Where is San Diego Housing Headed in 2017?

Do you know that feeling when you think "hey, this all seems eerily familiar" You chalk it up to being De Ja Vu and then you sit in wonderment for a few minutes before you get moving on with your day.

No realtor or person who has anything to gain in real estate is ever going to be the first one to tell the general public that it's about to turn down. If you ask any of them it's always the best it's ever been and it's always a great time to buy and sell. Well, as a full time practicing realtor...probably the only one that I know of that is honest to a fault is about to tell you the facts in San Diego real estate as of fall 2016.

It all boils down to affordability and availability. If you were a giant peering in you would see that our San Diego local economy is finally picking up steam, unemployment is finally in single digits throughout the county and things seem to be humming along. But if you looked at our demographics, the average income, the average house price, the average debt load, etc you would see that the majority of our population cannot afford to buy a home in San Diego. 

One might argue that affordability doesn't matter because as long as people own homes they now have equity and can move up using their newly formed equity position as leverage to do so. I agree, but who is going to buy thier house? Who is San Diego first time home buyer? They make about $58k a year and can TRULY afford something in the $100k's. 

How can someone who only makes enough to buy a $100k house actually purchase a $400-500k house? It's called creativity. The loans that were made in the early 2000's are back. They are buying homes using no down payment, an introductory interest rate that will increase in about 5 years and continue to increase as long as the government increases interest rates. The government has also increased the minimum they will guarantee (aka FHA insurance). These people are being told that interest rates will stay low forever and they'll get into the market and increase their wealth because they are now home owners. What they aren't hearing is that interest rates will increase as soon as we have an inkling of inflation. Has that buyer looked at what they'll be making when that happens?  Have they looked into whether or not they can afford their newly purchased home if the interest rates go up to a normal interest rate of 5 or 6%?

San Diego has notoriously had the worst salaries compared to what it actually costs to live here. We are number 1 when it comes to not being able to qualify for the average priced home where we live.  Put another way, out of all 50 states in the U.S. our residents can afford our houses the least. 

To 'help' San Diegans qualify for a home loan the lenders are once again offering interest only loans, no down payment loans, no tax return loans, etc. This began in early 2015...I saw it, everyone should have seen it. Home sales were balanced in 2014 some were selling, others were sitting. Some buyers were getting good deals, some sellers were getting out from under their mortgages it was going along fine....then the government increased the loan for FHA from $417500 to $580750 and BAM up shot the prices, all of a sudden there were bidding wars on houses in the $600k's and it has only blown up from there into what we are experiencing today.

More to come....







Jan. 5, 2017

YIMBY or NIMBY which one are you?

Yes In My Backyard or Not In My Backyard?

Wow! Who knew San Diego was already turning into Ireland? 

In Ireland if you own a home with a yard you're made to feel guilted into moving once you age. They are saying 'you've lived here long enough, now give some younger person a chance to live there and raise their family'. 

Seriously, that is happening right now in Ireland and from what I've been reading it seems to be starting here in our own humble city of San Diego, CA. 

Read about it here

Jan. 3, 2017

Senior Retirement in San Diego

Retiring in San Diego  

The issue of retirement becomes increasingly important the older you get, which is common sense. What happens to more than a few people is they become caught up in the workaday world with all its demands, and before they know it what is common sense has become a forgotten priority. Despite what the mainstream media offers in the way of senior San Diego retirement blues, there are many people who have built-in retirement savings “systems” and actually can afford to live relatively carefree of financial retirement concerns. Here are the major groups of San Diego senior retirees and how they should approach retirement. 


Low Income Retirees 

People who are classified as low income for the purposes of the Federal government can range between $20,000 and $50,000 depending on where you live. This group of San Diego retirement seniors is more likely to depend on Social Security retirement benefits to help pay for their basic living expenses. Note that this group does not include poverty level incomes as it is obvious that these people will have no retirement savings options at all. 


401(k) Retirees 

Many San Diego senior retirees who are currently employed and are either planning for retirement or who are currently retired have different levels of retirement preparation. One important factor will depend on how much of their income has been invested in their company’s 401(k) plan and for how long. The overall return on investment of the plan will also factor in. 


Here are some 2016 statistics according to U.S. News and World Report that will help get San Diego seniors a sense of where they stand financially and what they can expect: (http://money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2016-06-13/how-your-401-k-balance-stacks-up)  

  • Only 20% of 401(k) holders have balances greater than $100,000
  • About 40% of 401(k) holders have balances less than $10,000
  • The median 401(k) amount for people who have been working for more than 5 years and are over 50 is more than $77,000
  • If your income level is between $60,000 and $80,000 a year and you are over 50, the median amount in your 401(k) is more than $177,000

Government Retirees 

Government retirees, which includes San Diego military retirees, have either a general pension plan or a vested pension plan in place. The difference is that the vested pension is guaranteed by the Federal Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation and therefore is more secure for a San Diego senior retirement plan. But according to a Consumer Reports analysis, there is a total of $1.740 trillion in underfunded pensions at the local, state, and federal government levels. 

How Safe is Your Pension? 

That leaves the question of how much any retiree should depend on their pension if they are headed for retirement in San Diego. The possibility of reduced pension benefits is a more likely scenario than having your pension income being cut to zero. 

You may find yourself crossing over with these plans. For example, you may be a government retiree who also has a 401(k) plan. The concept of creating multiple sources of income for senior retirement in San Diego, including part time work, is becoming more popular as living expenses sans inflation continue to quietly increase. 


