Trusts For Incapacity And Control | By Dawn M. Dale, Esq.

Va_Woman_Magazine_July_Aug_2016_Page_25In the last issue of the Virginia Woman Magazine, I shared my belief that the decision to incorporate a Trust into an estate plan should be based upon careful consideration of a number of factors. Two of these factors – incapacity and control – will be explored in this article. A trust is a complex legal structure that provides a set of detailed

A trust is a complex legal structure that provides a set of detailed instructions to the trustee (i.e., the person that manages the trust) on how and when the trust assets will be used for the named beneficiaries. With a Revocable Living Trust, you are the beneficiary during your lifetime, and very often, you will serve as the initial Trustee. After your death, the Trust serves as a tool to manage your assets for the benefit of your beneficiaries. Similarly, there are many forms of irrevocable trusts that can be established during your lifetime for the benefit of others. As our population ages, the risk of developing

As our population ages, the risk of developing dementia-related illnesses increases. The Alzheimer’s Association recently published a number of startling statistics (See http://www.alz.org/facts/). Currently, there are over 5 million people in America living with Alzheimer’s disease, someone new develops the disease every 66 seconds and 1 in 3 Americans dies with Alzheimer’s or some other form of dementia. Without a breakthrough in the prevention and cure of the illness, it is expected that the number of individuals afflicted with the disease will triple by 2050 with someone developing the disease every 33 seconds. In addition to Alzheimer’s, there are many illnesses that impact cognitive function and they can develop suddenly or over time. When cognitive
function is impaired, the ability to manage our personal and financial decisions is impacted. As the level of impairment increases, it becomes necessary to rely on others to handle decisions for us.

For all of these situations, a trust can be extremely valuable tool. The trustee can assume responsibility for the more complex financial decisions and, as the impairment escalates, our day-to-day financial management and decision making. It can provide flexibility, ease of administration and avoid the publicity involved with court supervised guardianship and conservatorship hearings and reporting.

Similar benefits can be achieved by using a trust for our heirs. For beneficiaries suffering from a cognitive impairment or physical disability, a trust can be used to manage an inheritance and provide clear guidance on the manner in which the funds will be used to provide for the beneficiary. It is even possible to structure these trusts to enable the beneficiary to continue eligibility for government programs, such as SSDI and Medicare, while using inherited funds to supplement government support.

Often times, it is desirable to restrict a beneficiary’s access to an inheritance – not because of a true medical disability, but for reasons such as the beneficiary’s age (legally a minor), lack of maturity/wisdom, the lack of experience in financial matters, history of poor decision making in the areas of spending, drug and/or alcohol usage, susceptibility to influence/pressure by others or a desire to protect the beneficiary from future claims of creditors or divorcing spouses. At other times, a pool of funds might be set aside for benefit of a group of beneficiaries, such as an education fund for grandchildren or a health care fund for aging parents and siblings. The terms of these trusts can be carefully drafted to address the situation at hand and ensure that your wealth is being managed for the benefit of your loved ones and used in accordance with your wishes for years, and even decades, to come. If you would like to discuss whether a trust makes sense for you and your

If you would like to discuss whether a trust makes sense for you and your estate plan, please call to schedule a complimentary consultation.

By Dawn M. Dale, Esq.
McLean, Virginia 22102
(703) 244-6611
Dawn@KeyStoneLawPLLC.com

Do I Need A Trust? | Dawn M. Dale, Esq.

LoudounMayJune2016HighResNoBleeds_Page_25I have received a number of calls about estate planning and it is very interesting how many people believe that they MUST have a trust as part of their estate plan. At first, I thought this meant that these individuals had spent some time reading about estate planning, which is wonderful. I am a big proponent of educating oneself. However, in too many of these cases, I learned that this belief was based solely upon the “advice” they received while attending a seminar, often over dinner at a nice restaurant or by attending a “free” webinar.

