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Borrowing Against Retirement Accounts

When Americans face financial stress they turn to their retirement accounts for liquid assets.  Pensions, 401K plans and 403B plans are where Americans are turning to for quick infusions of cash.

In this past year borrowing from retirement accounts hit new highs.  It is estimated that more than 15% of all individuals who have money in retirement accounts have borrowed from these accounts.  Are Americans borrowing to the point that they won’t have sufficient funds when they retire?  According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, more than a quarter of all retirement plans have outstanding loans against them.

The Effect of Borrowing From Retirement Accounts

Retirement accounts are designed to maximize compounded returns on your investments.  Financial advisers believes most people do not have the discipline to pay back the loans against their retirement accounts and are therefore discounting the funds available when they retire.  If you lose your job or change your employment, you will be unable to pay back the outstanding loan on your retirement account.  If you borrow money against your retirement account and pay a portion of it back and thereafter are fired or moved to a new job, the unpaid portion will be considered a taxable distribution and taxed at income tax rates. You can also be stuck paying a 10% penalty if you default on paying back the loan against your retirement account.

New York Estate Planning Lawyer

Everyone will eventually die.  The issue we face is we don’t know when this will take place.  From my point of view, the later the better! When you pass on you want to simplify the issues your loved ones will face on your estate.  The Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo can help you achieve this goal.  We draft wills. We probate wills. We litigate contested will issues.  We can advise you regarding issues concerning estate taxes.

We draft revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts.  We also draft special needs trusts for special needs children.  We can advise you concerning medicaid planning techniques and other medicaid issues. We litigate nursing home abuse cases.

We are estate planning, probate and elder care attorneys.  Call us for a free consultation regarding wills, trusts and estate matters

What Wills Can’t Do

WillsTrusts-150x150There are many very important uses for wills. However, there are things for which wills were not designed and cannot accomplish. The following are a list of things that can NOT be dealt with in a will:

1. If you own assets in a “joint tenancy” with another individual, or a “tenancy by the entirety” (a marital estate), you cannot dispose of the assets in a will since there are two owners of the assets. If one party dies, the surviving party inherits all of the remaining assets.

2. If you have a life insurance policy with a named beneficiary, you cannot change the beneficiary designation in a will. To change a beneficiary designation, you must contact the life insurance company and fill out a “change of beneficiary” form.

3. Stocks and bonds that have a beneficiary designation, such as transfer upon death (TOD) cannot be bequeathed in a will. To change the beneficiary designation on these types of stocks or bonds, you must contact the security company that holds the security and fill out the appropriate paperwork.

4. Pension plans, 401K plans, 403B plans, IRA’s, SEP’s and other retirement plans that have a named beneficiary cannot be impacted by a will. To change the beneficiary designations, you must contact the administrator of the plan and complete a “change of beneficiary” form. However, if the beneficiaries predecease you or there are no beneficiaries named, you can name a beneficiary for this asset in a will. This also applies to life insurance policies and annuities.

5. Bank accounts that have a “payable on death” feature or a beneficiary designation cannot be devised under a will. For example, if you have a bank account and it says “pay to my daughter Sue”, and you write a will indicating proceeds in that account are to be paid to your son John, the designation in the bank account will control.

6. You cannot leave contingent gifts in a will. An example would be a gift that is contingent upon a person becoming married, divorced or changing his or her religion. However, you can put a clause in a will leaving money to a son to pay for his college education. In the event the son does not go to college, those funds could be used for another purpose.

7. You cannot have a clause in a will that goes against public policy or is illegal. An example of this would be an attempt to leave money in a will for the purpose of buying illegal drugs.

8. You can’t make appropriate arrangements for a child or family member with special needs in a will. A special needs trust is required for this purpose.

9. Wills may not contain clauses that leave assets to pets. For example, you cannot leave $10,000 to your dog Rover. However, you are allowed to leave money to an individual taking care of your dog, or a trust can be set up and funded through your will to pay for such care.

Should you have any questions regarding wills, trusts and estates, feel free to contact the attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo, by email or at 1-800-344-6431.

Division of Property in a Divorce

homepage-property-divisionThe division of assets in a divorce can be a significant issue. Lawyers are expensive. They charge on an hourly basis. A “common sense” approach to division of assets can reduce your legal expenses.

Both parties may have deferred compensation assets, such as pensions, 401Ks, 403Bs, and IRAs. You should establish the value of these assets and trade them off if possible.

If the man uses the power tools on a regular basis, the majority of these tools should be given to him. If the woman utilizes a sewing machine or other items of that nature, she would be the logical owner of this equipment.

Disagreements Concerning Property Division

The division of property should only be brought to the court as a last resort. Litigating property division issues can be very expensive. An alternative to dealing with property division issues is to simply sell the property and divide the cash. Unfortunately, used personal assets generally do not generate a reasonable sales price at a tag sale.

Should you have questions concerning division of property, contact the family law attorneys at the Law Offices of Schlissel DeCorpo by email or at 1-800-344-6431.

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