Retirement Planning  

Retirement planning for seniors in San Diego is not an option, but a necessity. There is a direct financial factor to be considered, but health care costs also comes into play. Few people age without any health problems, and pension health care benefits can no longer be counted on for the long term. So taking stock of where you are at overall will give you a guide as to what your major concerns should be as you head for or enter retirement. 


Advantages for Preparing to Retire 


  • You own a house 
  • You have no mortgage or only a small number of mortgage payments remaining 
  • You have at least $50,000 in cash savings 
  • You have little or no credit card debt 
  • Your car or other transportation vehicles are paid off 

 Disadvantages That Make Retirement Difficult 


  • You live in an apartment 
  • You have a high debt load 
  • You have little or no savings 
  • You have no type of retirement account - IRA, 401(k) 
  • You are unable to relocate 

Both the advantages and disadvantages add up to one thing – the drain on your total retirement income. If you eliminate the cost of a place to live, credit card debt, and reduce the monthly cost of transportation, you will find that your actual monthly living expenses are very low. The less you have to spend, the longer your retirement savings and income will last as you continue through your senior retirement in San Diego. 

Consider your age when retiring. The magic seems to happen at age 62 click here to understand it 

The issue of relocation and transportation requires a special mention. If you live in a city such as sunny San Diego, you will likely not want to move, especially if you are a military retiree. The city and county offer a number of benefits for military retirees because the area generally has a military culture. Even if you are not a military retiree, moving to temperate Southern California makes a lot of retirement sense. But moving is expensive, so whether you choose to live in San Diego, Miami, or Texas it is important for you to be financially prepared for the move. In fact, moving can be a simple way to decrease your monthly expenses by moving to an area that has a lower cost of living. 


When to Retire 

The issue of retirement age usually lands somewhere between retiring early (before 55) because you can afford to and choosing not to retire at all but to continue working throughout your remaining years. Most people will fall somewhere in the middle, being able to retire between the Social Security age range of 59 and 66 most often connected with senior retirement. For some retirees it is not a complete retirement, as they opt to continue working part time. 


Where to retire is often closely related to where to retire. Most people have a preferred location to retire, such as Florida or Southern California. Continuing with our example of San Diego, there are several specific things to look for when deciding where to live, including:  

  • Availability of retirement communities for living
  • Outdoor activities
  • Crime rate
  • Proximity to major transportation hubs such as airports and major interstates
  • Cost of living

These are considerations not just for you personally, but for family members who will come to visit you with your grandchildren and great-grandchildren. San Diego has variety of communities in the city and county (San Diego is a county and a city) which is one reason it has been an attractive location for senior retirees for many years. 



Notice that all these various considerations of San Diego senior retirement planning are closely related, with the financial aspect being the most important. But it is clear that looking forward to retirement requires careful retirement planning, often decades in advance. Many adults, after their children are grown and gone, require smaller homes or living spaces that will cost less to own and maintain. Many San Diego seniors also want to travel in their golden years as part of their retirement plans, something that also requires money. 


Though the financial aspect dominates, a close second is where to live. This will involve contacting a real estate agent and discussing your options in detail. Choosing to forego the purchase of a home and move to a San Diego retirement community is a commonly chosen option, especially if you plan on doing extensive travel for the first few years of your retirement. Again, making serious retirement plans and discussing your future with a local real estate agent is an important starting point to having an enjoyable and financially secure retirement. 


Dec. 20, 2016

Avoid Probate have a Living Trust

Probate v.s Living Trust

Whether a Californian who lives and dies with a Will or without one if any property is owned in your own name over a certain low threshold of $150,000 then probate will likely be required.


By changing the way you hold title to your property a Living Trust makes probate unnecessary. Putting all of your assets in the trust you have absolute control over all your assets, it's as if you owned them in your own name. Though, you do not own property in your own name.  Instead, your Living Trust owns your property.  And you own your Living Trust.


Initially, one might think that not owning their property in their own name is a bad thing.  But it's not a bad thing....it's a good thing, because you are the Owner (aka Trustor), Manager (aka Trustee) and Trust Beneficiary.  So you (and your spouse) control your Trust and the assets in it.  You can give away your Trust assets, buy assets and put them in the Trust, sell Trust Assets, trade Trust assets, derive income from Trust Assets and even mortgage Trust assets.  As long as your trust is revocable and not non-revocable you can change your Trust, add to it, or even revoke it any time you want.  


The real difference the Trust makes is when you die. The person you assign to take charge of your Trust after your death is your Successor Trustee. The successor trustee will step in and do everything according to what is written in the trust for the disposition of your estate.  This saves your survivors huge costs, prevents a disgruntled family member from challenging your final wishes, eliminates publicity and relative to the cost of probate, costs very little and is not an inconvenience for your family.


Living Trusts are also indispensable for avoiding the indignity of a conservatorship.  In the event of your disability or mental incapacity a Living Trust helps you ensure that your physical and financial needs are handled as you would want them to be.


The Living Trust dates back hundreds of years. As consumers become better educated about the pitfalls of probate, all signs point to Living Trusts becoming even more popular in the years ahead.


Trusts Are necessary for classes of people

Do all wealthy people have trusts...decidedly so. They have a lot more than just a trust...but that is another story. Now that you're aware of the challenges of probate, it’s probably the last thing you’d want to bequeath your loved ones. Even if your estate is valued less than $150k or includes real estate at any value, you should probably have a Living Trust to avoid death probate. Regardless of the value of your estate, you should definitely consider a Living Trust in order to avoid living probate.


