Corrections or additions?
These articles by Teena Chandy and Barbara Fox were published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on June 23, 1999.
All rights reserved.
Estate Planning, Cradle To . .
It is surprising how many people have not executed
living wills and power of attorneys, says Dana Rozansky of Begley,
Begley & Fendrick, based in Moorestown. "It is important that
you exercise your right to determine who gets whatever you have and
who is permitted to assist you if you are incapacitated, even if you
don’t have any assets." If you have not prepared these documents
yourself, Rozansky says, a court may make these decisions for you.
"This can be more expensive and more aggravating to family members."
Rozansky, along with Elaine J. Ruden of Ruden & Cramer, will
be speaking about "Legal Tools for Financial Management" on
Thursday, June 24, at 10 a.m. at the New Jersey State Bar Foundation,
New Jersey Law Center in New Brunswick. The event is free by reservation,
Rozansky will discuss the various documents essential to meet your
estate planning needs. For instance, some may confuse a living will
with a power of attorney.
so you can dictate how your health care will be managed if you are
to appoint family members, friends, or other individuals to pay your
bills and manage your assets when you cannot do it yourself.
of 1992, and graduated from George Washington University Law School
in 1995. She clerked in the civil division of the New Jersey Supreme
Court in Mercer County before joining Begley, Begley & Fendrick two
years ago, where she specializes in elder law.
"It is actually more legal planning than financial planning,"
says Rozansky. Individuals in second marriages, with disabled children,
and other such special situations should have their wills tailored
exactly to their situation, says Rozansky. "It is important that
you don’t go to a stationery store and get a generic living will or
power of attorney. These are documents that are very crucial and determine
the outcome of a person’s life."
In addition to wills, living wills, and powers of attorney, you also
have to do nursing home financial planning, says Rozansky. "Nursing
homes charge an excess of $5,000 a month for care and that can be
shattering to a family’s finances," says Rozansky. "Especially
if the person is married, it is important to support the standard
of living for the person living at home."
With proper financial planning you will not need to be impoverished
if you need nursing home care, says Rozansky. You can protect your
home, your income, your life insurance policies, and make sure your
spouse at home has something to live on. You may even be able to transfer
assets to a child and not be penalized for it. "Unfortunately,"
says Rozansky, "the federal and state governments do not make
these clauses well known because they don’t want you to do any planning.
It is important that you learn what your legal rights are. It can
be devastating to watch your assets be depleted."
Many people postpone estate planning because they are nervous that
their appointed agents may take advantage of them or try to control
their lives while they are healthy. You can prevent that by appointing
co-agents to watch over each other and by drafting the document to
say that the power to act on your behalf will not come into effect
till you are determined to be mentally incapacitated, says Rozansky.
"Anybody over the age of 18 who has any assets at all should consider
having these documents," says Rozansky. Even younger people can
come down with an illness that will require an extended stay in a
long-term care facility. If you plan for these events it does not
necessarily mean that you will need these documents, or need to use
them sooner. "If you carry your umbrella," says Rozansky,
"it doesn’t rain. But if you don’t have your umbrella with you,
you are going to get wet."
— Teena Chandy
You have the opportunity, says Margaret A. Malaspina,
to control more of your retirement resources than did members of your
parents’ generation. In her new book "Don’t Die Broke: How to
Turn Your Retirement Savings into Lasting Income" (Bloomberg Press,
$21.95), she gives chapter and verse on how to do that well.
"People spend years thinking about retirement, planning for retirement,
and saving for retirement," says Peter Lynch, vice chairmen
of Fidelity Management and Research Company. "But they spend no
time thinking about what they can and should do with the money they’ve
put away in their retirement savings plans. The issues are complicated.
Mistakes are costly. And there’s no dress rehearsal. `Don’t Die Broke’
can help you crack the code. There’s not another book like it."
Malaspina debunks current myths: It’s not true that, in the past,
most Americans worked for one employer and were covered by lifetime
pensions. Neither is it true that American companies have abandoned
their retirement plans. And, contrary to some predictions, Social
Security will not fail before the next generation retires.
But today’s retirement will, indeed, be different from the way your
parents did it. People live longer, work part-time in retirement,
and don’t change their spending patterns until they get to be 85.
And, ever since 1974, employees have been able to make before-tax
contributions to an Individual Retirement Account or IRA.
Malaspina starts by helping you find your retirement resources (what
about that company you worked for 10 years ago, did you leave something
behind?) and takes you by the hand to tally up your various assets.
Then she goes step by step through all the confusing deadlines, such
as early withdrawal or too-late withdrawal penalties, and other common
Like most successful "how to" books, this one is full of numbers
and is written in an anecdotal style. Perhaps that is because Malaspina
was a writer before she became a financial expert. As a vice president
in the early 1980s at Fidelity Investments, she influenced the communications
policies of one of the nation’s largest investment companies. She
also launched the book-writing career of guru/pundit Lynch and helped
start Worth magazine.
When it comes to drawing out your funds, says Malaspina, how you choose
an adviser depends on how much you have:
mutual fund and a systematic withdrawal from your employer’s plan.
that offers tailored portfolios, good service, and low fees.
Ask about credentials, track record, and fees.
"If your affairs are complicated, this is not a job for a generalist
— not even a smart, hard-working one," she says. "You
wouldn’t put your cancer in the hands of your general practitioner.
Give your retirement plan assets the same consideration."
— Barbara Fox
into Lasting Income" (Bloomberg Press, 1999, $21.95).
Corrections or additions?
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