Like the presenters of these events, I believe that trusts are extremely valuable tools and the incorporation of a trust as part of one’s estate plan should be carefully considered. Where I differ,  however, is that I do not believe that the use of a trust is right for everyone. Unlike a Will, Advance Medical Directive and Durable Power of Attorney, the decision to incorporate a trust into your plan should be based upon careful consideration of a number of factors.

So, what are some of the key factors:
Incapacity
Are you concerned about a potential incapacity? Do you anticipate having someone assume management of some, or all, of your financial affairs?

Size and Nature of Your Estate
What is the value of your estate? Do you own real estate in multiple states or even countries? Do you have business interests that you want to be managed and maintained for your heirs?

Your Beneficiaries
Who are the intended recipients of your assets? Are any of them minors, have special needs or suffer from a disability? Are you concerned about their ability to manage wealth or the potential loss of wealth in the event of a divorce or a creditor claim?

Dispositive Goals
Do you intend to leave your estate outright to your beneficiaries? Do you want to benefit multiple people with some portion of your estate over a period of time (i.e., a pool of funds to provide educational assistance to all of your grandchildren)? Do you want to provide protection from the claims of a divorcing spouse and creditors? Do you want to provide for professional management of your estate while your beneficiaries are young or do not possess the knowledge and experience to manage the inheritance?

Privacy
Generally the terms of a trust remain a private matter, whereas the terms of a will become a matter of public record.

Cost
Including a trust in your estate plan will increase the cost of preparing the documents. After your death, the trust becomes a separate and distinct taxpayer so there will be costs associated with preparing the income tax return. There may also be a fee charged by the trustee to manage the trust assets.

Complexity
A trust adds complexity. It is a separate legal entity which must be managed properly.

In summary, the decision to include a trust as part of your plan should be based on an analysis of your unique situation and an evaluation of the costs and benefits of the trust. Situations change and this decision should be re-evaluated during your periodic estate plan reviews. If you would like to learn more, please call to schedule an appointment.

Dawn M. Dale, JD, LL.M., CFP®
McLean, Virginia 22102
(703) 244-6611
Dawn@KeyStoneLawPLLC.com

How Money-Wise Are You? | Valerie P. Kaiser

LoudounMarApr2016HRNB_Page_11Many women are more involved with their finances now, than compared to a few short years ago. But, are they getting the most out of their investment or investing in line with their life stage? To take full advantage of the opportunities in the financial markets and ensure that your money matters are sound today and tomorrow, it is important to take even greater control of your financial future.

Financial security has become a top priority among women. And, security about any topic is rooted in confidence and knowledge. Part of becoming a
savvy investor is making a commitment to learn to learn about investment basics and increasing your ability to confidently manage your finances.

Be involved in your money matters

When it comes to household responsibilities, many couples find it easier and more productive to divide and conquer. This may be a sound practice
for household chores, but it is not a strategy that should be followed when finances are concerned. It is more important for both spouses to be equally
involved in all joint financial discussions and decisions.

Develop the ability to manage your own assets

There is a 90% likelihood that a woman will be financially self-reliant at some point in her life due to divorce, becoming a widow, or choosing to marry later in life or not at all.*

Do your homework

Successful investors research option and thoroughly understand what they are buying. Women are responsible for most of the consumer purchases
in the U.S. This shows that women are generally educated and careful consumers, which can make them savvy investors, too.

Put your needs first

If you are like most women, you spend a good amount of time taking care of others – and that sometimes means setting our own needs aside. But,
investing for your own retirement is a necessity that you cannot afford to put off.

Step outside your comfort zone

An important part of investing is to identify the amount of risk you are comfortable with. When it comes to their investments, women tend to be less willing to accept risk and generally gravitate toward ‘safer’ investments. Following the strategy could leave you more susceptible to the long-term effects of inflation which could make it more difficult to achieve your financial goals. While no investment should keep you awake at night, considering options that carry slightly more risk than you build a strong financial foundation. Your financial professional can help identify appropriate options that will continue to support your goals.