A comprehensive Living Trust-based estate plan will cost you more up front than a “discount” Will or bargain basement Living Trust. Begin by searching for a Trust attorney or call me for a referral anytime.


The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys recommends that you start with an attorney who is experienced and qualified and concentrates on this area of the law.  That’s the best way to ensure that your legal professional has invested the time and energy to providing you with the most current estate planning techniques. 


Your Living Trust

Once you’ve worked with your estate planning attorney to create your Living Trust-based estate plan, don’t stop there.  Taking advantage of everything this powerful estate planning tool has to offer requires these final steps:

  • Make sure you put all of your assets in your Living Trust. A trust can only work if the title to your property and accounts have been transferred to the Trust.  If you keep your property in your own name, then the trust is useless.
  • Keep your Living Trust up to date. As you acquire new property, be sure that you transfer title to these assets to your Living Trust.
  • Ideally, a Living Trust is a living, breathing document, and a plan that will serve you for many years to come. That means, however, that you’ve got to take the time to review it periodically and have it updated as your family’s situation, your goals, and your needs change.  A good estate planning attorney will stay in touch with you over the years to ensure your Living Trust continues to serve you well.


Article Paraphrased from What Every Senior Should Know About Probate May 9, 2014 by American academy of Estate Planning Attorneys

Oct. 3, 2016

Baby Boomers are Selling Their Homes


Tips for Baby Boomers Selling Their Homes to Make the Most of Retirement

   The former loud and chaotic domicile filled with the pitter patter of little feet has given way to vast empty hallways and tidied up rooms where your children once slept. They've grown up and moved out leaving you and your spouse with the title of empty nesters. The retirement world is filled with Baby boomers selling their homes, though incidentally those who decide to sell often find themselves faced with difficulty in retirement due to lack of planning. It makes perfect sense that you would sell your old home that is simply too large for two people. In short... you just don't want or need all that space.

    Here's the mistake that too many folks make when they sell their homes just prior to retirement: they expend their equity on luxurious living and expenses during the first few years of retirement. They travel the world, indulge in senseless shopping sprees, and set no money aside for anything other than that first year of fun and excitement upon retiring. As a senior living in San Diego who’s planning to sell your home, consider using your equity wisely. Always set money aside for emergencies and save more than you planned for healthcare costs, and contemplate affordable San Diego Senior Housing.

            Tips for a Senior Living in San Diego

     Are you taking full advantage of all those resources at your fingertips? Now that you've sold your home, are you using that home equity wisely? Though it might be nice to hang up your working hat and instantly travel the globe, you need to make sure you can afford it when you factor healthcare costs into your budget. Making a budget and sticking to it is a pivotal part of living wisely in retirement. Many make the mistake of overestimating their Social Security check while underestimating healthcare costs. As a senior living in San Diego, realistic budgeting is an absolute must.

    How else can you use your equity wisely? In addition to setting some funds aside for healthcare, you'll want to invest a portion of it too. Though it may go against your grain to take a risk, don't be so conservative in the investments that you make. Take advantage of the resources that sit in front of you such as free investment apps for your phone, financial advisors and websites that offer free information on how to invest wisely. Financial advisors can direct you towards investments that match your retirement plan

More About San Diego Senior Housing

   You've likely figured out that your years of home maintenance are behind you, and you're excited about that! You're thrilled with the idea of having someone else cut the grass and do the dirty work in terms of cooking and cleaning. You have every reason to be excited – you've pulled your weight all those years and now you should consider San Diego Senior Housing. San Diego is one of the best cities to live in during your retirement years. Enjoy beautiful weather all year round with plenty of amenities for your to take advantage of. The city outskirts have large lots, waterside homes, trails for exercise, along with convenient access to airports and hospitals. Geographically, retirees simply cannot wish for much more. As an added bonus, the social landscape for retirees in San Diego is thriving. With many living communities geared toward seniors, there's something for everyone and never a lull in activity. Active Senior Programs thrive in the area, where seniors can socialize, exercise, volunteer, maintain their health, and further their education.

Senior San Diego Homeowners

  Perhaps the thought of senior housing doesn't sit quite as well with you. Maybe you'd enjoy putting some of your home equity down on that tiny countryside cottage that you've always had your eye on. You enjoy the thought of yard work and cooking or cleaning isn’t something that you’re willing to give up just yet. You want a place that's removed from the hustle and bustle of the city, but one that is easily accessible. If that sounds like you, then keep in mind that buying a home is more often than not a great way to spend your money. When you have the guidance of an expert in the area and you can purchase homes that you know will increase in value, so you can’t go wrong. Do your best to set some money aside for savings and work an affordable mortgage into your budget. As a Senior San Diego Homeowner, enjoy the peace of mind that comes with having equity in a property with an appreciating value.

 When you consider the West Coast and all it has to offer, there's simply no reason to think about relocating anywhere else. With beautiful cities nearby, wide diversity in culture, a thriving social scene and beautiful havens tucked away to retire in, there's no better place to spend those golden years of your life. It's no wonder that most San Diego Seniors choose to age in place!



Meta: Baby Boomers selling their homes often aren't sure what to do next. Learn what senior living in San Diego has to offer!

