Attorneys At Law

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

Estate Planning Tips – your choice

estate planning

Whether you own a home, have some savings, or own any goods such as a car, furniture, or other form of personal property, you have an estate. If you don’t take part in estate planning to choose what happens to your estate upon your death, the government and/or a judge will make those decisions for you. Here are some tips you can use.

Estate planning with an attorney

Speaking to an attorney regarding estate planning can help assure documents such as your will make sense for your situation and are legally executed. Planning with an attorney can help make sure your will is validly drawn, executed, and attested.

Create a will/living will

By creating a will, in essence, you tell the court in writing, with certain formalities, how you want your assets distributed and who will be responsible for the distribution. We help our clients draft their wills. Living wills and health care powers of attorney give instructions on issues such as life support and medical treatment. Through a Living Will you can communicate your choices regarding your end-of-life care even if you are incapacitated or facing life support.

Power of Attorney

We help you ensure that your wishes are known and that you have a legally binding power of attorney. A power of attorney is a means of choosing someone to manage your affairs or make decisions on your behalf or even transact business for you if you are unable to do so for yourself.


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



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.



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 And for more on this and similar money topics, visit

(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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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

End of Life Planning – The Essentials

End of Life Planning

An unexpected medical diagnosis can leave a person in shock.

It can also leave a person realizing that their end of life planning is not in order and they may not have as much time as they thought to complete it.

When that happens, here is what we recommend:


Seek professional help

It might seem outside of your comfort zone, but seeking the help of a mental health professional for guidance could be helpful to you. It could also help your family as well.


Get financial documents in a single place

Social Security Retirement CoupleIt’s important to begin getting your financial documents together. We recommend you gather them all in a single place and put them together in an easy to get to a location such as a three-ring binder.

This will save your relatives the struggle of trying to find all the information they need.

Start by getting your will. If you don’t have one, make a list of your assets: financial accounts, real estate, and any retirement accounts.

A will is the best way to ensure your assets get distributed to the person you want them to. Without specifying your wishes, there can be family disputes and even court cases. Property distribution is best spelled out in a will


Choose your beneficiary

Loan Modifications and WorkoutsOne of your first tasks should be designating your beneficiaries on your financial accounts.

It may be basic but it is more powerful than a will. It can save time and money for your assets going through probate.

Your brokerage will let you attach transfer-on-death instructions to your non-retirement account. Transfer-on-death deeds can also be used in real estate in Illinois.

After you have designated beneficiaries, detail your liabilities, for example, mortgage, loans, credit card debt, and insurance policies for health, home, and vehicles.

Create a contact list of people your family can reach out to for help. This should include your lawyer, accountant, insurance agent and financial advisor. Write down the name and contact information of everyone who needs to be involved.

Even if you already have an estate plan, it is a good idea to consult with an attorney experienced in estate planning. In the time since you made your estate plan, laws may have changed or even your financial goals or beneficiaries.


Decrease the tax burden

Cook County Property Tax AssessmentsThere are ways that you can decrease the tax burden on your beneficiaries.

One way to leave money to heirs is through a Roth individual retirement account.

Another is a brokerage account because any capital gains tax will be wiped out due to the step-up in basis on the original price paid.

Here is how this works: If the owner sells a stock that has gained in value, they would have to pay capital gains based on that higher price. If the owner leaves that stock to an heir, the new owner receives the stock at the new price. They will only have to pay taxes on any gains in price after that point, not the original price.

If some asset has dipped significantly in value, though, you might consider selling the stock, mutual fund or ETF. As the original owner, you can deduct the losses by selling and deducting the loss. Your heirs are not able to take this step-down since they’d inherit the stock at a new, lower basis.

If you are older than 70½, take any required minimum distribution from your retirement accounts. Heirs may not know to do this, and there is a significant penalty for not taking it.

Another way to minimize taxes for your inheritors is through charitable donations. While your heirs would have to pay tax on the money in a retirement account, a charity would not.


Paying off a mortgage

Property Tax Assessment - CalculatorMany people consider paying off a home mortgage, but because individual circumstances vary greatly, this is not always the best course.

Consider the amount of funds available, the current tax bracket and the size of the mortgage balance. It would be a good idea to have a financial planner run several scenarios to see how you can minimize the tax hit from withdrawing a large sum from a traditional IRA or 401(k) plan – or if you should leave it as a loan to be transferred to your heirs.


Have a record of password for your heirs

Collect all of your passwords in your binder with your financial records. Include a copy of the previous year’s tax return. When a final tax return is prepared, there might be some carryover items, such as long-term alternative minimum tax or long-term gains buildup.

