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Taking care of aging parents is something you may need to plan for, especially if you think one or both of them might need long-term care. One thing you may not know is that some states have filial responsibility laws that require adult children to help financially with the cost of nursing home care. Whether these laws affect you or not depends largely on where you live and what financial resources your parents have to cover long-term care. But itâs important to understand how these laws work to avoid any financial surprises as your parents age.
Filial Responsibility Laws, Definition
Filial responsibility laws are legal rules that hold adult children financially responsible for their parentsâ medical care when parents are unable to pay. More than half of U.S. states have some type of filial support or responsibility law, including:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Puerto Rico also has laws regarding filial responsibility. Broadly speaking, these laws require adult children to help pay for things like medical care and basic needs when a parent is impoverished. But the way the laws are applied can vary from state to state. For example, some states may include mental health treatment as a situation requiring children to pay while others donât. States can also place time limitations on how long adult children are required to pay.
When Do Filial Responsibility Laws Apply?
If you live in a state that has filial responsibility guidelines on the books, itâs important to understand when those laws can be applied.
Generally, you may have an obligation to pay for your parentsâ medical care if all of the following apply:
- One or both parents are receiving some type of state government-sponsored financial support to help pay for food, housing, utilities or other expenses
- One or both parents has nursing home bills they canât pay
- One or both parents qualifies for indigent status, which means their Social Security benefits donât cover their expenses
- One or both parents are ineligible for Medicaid help to pay for long-term care
- Itâs established that you have the ability to pay outstanding nursing home bills
If you live in a state with filial responsibility laws, itâs possible that the nursing home providing care to one or both of your parents could come after you personally to collect on any outstanding bills owed. This means the nursing home would have to sue you in small claims court.
If the lawsuit is successful, the nursing home would then be able to take additional collection actions against you. That might include garnishing your wages or levying your bank account, depending on what your state allows.
Whether youâre actually subject to any of those actions or a lawsuit depends on whether the nursing home or care provider believes that you have the ability to pay. If youâre sued by a nursing home, you may be able to avoid further collection actions if you can show that because of your income, liabilities or other circumstances, youâre not able to pay any medical bills owed by your parents.
Filial Responsibility Laws and Medicaid
While Medicare does not pay for long-term care expenses, Medicaid can. Medicaid eligibility guidelines vary from state to state but generally, aging seniors need to be income- and asset-eligible to qualify. If your aging parents are able to get Medicaid to help pay for long-term care, then filial responsibility laws donât apply. Instead, Medicaid can paid for long-term care costs.
There is, however, a potential wrinkle to be aware of. Medicaid estate recovery laws allow nursing homes and long-term care providers to seek reimbursement for long-term care costs from the deceased personâs estate. Specifically, if your parents transferred assets to a trust then your stateâs Medicaid program may be able to recover funds from the trust.
You wouldnât have to worry about being sued personally in that case. But if your parents used a trust as part of their estate plan, any Medicaid recovery efforts could shrink the pool of assets you stand to inherit.
Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning and Long-Term Care
If you live in a state with filial responsibility laws (or even if you donât), itâs important to have an ongoing conversation with your parents about estate planning, end-of-life care and where that fits into your financial plans.
You can start with the basics and discuss what kind of care your parents expect to need and who they want to provide it. For example, they may want or expect you to care for them in your home or be allowed to stay in their own home with the help of a nursing aide. If thatâs the case, itâs important to discuss whether thatâs feasible financially.
If you believe that a nursing home stay is likely then you may want to talk to them about purchasing long-term care insurance or a hybrid life insurance policy that includes long-term care coverage. A hybrid policy can help pay for long-term care if needed and leave a death benefit for you (and your siblings if you have them) if your parents donât require nursing home care.
Speaking of siblings, you may also want to discuss shared responsibility for caregiving, financial or otherwise, if you have brothers and sisters. This can help prevent resentment from arising later if one of you is taking on more of the financial or emotional burdens associated with caring for aging parents.