Sept. 28, 2016

Things You Need to Know About Probate

The Things You Need to Know About Probate


Every adult should know what probate is, and in most cases, these situations apply to individuals who are over the age of sixty. In today’s report we’re going to talk about the concept of probate and exactly what it means to aging parents as far as estate planning is concerned.

Understanding Probate – What Does it Do?

As we dive into our explanation of probate, the first thing we want to tell you is that there are two different types that you need to know about:


Living Probate

This form of probate is often referred to as a conservatorship, and it is a legal process that determines the outcome in the event you have become incapacitated and simply cannot speak for yourself. This could include illness or mental incapacity. 

Death Probate

This manner of probate will dispose your estate upon your death. Generally, the probate will go through a Will and in the event you die without a will in place, your property will definitely go through probate. If you want to avoid this and ensure that everything comes to a favorable outcome, then it is strongly recommended that you seek out trust attorneys to help you get the job done. 

The Effect on Senior Citizens

The American Association of Retired Persons recently released a study titled Probate: Consumer Perspectives and Concerns and in a nutshell, it stated that probate is highly unique for the elderly. According to the results of the study, 90% of all probate property sales came from those aged 60+. To put it quite simply, living probate occurs when you cannot make your own decisions. 

Every year, probate related cases cost consumers $2 billion or more, with 75% of that figure resting on attorney’s fees alone. The rest of the fees, combined with appraiser and court costs, could literally leave you with a fraction of the money that your deceased loved one intended to leave you, and that would be absolutely tragic. Throw in the fact that it’s time consuming: most probate cases last for more than a year, and it can be even longer depending upon the circumstance. 

How Probate can Affect Your Family

The AARP study dived deep and found that probate almost always occurs once the surviving spouse dies as California couples often jointly own property, but this is not a situation that should be considered exclusive to California. In fact, most people across the nation own their property jointly, and in the absence of a will or trust, once the owner of the property dies, it will need to go through probate before it can pass on to an heir.


Probate can be especially irritating for elderly parents, but it can affect much more than them. It is something that can sneak up on their hairs, and according to a study that was carried out by the American Demographics Magazine, Baby Boomers are failing to save for retirement, and are in fact counting on the inheritance that their parents leave them. Unfortunately, probate can do a great job of affecting the amount of money that you ultimately receive – it can even cause you to receive absolutely nothing if you’re not careful. Attorney fees and court fees can burn through that inheritance quickly, and if you don’t have a backup plan in place, then you might just find yourself out in the cold. 

The Conflict Between Trust Attorneys and Probate Attorneys

As it turns out, the conflict between Trust Attorneys and Probate Attorneys is all about money, and the study states that quite a few attorneys build successful practices around the probate concept, using wills to draw in new clients who find themselves facing the twilight of their lives without a plan. 

The Study says marketing practice may set a costly trap for consumers. Attorneys lay the groundwork for their probate practice by writing Wills. Some write Wills cheaply as a way to generate other business, prompting the companion to loss leader discounts in retail trade. When the client dies, the same attorney, or other member of the firm, probates the Will at a high fee enough to recover any money lost on the earlier discount. (Probate: Consumer Perspectives and Concerns, Page 51.)

While probate is definitely a money maker, many attorneys would much rather help their customers/clients avoid the hassle of the process which includes inconvenience, public embarrassment, multiple delays, and even publicity. They have begun to raise the question of whether or not probate is even necessary given that it serves to bring undue stress upon those who are already suffering.

Exploring the Necessity of Probate

So here’s the million dollar question, or the elephant in the room, so to speak: is probate even necessary? According to statistics in the state of California, there are only 58 county courts for the 38  million people living in the state, and getting a court date for a probate case can take months. This alone can cause serious problems, but if you add in the other delays, you could spend two years trying to sort out the probate related legalities, and that’s two years before you’ll see any kind of inheritance. 

A Look at Death Probate

A closer investigation of ‘Death Probate’ shows us that it has these primary functions:

Assets are Inventoried and given Value

Validity of Deceased’s Will is Verified

Family Members have a Chance to Challenge the Will

Creditors are Given Opportunity to Make Claims against Estate

Property/Title is Transferred to Heirs as per the Language of the Will. This occurs unless the challenger of the Will wins.


Get Around Probate with a Living Trust

Individuals that would like to avoid probate altogether will need to look into alternatives like the Revocable Living Trust. Something to keep in mind is that if the property is valued at more than $150,000, probate will probably always be required whether a will exists or not. You can however change this by using a Living Trust as it will make probate unnecessary. This will require you to put all of your assets into the trust, ensuring that you have absolute control over each and every one of these assets. 

You might initially be of the opinion that not owning every single asset in your own name can create problems but it’s not as bad as you think. In fact, this method makes you the owner, manager, and trust beneficiary, and with that being the case, you and your spouse are able to exercise control over your trust and the assets in it. As long as the trust is revocable, you are able to change it, add to it, or revoke it whenever you want. These things, however, are applicable while you are alive and as you already know, we’re more concerned with what happens once you become deceased. 

The Trust can be taken charge of by your successor trustee following your death, and the successor will execute everything according to what you have written in your will. This simple action will save your heirs and survivors the costs associate with probate, including challenges from angered family members. Compared to probate, setting up a living trust is very inexpensive and cuts down on the inconvenience, which in itself is quite priceless. You can see the clear benefits.

With living trusts you can avoid the indignity of a conservatorship, and this will apply to situations where you become disabled or if your mental capacity has diminished. No one likes to think about such things, but they can certainly happen, and they need to be properly prepared for. 

