Social Security

If you were born in 1929 or later and worked a minimum of 10 years, you are entitled to receive Social Security benefits.  Social Security benefits can begin to be collected at age 62.  However, if you decide to wait until your full retirement age, your benefit will be larger.

To sign up for Social Security, you can apply online to the Social Security Administration (SSA) three months before you wish to receive your first payment.

A knowledgeable estate planning attorney can assist in determining the optimal age to begin receiving social security retirement benefits or electing to receive benefits under your spouse.

Legal Planning Documents

While getting your ducks in a row for retirement, you should also review your current estate planning documents to make sure they still comply with your wishes.  If you have not yet executed estate planning documents such as a Durable Power of Attorney, Health Care Proxy, Living Will, HIPAA Authorization and Last Will and Testament, now is the time to do so.

You may be looking to retire elsewhere or move somewhere warmer for the colder winter months, for example, Florida.  Depending on your situation, it may be beneficial for you to execute Florida legal planning documents.

Here at Russo Law Group, P.C. we have attorneys licensed in Florida, Massachusetts and New Jersey.

An elder law attorney who has jurisdiction in both states can ensure your goals will be met regardless if you are here in New York, Florida or elsewhere.

Cash Flow Analysis

Many of our clients are concerned about making their assets last for their lifetime.  A cash flow analysis can be beneficial to get a better picture of cash inflows and outflows.

This cash flow analysis can assist to look at your reoccurring expenses during the year to determine if you will need to decide on a budget.  It can also help to determine if you need to find less expensive options for reoccurring yearly purchases.  A cash flow analysis can also help you to assess whether the long-awaited family dream vacation is within reach.


Oftentimes, tax planning takes on a greater importance during retirement.  Tax planning can help to analyze the source of funds you will use to maintain your lifestyle and any tax repercussions involved.

It is important to analyze your accounts to assess the different tax consequences of each when funds are withdrawn.  For example, nonqualified accounts are taxed at capital gains levels while qualified accounts are taxed at ordinary income levels.

Life Insurance

You should discuss with a qualified agent the types of life insurance and amount of coverage that would be appropriate for your specific situation.  By doing so, you can protect your income in retirement, provide tax-free cash flow, help to manage taxes and provide peace of mind to your family.

One of the greatest benefits of life insurance is the peace of mind it can provide.  Oftentimes, when one spouse passes away, the surviving spouse struggles to meet their income needs.  Life insurance can help to supplement the lost retirement income of a spouse.

IRA Strategies

You have worked hard to build up your retirement savings through an IRA, shouldn’t you protect it? One vehicle often used is a trust.  By placing your IRA in a trust, you give the beneficiaries of your retirement account protections that are otherwise not available to them. While inherited IRA accounts are not protected from a beneficiary’s creditors or in bankruptcy, IRA’s that are directed to trust are protected from creditors such as a divorcing spouse or a lawsuit that may be brought against yourself or any named beneficiaries.

A trust can also ensure that assets will be available for future generations. Upon your passing, a retirement account beneficiary can either receive distributions over her lifetime or remove all retirement account assets immediately.  The problem with the latter approach is that all income tax then becomes due, potentially with a high tax rate. With a trust, the trustee ensures that the inherited IRA would continue to be managed and stretched over the beneficiary’s lifetime.

To ensure your goals for retirement are met, contact a knowledgeable retirement planning attorney who can discuss these strategies outlined above and recommend knowledgeable resources to design a well-rounded plan specific to your needs.

If you have questions or concerns about Elder Law issues, please don’t hesitate to contact the Elder Law Attorneys with Russo Law Group, P.C.