If your parents took out a reverse mortgage to provide income in retirement, itâs also important to discuss the implications of moving to a nursing home. Reverse mortgages generally must be repaid in full if long-term care means moving out of the home. In that instance, you may have to sell the home to repay a reverse mortgage.
The Bottom Line
Filial responsibility laws could hold you responsible for your parentsâ medical bills if theyâre unable to pay whatâs owed. If you live in a state that has these laws, itâs important to know when you may be subject to them. Helping your parents to plan ahead financially for long-term needs can help reduce the possibility of you being on the hook for nursing care costs unexpectedly.
Tips for Estate Planning
- Consider talking to a financial advisor about what filial responsibility laws could mean for you if you live in a state that enforces them. If you donât have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesnât have to be a complicated process. SmartAssetâs financial advisor matching tool can help you connect, in just minutes, with professional advisors in your local area. If youâre ready, get started now.
- When discussing financial planning with your parents, there are other things you may want to cover in addition to long-term care. For example, you might ask whether theyâve drafted a will yet or if they think they may need a trust for Medicaid planning. Helping them to draft an advance healthcare directive and a power of attorney can ensure that you or another family member has the authority to make medical and financial decisions on your parentsâ behalf if theyâre unable to do so.
Photo credit: Â©iStock.com/Halfpoint, Â©iStock.com/byryo, Â©iStock.com/Halfpoint
The post An Overview of Filial Responsibility Laws appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
Your credit score is incredibly important. In fact, this number is so influential on various financial aspects of life that it can determine your eligibility to be approved for credit cards, car loans, home mortgages, apartment rentals, and even certain jobs. Knowing what your credit score is, and what range it falls under, is important so you can decide what loans you can to apply for, and if necessary, if steps need to be taken to improve your score.
So what constitutes a good credit score?
The Credit Score Range Scale
The most common credit score used by lenders and other business entities is the FICO score, which ranges from 300 to 850. The bigger the number, the better. To create credit scores, FICO uses information from one of the three major credit bureau agencies – Equifax, Experian or TransUnion. Knowing this range is important because it will help you understand where your specific number fits in.
As far as lenders are concerned, the lower a consumer’s number on this scale, the higher the risk. Lenders will often deny a loan application for those with a lower credit score because of this risk. If they do approve a loan application, they’ll make consumers pay for such risk by means of a much higher interest rate.
Understand Your Credit Score
Within the credit score range are different categories, ranging from bad to excellent. Here is how credit score ranges are broken down:
Bad credit: 630 or Lower
Lenders generally consider a credit score of 630 or lower as bad credit. A number of past activities could have landed you in this category, including a string of late or missed credit card payments, maxed out credit cards, or even bankruptcy. Younger people who have no credit history will probably find themselves in this category until they have had time to develop their credit. If you’re in this bracket, you’ll be faced with higher interest rates and fees, and your selection of credit cards will be restricted.
Fair Credit: 630-689
This is considered an average score. Lingering within this range is most likely the result of having too much “bad” debt, such as high credit card debt that’s grazing the limit. Within this bracket, lenders will have a harder time trusting you with their loan.
Good Credit: 690-719
Having a credit score within this range will afford you more choices when it comes to credit cards, an easier time getting approved for various loans, and being charged much lower interest rates on such loans.
Excellent Credit: 720-850
Consider your credit score excellent if your number falls within this bracket. You’ll be able to take advantage of all the fringe benefits that come with credit cards, and will almost certainly be approved for loans at the lowest interest rates possible.
What’s Your Credit Score?
Federal law allows consumers to check their credit score for free once every 12 months. But if you want to check more often than this, a fee is typically charged. Luckily, there are other avenues to take to check your credit score.
Mint has recently launched an online tool that allows you toÂ check your credit scoreÂ for free without the need for a credit card. Here you’ll be able to learn the different components that affect your score, and how you can improve it.