Living trusts are not a new thing – they can be traced back hundreds of years, and as consumers become more and more educated about their clear benefits, they will become even more popular as the years and decades go by. They’re a great way of avoiding hassles, and a great way  of keeping attention where it should be during this horrible and traumatic time in your life. 

Living Trusts Aren’t Just for the Wealthy

So do all wealthy people utilize trusts? Probably, and they have much more than trusts at their disposal. That’s another story for another day. Now that you know what challenges probate brings, you should probably want to avoid bringing it onto your loved ones – who would want to do that anyway. Even if you have an estate that is valued at lower than $150k, you should use a living trust to avoid the probate issue – this applies regardless of property value.

Let’s be honest, probate brings many potential problems and it’s not something that you want to pass on to your loved ones. In other words, if you know about it, do something about it! As you start searching for a will, do understand that a Living Trust-based estate cost is going to cost you more up front than a bargain basement living trust. As you can see, there is a lot to learn and a call to the right attorney can save you quite a bit in the long run.


Get the Best Attorney

According to the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys it is strongly recommended that you begin with an attorney that knows the ‘business’ and is able to concentrate specifically on this area of law. Being a jack of all trades is great in some cases, but when it comes to your property, you want to make sure that you have the best, as this is the most pertinent way to ensure that your legal counsel is dedicated to getting you the outcome that you both want and deserve. 

The Living Trust

After you have worked out many of the fine details with your estate planning attorney and have discussed the creation of your Living Trust estate plan, you need to take it further. There are several steps that you will need to take to ensure that your assets are safe and that they will be distributed to your family in the manner you wish.

Put all of your assets in your living trust; the trust will only work if the title to your property and accounts have been properly transferred to the trust. If you choose to hold onto the property and keep it in your own name, the trust will do absolutely nothing upon your death.

Keep the trust up to date! Too many people make the mistake of acquiring new properties and assets without adding them to the trust; don’t be that person.

Review your trust regularly; make sure that it is properly updated and that it covers your family’s latest situation and goals. If you have a good estate planning attorney, they will remain in touch with you over the years to make sure that your Living Trust sill serves your needs. 

Sept. 3, 2016

San Diego Seniors have a Trust or a Will

Wills vs. Trusts - Which One Should San Diego Seniors Choose


            When you think of Wills and Trusts there is a good chance you automatically think of it as something to do in your old age. After all, why should you be planning for the end of your life when you’re nowhere near it? In truth, unfortunate events or even disaster can strike at any time, and those who have children or assets need to take early precautionary measures to ensure they are protected. You need to spell out precisely how you want your assets dispersed, and how you want your care provided. It’s not just baby boomers and retirees that need to start thinking about Wills and Trusts! There are also plenty of other decisions that need to be made in the event you become incapacitated and you must make a very important decision. So…should San Diego seniors have a Trust or a Will?

            Should San Diego Seniors Have a Trust or a Will?


            Both Wills and Trusts can be effective estate planning documents in the case of your death. These documents respectively should enable you to coordinate the transfer of your assets but one might be better suited for you than the other. Wills and Trusts both serve a similar purpose: to ensure that anyone who has children or assets can have their property handled internally without forcing the family to spend years in probate or have the state claim ownership. But which one should you choose? In order to determine this, you must know the differences between a Trust and a Will. 

Will: A legal document that directs the disposition of your assets after your death. A Will ensures a very smooth process for everyone after you're gone and it serves as a way to name a guardian for your children (something you as a retiree likely won't need).

Living Trust: A legal document that becomes valid when you execute the documents and your property is transferred into it. Essentially, you as the grantor and trustee can manage the assets until they're passed onto a previously selected trustee. The main difference between a Will and a Living Trust is that a Will takes effect only upon your death, while the Living Trust is valid during your lifetime. Also, a Living Trust can make provisions for your estate in case you are incapacitated, which a Will cannot do without a power of attorney. Those things (and other minor details) being considered, should San Diego seniors have a Trust or a Will? Let's take a closer look at some rather complicated factors that may influence your decision. 

            Assets – San Diego Baby Boomers Selling Their Homes

            For San Diego baby boomers selling their homes, assets are something to be considered when choosing a will versus a living trust. Why? Until the point of sale, a home is an asset to be factored in. Each state establishes an asset value below which Wills can bypass probate (the legal point at which a document is proven valid after death which can be a drawn-out process), but that doesn't mean estates of lower value might not benefit from Living Trusts; it simply means that the value must be taken into account along with the timing of benefits and weighed against the cost. If you own one or more homes, a Living Trust would be worth considering simply because of the complications caused by the ownership of multiple properties.

San Diego Senior Housing – Retirement Accounts and Other Assets

            For those who've sold their home and have taken full advantage of San Diego senior housing, a Living Trust might not be the best option. Why? If the assets you possess consist of bank and retirement accounts, then you don't need a Trust to avoid that lengthy and expensive probate process. All you need to do is fill out a few beneficiary forms in advance with the help of a professional:

  • •           Transfer on Death
  • •           TOD
  • •           Pay on Death (initiates automatic transfers into the respective accounts (in state).

            Senior Living in San Diego – What's Best for You?

