Attorneys At Law

Attorneys practicing in and around the Chicagoland area. Experienced in the practice areas of Real Estate Law, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Litigation, Social Security Disability, Business Law, & Estate Law.

Attorneys At Law - Attorneys practicing in and around the Chicagoland area. Experienced in the practice areas of Real Estate Law, Mortgage Foreclosure Defense Litigation, Social Security Disability, Business Law, & Estate Law.

How to Maximize Social Security Benefits for Surviving Spouses

 Retirement Benefits

This story originally ran in Chicago Tribune:

Retirement: How to maximize Social Security benefits for surviving spouses

Many retirees know that spouses can coordinate their claims to boost their total benefit payout from Social Security.

But many may not realize that if they are widowed before claiming benefits, they may also have options to maximize Social Security by coordinating the timing of claims for their own retirement benefit and a survivor benefit.

Unfortunately, the Social Security Administration isn’t likely to fill them in on this strategy.

A report this year by the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General found that 82 percent of surviving spouses taking benefits could have received a higher monthly benefit by restricting their application to survivor benefits only and delaying their retirement benefits up to age 70.

Related Post: How Much Will I Get From Social Security if I Make $100,000?

Social Security AdministrationAs a result, the Social Security Administration underpaid about $132 million to more than 9,000 beneficiaries age 70 and older, and it will underpay about 2,000 more beneficiaries who are under age 70 about $9.8 million annually once they reach age 70, according to the report’s projections.

While changes in the law a few years ago affected strategies for coordinating spousal benefits, those changes didn’t affect survivor benefit strategies.

“You do still have the option to take one benefit and delay the other benefit,” says James Mahaney, vice president of strategic initiatives for Prudential Financial.

 

Social Security Retirement CoupleSurviving spouses need to consider whether they can maximize benefits by taking the survivor benefit first and later switching to their own benefit or by taking their own benefit first and then switching to a survivor benefit.

You can claim a survivor benefit as early as age 60 (age 50 if disabled), but it is reduced if claimed before the survivor’s full retirement age.

It won’t grow past the survivor’s full retirement age — the most a surviving spouse receives is 100 percent of the benefit the deceased spouse received or was eligible to receive at his death.

But the survivor’s own retirement benefit — which can be taken as early as 62 at a reduced amount — can grow beyond her full retirement age. Each year she delays her own retirement benefit past full retirement age, her benefit grows 8 percent a year up to age 70.

Once you figure out which benefit could grow the largest, you’ll likely want to delay that benefit. Be aware, the benefit amounts and the age you claim will make a difference.

 

Example

End of Life PlanningLet’s say a widow at her full retirement age is due a $2,000 survivor benefit or her own benefit of $1,800.

With a full retirement age of 67, she could earn 24 percent in delayed-retirement credits if she takes her own benefit at age 70.

She could claim a reduced survivor benefit worth $1,430 a month as early as age 60 and take that until she switches to a boosted benefit of her own at age 70, worth $2,232 a month.

If she lives to age 90, she would receive a total of $707,280 in benefits. (All totals exclude annual cost-of-living adjustments.)

If she instead takes her own reduced monthly benefit at 62 worth $1,260 and then switches to the full monthly survivor benefit of $2,000 at age 67, her total payout by age 90 would be $627,600.

That’s about 11 percent less than the first scenario, in which she earned the delayed-retirement credits.

 

(Rachel L. Sheedy is editor of Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.)

(c) 2018 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

This story originally ran in Chicago Tribune and was written by Rachel L. Sheedy, Kiplinger’s Personal Finance

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* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


 

The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides estate law representation, including power of attorneyliving willsprobate law services, trusts, wills, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


The Most Common Estate Planning Mistake

Estate Planning This Way

Estate Planning is an important step for planning how your assets are distributed to your heirs.

In the article below, we discuss how to avoid one of the most common estate planning mistake so your loved ones can avoid this costly headache.

 

This story originally ran in Forbes:

How To Avoid One Of The Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes

There’s a mistake families at every level of wealth often make when they go through their estate planning process, and decide how to allocate money to their heirs and to charity.

An extremely common practice is to list charities as part of a will, or revocable trust, and in many cases (perhaps most)—that’s a mistake.