You’ll be able to see your score with your other accounts to give you a complete picture of your finances. Knowing what your credit score is can help determine if you need to improve it to help you get the things you need or want. Visit Mint.com to find out more about how you can access your credit score – for free.
Lisa Simonelli RennieÂ is a freelance web content creator who enjoys writing on all sorts of topics, including personal finance, investing in stocks, mortgages, real estate investments, and anything else to do with the world of economics.
The post What’s a Good Credit Score? appeared first on MintLife Blog.
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NFL great Tom Brady has finally offloaded his Massachusetts mansion. The quarterback and his wife, supermodel Gisele BÃ¼ndchen, have sold their luxeÂ Brookline estate, according to the Boston Globe.
The transaction appears to have been an off-market deal, with no price information disclosed for the transaction. Sources told the Globe that the property was offered for $32.5 million.
The custom-built,12,000-square-foot estate outside of Boston initially debuted at $39.5 million in 2019, then quickly dropped to $33.9 million.
The mansion built in 2015 came off the market in May, when luxury home sales were stalled by the coronavirus pandemic. But a buyer surfaced at the end of 2020.
In 2013, the couple picked up a prime 5-acre plot from the local cash-strapped Pine Manor College for $4.5 million.
They tapped architect Richard Landry, of Landry Design Group, to create their East Coast estate. Landry has also worked on the couple’s Los Angeles mansion, which was featured in Architectural Digest.
Landry’s design sits adjacent to the ninth hole of the Country Club in Brookline, with serene views and plenty of privacy.
The five-bedroom main house features a dining room, living room, home office, chef’s eat-in kitchen, and family room. A grand stairwell leads to the bedrooms on the second floor.
The lower level includes a rec room, playroom, wine room, gym, and spa.
Watch: QB Drew Brees Looks to Unload His Amazing Kauai Condo
The sprawling grounds include gardens, a pool, and a âbarn-inspiredâ guesthouse with a yoga studio, full bathroom, and sleeping loft. The property comes with a three-car garage, carport, and circular drive with ample parking.
Brady’s mansion sits just down the road from Reebok founder Paul Fireman‘s lavish property, which was finally sold in 2020 after four years on the market. That 27,000-square-foot mansion had been priced at as much as $90 million, before finally selling for $23 million. George and Manny Sarkis of Douglas Elliman represented Fireman.
The agents also sold Fireman’s adjacent 7 acres for $18 million to developer C. Stumpo Development, which plans to build luxury homes on the land.
âAfter closing on both 150 Woodland Road [the Fireman home] and the five adjacent lots, we are very excited about the current and future Brookline market,” says Manny. “Buyers continue to trend to the suburbs, seeking more land and bigger homes.”
The jet-setting duo received another Christmas gift of good news in 2020, with a reported sale of their Tribeca loft. The two had made the penthouse available forÂ just under $40 million last November. If they got their asking price, they’ll stroll away with a large profit.
The couple had picked up the place in 2018 for $25.46 million. The five-bedroom, 5.5-bath unit features a 1,900-square-foot terrace and Hudson River views. Building amenities include an 82-foot lap pool and a private drive-in entrance.
The couple still own a lower-floor unit in the same 14-floor building.
New year, new homes
Brady left Brookline after he signed with the Buccaneers. The QB has since put roots down in South Florida. In October, Brady and Bundchen were reportedly circling a waterfront property in Clearwater.
And then Brady made a move on Florida’s other coast in December, with a reported $17 million purchase of a home on Miamiâs Indian Creek Island, known as the Billionaires Bunker.
The couple plan to raze the current house on the land in Miami and build anew. They’re reportedly looking to emulate the L.A. home theyÂ sold to Dr. Dre for $40 million in 2014. Sounds like the services of their favorite architect may once again be required.