 As a senior living in San Diego, it's vital that you take into consideration all aspects of both a Will and a Living Trust. The goal is to ensure a smooth transfer of your assets and eliminate a drawn out and expensive probate process. Consider things like... Do you have children who are minors? Do you have grandchildren or children with special needs? A Living Trust will allow you to determine in advance the amount of access they have to their inherited assets; a Will alone does not allow you to exercise much control over the use of those assets.

            Senior San Diego Home Owners – What's Best for You?

          It's wise for senior San Diego home owners to take their property (or properties) into consideration before you decide which document is appropriate. What types of properties do you own? Do you own one home, or multiple homes? How big are your homes and in how many states do they exist? Are any of the homes size-able enough to be subject to estate taxes? Will you be actively managing any of these homes? In a nutshell – the bigger your asset accounts in terms of real estate, the more likely you’ll want to choose a Living Trust.

            As a general rule of thumb, seniors over age 55, in waning or relatively poor health with a complex family situation, a high desire for privacy, an estate that might be significantly taxed or own any out of state real estate (vacation homes, etc...), should select a Living Trust. Living Trusts are more expensive, but are significantly easier to deal with than legal Wills. Don't scrimp on money today only have your children and grandchildren pay the price in court costs and attorney fees in a long, drawn out probate process after you're gone. If all signs point towards Living Trusts, save your family the headache and have one created before it’s too late.


Meta: Should San Diego Seniors have a Trust or a Will? Learn a bit more about Wills and Living Trusts so that you can determine what's best for you and your family.  

June 20, 2016

Elderly Parents Can Save Money by Using These Helful Tips

Top 10 Ways Elderly Parents Can Save Money


If you’re already retired in your San Diego senior housing, then you will want to save as much of your money as possible. One of the biggest problems for elderly parents is finding where those savings can be made, but if you have the right advice, you’ll find that you can be more comfortable and financially secure, even without having to make major sacrifices.

If you want to make the most of your fixed income, the best way to get started is with these ten helpful tips.

1. As An Elderly Parent, You Need to Manage Your Regular Expenses


Making sense of all of your financial obligations might be difficult at first, but once you document everything, you’ll have a simple system to keep track of all of your regular expenses. Insurance, medical costs, groceries, and any mortgages will be easy to calculate and document, and you’ll have a clearer understanding of what is coming in and going out every month. By defining your expenses, you can set a budget, stick to it, and live within your means to avoid wasting any money. Saving money on regular expenses will be hugely beneficial for your overall estate planning.


2. Take Advantage of Medicare Savings Programs


You might be able to get more money back into your Social Security check if you’re enrolled in Medicare. Medicare savings programs can help to reduce your co-pays, as well as your premiums.


3. Save Money on Your Prescriptions


Medicare can help in another way by offering a number of programs that provide assistance for drugs. 


4. Get Assistance With Property Taxes


If you have property assets then these could be costing you a significant amount of money in unnecessary taxes. There are programs available that will help you to reduce your annual tax, such as circuit rider and local abatement programs. With the right program you could save up to $2000 every year.


5. Free Cell Phone Plans


Everybody needs a phone in the modern age, but you might be paying too much for yours. A number of states offer free cell phone plans for elderly parents. Look for options in your local area.


6. Spend Your Time Wisely With Volunteer Work


During estate planning you will find that you have plenty of downtime, which could be used to perform community work. There are a number of programs that offer stipends for seniors, and this can be a great way to supplement your income.


7. Leverage Off of Your Home Equity


If your fixed income is simply not enough, and you don’t want to rely on a trust or other financial fund, then you could leverage off of the equity of your home (or other large asset) so that your finances remain solvent.


8. Take Advantage of Senior Programs


Don’t forget that there will be plenty of companies near your San Diego senior housing that will be able to offer senior discounts. Always take advantage of these to reduce your day-to-day expenses.


9. Get Your Estate Planning in Order


Whether you’re setting up a trust, outlining your will, or even setting up a gifting program to distribute money to your loved ones, you should always make sure that everything is  legally finalized, as early as possible.


10. Get Expert Help to Save Money


Estate planning can be time consuming and complicated. You can get free advice from a local estate services company for elderly parents, or you can find assistance from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. The best advice will allow you to save you the most money, and you will have confidence knowing that your financial affairs are taken care of.


May 20, 2016

Aging Parents Downsize Quickly

How To Help Aging Parents Downsize Quickly

Many senior citizens decide to downsize their homes, once all their children have flown the nest. It's easier to maintain a smaller home, and it means that they can put their money into other ventures if they so wish. However, not all downsizings happen by choice. If your aging parents need to downsize quickly, here's how to get the help you'll need.

When your Aging Parents need Help Downsizing

When the downsizing process needs to happen quickly, it's usually because of a family emergency. One of your parents may have passed away, or have been hospitalized for the foreseeable future. It could be that one or both of your parents are now in need of extra care that you may not be able to provide around the clock.

There are a few options available to your aging parents if this happens to them. Firstly, they could buy a smaller property in which to live in. They could choose to sell their home and rent a home instead, taking a lot of the responsibility for the home off them. They could also decide to go into San Diego senior housing, where they can get the care they need, when they need it.

As you can see, luckily there are options available. If anything happens to your parents, you know there are ways to help them out.

Who can Help When the Worst Happens

Traditionally, it has always been the children of senior citizens who have helped them when they've needed to move home. They can handle a lot of the practical details, such as selling off of furniture and other excess belongings, and helping with the move itself. Depending on circumstances though, it may be difficult for you to handle the entire moving process. This is especially the case if you live in different states, have young children, or a job you can't take time off from.

