less of a priority because you have children in a second family. Provisions for your second spouse and children are certainly warranted, but careful consideration should be given to the members of both families.

A Brief First Marriage

If the second family was established many years ago and the majority of your family life has been spent with them, then it is appropriate to treat the second family as your primary family. Separate provisions can be made for your first spouse and children from your first marriage, but the approach to estate planning in this case will be as though you have one big family instead of two.

Property Division

Property division is the most complicated aspect of estate planning for a second family. Leaving a family home that children from your first marriage grew up in to a second spouse can cause negative reactions. Yet a second spouse may deserve the home depending on the duration of the second marriage. This is where legal advice and careful thought needs to play a part in estate planning.

Communication

A straightforward strategy will be most productive in estate planning for a second family. Be direct with family members, explaining how things will be handled and why. This allows them to understand your reasoning and prepares them for the future. You can also take time to answer questions and take steps to make sure that there will be as little family tension as possible.

Legal Help

Andrew M. Lamkin is proficient in handling estate planning even when the situation may be a bit complicated. Call or fill out our contact form to get in contact with Andrew M. Lamkin. He will help you ensure that your family is taken care of.

The Importance of a Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a written document designed to allow someone of your choosing, an agent, to make legal decisions on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated and unable to do so. Though establishing a power of attorney may seem like a project for a rainy day, there is no better time to address the matter than the present. A carefully considered power of attorney can give you the peace of mind that your wishes will be respected even if you are not able to voice them yourself.

Powers of Attorney

Depending on your specific needs, there are three types of power of attorney generally used. All provide you with the freedom to appoint someone as your agent and dictate the terms of that person’s role in managing your legal decisions. The common types of powers of attorney include the following:

  • A conventional power of attorney remains effective from the time you sign the document until you are deemed incapacitated.
  • A durable power of attorney remains in effect from the time you sign the document and during your lifetime.
  • A springing power of attorney goes into effect once a specific event has occurred, such as becoming incapacitated.

The Importance of Powers of Attorney

One of the more critical aspects of estate planning is understanding that a power of attorney can ensure that your voice is heard even when your ability to speak has been compromised. By placing this responsibility for carrying out your wishes in the hands of the most trustworthy person available, you are taking measures to ensure that certain legalities do not become an issue during a time that complications are least welcome.

Aside from the importance of having your wishes honored, a power of attorney saves families from facing medical and legal decision-making that may cause emotional anguish or uncertainty, or create relationship discord when family members disagree with how a situation should be handled. Matters that a power of attorney can address include:

  • Do-Not-Resuscitate orders (DNRs)
  • Acceptable medical interventions
  • Life-sustaining measures such as artificial feeding
  • Buying or selling real estate
  • Management financial affairs
  • Entering into contracts or business negotiations

The Bottom Line

The purpose behind estate planning is to make certain that matters are handled to your preference if you are unable to actively make sound decisions. The power of attorney is key for making this possible. Your agent will exercise the authority to make decisions on your behalf based on your individual preferences. Thus, the power of attorney removes the guesswork concerning your wishes once your family is faced with important decisions regarding your medical care and financial affairs.

If you are ready to move forward with a power of attorney, Andrew M. Lamkin is able to see that your individual needs are addressed. Call or use our contact form to contact Andrew M. Lamkin today. He will make sure your voice is heard.

Estate Planning for Peace of Mind

elderly couple on the beachDuring the course of adult life, there are occasions when we are called upon to serve a role in the disposition of matters relating to the estate of a person who has recently passed away. Although the prospect of facing the duties of Executor of an estate can seem overwhelming to many people, there are ways to minimize the difficulty of managing these duties. Where the decedent has been proactive enough to put together an estate plan, the process of administering an estate can be far less stressful, resulting in peace of mind for all involved parties.

We should all do some planning regarding our property in the event of death. That being said, it is particularly important that those who support dependents and those who own significant assets to engage in estate planning. Estate planning provides control over the disposition of assets upon death. It ensures that your loved ones are provided for in the way that you would most desire. Estate planning reflects your preferences for what should happen to your property after you die. A good estate plan will account for two major issues: first, taxes and probate treatment; second, the simplicity with which the Executor and the beneficiaries can administer the estate plan.

Select Your Lawyer and Executor

While the services of a financial planner are helpful to estate planning, it is absolutely crucial to find a qualified attorney for the purpose of drafting an appropriate legal Will. The Will is the legal document which names your beneficiaries and designates the name(s) of the person(s) who will serve as the Executor to your estate. The Executor is the person who you authorize to distribute the assets in your estate to the named beneficiaries. The Will is fundamental to any estate plan.

