Social Security and Pension Benefits
As an individual or couple considers their estate plan, questions or concerns may arise concerning Social Security or pension benefits. It is important that these issues be resolved in a timely and efficient manner. At the Randy Ratliff Law Offices, our team of estate planning professionals is here to help with Social Security, pension, business succession planning, elder law, family law, and related issues. You can rest assured that our Nashville elder law attorney will keep all communications confidential and that we will do our very best to answer your questions in understandable language, while devising thorough strategies and solutions for you.
People who are approaching the age at which Social Security benefits begin may have questions about the amount of their benefits, whether it is best to “draw” on their own earnings or those of a spouse (or former spouse), whether there are advantages to signing up to begin receiving payments sooner rather than later (or vice versa), and so on. There may also be concerns about how “old age” Social Security benefits work for people who have been receiving Social Security Disability payments due to an injury or medical condition, or there may be issues concerning the process of qualification, such as problems with a name change, a Social Security card, and so on. An individual or couple may also wonder how Social Security affects Medicare, Medicaid, or TennCare benefits and whether there are tax implications for government-paid benefits.Considering Pension Benefits as Part of an Estate Plan
In addition to Social Security benefits, a person planning their estate – or dealing with issues concerning probate or a living trust – may also need more information concerning the law of pension benefits. These can be complicated issues, and it is often necessary to review documentation from the recipient’s former employer to understand the type of benefits at issue, whether the beneficiary’s spouse is entitled to continue receiving the benefits after the former employee’s death, and how other issues are to be resolved. (Dividing pension benefits during a divorce also calls for knowledgeable legal representation.)
Sometimes, there may even be issues concerning the funding of the pension itself, since not every employer makes responsible fiscal decisions concerning pension funds. The Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation is a government agency created by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) that oversees private pension plans. When a pension fund files for bankruptcy or has other funding issues, the agency may become involved in the process. In some situations, the Pension Protection Act of 2006 may also be triggered. If you have concerns about the economic viability of a particular pension fund of which you are a possible beneficiary, you should discuss the situation with an attorney as soon as possible.Schedule an Appointment to Discuss Your Concerns with an Elder Law Lawyer in Nashville
For most people, planning for the inevitable expenses of their retirement years, including the possibility of nursing home care or an assisted living facility, can be emotionally difficult. The same is true for estate planning, asset protection planning, and business succession planning in many cases. Knowing one’s legal rights and understanding how different programs, laws, and legal documents interact and relate to one another can help reduce the anxiety and uncertainty often associated with these issues. Seasoned Nashville attorney Randy Ratliff represents clients throughout Davidson and Williamson Counties, including in Antioch, Hermitage, Madison, Goodlettsville, Joelton, Franklin, Brentwood, and Cool Springs. To schedule an appointment, call us today at 615-656-8282 or contact us online. In addition to answering your pension and Social Security-related questions, we can explain how trusts work, draft an appropriate will, living will, or durable power of attorney for health care, or file the necessary paperwork to probate the estate of a loved one who has passed away. While these issues are sensitive and often hard to discuss, it is important to gain clarity of mind and ensure that as little as possible is left to chance.