If you need help physically moving your aging parents into their new home, there are now companies you can hire on who will help you with this. They can pack boxes, plan new layouts in the new home, and get the belongings from A to B. They can be there when you can't be, and take a lot of responsibility off your parents' shoulders. If they're ill, or you have a parent who's now on their own, that can be a huge help to them.

Before anything happens though, the best person who can help is a lawyer or legal expert. They can help your parents with their estate planning. This can include lots of things, but they will advise them on what is best for them as a couple. They can put a trust in place if they ever need assistance with their finances, and they can plan for the eventuality of one of them falling ill or passing away.

Tips for Going through the Process Smoothly

- Don't wait for the worst to happen: Have plans put into trust before anything happens to your parents. Discuss with them what they want if they need to down size quickly. You may find that they would be happier in San Diego senior housing, when you hadn't even considered it, for example. 

- Pare down belongings: While your parents are still both fit and well, help them begin to pare down all their belongings. It could well be that they've collected them over a lifetime together, but now no longer need them. Dealing with them now means you won't be frantically trying to deal with them when the time comes.

- Get legal affairs in order: Ask your parents to visit a legal expert to get help with their estate planning, and have a trust set up is needs be. Having their wants legally noted means that when they need you, it will be a lot easier for you to help them out.

- Digitize the memories: Your parents may well have a lot of old photos and other documents that are taking up space in their current home. When they move, they may not have the space to keep them. You can scan their photos for them and keep them on a disc or cloud storage file. Alternately, you can make a poster out of their favorite snaps. 

- Know what to sell and what to donate: When it comes to having the clear out of your parents' home, you'll first think of selling some of their items. Think carefully before you do put something up for sale. It will take time and effort to list and ship something, so is it worth it for each item? The money could come in useful, but it may just be simpler to donate it to a worthy cause.

The Benefits of Downsizing

If your parents aren't convinced that they want to down size, it's understandable. After all, they may well have lived in their home for decades, having raised their children there. Here's a few reasons why they may actually want to down size now.

- It's easier to care for a smaller home: Your parents may well be able to care for their home now, but as they get older, it may be more difficult to get around. Having a smaller home means there's much less housework to be done. 

- It can decrease bills: Your parents could also be concerned about their outgoings if they're retired. A smaller home is much cheaper when it comes to bills, so it's sensible to downsize now and save that extra cash.

- Your parents can move closer to loved ones: If your family has become spread out over the years, they can feel very isolated where they are currently. Downsizing means they can pick a home that's much closer to you. 

Downsizing in a crisis can be a stressful time, so it's sensible to take precautions before that happens. Ask your parents what they want to happen, and put steps in place. When the time comes, you'll be glad you did.


April 20, 2016

Probate Adult Children of Seniors

Probate: What Every Adult Child of a Senior Should Know

For the elderly, aging baby boomers and senior citizens, the vast majority of probate cases revolve around the affairs of Americans age 60+.  This report offers guidelines to help senior citizens steer clear of disputes.


What Probate Does


What is probate?  There are two types of probate. The first one is a living probate (formally referred to as a conservatorship in San Diego, California) which is a legal process that determines your fate when you cannot, generally speaking, because you’ve been incapacitated by an injury or illness or mental incapacity.


The second type of probate is termed a death probate. This is the process that disposes of your estate after your death.  Your estate will most assuredly go through probate by having a Will, unless your estate is modest.  Dying without any estate plan will also guarantee probate. Trust attorneys are the ones who can be relied upon to draw your attention to all the problems that come with probate.  The seemingly endless red tape, loss of control, delay, expense, publicity, etc.


AARP's opinion as to how this impacts the Senior Citizens


If you trust The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) then you can review their study. As the organization reported in its study, Probate: Consumer Perspectives and Concerns, probate is unique for the elderly.


The AARP study (the study) found that 90% of all probate cases involved the sale of property owned by people aged 60+.  Living probate is also much more likely to involve seniors. Living probate is a legal process that determines your destiny when you cannot.


All probate-related expenses cost consumers as much as $2 billion or more each year on with attorneys’ fees alone representing more than 75% of that expense.  This national study noted that attorneys’ and executors’ fees could consume up to 20% of small estates and up to 10% of uncomplicated estates.  Add in appraiser's fees and court costs and your heirs could end up with a fraction of what the deceased wanted to leave them.


The study found that probate frequently lasts longer than a year.  Having a Will seemed to make no difference in the time required.  In fact, it could drag the process out even longer. 


How Probate Affects Families of Senior Citizens


The study found that probate usually happens after the surviving spouse dies.  Couples in California own property jointly and most married people across the nation do as well.  When one spouse dies all of their jointly held property immediately becomes the sole possession of the survivor.  In the absence of a Trust then when the survivor dies, however, their property will have to go through probate before it can pass on to their heirs.  


Senior citizens aren’t the only ones who may be surprised by probate.  Their heirs may feel the pain as well.  In another study, this time by American Demographics Magazine (ADM) revealed that many Baby Boomers are deferring saving for retirement.  Instead, they are counting on the inheritance from their parents to pad their paltry retirement.


According to The Study Probate as it is generally practiced in the United States is anachronism (definition: something or someone that is not in its correct historical or chronological      time especially a thing or person that belongs to an earlier time)  


and, to the extent that the probate system is unreasonable, attorney’s fees in connection with the probate work are unreasonable. (Probate: Consumer Perspectives and Concerns, Page 43.)


