Planning for Life

How to Protect an Inherited IRA

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 27, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis


If you leave a 401(k) plan or individual retirement account (IRA) to your spouse, he will be able to roll it in with their own IRA. It will be subject to the same rules regarding minimum required distributions (MRDs) as apply to the retirement plans already owned. He'll have to begin taking withdrawals from them the year after he turns 70 1/2. In addition, he will receive the same creditor protection that his other retirement accounts receive—in bankruptcy proceedings, 401(k) and IRA funds are protected.

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Topics: asset protection, Retirement Planning

5 Steps to Avoid Outliving Your Money

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on January 13, 2015

By Harry S. Margolis

The first issue of a new UBS publication, Your Wealth & Life, focuses on "Navigating longevity," or how to make sure your savings and investments last as long as you do. This is especially important as our odds of living long -- and long after retirement -- increase. Half of today's 65-year-olds will live to 85 or older; women have almost a one in three chance of living to age 90; and for a couple there's a 50% chance that one of the spouses will live to age 90 or beyond.

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Topics: social security, Retirement Planning

Is an Inherited IRA Protected from Creditors? No!

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on July 15, 2014


In general, under the 2005 Bankruptcy Code, IRAs and other retirement accounts, such as 401(k)s and SEP plans, are protected in the event of bankruptcy by the owner—which is one more reason to fund your retirement plan with as much as possible. But what about an inherited IRA? The U.S. Supreme Court decided in the 2014 case, Clark v. Rameker, that these types of retirement accounts do not enjoy any bankruptcy protection.

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Topics: asset protection, Retirement Planning, Probate Estate Administration

Beware Beneficiary Designations - Massachusetts Estate Planning

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on March 25, 2014

By Harry S. Margolis


One of the ironies of estate planning is that while there's a long history of cases and laws around wills and their execution requires the formality of two witnesses and a notary public, most property passes to heirs through other, less formal means.

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Topics: trusts, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning

9 (Potential) Problems with Your Trust - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on December 3, 2013

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: trusts, asset protection, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning

How Much Do You Need to Retire? — Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 15, 2013

By Harry S. Margolis

How much money you need "in the bank" when you retire depends on many factors, including the following:

  • Living standards. How much money will you need each month to live the way you want to live? Does that include travel? A second home? Gifts or support to children and grandchildren? Create a budget as a starting point, and then assume that it will increase at least 3 percent per year to account for likely inflation.

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Topics: MassHealth planning, long-term care insurance, Estate Planning, Retirement Planning

"Special" or "Supplemental" Needs Trusts? - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on September 10, 2013

By Harry S. Margolis

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Topics: special needs planning, Retirement Planning

What's the Difference Between "Supplemental" and "Special" Needs Trusts? - Massachusetts

Posted by Harry S. Margolis on October 9, 2012

By Harry S. Margolis

Supplemental-Trust-Special-Needs-Trust-Wellesley-AttorneyYou may have heard the terms "special" needs trust and "supplemental" needs trust and wondered what the difference is. The short answer is that there's no difference. Here's the long answer.

When the field of special needs planning began some three decades ago, we generally called the trusts we created for people with disabilities “supplemental” needs trusts. Our thinking was that the purpose of the trusts was to supplement the assistance provided by Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, Supplemental Security Income and other public benefits programs whose level of support is meager at best.

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Topics: long-term care planning, special needs planning, MassHealth, Retirement Planning

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