The post Tom Brady and Gisele Bundchen Finally Sell Their Massachusetts Mansion appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
It’s that time again, where I take a look at a pair of popular mortgage programs to determine which may better suit certain situations. Today’s match-up: “15-year fixed mortgage vs. 30-year fixed mortgage.” As always, there is no one-size-fits-all solution because everyone is different and may have varying real estate and financial goals. For example, [&hellip
The post 15-Year Fixed vs. 30-Year Fixed: The Pros and Cons first appeared on The Truth About Mortgage.
Standard versus itemized deduction: Which one should you claim? If this question is weighing heavily on your mind as you file your taxes, now that all the new tax reforms have taken effect, let this guide help you decide.
Itemizing your deductionsâparticularly if you’ve bought a home recentlyâcould save you major bucks when you file. But, more than ever, you need to understand what you can and can’t do. We’ll break it down to help you make the decision on whether to select a standard or an itemized deduction.
What is the standard deduction?
The standard deduction is essentially a flat-dollar, no-questions-asked reduction to your adjusted gross income. When you file your tax return, you can deduct a certain amount right off the bat from your taxable income.
For 2019, the standard deduction is $12,000 for single filers and $24,000 for married couples filing jointly. (The standard deduction nearly doubled as a result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which went into effect in 2018.)
Here are some of the benefits to takingÂ a standard deduction:
- It allows you a deduction even if you have no expenses that qualify as itemized deductions.
- It eliminates the need to keep records and receipts of your expenses in case youâre audited by the IRS.
- It lets you avoid having to track medical expenses, charitable donations, and other itemizable deductions throughout the year.
- It saves you the trouble of needing to understand the fine nuances of tax law.
What are itemized deductions?
Although claiming the standard deductionÂ isÂ easy and convenient, choosing to itemize can potentially save you thousands of dollars, saysÂ Mark Steber, chief tax officer at the Jackson HewittÂ tax service.
âDonât be lulled into thinking the standard deduction is always a better answer,â Steber says. That advice especially applies to homeowners.
âBuying a home has the single largest impact on your tax return,â he adds, noting that a home purchase is âan anchor item that can move someone into the itemized taxpayer category.â
Itemizing your deductions may enable you to deduct these expenses:
- HomeÂ mortgage interestÂ (note the exceptions below)
- Real estate and personalÂ property taxes (note the cap below)
- State and local income taxes or sales taxes (but not both)
- Gifts to charities
- Casualty or theft losses
- Unreimbursed medical and dental expenses
- Unreimbursed employee business expenses
Why itemizing often makes sense for homeowners
Under the new law, current homeowners canÂ continue to deduct interest on a total of $1 million of mortgage debt for a first and second home.Â But new buyersÂ can deduct interest on only $750,000 for a first and second home.
It’s still possible that if you own a home, your mortgage interest aloneÂ might exceed the standard deduction, saysÂ Steve Albert, director of tax services at the CPA wealth management firm Glass Jacobson. In this case, it’s a no-brainer to itemize your deductions.
This is particularly true if you bought a house recently, sinceÂ most mortgages are front-loadedÂ to pay mortgage interest rather than whittle down the principal (which is the amount you borrowed).
For instance: If you have a 30-year loan for $400,000 at a fixed 5% interest rate, in the first year of your mortgage, you’ll pay off only $5,901 in principal and a whopping $19,866 in interest.
That alone exceeds an individual’s standard deduction of $12,000 deduction for 2019. So if you’re filing taxes this year, itemizing would make total sense.
Plus: If you bought your house in 2019 and paid pointsâwhich are essentially a way to prepay interest upfront to lower your monthly mortgage billsâthese points count as mortgage interest, too, amounting to more tax savings.
On the other hand, if you’ve owned your home for a while, then your mortgage interest may not amount to much. By the 25th year of that same $400,000 loan, you’ll pay only $6,223 in interest.
However, keep in mind that your property taxes of up to $10,000 are an itemized deduction, tooâand combined with mortgage interest and other deductions, could push you over the top into itemizing territory.
Itemized vs. standard deduction: Which is right for you?
Not sure how much you paid in mortgage interest and property taxes last year? To get a ballpark, you can punch yourÂ info into an onlineÂ mortgage calculator.
