Published: May 22, 2018

A recent program presented by the Probate and Trust Law Section of the Philadelphia Bar Association offered suggestions on a safe withdrawal rate from accumulated assets during retirement. After much analysis, the author concluded that 4% was probably a safe rate of withdrawal to ensure that retirees don't run out of assets during the rest of their lives. This is an important concept, and there are other points to consider. As I've written before, it makes sense to summarize what your expenses will be during retirement.

. . . . . .

Published: May 15, 2018

Many publications report on the prevalence of elder financial abuse in our society. It can arise from misuse of powers of attorney, guardianships, and estate and trust administrations, as well as out and out scams. Many institutions are working on this problem, including the US Department of Justice, the SEC, FINRA and state agencies. In future blogs, we will discuss the suggestions made by these agencies to avoid elder financial abuse, but let's start with, why is this such a significant problem now? Here are a couple of basic reasons:

. . . . . .

Published: May 2, 2018

A number of years ago, I spoke at a seminar organized by some clients, called "Sign here, my dear". The point of the seminar was that spouses, in most case wives, know very little about family finances and are often just called upon to sign documents without knowing what they are. In my practice, I continue to see this mismatch of financial information in many situations. My experience is that this is rarely done for a bad purpose, but more often because one spouse has more financial skills and doesn't want to burden the other.

. . . . . .

Published: April 16, 2018

The more articles and blogs I write about planning for retirement, the more advice I get from people who have retired or are in the planning stages. Since the concept of retirement is still a mystery for many, I thought I would pass along some advice I have received:

1. Health maintenance. There is probably nothing more important than preserving your health in retirement as long as you can. Visit your doctor(s) on a regular basis, and consider even taking their advice. Exercise, eat right; you know this drill.

. . . . . .

Published: March 15, 2018

The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, universally known as FINRA, is a not for profit organization (not a government agency) that regulates member brokerage firms and the brokers that deal with the public. All securities firms that are not regulated by another self-regulatory organization (the New York Stock Exchange, for example) are required to be a member of FINRA. A Securities Helpline for Seniors (844-57-HELPS) is currently maintained by FINRA, through which older investors can seek assistance for issues relating to brokerage accounts.

. . . . . .

Published: December 20, 2017

Many years ago, Duke Ellington wrote the music to "Do Nothing 'Til You Hear From Me", and this remains good advice when deciding what to do about the new tax law. There are many changes in tax provisions that will take effect soon, and they promise significant benefits to business owners and investors. But getting the greatest advantage from these changes will take careful planning. And will require advice from your tax experts, whether they are lawyers or accountants.

. . . . . .

Published: December 11, 2017

The baby boom generation (born from 1946 to 1964) is now entering retirement years, and the earliest members of this group are well into retirement, continuation of their careers in different ways, or encore careers. When this group was born, it began a boom in building housing. When they went to school, there was a boom in school construction; and so on. Now, there is a new set of needs, and decisions to be made. This is a complicated process, but you can’t turn your back on it.

. . . . . .

Published: December 4, 2017

After much wrangling and dealmaking, both houses of Congress have passed bills making substantial changes to federal tax law. Although it's not entirely certain, it seems likely that there will shortly be agreement on a tax bill to become law next year. The Senate bill doubles the exemption from federal estate tax, while the House bill goes further and eventually repeals the federal estate tax. So many fewer people (or no) people will pay the federal estate tax in the future.

. . . . . .

Published: November 30, 2017

It now seems more likely that a tax bill of some kind will be passed by Congress this year. One prominent DC tax lobbyist told me: "This is happening." Whether or not you agree with all of the provisions now being offered (still subject to revision on a daily basis), the dramatic changes in tax law that would occur under such a tax bill merit close study. Of particular interest are the changes in the federal estate and gift tax law.

. . . . . .