Monday Morning Quarter-Buck 04-10-2017

Monday Morning Quarter-Buck

Amy’s Blog

“Never interrupt someone who is doing what you said couldn’t be done”  ― Amelia Earhart

To many of my New York clients, happy Spring Break!  I love Spring, for me personally, it is the start of my “new year.”   This year is an exceptional new year too!  We are excited to be approaching the first birthday of Irvine Wealth Planning Strategies on May 9th.  This past year has been transformational and we are so very thankful for your support, business and feedback!  I want to give a special shout out to the Corning Gaffer District for their continued efforts to support the growth and visualization of the business; each quarter they continue to amaze me with their amazing designs in the Corning office windows - this quarter is an amazing tribute to Ernie Davis put together by a local student.   We hope you stop by and admire the display!

Wander on over to the community events tab on my website to read more about the Gaffer District’s current efforts for the “America’s Main Street Contest” -

If any of you have community programs you are involved in and would like your event listed on this tab, please let me know and I’ll post it - nothing feels better than supporting a community that has been so giving!

Speaking of giving, what happens if you have a child that has a special need or disability?  How do you give to them and have the resources be most beneficial?  I recently attended a webinar on this very topic and fell in love with the idea of helping families with this challenge.  I’ve been reading and listen to podcasts on this topic to increase my knowledge and I know I’ve just touched the tip of the education “iceberg.”  

I’m most intrigued by a new type of planning opportunity called an “ABLE” account.  This resource is amazing in that it allows the beneficiary to be the account owner (unlike a special needs trust) and income earned on the account will not be taxed.  Contributions can be made by anyone, but are generally limited to the annual gift exclusion amount of $14,000 (total per beneficiary).

According to the ABLE National Resource Center, these accounts will “not affect eligibility for SSI, Medicaid and other public benefits.”

Currently these accounts are only for individuals who became disabled before the age of 26; but there is a push for that to change.  That is not to say you have to be under the age of 26 to establish the account, just that your disability occurred before that age.

Many are comparing these accounts to a 529 college savings plan; but instead of planning for college costs, the family is planning for the special needs of a family member.  This planning process is incredibly complex  and has a lot of moving parts:

  • What is the person's support need?  Will the individual be able to work and just a small amount of support will be required?

  • What service levels will be required?  Will housing and significant health services be required, perhaps even some court appointed care?

  • What systems will be available for funding?  Will Medicaid be needed, or will the individual only need supplemental care?

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia developed a spectacular kit for advisers to help families work through these issues.  They put together a “wheel” system to help the conversation get started and to help both the family and the planner understand the upcoming needs.

This may not affect you directly, but according to an article published on February 15, 2017 in US News, “53 million adults in the US (or one out of every five) live with a disability.” That is 20% of our population, so I’m guessing that many of you may at some point be affected by this, or may know someone affected by this and I hope this information is helpful.