Upon your death, the Executor will be obligated to do what you direct him or her to do as stated in your Will. For the sake of the Executor, the Will should clearly state the manner in which your assets should be distributed. In addition, when organizing your estate plan, it is recommended that a small insurance policy be available so that the Executor has funds with which to pay incidental costs associated with estate administration. As a side note to all potential Executors, it is generally advisable to review the Will prior to agreeing to act as Executor. If the Will is overly complicated, you may not want to undertake this responsibility.

Name Your Beneficiaries

With each significant change in your life, you will want to reexamine your Will to make sure any appropriate amendments are made to accommodate for current circumstances. This might mean that upon the purchase of real estate, a review of the Will might be necessary. Attorneys often advise their clients to review the Will once a year. Additional examples of life-changing events might include a marriage, the birth of a child, a divorce, or the death of a spouse or other loved one. Just as life brings changes to family and the nature and value of assets, so must a Will be altered to reflect those changes.

Devise a Plan to Pass Money to the Beneficiaries

You may want to confer with a financial planner as well as a lawyer to consider the tax consequences of passing assets and money to your beneficiaries. Some assets are better designed to avoid severe tax consequences and probate costs. Because many other types of assets are less probate and/or tax-friendly, it is very important to consider the nature of the assets that comprise the estate and whether their value will be diminished by probate and tax obligations. Examples of tax-efficient, probate-friendly assets might include Registered Retirement Savings Plans and Tax Free Savings Accounts.

Make a Plan to Keep Taxes and Other Fees to a Minimum

Ideally, the beneficiaries of your estate will receive the maximum value of your assets. The likelihood of minimizing taxes and fees is greatly enhanced by the proper and thorough drafting of the Will, a well-balanced financial portfolio, and an appropriate amount of insurance coverage.

Charitable Giving

If you wish to make a charitable donation, start a scholarship, or something similar, it is best to check with your financial planner, who can help to ensure that your desired charitable gift is made in a way that is most efficient to the organization of your choice.

Overall, formulating an estate plan will require work, including discussions with a lawyer, financial planner, insurance advisor, family members, and potential Executors. If you want to make sure that your beneficiaries receive the assets of your choice with minimal taxes and other fees, it is certainly worth the effort.

Contact Us

To explore your options for putting together an estate plan, call the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. at (516) 605-0625 for a free consultation to discuss your estate planning issues and to begin working on a personalized estate plan. Call today or fill out our contact form.

Estate Planning in Awkward Situations

Estate planning provides the opportunity to ensure that certain family valuables will be divided among loved ones. This process deserves special attention even in straight-forward situations. When the distribution of an inheritance involves a blended or second family, the plan needs to be executed with even more care.

Estate Planning for Two Families

The key to successful estate planning is taking the time to decide who should or would want specific valuables being passed down to the next generation. Many people ensure that provisions are left for a spouse to live comfortably and then distribute the rest among their children. In the event that the person has a second family, however, dividing an inheritance becomes trickier.

Someone with a second family may have biological children from the first family as well as from the second. Stepchildren and multiple spouses add to the complexity. The dynamics of both families need to be carefully considered. An estate plan is a chance to pass down a legacy, not set the stage for family conflict and discord.

What Factors Should Be Considered?

Break down the process into manageable steps. Many factors will impact the final draft of the estate plan, but three key steps to take are:

  • Evaluate commitment to the families: In the spirit of fairness, look at the time spent with the first family before the second one came into the picture. If children from both families, in a sense, grew up together, then approach estate planning from a “one-big-family” perspective, with a focus on the second spouse and regardless of whether or not the children are biological. If the children from the first family were much older when the second family began, then there is an obligation to the older children. Provisions can be arranged for stepchildren in the latter scenario through the second spouse’s portion of the inheritance.
  • Outline the division of property: Take a realistic look at what valuables will be left to the family. Not all the valuables will have financial worth but may be precious to someone in particular. If that possession inadvertently goes to someone else in the estate plan, conflict may occur. The family home poses a particular dilemma for families when adult children feel that a second spouse does not deserve to have the family home. If those children grew up in the home from a young age, the decision regarding who gets the property will need to be carefully considered.
  • Communicate: Once the basics of the estate plan are established, prepare the family members on what to expect. Explain the reasoning behind the decisions on who will receive what in the inheritance. Conversations may become tense, but it is better to resolve issues now rather than to leave it for the family to handle later.

