In honor of the Fourth, this month's newsletter is focused on solidifying your own "financial independence."  In the meantime, may you celebrate July 4th as John Adams predicted you should: 
The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. 
It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.  
It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more.


And yet he didn't predict all the retail sales that would also be occasioned by the Fourth, in a true American capitalistic spirit. 


If you are wondering why Adams named the 2nd and not the 4th, although July 4 is the date shown on the Declaration of Independence document, the actual resolution of independence was approved on July 2nd, and the Declaration document was not fully executed until over a year later.  

Since this is, after all, an estate planning newsletter, in closing I share one more historical tidbit:  John Adams was a true patriot, dying on July 4, 1826 within hours of his frenemy Thomas Jefferson. Adams' dying words were "Thomas Jefferson lives!"  Alas, he was mistaken - Jefferson had passed five hours earlier.  
Happy Fourth! 
- Alison 

Riddle Me This: When is a Retirement Account Not a 
Retirement Account? 

Answer: When it's inherited from someone else, silly!

Many clients use their IRA for a significant, if not primary, part of their retirement plan. After all, both traditional IRA's and ROTH IRAs are attractive for many reasons, chief among them tax-free growth and creditor protection. Bankruptcy protection for your own retirement accounts was expanded and strengthened by the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act in 2005. There has been a split in the circuits for nearly a decade over the question of whether funds in an inherited IRA are protected in bankruptcy. On June 12, 2014, in a rare display of unanimity, the United States Supreme Court answered that question with a resounding "no." Read more >> 

Social Security Benefits --Timing is Everything
By extending your retirement by just six months and delaying your claim for Social Security retirement benefits, you can get a lump-sum payment of those retroactive benefits for at least six months past the normal retirement age (currently 66). This strategy can give you extra funds, helping with the quandry of how much you'll need when you have no way of knowing that ahead of time. Delaying receipt of benefits can hedge potential unexpected problems that might arise, such as increased medical costs.  Read the article by Robert Bloink, Esq. and William H Byrnes, Esq. to see how the math plays out. >>

7 Tips for Shopping for Long-Term Care Insurance

Part of maintaining financial independence means planning for long-term care to preserve your hard-earned savings.  Studies say that as much as 70% of people 65+ will need long-term care. Many companies offer long-term care (LTC) policies or life insurance policies with LTC riders.  You need to consider whether those policies are right for you.  The LTC marked has significantly tightened and many insurers withdrew from the market.  Factors to consider include the age to purchase and the financial solvency of the insurer.  Read 7 tips that will help you plan for select the right long-term care plan for you >>  


Issue 6
July 2014
4th of July Babies:  
Ulysses S. Grant
Calvin Coolidge
George Steinbrenner
Vinny Castilla
Ann Landers
Abigail Van Buren (Dear Abby)
Nathaniel Hawthorne
Geraldo Rivera
The History of Coney Island's Hot Dog Eating Contest
On July 4th, 1916, four immigrants - determined to prove their patriotism - had a hot dog eating contest. Their endeavor caught on, and in 1972 Nathan's made the contest official.  At first it was farcical: in 1981 the winning contestant stopped eating after 5 minutes and 11 dogs and left to attend a barbeque!  



Contestants weenie consumption remained less than 20 until 2001, when Takeru Kobayashi upped the ante. His "advanced eating and training techniques" allowed him to down 50 dogs in 12 minutes. Kobayashi reigned for 6 years before being unseated by today's current champion, Joey Chestnut, who ate an all-time record 69 dogs HDBS's last year. What's an HDB, you ask?  That's the inside abbreviation for "hot dogs and buns." O.M.G. 

Annuities + IRA = Bad News  
Note to self: Bankers are not lawyers. Accountants are not lawyers. Insurance brokers are not lawyers. People who sell annuities are not lawyers. And they are not going to know how a particular financial product fits into your estate plan.  Consulting a lawyer before making basic banking decisions can save you future hassles. Learn More
To Give or Not to Give ... Your House?  
In the spirit of independence, you might think giving your house to your kids now liberates your estate from taxes or probate. Gifting now can create more problems than it solves.  Property titled in your adult child's individual is subject to creditors and future ex-spouses.  This type of transfer should not be undertaken before consulting with counsel to understand the benefits and risks.  
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