Also, early in the new year, your mortgage lender should have mailed you a mortgage interest statement (Form 1098) showing the total you paid during the previous year.
âAnd if you had your property taxes impounded in your loan, your taxes will appear on your 1098 as well,”Â saysÂ Lisa Greene-Lewis, a CPA and tax expert atÂ TurboTax.
Another DIY approach for seeing whether your combined itemized tax deductions are higher than your standard tax deduction is to fill out the IRS Schedule AÂ form, which outlinesÂ all federal itemized deductions line by line.
You can alsoÂ consult an accountantÂ (you can search for a tax professional in your area using theÂ IRS directory of tax return preparers). But as a general rule, if you bought a home recently, you could be a prime candidate for itemizing, so don’t let these potential savings pass you by without checking!
The post Standard vs. Itemized Deduction: Which One Should You Take? appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
Reaching your twenties is an exciting milestone for most as it means youâve officially entered adulthood. Along with that milestone comes new responsibilities and worries that we didnât picture when our teenage selves dreamed of turning 21. We imagined our college graduation, moving into our first apartment, and launching our new career. That vision didnât include dealing with student loan debt, taking on a low paying entry-level job, or having to confront that despite spending 4 years in college, youâre still unsure how the world of personal finance actually works.
Itâs easy to dismiss it all because well youâre a 20 something, and youâll have plenty of time to play catch up. The reality is that each decade plays an important role in our future financial health. Take the time now to learn about your money and follow the money moves outlined below to put yourself on a path of lifelong financial success and eventual freedom.
Money Moves to Make in Your 20âs:
Learn How To Budget
Building a budget doesnât have to be overly complicated or time-consuming. Itâs actually the first step in putting yourself in control of your finances because it means you know where your money goes each month. The good news is that there are lots of apps and online tools that can make the process a breeze. Consider a system like Mint that will connect to your accounts and automatically categorize your spending for you. The right budgeting tool is simply the one youâll stick with long term.
Pay Off Debt
Debt isnât all bad. It may be the reason you were able to earn your degree, and a mortgage may help you one day buy a home. It can also quickly overrun your life if you arenât careful. Nowâs the perfect time before life gets more hectic with family commitments to buckle down and tackle any loans or credit card balances so you can be debt-free going into your 30âs.
Build a Cash Cushion
The financial downturn caused by the pandemic has reminded the whole world of the importance of having an emergency fund. We donât know what life is going to throw at us and having a cushion can help you navigate the uncertain times. Though itâs not all about having a secret stash of cash to deal with the bad news of life (medical bills, car repair, layoff), it can also be about having the cash to seize an exciting opportunity. Having savings gives you the freedom and security to deal with whatever life brings your way – good or bad.
Your credit score can dictate so much of your life. That little number can play a big role in the home you buy, the car you drive, and even the job you hold as some employers (especially in the finance world) will pull your credit. Itâs important that you check your credit report and score (also available through Mint), learn how itâs calculated, and work to improve it.
Money Moves to Make in Your 30âs:
Invest For Retirement
Now that youâve spent your 20âs building the foundation for your financial life, itâs time to make sure youâre also tackling the big picture goals like saving and investing for retirement. I typically recommend that clients save 10% to 15% of their annual income towards retirement. That may seem like an insurmountable goal, but starting small by saving even 1 to 3% of your salary can make a big difference in the future. Also, make sure to take advantage of any matching contributions that your employer may provide in your retirement plan. If, for example, they offer to match contributions up to 6%, I would try hard to work towards contributing at least 6%.
Buying Your First Home
Buying your first home is a top goal for many, but it also seems to be getting increasingly more difficult especially if you live in a major city. The most important steps you can take is to improve your credit score, pay down high-interest debt, and be aggressive about saving for a down payment. Saving 20% down will help you qualify for the best loan terms and interest rate, but there are still home loans available even if you arenât able to save that much. Just be realistic with your budget and what you can afford. Donât let a lender or real estate agent determine what payment will fit into your budget.