Contact Us

If circumstances surrounding your estate plan could get complicated, contact Andrew M. Lamkin, an attorney experienced in estate planning. He can help ease the process and avoid potentially awkward moments with family. Call him about estate planning today to ensure your individual situation is managed effectively or fill out our contact form.

How to Discuss Estate Planning with Your Family

Estate planning is often regarded as an issue better left untouched. Broaching the topic of death is understandably difficult for some people. Despite how it sounds, however, there are positives to discussing estate planning as a family.

What Is Estate Planning?

Generally speaking, an estate plan is a legal document outlining the distribution of money and possessions of the person who died. More than that, an estate plan represents a family’s legacy and its passing from one generation to the next.

Certain issues can interfere with the family’s ability to manage a healthy discussion, however. Family members may worry that bringing up estate planning may convey negative motives. For example, an adult child may feel guilty asking a parent about estate planning for fear of appearing in a rush to receive the inheritance. Likewise, a parent may experience reluctance if the inheritance will not be divided equally among the children. These additional worries compound the overall difficulty some family members have in talking about the topic.

When to Talk About Estate Planning

The right time and place are important aspects to consider when bringing up estate planning with family. Special family events, such as dinner or a birthday party, are probably not the best times to start this conversation. Wait for an opportunity to present itself where it can be brought up naturally as in a discussion on planning for the future.

If that moment seems impossible to find, then create one. When the moment feels right, a parent or adult child can approach the other to begin talking about what to expect in regards to handling the estate. Keep the tone loving and sensitive. This topic may trigger strong emotions, but clarify that the process will be easier if it is managed by the whole family and that everyone’s input is valuable.

What Should Be Discussed?

Once the topic has been opened up for discussion, make sure to talk about as many details as possible. The more that is understood about the estate plan now, the less complicated matters will be following the loved one’s death. This is the time to address the reasons behind the decisions regarding the division of the inheritance or other concerns about finances.

The conversation should also touch on circumstances that may warrant revisions to the document. All involved family members need to know where to access the estate plan as well as any other legal documents that may be necessary to locate. Once the specifics are discussed and understood, families may experience a renewed sense of closeness and appreciation for each other and can return their focus back to more enjoyable activities, such as spending time together and making memories.

Contact Us

If you are ready to create an estate plan, seek the professional services of attorney Andrew M. Lamkin. Proficient in estate planning, Andrew M. Lamkin has the experience to guide you through the process and is just a phone call away. Call today or fill out our contact form in order to get more information.

Ten Ways to Prepare for a Successful Retirement

estate planning lawyer talking with senior coupleThere is no better time than the present to start planning for your future. Although it can be confusing and stressful, with patience and discipline you can achieve a successful retirement plan. You cannot depend on Social Security or a company pension plan alone. The following list of things to consider will benefit you if you are just starting out or nearing retirement.

1. Start Today

You can never begin too soon to start saving for retirement. Starting salaries do not always allow for significant savings, but it sets a path for successful retirement planning.

2. 401K

Start by investing manageable amounts. As your income increases, you can increase your contributions. Set a portion of every raise to be added to the amount you contribute. One percent of your yearly income may seem insignificant, but it can add up over a 20-30 year period. Challenge yourself to save a little more on a consistent basis.

3. Develop a Retirement Plan

Several things will affect this plan, from life expectancy to the lifestyle you prefer to live. It will be important to list everywhere your income will be coming from and if it is exhaustible or lifelong. From this list, you will need to readjust your plan and lifestyle.

4. IRA

An IRA is an individual retirement plan. Even if you already invest in a 401K, it is a good idea to open an IRA. It will augment the savings of the 401K. There are several different IRA options. Look at each one to see which fits your individual plan best.

5. Social Security Benefits

Social Security is a part of the retirement plan of most workers. You will need to review each part of this benefit. It is best to start the benefits at a later age.

6. Build Up A Savings Account

Start putting money into a savings account to use for unexpected expenses. Add to this account as often as possible.  Every dollar counts.

7. Plan for Medical Expenses

There are different options available for health care before Medicare starts. You can elect a high deductible insurance plan to keep the premium cost low. Also, the Affordable Care Act now gives flexibility because insurance companies cannot deny you coverage based on pre-existing conditions.

8. Set Goals

Be realistic in setting goals for your retirement. Plan to meet basic living standards and not going above your ability to provide the financial means. This will only cause undo stress. See if your projected income is enough to cover your minimum requirements. If not, you will need to readjust your plan.