*Wise Women Money Quiz: How Money Wise Are You? Cynthia Fick, 2011

Valerie P. Kaiser, CFP®
703-610-4073
625 Elden Street. Suite 203 Herndon, VA 20170
www.kaiserfinancialsolutions.com

Creating Your Personal Financial Strategy in 2016 | By Valerie P. Kaiser

LoudounJanFeb2016HR_Page_17While many firms do strategic planning, we want you to know, we not only do it, we do it well.

Helping our clients to clearly define objectives to create credible and focused plans with results is our goal. Looking forward to serving you and helping you throughout 2016 and beyond.

Consider the checklist:

Prepare And Follow A Spending Plan
More than half of adults do NOT have budget. Putting it on paper or your wireless device is essential to your success. Without a budget and a plan
for spending, it is difficult to achieve your goals. Make it your business to sit down in January. Plan your year with a budget for spending and saving.

Pay All Bills On Time
Nearly 24% of all adults do not pay bills on time.* Paying bills on time will increase your credit score and also allow for better rates when borrowing.
It is always a good thing to do the right thing. Make paying all bills on time a part of your DNA and a positive character trait you embrace. It is never
too late to make the shift. Changing bad habits NOW and the way you handle credit including bill paying will benefit you in the long run.

Review And Update All Legal Documents
• Will
• Trust
• Contracts
• Citizenship
• Passport

Review Homeowners Insurance
Don’t forget to add newly acquired high value items including jewelry, art, etc.

Estimate Federal And State Income Tax In Advance
January is the perfect time. Determine if you can contribute more to your tax deferred retirement plan or IRA to reduce your 2015 taxes.

Review Health Insurance Plan
Call the member service line to discuss your health insurance plan. Review all benefits. Plan to change from year to year.

Review Life Insurance Coverage
Make sure you have adequate coverage. Consider supplemental benefits and coverage including disability, long term care and additional health insurance depending on life cycle changes.

Check Your Credit
Clean up any unresolved issues in your credit history.

Calculate Your Net Worth
Assets minus liabilities equals net worth – Make sure yours is positive!

Review Al Long And Short Term Debt
If disaster strikes (house burns down, unexpected surgeries, etc.) will you and your family be OK.
• Plan accordingly
• Stay committed
• Create and live your plan

And have a great year!

Valerie P. Kaiser, CFP®
703-610-4073
625 Elden Street. Suite 203 Herndon, VA 20170
www.kaiserfinancialsolutions.com

Val Connects The Dots… Career Transitions | Valerie P. Kaiser CFP

LoudounNovDec2015HighResNoBleeds_Page_27Part Two – Discover Your Purpose, What Are Your Intentions?

Leaving the security of a manager position in the corporate world with a six-figure salary and 10 weeks of paid time off for my new career as a New York Life agent with commissions only compensation was both daunting and exciting. I was following my dream for autonomy and control so that I could help others. It was a challenge that I embraced knowing that I had my family’s support. Any new business takes about five years to become established. We had our work cut out for us!

It was very soon after that I discovered that I was pregnant with my fifth child. Waiting to complete our family was not an option since I was in my forties. Growing a new business and having a baby at the same time sharpened my focus on what is most important – people. I often say that I take care of my family and my clients.

Both my growing family and business have rewarded me many times over these last 19 years. As my youngest soon enters college, my business is preparing for another expansion as we merge our practice with another established firm. In the New Year, we will announce our new business name as we finalize our merger with Tony Fulkerson, CFP® of Fulkerson Financial Group. Please note our new location in Herndon at 625 Elden Street, Suite 203. More to come soon!

