April 2020 | Issue 38 ............................................................. Click Here to View Online
News You Can Use
On A Lighter Note

THE BORN LOSER © Art and Chip Sansom. Reprinted by permission of
ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION for UFS. All rights reserved.
By: Kristina Rainer, Attorney

The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement ("SECURE") Act became effective on January 1, 2020. For the majority of our clients, the most important changes deal with changes to the required minimum distribution, the contribution period, and the post-death required minimum distribution rules ("Stretch IRAs").
Before January 1, 2020, an individual had to begin taking the required minimum distribution ("RMD") from his or her defined contribution plan, such as an individual retirement account (IRA), on April 1st of the calendar year following the individual reaching age 70 ½. Thus, if an individual turned 70 ½ on or before December 31, 2019, the individual must start taking the RMD by April 1, 2020.

However, for anyone who had not reached age 70 ½ on or before December 31, 2019, he or she does not need to start taking the RMD until April 1st of the year following the calendar year that he or she turns 72. This coupled with a now-extended contribution period, which allows a person who is still working to contribute to his or her Roth and Traditional IRAs after turning 72, gives Americans more time to save for their retirement.

But what Congress gives, Congress can also take away. One of the biggest changes in the SECURE Act was the elimination of the Stretch IRA, which enabled a beneficiary to take the RMDs over the beneficiary’s life expectancy. This applies to defined contribution plans such as an IRA, 401k, and 403b, but does not apply to defined benefit plans. In most cases, a beneficiary of a defined contribution plan must take all of the distributions from the plan by the end of the 10th calendar year following the contributor’s year of death. There are some beneficiary exceptions to this requirement: most notably, a surviving spouse, a person with a disability, and the owner’s child who has not reached the age of majority (in which case the ten-year rule applies when the child reaches the age of majority).

Also, the same rules for how to look through a trust to determine the designated beneficiary still exist; so if the beneficiary of a trust that holds a defined contribution plan qualifies for one of the exceptions, the trust will also be allowed to continue to take the RMDs over the beneficiary’s life expectancy or ten years after the beneficiary reaches the age of majority in the case of a minor child.

Many of our clients have established trusts to defer the distributions to the beneficiaries in their trusts and have designated their trusts as the beneficiaries of their defined contribution plans. For many of these clients, the elimination of the Stretch IRA may not justify making any changes to the trusts because the need to preserve the assets outweighs the tax consequences of deferring the distributions in the trusts. However, we urge anyone with a trust who designated the trust as the beneficiary of a defined contribution plan to evaluate whether any modifications need to be made to the trust in order to ensure that any potential taxes are minimized to the extent possible while still preserving the assets.

We are happy to meet with you to clarify these issues for your situation.
If you have cleaned out every closet, read every book you own, and watched every documentary that Netflix has to offer, then we have something that you can do to pass the time and become a better-informed person while doing it.

The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) has a new YouTube video series called Law Facts that anyone can watch online to obtain information about many interesting legal topics. Some of the Law Facts topics that pertain to our field of practice are:

  • Administering an Estate Without a Will
  • Probate
  • Financial Powers of Attorney
  • Living Wills and Health Care Powers of Attorney
  • Do Not Resuscitate
  • Guardianships 

Topics in other areas of practice include Ohio’s Credit Laws; Child Support; Bankruptcy; Buying a Home; Your Rights if Questioned, Stopped, or Arrested by the Police; and Ohio’s Marriage Laws.

The OSBA is a great resource for legal topics in lieu of doing an online search on Google because the information that the OSBA gives is state-specific. As a reminder, every state in the United States has its own state-specific laws that pertain to how that state handles death, marriage, taxes, real estate, etc. Because of that fact, we preach that online legal forms websites can create a lot of problems for Americans because these websites are not usually state-specific. When it comes to legal matters in America, there is not a "one size fits all" legal solution that applies across the country in every state.