Property tax bills Kane & DuPage CountyWhat you need to consider is the inherited value of the holdings after tax. Throughout their working lives, most people have some form of retirement account: an IRA, 401k, thrift savings plan (TSP), etc. Those assets usually don’t pass through a will or a trust but by beneficiary designation.

So let’s examine how most people have set up their plans, and look at an alternative tweak that can make sure as much of their assets as possible go where they intend.

Most people leave their IRA assets to their spouse and kids, and if they are charitably inclined they allocate some dollars to charity through their wills or trust.

Here’s how that looks:

 

Common Scenario

A couple has a $1 million home, $1 million in after-tax savings account, and $1 million in an IRA. And upon the second spouse to pass, the $1 million in an IRA and the house to go the kids. Of the after-tax savings, the estate donates $100,000 to charity, and the remainder ($900,000) goes to the kids.

The problem here is that as the children receive the IRA funds, and whether they take the IRA distributions immediately or over time, these funds are income-taxable to the kids. What if they handled this an alternative way?

 

Alternate Scenario

First Time Home Buyer Mortgage WorkshopSame couple – $1 million home, $1 million after-tax account, and $1 million IRA. The couple leaves $100,000 of the IRA to charity. The kids receive the $1 million in savings and the home and $900,000 of the IRA.

Why is this special or better? By donating to charity from the IRA, the couple is donating the least tax-efficient assets to charity. What most people don’t realize is that when a charity receives these dollars, they don’t pay any tax on the funds.

If this family makes this change, they accomplished the same result of the charity receiving 100K, but ensure that the kids will receive more on an after-tax basis.

Related post: Millennial Estate Planning – What You Should Know

Keep in mind there are two forms of coordinating this. The will or trust is typically drafted or amended by an estate planning attorney. The IRA beneficiary designation is a simple form filed with the brokerage firm or through their employers. It’s important to make sure you coordinate the two to prevent confusion and make your intentions clear.

Social Security Retirement CoupleOne important disclaimer—this change doesn’t make sense with a Roth IRA of a Roth 401(k). Since these distributions to the heirs will be free of income tax, it does not make sense to leave these funds to a charity.

 

The purpose of estate planning is making sure that your money flows where you intend. Usually the government is last on that list. By tweaking not who gets what, but who gets which, there’s a chance for more to pass to the people and organizations most important to you.

Related post: End of life planning essentials

 

This story originally ran in Forbes
Original unaltered sign image by Max Pixel


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


 

The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides estate law representation, including power of attorney, living wills, probate law services, trusts, wills, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


Illinois Real Estate License Law Changes 2018

Real Estate red tape

Photo by Max Pixel

 

In 2018 Governor Rauner signed two new bills focused on licensing rules for real estate brokerages, appraisers and real estate professionals in Illinois.

These new laws are designed to reduce red tape, paperwork, and compliance costs for real estate businesses.

The changes will not only help real estate brokerages but home buyers as well.

Read the full story below that was originally published in Chicago Agent Magazine:

 

Illinois real estate licensure rules get revamped

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Aug. 13 two bills focused on licensure rules for the state’s real estate brokerages, appraisers and other real estate professionals. Drafted with support from the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) as well as the Illinois Realtors Association, the governor’s office said the new laws will reduce red tape and compliance costs for real estate businesses.

Home for saleHouse Bill 5210 is a win for small business and licensed professionals in Illinois,” Gov. Rauner said, referring to one of the bills signed into law that focused on revising brokerage licensing requirements. “It is another step forward in our goal of reducing the amount of red tape, paperwork, and regulatory burden that puts our business owners and our state at a disadvantage.”

Under the new rules included in H.B. 5210, brokerage firms will be able to submit licensing information for all registered offices and employees at the same time, rather than submit separate forms for each individual office. The process of submitting, updating or renewing licenses will be made easier with the state’s recently unveiled online services portal.

According to Kreg Allison, director of the Division of Real Estate at the IDFPR, these new rules for brokerage licenses will not only reduce the direct costs of compliance by eliminating duplicitous application fees. Even more significant, he says, is the time that brokerage firms will save by getting all the steps required in the license renewal or revision process out of the way at once, using a single online platform to make changes in real time.

Illinois home with tax lienStreamlining the brokerage licensing process is good news for consumers as well, Allison says.

“Now consumers will be able to look up a licensed firm and find everyone affiliated with that firm, including each of its offices and who manages those locations,” Allison says. “The data is going to look much better and be easier to find as we move everything online.”

