Divorce and Retirement Plans

divorceRetirement plans are often one of the most valuable assets a couple acquires during a marriage. If a couple divorces and there is an agreement or judgment that requires all or a portion of the employee spouse’s retirement plan to be shared with the spouse or former spouse, the division is accomplished through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). The spouse or former spouse of the employee is often called an “alternate payee” for purposes of the QDRO. While state law governs the division of most marital assets, most employment related retirement plans are governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code (Code). In general, ERISA and the Code prohibit a retirement plan participant from assigning a portion of his or her interest in the plan to another person.
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Social Security and Taxes

social security and taxesAfter contributing through payroll and self-employment taxes for decades of work, many Social Security beneficiaries are astonished when they learn that their benefits may be subject to federal and sometimes state income taxes. When benefits were first paid in 1940, they were explicitly and completely excluded from federal taxable income. However, in the 1970s and in the midst of Social Security’s first funding crisis, it became necessary to contemplate some changes. The National Commission on Social Security, chaired by Alan Greenspan, recom­mended taxing 50% of Social Security benefits. Congress did not like the thought of taxing low-income retirees. In 1983, Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law legislation which would potentially require up to 50% of Social Security benefits to be included in taxable income. As you will see in this article, some low-income taxpayers can exclude some, and in certain cases, all their benefits from taxable income.
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Should I Give My Home to My Children?

elderlyI am often asked whether it is a good idea for elderly parents to transfer their home to their children. I always ask: “Why do you want to do this?” The most common reason is to protect the house in the event one or both of the parents need nursing home care.

First, I want to emphasize that there is no easy answer to this question without knowing the full asset and income picture, as well as the health status of the parents. If I get all that information, the answer can be easy (for me!).
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New Status for Therese Connell

Therese Connell

Therese Connell, one of the firm’s Partners and Director of its Estate and Trust department, marks 25 years with the firm this year. She has decided to move to part-time status at Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi effective August 31, 2018.

Therese has served in her current role since 1999, where she has been integral in managing firm software and internal processes. She joined the Firm in 1993, after working in another local accounting firm. Therese graduated from Immaculata College with a degree in Home Economics.

During her tenure with the firm, she developed the estate and trust work of the Firm into one of its key divisions. Therese is a mentor to a number of the Firm’s professionals and a trusted advisor to many of the Firm’s clients and business partners. She also plays a critical role in helping the Firm develop and maintain its information technology systems as well as relationships with tax and information systems vendors.

“In the 25 years of her tenure with Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi, Tese has attained the status as one of the area’s premier experts in her field. Her incredible knowledge base, dedication to excellence, and service philosophy have really made an impact,” said Donna Buzby, one of the Managing Partners of Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi. “Tese is an inspiration to everyone here, and I hope she continues to work with us for many years.”

Non-Grantor Trust: A Tool for Estate, Asset Protection and Income Tax Planning

estate asset protection

While there are many forms and types of trust, this article highlights some of the various beneficial structures that encompass the use of non-grantor trusts.  The use of non-grantor trusts to achieve estate, asset protection and income tax planning should be customized to address specific facts, assets and needs.

Trusts are a centuries old vehicle originating from England used to allow an individual to transfer assets for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries.  The settlor or grantor of the trust transfers the assets to a trustee to be held in trust.  The trustee is tasked with managing, preserving and growing the assets based on the intent and instructions of the grantor set out in the trust.
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Frank Pelosi To Retire From Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi

Frank Pelosi

Capaldi Reynolds & Pelosi today announced that Frank Pelosi, one of the Firm’s Managing Partners and Director of Litigation Support, has decided to retire effective August 31, 2018.

Frank has served in his current role at the Firm since 2000, where he helped oversee its most critical operations and management processes.  He joined the Firm in 1971 after graduating from Mount Saint Mary’s College with a degree in Business Administration.  He received his MBA from Monmouth University in 1980.
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HOW SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS ARE DETERMINED

Determining Social Security Benefits

Social Security is a valuable resource for older and disabled workers as well as the worker’s survivors and dependents. It provides 90% of the cash flow for one-third of retirees. It delivers 28% of the cash flow for high income retirees. A mistake in claiming these benefits can be permanent and costly to the worker and his/her family. This is the second in a series of articles on Social Security. The objective of the series is to help you make better decisions regarding claiming benefits. To make good decisions we need to identify, determine, and appreciate certain terms and concepts. The theme of this installment is the procedure used to calculate Social Security benefits and a brief discussion of average benefits. Estimating your benefits is the essential first step in the SS decision-making process.
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SOCIAL SECURITY DECISION-MAKING

Social Security Decision-MakingDecisions regarding Social Security can be deviously complicated. There are thousands of rules, thousands upon thousands of additional codicils to clarify the rules, annual changes, and recent legislation, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA), which drastically modified the planning landscape. Each day 10,000+ “baby-boomers” reach retirement age and many other individuals of pre-retirement age make critical choices impacting their potential Social Security benefits. These decisions involve when to claim benefits, what kind of benefit to request, and when to marry, divorce, or remarry. Too often people are misinformed and mislead when they make these assessments. We need to be aware of certain fundamental concepts in order to get the maximum benefits from Social Security and avoid costly mistakes. After all, we have paid for these benefits, and we should get what we are entitled to.

This article is the first of a series of articles that will highlight factors we need to consider to make better choices with respect to claiming Social Security. This particular article will discuss two concepts, eligibility and full retirement age. It will also describe the first two steps to start the Social Security decision-making process.
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Required Minimum Distribution

Required Minimum DistributionSadly, the money that we defer from taxes in our 401(k)s and IRAs during our working lives must eventually leave the shelter of the retirement umbrella whether we like it or not. What is a required minimum distribution? The discussion below is not relevant to inherited retirement accounts. For more on that topic, please contact your accountant.

Required: For all retirement accounts except Roth IRAs, the account owner is required to begin taking distributions by April 1 of the year after turning 70 ½. However, postponing until the year after 70 ½ will mean that two distributions will be required in that year. These distributions are taxable income to the recipient [except for Roth 401(k) distributions] so proper tax planning is required.
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