To view the OSBA video series on a particular topic, click the link below:
 
The living room windows that you could clean aren’t going anywhere, so do something with your time that feeds your mind. Free knowledge from a reputable source can be a very valuable tool, so use it!
Driving Miss Daisy
By Fiduciary Services Manager, Trisha Webb
Transportation needs change throughout our lives. When some seniors reach a certain age, they don’t feel comfortable with the myriad of issues that accompany the decision to drive at an older age. Others managing health issues may make the personal decision to give up driving, or are forced to do so by a doctor’s recommendation. Below are some helpful transportation tips and information for seniors.
If you are living independent in your home, condominium, or apartment, check with your local community-services division about the transportation opportunities offered for elderly residents. For example, the City of Kettering offers a program for seniors called The Kettering Connection. The senior services offered through The Kettering Connection include transportation assistance for seniors. Many communities in the Dayton area have senior-service programs that offer transportation options.

If you are living independently in a senior community facility, check to see if the facility offers a valet service. Many senior facilities offer busing services to the grocery and private valets to doctors' appointments that are included in the monthly rent. There may also be an option to add these services for an additional cost, as needed. Most assisted-living facilities offer a variety of transportation services: just ask the facility administrators to explain the options; sometimes you won’t know until you ask. If your assisted-living facility doesn’t offer transportation services, contact the facility’s social worker for additional direction.

Another option that we suggest using is a non-medical home health-care company. Research local companies to check on the minimum hours of services required in a day, week, or month in order to use a company's caretaker services. It’s important to ask these companies if they are licensed and bonded. For some, the caretaker will drive and assist you to and from appointments, but note that this is a private pay option, and no insurance covers this service.

You may contact me in our Elder Care department at twebb@dayton-attorney.com for recommendations to non-medical home health-care companies.

If you are living in long-term nursing care but still wish to go out to your dentist or doctor, there are options available for transportation to those service professionals. However, you must first be medically cleared to leave your nursing facility. Most long-term nursing facilities have aids that can travel with you to appointments. In these cases, the facility will be responsible for scheduling your transportation because each facility has companies they prefer to use. In some situations, the transport from a nursing facility to a health care professional can be covered by insurance.

There are also transportation options available if you are not elderly but have a disability. Project Mobility is one of the options; just visit or contact the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to apply for this service that is free in some situations. The Project Mobility service usually operates during the same hours as the public bus routes. If you are struggling to privately pay for any transportation service, you can often find services at the ODJFS that are strictly income-based to assist you with your transportation needs. Call ODJFS toll-free at 1-877-644-6562 or TTY 1-614-387-8408 (excluding holidays) Monday through Friday 8 AM - 5 PM. Click to visit its website .

Finally, a great resource for transportation options for seniors is the Ohio Area Agency on Aging.  Click to visit its website and to view all of the free services offered to our community.
Note: This article is a reboot from last year, but it was so popular among our readers, we decided to publish it again.

What happens when you die without a will or trust? Did you know that a huge benefit of getting a trust is to protect your family's privacy? This reason alone has caused quite a stir with Aretha Franklin's estate because all of Aretha's assets and financial holdings will be made public since she did not have her estate planning in order when she died.

Quite often we hear our clients say that they do not need a trust because they are not rich. However, there are many reasons why a person would get a trust regardless of the amount of money in his or her bank account. One monumental reason is protecting privacy.

Because Ohio has a strong open public-record law, the stage is set for scam artists to take advantage of unsuspecting Ohio citizens. If probate is not avoided and there is more than one beneficiary, then an accounting of all the probate assets that the decedent owned will be made public record through the probate process. Most of the probate records dating back to the 1980's are online for anyone to view. That reason alone motivates many people to get a trust so that their assets are not on public display.

The publication of probate records happens to anyone who dies without a will or trust, even the rich and famous. Take Aretha Franklin, for example. When the legendary singer died on August 16, 2018, with no will or trust, all of the assets in her name alone with no beneficiary had to go through probate and be exposed to the public. To learn more about Aretha's estate, go to CNN's website .

To avoid what is happening to Aretha's estate from happening to your estate, include a trust in your estate plan and fully fund it. By keeping your personal and financial information out of the probate court, you are protecting your family from unnecessary risks arising from easy public access to your family's personal and financial information and cultivating their respect.
Despite the current state of our country, local government agencies are still requiring original, notarized documents to be filed. That requirement has caused us to get creative when executing documents that must be notarized in-person.

