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By Liza Horvath


Resources for Financial and Legal Team Building


Forming a team of professional advisors consisting of a tax advisor, attorney and other trusted advisors like a money manager or financial planner is important. However, for those of limited means or seniors on a fixed income, forming such a team can be financially impossible.


If you are unable, financially speaking, to have an attorney on retainer, a costly tax advisor and you do not have your investments managed by a smart and savvy investment advisor, is it possible to form a team similar to those assembled by wealthier families?


The answer is yes. To begin, why is it important to put such a team together and what services should these advisors provide? Getting your fundamental legal affairs in order is paramount. Should something happen, you must have someone in place to make financial and health care decisions on your behalf. Taxes and staying on the right side of the IRS by filing returns in a timely manner is important but you should also be sure not to overpay in taxes. To guarantee your future financial wellbeing, make the most out of your money by investing wisely and maximize Social Security income. If the cost of retaining these types of professionals to help with your basic planning needs is out of the question, there are free or low cost ways to build a financial and legal team.


Legal Services for Seniors in Seaside – 899-0492 and Salinas – 442-7700, is a non-profit agency staffed with attorneys that provide legal services to seniors – free of charge. The only qualification is that you must be 60-years old or older. There is no “needs based” testing – they do not consider your financial position when providing services. Legal Services for Seniors can draft wills and advance health care directives which are the fundamentals of our planning. The advocates on staff can also help with other legal concerns including consumer protection, housing, Medicare and Medical and social security income.


Part of your winning team should be an experienced financial or investment advisor and it is important that part of the financial planning include an evaluation of your expected social security benefits. Getting smart about when to draw social security can make the difference of thousands of dollars in your pocket. Two new books, “Get What’s Yours: The Secrets to Maxing Out Your Social Security,” and the third addition of “A Social Security Owner’s Manual,” will provide you and your spouse with information needed to determine when it is most advisable, in your situation, to begin to draw benefits and what traps you must avoid that can actually reduce benefits.


When to begin to draw benefits plays directly into cash flow and income taxes. A good advisor in the tax area of life can help identify tax deductions that may have been overlooked and help you decide if it makes sense to continue working, retire or partially retire and how each of these decisions will affect your income taxes. Along with other beneficial programs, Alliance on Aging, with offices in Monterey, 646-1458 and Salinas, 655-1334, offers tax counseling to seniors.


With Legal Services for Seniors, Alliance on Aging and some research of your own, for little or nominal cost you can build an advisory team to help you through the legal, tax and financial planning basics of seniorhood.     

Liza Horvath has over 30 years experience in the estate planning and trust fields and is the president of Monterey Trust Management, a financial and trust management company. This is not intended to be legal or tax advice. If you have a questions call (831)646-5262 or email liza@montereytrust.com










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