Be Covered Under These Must-Have Insurances
Youâve spent the last several years building your savings and growing your family. Itâs now crucial that you have the proper insurance coverage in place to protect your assets and your loved ones. Life and disability insurance are top of the list. Life insurance doesnât have to be expensive or complex. Get a quote for term-life that will last a set number of years and protect your partner and children during those crucial years that they depend on you. Disability insurance protects your income if you become sick or injured and are unable to work. Your earning ability is one of your biggest assets during this time, and you should protect it. This coverage may be offered through your employer, or you can request a quote for an individual policy.
Invest in Self-Care and Well Being
Mental health is part of self-care and wealth. Most people donât talk about how financial stress and worry affect their overall health. When you can take care of yourself on all levels, you will feel healthier and wealthier, and happier. But it is not easy. It takes work, effort, awareness, and consciousness to learn how to detach the value in your bank account or financial account from your self-worth and value as a human being. When you feel emotional about your money, investments, or the stock market, learn ways to process them and take care of yourself by hiring licensed professionals and experts to help you.
Money Moves to Make in Your 40âs:
Revisit Your College Savings Goal
As your kids get older and prepare to enter their own journey into adulthood, paying for college is likely a major goal on your list. Consider opening a 529 plan (if you havenât already) to save for their education. 529 plans offer tax advantages when it comes to saving for college. There are lots of online resources that can help you understand and pick the right plan for you. Visit https://www.savingforcollege.com. This is also a great time to make sure you’re talking to your kids about money. Give them the benefit of a financial education that you may not have had.
Get Aggressive with Retirement Planning
Your 40âs likely mark peak earning years. Youâll want to take advantage of your higher earnings to maximize your retirement savings especially if you werenât able to save as much in your 20âs and 30âs. Revisit your retirement plan to crunch the numbers so you’ll be clear on what you need to save to reach your goal.
Build More Wealth
Youâve arrived at mid-life probably feeling younger than you are and wondering how the heck that big 4-0 got on your birthday cake. We typically associate being 20 with being free, but I think weâve got it wrong. There is something incredibly freeing about the wisdom and self-assurance that comes with getting older. Youâve proved yourself. People see you as an adult. Your kids are getting older and your finances are more settled. Nowâs the time to kick it up to the next level. Look for ways to build additional wealth. This may mean tapping into your entrepreneurial side to launch the business youâve dreamed of or buying real estate to increase passive income. Nowâs also a great time to find a trusted financial advisor who can help guide your next steps and help you plan the best ways to build your wealth.
Revisit Your Insurance Coverage
Insurance was crucial before, but itâs time to revisit your coverage and make sure youâre protected especially if you decide to launch a business or buy additional real estate. This is also where a financial advisor can help you analyze your coverage needs and find the policies that will work for you.
Consider Estate Planning
Estate planning (think wills, trusts, power of attorney) isnât the most fun / exciting topic. It involves imagining your gone and creating a plan for the loved ones you leave behind. It is also often overlooked by adults in their younger years. Itâs easy to assume estate planning is something the wealthy need to do. It really comes down to whether you want to decide how your life savings will be managed or if you want a court to decide. Itâs also crucial for parents with children who are minors to select a guardian and have those uncomfortable conversations with their family members about who would care for the children if the worst were to happen. Itâs also a good time to visit this topic with your own aging parents and make sure they have the proper documents and plans in place.
Whether you’re in your 20âs, 30âs or 40âs, it can be easy to put off planning your finances especially in the middle of a pandemic. Most of us are busy, and itâs easy to tell yourself that youâll have time to work on a goal in the future. Commit to setting aside one hour each week or even each month to have a money date and review your finances. Donât let yourself reach a milestone birthday (30, 40) and regret not being farther ahead. Follow these money moves now to seize control of your financial future.
The post Money Moves to Make in Your 20s, 30s, and 40s appeared first on MintLife Blog.