Ohio has had an online notary license available for a little while now, but we couldn’t come up with any reason to pay the fee or attend the two-hour course required to become licensed.
However, with the stay-at-home order in place, we now have a compelling reason for a person at our office to get his/her online notary license; that self-sacrificing person at our office is Attorney Julie Helter!

When implementing the online notary services, Julie has to use a service called SIGNiX where the signee’s identification is verified by using his or her driver license or state-issued identification. The SIGNiX service scans the bar code on the back of the appropriate identification to make sure it’s legitimate. Then, the service has to conduct another identity-proving method using security questions. (There must be 5 and one must get at least 4 right.) These are questions like, “ Which of the following streets have you lived on?” followed by five answer choices.  We can charge only $25 per notarial act for the online notary services, but not per signature, so this not a money maker for us. We are doing this solely as an additional service to the community.

An additional service that Julie had been providing to our clients, before the deadline was recently extended to October 1, 2021, was assisting people with getting the REAL ID, or the Federally Compliant Driver License or Identification Card. Women who have changed their names for marriage have requested Julie's assistance with obtaining the original or certified copies of marriage certificates, divorce, dissolution, or annulment decrees, needed to fulfill the requirements for getting the REAL ID. For more information about the acceptable documents, please visit the website.

If you would like to have something notarized from the comfort and safety of your home, or would like to start assembling the documentation required to obtain the REAL ID, then please call our office or contact Julie Helter at jhelter@dayton-attorney.com to obtain her assistance. As a reminder, we are considered an Essential Business, so we are still open and available during our normal office hours.
Tracking down a copy of a life insurance policy can be tricky. Like a deed, some people mistakenly think that if they don’t possess the actual paper form of the policy, then they don’t own the policy. Those thoughts are a myth; you still own your home if you don’t have your actual deed, and your deceased loved one still has a life insurance policy even if you can’t find the copy of the policy.

Deeds in Ohio are public record and can be obtained by anyone; however, information about a life insurance policy can only be obtained by a beneficiary or a person who is authorized to receive information, like the surviving spouse or estate representative. 
 
Before you can start your search, however, you will need the policyholder’s full legal name, Social Security number, and state where the policy most likely originated. With those few details, a person who has the authority to do so should have the information he or she needs to find out if a life insurance policy exists for a loved one.

For tips and more information, click on the link below from the Ohio Department of Insurance:
Have you titled your safe deposit box so that it will avoid probate when you die?
 
A recent OSBA Digest post discussed how a bank required probate paperwork for the estate/trust representative to enter the safe deposit box to obtain the Will and securities in the safe deposit box, even though the securities were titled in the name of the trust of the person who died and owned the safe deposit box.
 
Following are a few ways for a safe deposit box to avoid probate:
 
  • If you are married and trust your spouse, add your spouse's name to the safe deposit box.
 
  • If you are single and have an only child who you trust and who is the sole beneficiary of your estate, add your child's name to the safe deposit box. We do not recommend adding the name of one child when you have other children.
 
  • If you have a trust, title your safe deposit box in the name of your trust.
 
  • If none of the above options work for you, ask your banker what else you can do.
 
Remember: Adding the name of an agent under a power of attorney is different than adding a joint owner because the power of attorney expires when you die.
By: David P. Meyer, Esq. Investment Loss Attorney
Following decades of hard work, many across the country depend on their 401(k), IRAs, and retirement savings to support them during retirement. Unfortunately, some are now discovering that the decline in the stock market has decimated their nest eggs. What's worse, some will find that their investment losses may have been avoidable. How can this be? Put simply, the bull market was covering up misconduct by negligent financial advisors.
After the crashes of 2000 and 2008, I represented hundreds of individual investors in claims against their financial advisors. I know that underneath the high tide of the bull market, the trash of unsuitable investments or other misconduct are waiting to be exposed.

In 2014, about five years into the most recent bull market, I published an article titled, "Is the Bull Market Covering Up Losses Caused by Stockbroker Misconduct?" I referenced the analogy of high tides in the oceans and bull markets. The article started,

"Calm seawater at high tide undoubtedly covers up millions of foreign objects on our beaches. Much like the camouflage a high tide offers, investors' damages resulting from their stockbroker's misconduct are often camouflaged during a bull market."