Gov. Rauner also signed H.B. 5502, aimed at increasing the number of licensed real estate appraisers operating within Illinois. According to Rep. Tony McCombie (R-Savanna), increased education and licensure costs have contributed to a shortage of appraisers in the state. Allison explained that the new law would allow appraisers to maintain their license to operate in Illinois indefinitely while introducing other rule changes that encourage greater numbers of licensed real estate appraisers in the state.

These latest bills and the digital records initiative are part of a continuing effort by state officials to streamline professional licensing requirements for all regulated industries.

“On behalf of more than 47,000 Realtors throughout Illinois, we support this effort and appreciated the opportunity to work with IDFPR in crafting and passing this legislation,” said Illinois Realtors CEO Gary Clayton in a statement. “This is a sound policy initiative that will streamline the regulatory process for Illinois businesses.”

This story originally appeared in Chicago Agent Magazine and was written by Andrew Morrell

 

Open House at H.O.M.E. DuPage – September 20th

Feel free to invite friends.

HOME DUPAGE - Making Dreams Possible

www.homedupage.org

 

Federal Reserve to Keep Interest Rates Steady

If you are planning on buying a home in the near future, there is good news for you from the Federal Reserve about interest rates.

The Federal Open Market Committee unanimously voted to maintain the federal funds rate at a range of 1.75-2 percent.

 

Here is the original story as published by The Federal Savings Bank:

Fed holds benchmark interest rate steady for now

August 2018

The Federal Open Market Committee wrapped up its fifth meeting of 2018 with a unanimous vote to maintain the federal funds rate at a range of 1.75-2 percent, according to the group’s statement.

Home for saleThough rates will remain the same, the Fed also alluded to a strong national economic climate, which will likely result in future rate hikes later this year.

With only three meetings left in 2018 – Sept. 25-26, Nov. 7-8 and Dec. 18-19 – it’s not hard to narrow down when those increases might happen. The New York Times reported that the paper expects them to occur in September’s and December’s meetings.

 

Why the Fed raises rates

The Federal Reserve typically decides to increase interest rates during times of economic growth. But just because FOMC members voted to maintain the current rate doesn’t mean they’re not optimistic about current conditions.

First Time Home Buyer Mortgage WorkshopIn fact, the statement issued after the meeting pointed to job gains and household spending as indications of strength.

In the most recent Employment Situation, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase in nonfarm payroll employment of 213,000 in June. Wages also increased, with the average pay increasing 5 cents to $26.98 per hour.

Personal consumption expenditures – another way of saying consumer spending – increased 0.4 percent in June, according to the most recent release from the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

The increased spending was primarily focused on accommodations and restaurants, a sign of strong consumer confidence.

Because of these positive signals, many economists are confident that there will be two rate hikes before the end of the year.

 

How consumers can prepare for increased rates

Though there’s no rate hike to respond to this month, consumers can take steps to prepare for any increases that might occur in the coming months.

Model Home TaxAlthough a rate hike likely won’t have an immediate effect on most consumers’ day-to-day financial lives, they can see gradual changes in interest rates and other costs over time.

Rate changes could lead to higher credit card interest rates. As such, consumers who are carrying a balance now might begin to strategize a plan to pay down their debt.

Mortgage interest rates may also begin to escalate. So far in 2018, rates have grown from an average of 3.95 percent for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage at the beginning of January to 4.54 percent for the same product during the week ending July 26, according to Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Summary.

For prospective homebuyers hoping to close on a purchase this year, it may be smart to get preapproved soon.

This story was originally published by The Federal Savings Bank

 


* Advertising Material: To the extent that the information in this post is interpreted as attorney advertising in accordance with the Illinois Rules of Professional Conduct or within the meaning of state bar rules from all other localities, this statement is made pursuant to those rules.

Specialties: Specialization claims are prohibited by Illinois Supreme Court Rules and we do not claim to be specialists. The content of this e-mail is organized and presented for the sole purpose of general information. None of the included content should be construed as legal advice. Viewing this e-mail or e-mailing the account holder does not create an attorney-client relationship. NOTICE: This page may be considered advertising material.


 

The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides real estate law services including loan modificationsbuying and selling legal assistanceshort sales and deeds in lieumortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPageCookKane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090