Reno Gazette-Journal Sunday, October 2nd, 2022
Everyone knows that financial and legal awareness and planning are important. So how and why do tax planning and legal documents become even more important as we age? And, how do you plan for living your best life now as well as the best outcome for your heirs?
Some people believe a will is all they need to handle their personal affairs. Others think they don’t have enough assets to justify creating a trust. Most retirees don’t even consider the ramifications of a guardian being appointed to make decisions on their behalf as a result of failing to plan.
Then there is tax planning, especially for married couples. What is the tax implication of selling a home when downsizing and how does this differ after the death of a spouse? If there are capital gains, do they pass through to heirs? Does a surviving spouse have to pay capital gains? Are there ways to avoid paying taxes on inherited property? What is the time limit for selling a home after a spouse’s death to avoid capital gains? What about tax implications with social security, retirement accounts, maximizing different streams of income and minimizing taxes. And what about those Requirement Minimum Distributions (RMDs)?
What about the best way to get help maintaining financial independence as you age? Are there reputable individuals who will help with day-to-day finances such as paying household bills or balancing a checkbook?
Is the standard list of will, power of attorney and a trust sufficient? How do these work together and what are the loopholes that are easily overlooked in many wills and trusts? Are all legal documents created equal?
These are just some of the questions that will be addressed by panelists in the upcoming Retired Living Truth Seminar Series on October 13. Titled “The Truth about A CPA and an Attorney Walked into a Bar …and meet you!” the 90-minute session will cover many areas of tax and estate planning.
“There are many myths surrounding tax planning, trusts, wills and guardianship,” said seminar series organizer Brett Junell. “The upcoming seminar is intended to dispel some common myths and to help educate seniors about their options.
Panelist, Ryan Gutierrez, a local Certified Public Account (CPA), whose expert experience is in assisting individuals with their tax planning and accounting needs, will share some of the common challenges clients encounter and corresponding solutions. “There is definitely overlooked wisdom in the old saying, ‘If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.’” said Gutierrez
For instance, keeping full and accurate homeowner records is not only vital for claiming deductions on your tax return, but also for determining the basis or adjusted basis of your home.
These records include your purchase contract and settlement papers if you bought the property, or other objective evidence if you acquired it by gift, inheritance or similar means. You should also keep any receipts, canceled checks, and similar evidence for improvements or other additions to the basis.
“This seminar is an opportunity to learn more about how taxes and law become even more important as we age,” Junell added. “From tools that will help family members and other loved ones close out your estate, to protecting and maximizing your financial resources while living your best life. Hopefully we all want to be fully informed as it relates to our life, possessions, finances and other personal affairs.”
Another panelist is Richard Schulze of the Schulze Law Group. Schulze’s practice emphasizes Elder Law, tax, and estate planning for individuals. He is a frequent lecturer to the public on estate, Medicaid, business, asset protection and tax planning matters.
“A key to making informed decisions about what you want in retirement is advanced planning and education,” Schulze said. “It’s important to know your options and take action while you have the ability to do so on your own terms.”
“Most people think these documents are for when we are no longer here; however, many are very important for the living,” Schulze added.
There are so many questions that seniors haven’t even asked themselves. What if you have a serious fall and you can no longer climb upstairs to the bedroom you’ve enjoyed for the past 30 years? Or worse yet, you are incapacitated in some way and can’t return to your home. And what’s in store for your spouse in either scenario? And what if you don’t have a spouse to help with these decisions?
“Unfortunately, a will won’t help in this situation or many other common situations. A trust won’t help either,” Junell said. “Do you need a medical power of attorney? What about an advanced directive?”
So what documents are necessary and most appropriate? Expert panelists will discuss the differences between trusts and wills, as well as how these and other important documents can impact both you and your heirs.
“We want to make sure that seniors are armed with the right information and tools to be able to live the lifestyle they desire and be prepared should plans change due to health or other circumstances. It’s all about educating and empowering people to stay in charge,” said Junell.
For those interested in answers to these and many more questions about financial and legal awareness and planning, the upcoming seminar, “The Truth about A CPA and an Attorney Walked into a Bar …and meet you!” will provide many of the answers along with time allocated to direct your questions to the CPA and Attorney.
The free seminar, “The Truth about A CPA and an Attorney Who Walked into a Bar” will be held on Thursday, October 13 from 10-11:30 a.m. at the RSAR Building at 5650 Riggins Court, Reno (near Meadowood Mall).
The seminar is free for seniors and their guests. Pre-registration is required because seating is limited.
Seat reservations can be made online
at www.RetiredLivingTruthSeries.com or by calling (775) 432-6398.
by Eddie Roach