We have seen beautiful plans fail because of bad financial planning – whether assets were lost, or families were given TERRIBLE advice. Our interdisciplinary approach counts the Financial Pillar as important (if not more important) than the other pillars – to be successful in your retirement, you need all four disciplines – Legal, Health, Financial and Tax to work well and support each other.

If you envision a triangle representing 3 options for investing, being Safety, Growth, and Liquidity, we often find families heavily in the categories that DON’T reflect either where they want to be, or where they should perhaps be – whether they have taken unnecessary risk in the stock market, or failed to take advantage of appropriate strategies to help ensure their financial success.

Without fiscal security, the best Will may not work – if there is nothing to leave!

Or how will you pay for long term care if needed?

Do you know HOW you are invested, and do you know WHY you are invested the way you are? Most people DON’T! Are you concerned about the market, and can you handle a market downturn? Do you have “a lot” in CDs or money market or bank accounts, because you don’t know where else to invest safely? We can help answer ALL of these questions and help guide you towards success, with our Retirement Success Process™ where we review your unique situation as against the Four Pillars of Legal, Health, Financial and Tax to help set you up for the best possible future.

Financial – Risk vs. Return

A bank account is pretty safe. It also doesn’t return very much income – these days you’re LUCKY to get 1% interest – with a typical inflation rate of about 2%, your buying power may be eroding every year.

Contrast the stock market – where you can make a lot of money…or you can lose a lot of money. Investing that way is FAR less stable (and potentially far less safe) than the mundane bank account.

We can help you review your investments and come up with a plan to maximize your returns, for the level of risk you are willing (or able) to tolerate.

Financial SOS – Second Opinion Service

With our Second Opinion Service (SOS) we can review WHAT you have, and render an opinion as to how appropriate or not it is for you.

Arrows, Quivers, Hammers, and Nails – “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.” We have the training to spot “Hammer/Nail” and “one trick pony” types of investing. We see it all the time. We prefer “adding another arrow to our quiver” – with MANY simple and sophisticated options and choices that can nicely coordinate with legal planning, we can help you come up with a financial plan that may do more, and be SAFER than what you already have.

Charitable Planning

At Garland Law Offices, P.A., we encourage and assist the tradition of giving to charitable causes. In addition to the many personal rewards inherent in making a charitable gift, most gifts also provide a current charitable income tax deduction. Some charitable giving strategies also save capital gains taxes, increase income, and provide you, or whomever you designate, with an income for life. Additionally, these types of gifts may provide an estate tax deduction — an important consideration in planning your estate.

Making the Most of Your Charitable Giving in New Jersey

If given the choice between paying taxes (involuntary philanthropy), or making a charitable gift (voluntary philanthropy), most people would choose the latter, because it gives them the benefit of knowing who the money will benefit and how it will be used. The same cannot be said for money paid to the U.S. Treasury. We help clients make charitable gifts and practice good stewardship in the most tax-efficient manner.

There are many different ways to make charitable gifts:

  • A charitable remainder trust or a charitable gift annuity will give you an immediate income tax deduction, a lifetime stream of income, and a waiver of capital gains taxes owed on contributed property.
  • A charitable lead trust creates an income stream to charity for a term of years with the remainder of the trust going to your children without any estate or gift tax consequences.
  • A private foundation offers you the considerable freedom to control amounts given by placing restrictions on how your gifts are used by charities.
  • A donor advised fund allows you to maximize your income tax savings on your regular monthly or weekly contributions to church or charities.

Retirement Planning

Just a moment ago you were in the thick of your busy, busy peak earning years. Now, you can see a new adventure is rapidly approaching your front windshield. What is it?


Are you getting ready?

Chances are good that your children have left the nest. Perhaps you are assisting your aging parents with their personal, health care and financial responsibilities.

As in your peak earning years, this would be a good time to create (or revisit) your estate plan, make sure your adult children and parents have their legal ducks-in-a-row, too.