When markets go up for extended periods, it's difficult for most Main Street investors to know if their financial advisor is implementing a well-diversified investment portfolio. It's hard to tell because in a bull market most everything is going up in value. Investors rely on the expertise of their financial advisors to appropriately build and manage the portfolio. 

Here is where the dangers lie: most individual investors only focus on the bottom right of the first page of their account statements – did it go up or down? Is it green or red? When the value goes up (or if it doesn't materially decline), the investor is happy, and the advisor takes all the credit for the portfolio gains. When the tide is high, it's difficult to see what's below. However, when the tide goes down, that's when the harmful acts of negligent financial advisors are exposed.

The Wall Street machine will undoubtedly blame this market crash on "unforeseen circumstances," "the likes of which they have never seen." That's exactly what they said after the 2000 and 2008 crashes. Nobody thinks they should have foreseen this particular cause behind the crash. Still, planning for the unknown and unexpected is precisely why an investor pays their financial advisor.

If the markets always went up, why would anyone need to hire a financial professional? Advisors get paid to recommend and implement an investment strategy. That strategy is supposed to be appropriate for each investor based on the investor's age, time horizon, investment objectives, risk tolerance, and liquidity needs. Fortunately for many, the prudent advisors do just that . Unfortunately, far too many advisors, many of whom have a history of customer complaints filed against them, do not comply with their obligations.

Many investors who are retired - or are planning to retire soon - are experiencing massive declines in their investment portfolios caused by the most recent market crash. These losses may be the result of the financial advisors' over-concentration, unsuitable investments, breach of fiduciary duty, an improper recommendation of margin, or illiquid private investments. The tide has once again receded, exposing the misconduct of negligent financial advisors.
About the Author:

Attorney David Meyer is the founding principal of the Meyer Wilson law firm. He leads the firm's nationwide investor claims practice group, which over the past 20 years, has represented over 1,000 individual investors from across the country in claims against their financial advisors for investment misconduct. Mr. Meyer served as lead counsel for hundreds of retirees in a class action against Prudential Securities and won a jury verdict of over $261 million. To learn more about David Meyer and the investment fraud practice group of the Meyer Wilson law firm, visit www.InvestorClaims.com   
The death of a husband is overwhelming and life-changing. The Young Widows and Widows’ Support Groups were founded by several widows who survived this shattering, painful experience and offers emotional support, guidance, friendship, and hope to women of all ages whose husbands have died.   

The death of a husband, at any age, can be an overwhelming loss, but the loss for a young widow in her twenties, thirties, and forties is different. Issues involving children, unfulfilled dreams, finances, and loneliness just aren’t the same. 
In addition, a young widow rarely knows other widowed women her age. It is for that reason why there are two different support groups: one for young widows and one for widows who are over the age of fifty.
   
For more information about the Young Widows' Support Group, visit the  website , call Pam Walker at 937.672.8810, or email  DaytonYWSG@gmail.com .  For further information about the Widows' Support Group, call Sherry Matsel at 937.878.9707 or email  imboo25@yahoo.com .

UPDATE : For the time being, the monthly meetings have been suspended due to the temporary closure of Normandy United Methodist Church. Please stay tuned on our firm's Facebook page to receive updates about when the meetings will resume the regular monthly schedule.
March 6, 2020:

"It's Flyer Fever at Roberson Law! Not only is Nancy Roberson an Elder Law professor at UD School of Law, we have three UD graduates at our office. Congratulations to the Dayton Flyers for getting chosen as the host of ESPN's College GameDay tomorrow due the stellar success of the men's basketball team this season. March Madness is definitely in the air. Go Flyers!" 
March 20, 2020:

"Chief Justice O'Connor of the Ohio Supreme Court addressed the public yesterday about the current state of legal operations in Ohio. She reiterated that the courts MUST remain open for emergency and time urgent matters. In addition, the Supreme Court is requiring that the courts keep up "necessary actions." So essential members of the court must be able to continue to work. Examples of the essential members included..." - Read More