Short-Term Interest Rates – 2Q 2017

In a continuing effort to keep you informed, here are the current short-term interest rates available through our office:

                         One Year (12 Months)      =     1.25%
                         Three Year (36 Months)   =     2.00%
                      
These are the most competitive short-term interest rates currently being offered.


If you are interested in any of these short-term rates, please call us at 920-364-9929

* Please Note:  These are short-term, tax deferred annuity products.
You must be 59-1/2 years old, or older, in order to take withdrawals from your account.

SHORT-TERM INTEREST RATES

In a continuing effort to keep you informed, here are the current short-term interest rates available through our office:

                         One Year      =     1.65%
                         Three Year   =     2.40%
                      
These are the most competitive short-term interest rates currently being offered.


If you are interested in any of these short-term rates, please call us at 920-364-9929. 

 

* Please Note:  These are short-term, tax deferred annuity products.  
  You must be 59-1/2 years old, or older, to take withdrawals from your account.

 

 

Life Estates Affected by Wisconsin’s Medicaid Estate Recovery Program Changes

Important
CHANGES  TO  THE
ESTATE  RECOVERY  PROGRAM
BEGIN  AUGUST  1,  2014


Formerly, Wisconsin Medicaid Estate Recovery Program ( ERP ) did not pursue recovery from Life Estates.  ERP will now pursue recovery from Life Estates created on or after August 1, 2014.  The Department would recover only the life tenant’s interest remaining at the time of death.

For those people who currently have a Life Estate in place, you will be
grandfathered in as of August, 1, 2014.

Those interested in setting up a Life Estate to protect your property, please contact our office IMMEDIATELY to schedule an appointment.

APPOINTMENT DEADLINE IS JULY 16, 2014.  

CALL  920-364-9929

 

The Need for Will & Power of Attorney Documents

thumb-planningThe first of the year has come and gone and most resolutions have already been forgotten. If your resolution was to implement or update your Will and Power of Attorney documents, you need to get this done.

Stop procrastinating. Everyone needs a Will and Power of Attorney (POA) for Health Care and for Finance. In fact, your POAs should be your priority, even over a Will. Why you might ask…there are several answers to this question.

In the state of Wisconsin, if you’re married and your spouse becomes incapacitated, you cannot make any health care decisions or financial decisions on their behalf unless you are their Power of Attorney.

Your Will is the document that goes through probate. Our goal is to prevent your beneficiaries from having to go through probate. If all of your beneficiary designations are done, and done correctly, your Will simply ends up transferring your personal possessions to your beneficiaries.

For example, if you place a beneficiary designation on your bank or credit union accounts and that designation is Payable on Death (POD) those assets will then bypass probate without needing to be placed in your Will. This is just one of things that can be done in the beneficiary process that is free. Another is naming beneficiaries for your Life Insurance and retirement accounts, so they automatically bypass probate.

Other less expensive documents like a Life Estate will transfer titled property probate free and provide protection from a nursing home after the 5 year look back period has expired.

Our concern is not only that these important documents are part of your retirement plan but that they are done correctly. Far too often people buy other products or documents that are unnecessary, and potentially very costly, which provide the same if not lesser benefits.

Save yourself, your beneficiaries, and your estate a lot of time and money by implementing or updating your Will & Power of Attorney documents now.  Don’t wait another day, call us now for a FREE review of your Estate Plan.  If you don’t currently have an Estate Plan, call us to help you implement a plan today.

How can I avoid probate?

 Everyone wants to avoid having their loved ones go through probate when they pass away.  That being said, there are some simple things you can do right now to help ensure your estate avoids probate.                                                                                            Senior man giving woman piggyback ride

First, make sure to assign a POD (Payable On Death) beneficiary to all your bank accounts.  This is a simple form that you get from each bank or credit union where you have an account.  Upon completion, your assigned beneficiary (or beneficiaries) will receive your account funds when you pass away, thereby avoiding probate.  Please note: not all tellers are familiar with this form and you may need to talk to someone in member services.

Second, make sure and assign a TOD (Transfer On Death) beneficiary to all your brokerage accounts.  This is a form you have to obtain directly from the brokerage company where you have your accounts.  You complete it by assigning a beneficiary (or beneficiaries) who will receive your accounts when you pass away, thereby avoiding probate.

Regarding property (your house, land, rentals, etc.), make sure to set up TOD with an attorney.  This will assign beneficiaries to all your property, thereby avoiding probate. 
Please note: you do not need to have these items placed in a trust to avoid probate.

All insurance contracts, such as Life Insurance, Annuities, etc., already avoid probate because you assign beneficiaries to them when you set them up.

If you have questions regarding any of these suggestions or would like information specific to you estate plan, please call us now.

Answers to Common Roth IRA and Traditional IRA Contributions Questions

Well it’s that time of year again…TAX TIME
The time of year most people dread. 

Tax time brings a lot of questions to my office about Roth IRA and Traditional IRA contributions, so I thought this would be a good forum to answer some of those questions for you.

Can I still make contributions to my accounts for 2012?Nest Egg with large bills

GOOD NEWS!!  Yes, you have until April 15, 2013, to make 2012 contributions to your Roth IRA or Traditional IRA accounts. 

Are there limits to how much I can contribute to my Roth IRA or Traditional IRA accounts?

Yes, there are limits to the amounts you can contribute.

Maximum contribution amounts for 2012 were: 
     $5,000.00 if you’re 49 or under
     $6,000.00 if you’re 50 or over

Maximum contributions for 2013 have been increased and are:  
     $5,500.00 if you’re 49 or under and 
     $6,500.00 if you’re 50 or over

How do I know if I qualify to make contributions to my Roth IRA or Traditional IRA account?

First, your household needs to have earned income, either W2 or Business income, in order to make contributions.  Earned income is NOT Social Security or Pension income.

  1. If you are single, that means you must be earning income. 
  2. If you are married and filing jointly at least one spouse needs to be making earned income.  Even with just one spouse making earned income, both spouses to make contributions. 
  3. If you are married and filing separate, you each need to be earning income.

Second, your household earned income must be greater than the amount you are planning to contribute.  For example:

  1. If you are single and you earned $4,000, you can make a contribution up to but not exceeding $4,000.00.  In order to max out your contribution, you would need to make $5,500 or $6,500 (exact amount determined by your age).
  2. If you are married and filing jointly and you earned $8,000, you can make contributions up to but not exceeding $8,000.  In order to max out your contributions, you would need to make between $11,000 and $13,000 (exact amounts determined by your ages).
  3. If you are married and filing separate and you each earned $4,000, your maximum contributions would be up to but not exceeding $4,000 each.  In order to max out your contributions you would each need to earn $5,500 or $6,500 (exact amount determined by your ages).

If you have questions about a Roth IRA or Traditional IRA, or to find out how these could benefit your specific situation, call our office now.

Delaying Social Security benefits past 65 and its affect on Medicare

iStock_000015611102SmallSOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION ALERT:  If you decide to delay your Social Security benefits until after age 65, you should still apply for Medicare benefits within three months of your 65th birthday.  If you wait longer, your Medicare medical insurance (Part B) and prescription drug coverage (Part D) may cost you more money.    

Even if you have health insurance through an employer or former employer, you should still check to see whether you need to sign up for Medicare.  Some health insurance plans change automatically at age 65. 

If you are already getting Social Security benefits when you turn 65, your Medicare Hospital Benefits will start automatically.

Source: The Official Website of the U.S. Social Security Administration  http://www.socialsecurity.gov/retire2/agereduction.htm