In the meantime, we will continue to focus on our clients and their most important financial goals. Our purpose is to help People; our intention is to provide ongoing guidance and support to help them realize their dreams. One important part of that is to become A S.M.A.R.T. spender. Set S.M.A.R.T. financial goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound) and create a spending plan in 4 steps:

1. List your income
2. Compare your income and expenses
3. List your expenses
4. List your resources and set priorities

Next, develop a savvy investment strategy: Finding the right mix of investments depends on your available assets, your financial goals, your time horizon, and your tolerance for risk. It is important to ensure a balance between three things: liquidity, return, and risk. Start systematically investing as soon as you are able so that a reasonable amount is saved, even after just a few years. The compounding effect can help to speed up your savings.

Remember, you are your most important asset: For most people, human capital is the missing piece of their portfolio. You insure your car, in the event you get into an accident. You insure your belongings, in case they’re lost or stolen. Your biggest asset is your ability to get up every day and provide for your family, whether by working or being the primary care giver. How do you insure your biggest asset?

Interested in learning more? We are here to help you get started.

Valerie P. Kaiser, CFP®
703-610-4073
625 Elden Street. Suite 203 Herndon, VA 20170
www.kaiserfinancialsolutions.com

Val Connects the Dots…Career Transitions

LoudounWOJOSeptOct2015_Page_11When I reflect on my journey and where I am today, I realize how far I have travelled. My story has many happy endings through determination, a network of support from family and friends and solid financial means.

From Navy Junior to college grad, military wife and mother, divorced mother of three, remarriage, blended family, mother of five, grandmother of five and two careers, OH MY!!

Each challenge I have faced was both life-enhancing and significant. Growing up in a Navy family, I moved nearly every year to face a new neighborhood, school and the “butterflies” of joining a new community. This lifestyle prepared me to fit in with many groups and situations. Living abroad in Italy and Germany gave me new perspectives to appreciate different cultures – that differences are to be noted and valued for their uniqueness; not viewed as being superior or inferior.

My graduations from high school in Italy and college in Virginia seemed distant as I married an Army Officer at the age of 21 and we had three children in five years. I soon realized that I needed a better way for my children and me. Considering single parenthood with three young children and re-entering the workforce after 11 years as a homemaker, I courageously took the steps to dissolve my marriage. With the weight of making a decision that would affect so many, I know that to succeed, I needed financial stability for my children. I started my first career in Information Technology as a systems analyst, based on my education; a degree from The College of William & Mary in Business Management.

Divorce means financial setbacks and many years of recovery. I was 34 and entering a new career at entry-level wages. The child support helped pay the mortgage, but the rest was on me. I labored over my monthly budget, counting each penny while sitting at the kitchen table with my ledger. I felt sure that I could make as long as there were no emergencies.

Within the year, a promotion and new position at another firm allowed some breathing room. I doubled my salary in a year and caught up with my cohorts! Being a single parent was the most difficult challenge I have ever faced – working all day then coming home to work for another five hours. Yet, I was rewarded with growing strength and confidence. I felt invincible! In another 11 years, my entrepreneur career blossomed… to be continued.

You are Powerful BUT Are you Prepared? | Valerie P. Kaiser CFP

LWM_MJ15_web_Page_21Many women are more involved with their finances now, than compared to a few short years ago. But, are they getting the most out of their investment or investing in line with their life stage?

To take full advantage of the opportunities in the financial markets and ensure that your money matters are sound today and tomorrow, it is important to take even greater control of your financial future.

Financial security has become a top priority among women. And, security about any topic is rooted in confidence and knowledge. Part of becoming a
savvy investor is making a commitment to learn to learn about investment basics and increasing your ability to confidently manage your finances.

