My continued best wishes to all my clients and their families for a Happy, Healthy and prosperous New Year. This memorandum references changes or modifications in the law and areas of practice that may be of concern to you.

1 -Ryan S. Ratner, P.A.

We continue to be a primary resource to our clients for their estate planning, and legal needs. We continue our "Open Door Open Call" policy. The only foolish question is the one that is not asked, whether related to financial planning resources, estate planning or other legal issues, do not hesitate to call. If we cannot help you, I have a trusted group of professionals in all areas who can but think of us as your immediate resource.

2 - Huge news regarding Stretch/Inherited IRA's THEY ARE NOT CREDITOR PROTECTED TO YOUR BENEFICIARIES!!!!!!!:

NEW IRA payout rules as "stretch" IRA's are now limited to 10 years for a non-spouse. Also recall in the case of Clark v. Rameker released June of 2014, the United States Supreme Court found that inherited IRA's are not retirement assets in the hands of the account beneficiary and therefore not protected from their creditors. You CAN still provide a layer of asset protection by leaving the IRA to a properly drafted trust rather than as an inherited IRA. If you, your family, or friends wish to creditor protect your/their IRA's for their beneficiaries we need to review your trust agreement and beneficiary designations to afford maximum available protection!

3 - Durable Power of Attorney:

This statute changed substantially in 2011 and all my clients were advised. Check your powers of attorney! With the infiltration of digital media, online accounts (ie Facebook; Twitter; online banking, etc.) we have been adding "Digital Media" provisions to powers of attorney to allow your agent access to your digital account(s) and material(s) upon your incapacity. Difficulty to obtain digital information in this digital age can be catastrophic. Also, do you have a pet(s)? If so, does your power have language allowing your agent to coordinate care for your pet during your incapacity? Let's protect your pets too!

4 - Revocable Trust Retitling:

Recall that with Trust planning the assets need to be retitled into the trust to avoid probate, to be subject to your trust's terms, provide any drafted asset protection planning available and to keep the assets in the bloodline. The titles on bank, brokerage accounts and individual stocks must reflect the trust. For some of you IRA's, life insurance and annuity beneficiaries need to reflect your trusts as well, for others that may not be the case. Real estate also needs a deed to be transferred into your trust. If you are not sure whether your assets are titled in the trust, let's meet with copies of your account statements to make sure your goals and objectives are being met.

5 - Is your car leased??

Did you know that your death is NOT a legal excuse to get out of your lease agreement? Don't be fooled by the dealership when they say, ". . .just drop off the car and we'll take care of it". In most leases your death is a breach of the lease and if not handled properly can cause substantial expense to your family at the worst time of their lives. Let us meet and discuss this issue.

6 - Please contact us if your spouse has passed

Please contact us if your spouse has passed away and please do not initiate any immediate transfers without meeting with me. Every client, estate plan and circumstance is different and with delay there may be a frustration of your goals and objectives and unnecessary and substantial tax ramifications if certain matters are handled improperly.
Always remember to review your documents with me every 3-5 years or upon the happening of a watershed event such as a birth or marriage in the family or G'd forbid, a death or divorce.