9. Talk With Your Spouse

Communication is the key to happiness in this stage of life. It may be stressful going to a lower income than you are accustomed to or downsizing in homes. However, if the lines of communication stay open, it will be much easier to get through this time. Talk about retirement together.

10. Downsize

When planning for a successful retirement, think about downsizing. It is good to downsize before retiring so there are not as many changes in your life at once. Go through your list of assets and make the decision to keep or sell.

Contact Us

There are many dimensions to retirement planning, but you don’t have to do this alone. The attorneys at Lamkin Law Firm can help you walk through each step confidently. Contact the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. at (516) 605-0625 or fill out our contact form today!

Ways to Help Beat the Loneliness of Your Aging Parents

More than likely you have plans for what you are going to do tonight, tomorrow, the weekend, and even maybe a vacation a few months off. Do your parents? As your parents aged, they may have drawn away from social groups and friends they once had. They will spend their days watching TV or reading instead of going out. Loneliness sets in and it falls on you to help your parents beat the blues. Helping get your parents out and socializing again is not the monumental task you might think it will be. Follow these simple ways to help them get out and enjoy life.

Find local groups, senior centers, and support programs in your area.

You do not have to tackle the enormous task of entertaining your parents by yourself. It is important to remember that there are several organizations and programs already set up to assist you. Contacting your local chapters will give you something solid to suggest to your parents. These centers and care facilities might seem to your parents to be a push to place them in a home. Remind them that you still love them, and then show them the benefits and enjoyment they can have by being with others of their own age and interests.

Encourage your parents to pick up a hobby.

Hobbies are great ways for the young and old to get out and meet new friends. Begin by suggesting simple hobbies they may already like doing. Purchasing and setting up quality materials for your parents is a good way to encourage them, without pressing them too hard. If your mother likes to garden, purchase a large garden bed and a few vegetable plants. If your father likes to paint, buy a quality easel and paint set. When they want out of the house, look for classes offered at your local community college to encourage them to learn new skills and trades.

Continue to encourage your parents to follow their dreams.

Your parent’s dreams did not end when they got older. It is never too late for them to start dreaming again. Begin the conversation by asking them what they wanted to do when they were your age. Encourage them to think beyond what they did for a living. Some great ideas are to have them start a small business, obtain a degree, learn to speak a new language, write books, or start working again. If your father laments that he never got to spend time with you and your siblings, see if the local library has a time where volunteers can read to children. Your mother may have regretted never following her writing passion, so encourage her to write short stories and have them printed locally.

Loneliness is often seen as something that just happens as one gets older. This is not true; loneliness is a large concern and can be a sign of other problems. Ignoring the problem will only make the situation worse. Be sure to ask your parents what their plans are for the weekend, the next week, etc. If your parents do not make plans or have any activities they can attend, take the time to talk to them about getting out in the community and finding new friends and activities.

Contact Us Today

The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. can help you with non-legal issues such as nursing home placement, retirement planning, and long term care insurance. Call Andrew Lamkin today at (516) 605-0625 for a free consultation and get help navigating your elderly parents through this difficult time.

What Will Retirement Mean for You?

No longer do people think of retirement as a time to rest and do nothing. Many people plan to work well into their 70s, seeing retirement as an opportunity to change careers and do something that they truly love doing. Whether it is turning a hobby into a part-time business or choosing to work to stay active, retirement is no longer considered as a time when you are “put out to pasture.”

Finding a Balance Between Leisure and Finances

In order to enjoy your retirement, you must have a financial plan. Retirement dreams are different for each person; however, the one constant is the fact that you need to be financially prepared for your retirement. The reality of health care costs and inflation dictate that you must a plan in place to pay for retirement long before you reach retirement age.

The retirement plan you choose will be based on your financial needs as well as your current age and the age at which you wish to retire. To accomplish your goals, consult with an estate planning and retirement attorney as early as possible. Andrew Lamkin specializes in retirement planning and he will take the time to help you make good choices while also considering your needs and wishes.