  • Be involved in your money matters… When it comes to household responsibilities, many couples find it easier and more productive to divide and conquer. This may be a sound practice for household chores, but it is not a strategy that should be followed when finances are concerned. It is more important for both spouses to be equally involved in all joint financial discussions and decisions.
  • Develop the ability to manage your own assets… There is a 90% likelihood that a woman will be financially self-reliant at some point in her life due to divorce, becoming a widow, or choosing to marry later in life or not at all.
  • Do your homework… Successful investors research option and thoroughly understand what they are buying. Women are responsible for most of the consumer purchases in the U.S. This shows that women are generally educated and careful consumers, which can make them savvy investors, too.
  • Put your needs first… If you are like most women, you spend a good amount of time taking care of others – and that sometimes means setting our own needs aside. But, investing for your own retirement is a necessity that you cannot afford to put off.
  • Step outside your comfort zone… An important part of investing is to identify the amount of risk you are comfortable with. When it comes
    to their investments, women tend to be less willing to accept risk and generally gravitate toward ‘safer’ investments. Following the strategy
    could leave you more susceptible to the long-term effects of inflation which could make it more difficult to achieve your financial goals.

While no investment should keep you awake at night, considering options that carry slightly more risk than you build a strong financial foundation. Your financial professional can help identify appropriate options that will continue to support your goals.

By Valerie P. Kaiser, CFP®
703-610-4073
www.kaiserfinancialsolutions.com

Don’t Depend on Uncle Sam for HER Retirement | Valerie P. Kaiser, CFP

LWMMarchApril2015small_Page_25Twenty years ago, retirement was a time to look forward to and savor. But, today, we live in uncertain times. So, for most working adults, retirement has become very complex—requiring years of planning, a well-thought-out strategy, and a phase to be put off as much as possible.

We’re living more years in retirement.

Why? Thanks to medical advances and healthier lifestyles, people are living longer. In the early 20th century, life expectancy was 47.3 years vs. today’s life span of nearly 79 years.1 According to data from the Social Security Administration, a man who lives to 65 will live on average to age 84, while women of the same age should live to age 86.2 Or course, this is good news; but we need to be prepared for it. Company-sponsored pensions have all but become extinct so personal planning is more important than ever.

Social Security is a declining benefit.

28 percent is the share of pre-retirement income that Social Security bene ts will replace in 2030. An average earner who retired at 65 in 2002 received net benefits equal to 39 percent of pre-retirement income. By 2030, the replacement rate will have declined to 28 percent due to a scheduled increase in the Social Security Normal Retirement Age (NRA), higher Medicare deductions, and income taxes levied on Social Security bene ts. The NRA, also referred to as the full retirement age, is the age at which a worker can receive Social Security bene ts that are not reduced for early retirement.

And if you believe that Social Security will be enough to support you, think again. For retirees in 2013, if you retire at the full age of 66, our maximum monthly benefit is $2,533—not enough for many of you to live comfortably.

Women are more focused on long-term financial goals, including those relating to family. With a longer life expectancy, women generally assign
higher levels of importance to long-term  nancial goals than men. Three-quarters of women say it is very important to have enough money to
maintain their lifestyle throughout retirement versus 65% of men, for example, and 72% of women say it is very important not to outlive or spend all of their savings versus 66% of men. Meanwhile, 60% of women say it is very important to maintain a standard of living for their family in case of their own unexpected death or disability. Just 49% of men give that goal comparable.

Women preparing for retirement: plans and personal saving 

Women would be much better prepared for retirement if they earned as much as men. According to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, at any given pay level, women are more likely to participate in a retirement plan than men. A major reason they do not have a higher participation rate overall is that they typically earn less than men: 77 cents on the dollar for full-time workers in 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

After years of lagging behind, women are now only slightly less likely than men to participate in a retirement plan: 51.0 percent versus 51.2 percent for
full-time private-sector workers ages 25 to 64 in 2008, according to an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Congressional Research Service. Personal saving and investing strategies using various financial products can help meet long term  nancial goals in addition to Social Security and retirement plans. We  nd that most of our clients prefer using a diversified approach in creating their long term strategy. Key features include: access to account values before normal retirement age, guarantees, tax deferred growth, and tax-free access. Flexibility in the plan is critical to long term success.

By Valerie P. Kaiser, CFP®
www.kaiserfinancialsolutions.com

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