Matecun, Thomas & Olsen - October 2019

Don’t Let Money Get in the Way Of Your Grandchild’s Education

College expenses aren’t what they used to be. What used to be affordable to any student with a part-time summer job now can take years to pay off. If your grandkids want to go to college, the cost of education should not be a barrier to their future. Luckily there are ways that you can help ease that financial burden. Invest in a 529 savings plan. There are no limits on age, income, or monetary contributions attached to this college savings account. Just like a Roth IRA, the earnings grow over time and can be used tax-free for qualifying expenses, like tuition and room and board. There are a few downsides, however. Funds from a grandparent’s 529 savings plan are considered student income and could hurt your student’s eligibility for financial aid. If you choose to fund through a parent’s 529 savings plan, which doesn’t count as student income, you lose control over the funds you contribute. Pay their tuition. Not everybody has $20,000 just lying around, but if you do, using it to pay for your grandchild’s tuition isn’t a bad way to spend it. Normally, annual financial gifts that are exempt from the

federal gift tax can’t exceed $15,000, but payments toward someone’s tuition, for any amount, can exceed this annual exclusion. Keep in mind, however, that the money can only go

toward tuition, not toward other college expenses like room and board or textbooks.

Help them find opportunities to save. Even if you don’t have thousands of dollars to give, you can still help your grandkids look for other opportunities to save. There are thousands of available scholarships, grants, and programs to help students pay for college, and helping them look online and in your community can go a long way. College could be your grandchild’s first stop on the path to achieving their dreams. You can be a part of that journey by making sure money doesn’t get in the way of that.

It’s a Serious Problem and Here’s What You Can Do About It Financial elder abuse is a major issue that’s not often discussed, publicly or privately. It’s a subject that’s easy to sweep under the rug. However, over the past several years, the subject of financial elder abuse has been making more and more headlines.

This is particularly true when family is involved. The reason? No one wants to cause rifts in the family. According to the National Center on Elder Abuse, upward of 90% of those who take financial advantage of the elderly are known acquaintances, such as family, friends, neighbors, and caretakers. What can you do to protect yourself, your family, and your estate? When you are still of sound mind, that is the best time to plan for power of attorney, as well as how to handle health care matters in the future. You want to make everything as clear as possible. For folks with aging parents, be sure to keep in regular contact with them through regular visits or phone calls. Ask them about their friends and the people they associate with, including caregivers and neighbors. This isn’t about being suspicious; it’s about knowing who is a part of your parents’ lives. Never sign anything that you don’t have a clear understanding of, such as financial documents. Always ask for clarification or have someone you trust go over the details with you to make sure it is truly in your best interest or the best interest of your heirs.

One high-profile legal battle centered on the late Stan

Lee, one of the biggest names behind Marvel Comics. In the years

leading up to his death in 2018, Lee was sitting on an estate worth millions of dollars. Lee went public, alleging that an acquaintance and memorabilia collector had made attempts to take over his estate.

It was a legal battle that outlived Lee. In May 2019, Lee’s former business manager was charged with five counts of abuse. While Lee did what he could to fight to save his estate from this unsavory business manager, many others aren’t as able or willing.

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