Unfortunately, many married couples mistakenly believe that they can make personal, health care and financial decisions for one another should either spouse become legally incapacitated due to a serious injury or illness. Nothing could be further from reality!

Without proper estate planning in advance to appoint your spouse as the incapacity decision-maker, he or she will not have legal authority to make even fundamental decisions for you (or affecting both of you). For example, medical privacy laws will bar access to your medical records and the ability to consult with your attending physician, financial laws limit control over your finances, and IRS regulations will prohibit filing a “legal” joint income tax return … for starters.

Unless you legally appoint the decision-maker of your own selection in advance through proper estate planning, then a probate judge will select one for you. While the judge will likely appoint your spouse, the probate court process to accomplish this is expensive (it employs at least three attorneys), discloses your private personal and financial information to the public record and is a real hassle for your spouse.

Did you know that in the absence of proper estate planning, your assets may be distributed after death based on “one-size-fits-all” state laws written for people who do not have their own estate plan? Of course, this impersonal estate plan written by state lawmakers may not reflect your own unique circumstances and objectives for your spouse and assets.

In fact, depending on how you titled your assets and how your beneficiary designations are arranged, you may disinherit your own spouse and force your spouse to sue your estate!

Now, let’s consider something no married couple wants to think about.

What if one spouse dies and the other remarries?

Well, if you want to risk losing about half of what you have should the remarriage not work out or disinheriting your own children and grandchildren, then do nothing. On the other hand, it is best to go into a new relationship with both eyes open.

In short, the surviving spouse will need to have a legally enforceable premarital agreement inked before saying “I do” on his or her wedding day.

In a recent University of California study, researchers found that 60% of widowers are involved in a new relationship within two years after losing their wives, while only 20% of widows have a new relationship.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, men are 10 times more likely to remarry after age 65. And the average time before they are remarried is just 2.5 years. When dad remarries a new wife some 20 years his junior that can trigger all kinds of drama in the family, to say the least.

As you can see, planning for being single again includes planning for any new relationships on the future, while preserving (and protecting) the relationships you already have.

When it comes to your children, great care should be given to protect any inheritance both for them and from them. For starters, wealth representing a lifetime of your hard work and thrift can be squandered in very short order. Dollars earned just spend differently than dollars inherited. In addition to good, old-fashioned squandering, an inheritance can quickly vanish through divorces, lawsuits and bankruptcies.

Fortunately, with proper (and very careful) estate planning, you can provide an inheritance that is protected for and even from your own children. Remember, two things you cannot choose in life are your own folks and the spouses of your children.

What is your plan to pay for long-term care, if you need it?

Have you noticed how expensive the continuum of care is? From in-home assistance to assisted living to skilled nursing the expenses can destroy savings and investments created over a lifetime of hard work and thrift.

As you near retirement, lock-in a long-term care insurance policy while you are still able to qualify physically and mentally. Some versions of coverage only pay if you need long-term care assistance, but others can now do double-duty and turn into life insurance if you do not need such assistance. That is a popular alternative to traditional long-term care insurance.

There is a 70% risk of needing long-term care once you reach age 65. Curiously, 70% of people think they will not be among those 70% needing care (i.e., denial) and 70% of people think Medicare will pay for it (i.e., ignorance)! You do not want to be in that 70% who are in denial, ignorant or both.

If you will need assistance with the activities of daily living (e.g., eating, bathing, dressing, toileting, and transferring), then you may want to hire a professional to take care of you instead of your children.

When you are ready for help with your long-term care planning through appropriate insurance, then we can help you find that, as well.

Fortunately, we can help you avoid probate and replace that impersonal, state-written, one-size-fits-all estate plan with one we design together for your unique circumstances and objectives. We even help you coordinate the beneficiary designations on your life insurance and retirement plans with your estate plan to avoid unpleasant, unintended consequences.

Asset Protection - Long Term Care & Family Investments

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Asset Protection - Long Term Care Expenses

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