List all service agreements, such as landscaping, utilities, cleaning and insurance, and auto payments. Arrange for their continuation or cancellation.

Keep track of your pension and Social Security benefits, since there could be survivor benefits that flow from those.

Other areas to consider in your binder: arrangements for your pets and talking to the financial aid office if you have a child in college. You’ll want to inform them of your change in financial status.


Source: When end-of-life planning is suddenly a lot closer than you thought by Jill Cornfield for CNBC


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides excellent legal counsel in the areas of estate law, including estate planning, living wills, living trust, probate, power of attorney, letters of office and more.

Located in Glen Ellyn, Illinois and serving clients in DuPage, Cook, Kane, Will, and Kendall Counties.

For Information Call 630-858-0090


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

Social Security Retirement Couple

The Social Security program is the biggest provider of retirement payments in the United States.

Unfortunately, many people heading towards retirement have little understanding of how Social Security works or how much they will receive in benefits.

In this post, we offer you a rundown of how much a six-figure earner can expect from Social Security, and also an explanation of how the benefit-calculation process works so you can apply it to your situation.


About Social Security Benefits

How is Social Security calculated?

Social Security AdministrationThe Social Security Administration (SSA) keeps a record of your earnings from every year of your working lifetime, up to the annual taxable earnings cap.

When calculating your social security benefits, these annual earnings figures are all indexed for inflation, and the 35 highest years are averaged together.

This average is divided by 12 to determine your average indexed monthly earnings or AIME. If you don’t have 35 years of Social Security-covered earnings, zeros will be used in determining the average for the missing years.

Once your AIME has been calculated, it’s applied to a formula to determine your primary insurance amount (PIA), or your Social Security benefit if you claim at your full retirement age. For 2018, the formula is:

  • 90% of the first $895 in AIME
  • 32% of the amount greater than $895, but less than $5,397
  • 15% of the amount above $5,397
  • It’s important to note that the formula in effect in the year you become eligible (age 62) will be used, regardless of when you actually claim your benefits.

Finally, your benefit will be permanently adjusted if you claim benefits before or after your full retirement age.

Depending on your full retirement age, your benefit can be permanently reduced by as much as 30% if you claim as early as possible, or it can be permanently increased by as much as 32% for waiting until age 70, the latest claiming age.


Social Security with a $100,000 average income

Because Social Security benefits are based on 35 years of your earnings, there is no way of knowing what your benefits will eventually be because you’re earning $100,000 right now.

Having said that, let’s calculate a Social Security benefit for someone who averages $100,000 in inflation-adjusted earnings throughout their entire career. We’ll assume this person turns 62 in 2018 so that we can use this year’s benefit formula.

An annual income of $100,000 for your entire career translates to AIME of about $8,333 per month. According to the Social Security formula for 2018, this worker’s primary insurance amount, or PIA, will be $2,686.54.

Workers turning 62 in 2018 have a full retirement age of 66 years and four months, so our hypothetical $100,000 earner would need to wait until this age to receive this entire benefit amount. If they decide to claim right away at age 62, their benefit will be reduced to about $1,970 per month.

Here’s a chart of how much a career $100,000 earner would be entitled to if they claimed Social Security at various ages:

As you can see, the age at which a $100,000 earner decides to start collecting Social Security makes a big difference.

It’s important to point out that these benefits would all be increased by any cost-of-living adjustments, or COLA, that occur between now and when benefits are initially claimed.

For example, if this person claims their retirement benefit next year at age 63 and there’s a 2% COLA given in 2019, the benefit in the chart would be increased by that percentage.


How could this change by the time you retire?

Loan Modifications and WorkoutsIf you’re still many years away from retirement, then it is important for you to take this information with a big grain of salt.

Social Security may be in a solid financial situation currently, but it could deteriorate rapidly over the next 15 years or so. Some sort of reforms will be required to fix the program for the long term.

Now, there’s no telling what form the eventual fix will take. It could end up being a simple tax increase, which could keep the Social Security benefit structure exactly how it’s discussed here. On the other hand, some form of benefit cut, such as an increase in the full retirement age, is also a possibility.

The bottom line is that if you’ll be reaching Social Security age in the near future, this discussion should be pretty accurate when it comes to your situation. Beyond that, however, there likely will be some changes.

Original Source: The Motley Fool


The Law Offices of Lora Fausett P.C. provides legal services including social security disability, estate planningmortgage foreclosure defense, and more.

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

For Information Call 630-858-0090