Things to Take into Consideration When Planning for Your Retirement

  • What do you want to do during retirement? Do you view retirement as an opportunity to sleep in and relax, travel, become more active in your community, or begin a second career? Knowing what you want to do during your retirement years will help you plan a financial strategy to allow you to do what you want after you retire.
  • When do you plan to retire? Have a target age in mind so that you can focus your retirement planning to have enough money to fund all of your retirement years. As more people live longer, they are facing the possibility of outliving their retirement accounts. Make sure that you plan accordingly so that you do not deplete your retirement savings halfway through your retirement.
  • What does your spouse think about retirement? You may assume that both you and your spouse have the same retirement goals; however, this may not be the case. Discuss your ideas about retirement now so that you can both make adjustments to work out any differences you may have in regard to your visions of retirement.
  • Plan for the unexpected. Your retirement planning attorney will explain the various estate planning documents that you want to draft now in order to plan for unexpected events. He will explain the benefit and importance of having wills, powers of attorney, trusts, and living wills. He can also explain how each of these estate planning tools can help protect your retirement investments and plan for your future.

Trusted Help for Your Retirement Planning

To ensure that your retirement is exactly what you have dreamed it would be, call the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin, P.C. for assistance with your retirement and estate planning. Call Andrew M. Lamkin at (516) 605-0625 for a free consultation to discuss your retirement planning options and to choose a retirement plan that is best for you.

What to Know Before You Withdraw Your Retirement Funds

break the piggy bankThe longer you live, the more situations you will encounter where cash would certainly come in handy. Whether you face significant medical expenses, incur debt in an upside-down mortgage, or simply could use more liquidity in terms of assets to help yourself or your family, you may be contemplating what would formerly have been unthinkable: touching the retirement fund prior to your “official” retirement age. You are certainly free to use your assets in the way that seems best — it is, after all, your money — but be sure you weigh all the potential ramifications of such withdrawals, both short and long-term.

Early Withdrawals = Real Cash Lost

The amount by which you are penalized depends on several factors and the most important is your age. If you withdraw funds prior to age 59½, you incur both a reduction in total funding available and an early distribution tax. The amounts differ depending on whether your money is in Traditional or Simple IRAs, whether your state imposes taxes on these early withdrawals in addition to the federal penalties, and whether you qualify for any exceptions to the early-distribution rules.

With no exceptions in place, you can expect some “hits” on your retirement income’s bottom line. Prior to age 59½:

  • You will be liable for both federal income tax and a 10% early distribution tax on any previously untaxed funds in Traditional IRAs or other qualified retirement funds.
  • You will need to absorb a 25% additional early distribution tax instead of 10% on a Simple IRA, within two years from the first day the funds are deposited.

These penalties also apply to 401(k) plans, 403(b) tax-sheltered annuity plans, and any plans you have set up as a self-employed worker. In other words, be prepared to “pay the piper” for a pre-retirement quick infusion of cash.

There Is Also Good News

Even if you are “too young” for your retirement money to come to you otherwise unencumbered, you can escape many penalties if you withdraw the funds for one of several specific purposes:

  • Qualified college costs for yourself, your spouse, children, or grandchildren.
  • Unreimbursed medical expenses that add up to more than 7.5% of your adjusted gross income — in other words, expenses that are deductible on Schedule A. You can take this exception even if you do not normally itemize.
  • Medical insurance for you if you are unemployed. The amount you pay for medical insurance for yourself, your spouse, and your dependents can be exempt from penalty if you have received unemployment compensation for at least 12 weeks.
  • Purchase of a first home — for which you can exempt up to $10,000.
  • Costs associated with a total disability. The exception depends on your furnishing proof, certified by a physician, that you cannot perform substantial gainful employment.
  • Rollover into another qualified retirement account (such as a Roth IRA) within 60 days. (Of course, this does not release the cash to you, but it does eliminate a potential penalty.)

You Can Even Change Your Mind… With a Few Conditions

One thing you may not know about retirement funding: you can generally “take back” one contribution made to a traditional IRA without a penalty, as long as you do not deduct the contribution from your taxes and take the funds out before the year’s tax deadline.

If Your Situation Is Truly Dire…

Sometimes, you truly need the cash, penalties or not. In those extreme circumstances, you can actually withdraw funds from an IRA in what is referred to as “substantially equal periodic payments.” The payment is determined by the IRS, based on your life expectancy — and you must take that amount. This is a strictly regulated option. You cannot change this arrangement before you attain age 59½ or for five years, whichever period is longer. Stopping or canceling incurs a 10% penalty, retroactive to the date you first began the payments.

With all of these time constraints, this is not a terrific choice for those under 50. Even if you are over 50, however, this qualifies as a worst-case-only option: it whittles away your funding for when you are actually retired, and that is a terrible time to come up short.

A retirement funding shortfall is not something anyone wants, and guidance from Andrew M. Lamkin can help you balance emergency cash needs and sensible funding for your future. Call the Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin at 516-615-0625 and ask about an initial consultation, free of charge.



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