March 25, 2016

Senior Living in San Diego

Retiring Baby Boomers: Senior Living in San Diego


            You've toiled 35 years in the workforce, and you can almost taste it: retirement is right around the corner, and you already have some great plans for your days that are about to be blown wide open – completely devoid of work schedules, PTO banks and late nights at the office. This is the case for most Baby Boomers in the area, who are ready and eager to move beyond their career days in favor of passing the rest of their time enjoying senior living in San Diego. However, as many come to find out all too quickly, retirement isn’t all it's cracked up to be unless you've planned accordingly. This, obviously, takes finances into account, but there's much more to consider before you throw in your work towel and lounge by the pool for days on end. Millennials have done a fantastic job living life to the fullest, so don't hesitate to look to them for some tips on how you can be happy and keep everyone around you happy in retirement.


            Senior Living in San Diego – Plan, Plan, Plan


            Unfortunately, it's not quite as easy to stop working as one would think. Sure, the thought of a few months off is relatively easy to swallow for most, but ultimately you'll be better off if you have a plan for your empty schedule. Why? Boredom is often the culprit for miserable days well into retirement years. If it's not boredom, it's conflict with your spouse who envisions your retirement years together in a completely different way. If it's not conflict, it's a lack of financial freedom, and if it's not a lack of financial freedom, it's loneliness. So... what are you planning for? What will senior living in San Diego bring to you? Take some time the years before you retire to proactively meet these issues before they take you by surprise when you hang up your work hat.


            Plan to Communicate Before Retiring to San Diego Senior Housing


            Communication with your spouse is key to ensuring a happy retirement for senior San Diego home owners. Some would even say that over-communication is a great practice when you're approaching retirement. Why over-communicate, though? Chances are you've got life together down pat by now – you've braved the brazen years of your twenties, raised children together, encountered a few of life's happiest and saddest moments together, and over the years you've slipped into a rather nice routine of work, life, and balance. Retirement should be an easy slip into a blissful future together, right? If you think back, you might remember a time where life wasn't so easy; you were still learning about each other, figuring out how to balance out each other's interests in light of your own. Retirement can bring back this conflict fiercely if there's a lack of communication. It's important to bear in mind that with all of this new free time, you and your spouse are likely to have ideas on how to spend it, and they likely don't agree completely. You want to lounge, she wants to travel; you want to golf with your buddies, and she wants to spend time with the family. Communicate up front about what you'd each like to do with your free time, and even if it feels like over-communicating, it'll ensure that conflict isn't a problem for you in retirement.


            Baby Boomers Selling their Homes - Plan for Financial Freedom


            Part one of planning for financial freedom for a senior living in San Diego, or even baby boomers selling their homes is not retiring too early! Collecting that social security check too soon is a surefire way to short yourself on income. Find out the age you're allowed to retire fully – this will largely depend on the year you were born, and hold out if you can. Next, budget, budget, budget. Many go into their retirement years with no boundaries in terms of spending. Some hardworking Baby Boomers are susceptible to a feeling of entitlement when they retire, which gets many in trouble. You did work hard all those years, and it would be nice to travel the globe, but can you afford it based on your budget? Don't swipe the card and spend the money without working it all out first; that might work out at first, but make a devastating turn in the long run. Making a budget and sticking to it is a pivotal part of living wisely in retirement. In addition, though it may go against your grain to take a risk, don't be so conservative in those investments. Take advantage of the resources that sit in front of you: apps, advisors, the Internet, and play the stock game in a way where there might be a greater return for an elevated risk.


On the subject of technology, don’t forget to have fun with it! There’s a lot to learn, and as you’re playing around, learning to use apps, you’re probably going to find that there are actually a few ways to make your life easier. Online banking, shopping, and a plethora of other tasks can be completed from the screen of your smartphone or from your home computer. The retired life is not only fun; it can be easy.


            Plan to Be Independent for Senior San Diego Home Owners


            Gone are the days of needing a heap of money and a financial advisor to make magic happen. The Internet is a wealth of information; apps are accessible and many are free... there's no reason you should have to rely on someone else, like an advisor, to live retirement to the fullest. As it so happens, many baby boomers rely on others to advise them on things like money, technology and entertainment; it's not that they can't do it, it's that sometimes the interest to learn new tools dies down when you already have so many tools in the tool belt. As a senior San Diego home owner with twenty to thirty years ahead of you, staying up to date on those resources will be freeing and empowering. Now's the time to take advantage of those tools that will enrich your lifestyle as a senior living in San Diego tremendously!


            Plan to Get a Job and Obtain the San Diego Senior Housing Lifestyle


            Lastly, though you're almost retired and your career is a thing of the past, don't stop pursuing your dreams. Maybe now's the time to start that business with your child that you've always talked about starting together; you have the time, so why not? Rest assured, no matter what your age, any instance of pursuing your passion – though sometimes risky – cannot be called a waste. Maybe you're dream job is the one that you just retired from, and though you know that chapter is closed, you still crave a work culture. Just because you're retired and someone living in San Diego senior housing doesn't mean you can't work; and just because you work doesn't mean it has to be career focused. Companies all over employ people part time and flexibly to keep everyone happy. So, maybe in working your budget, you find that a little extra spending money every month would be helpful. Maybe you're toying with the idea of going back to work a year or two into retirement out of sheer boredom, but you've grown accustomed to the flexibility of life in retirement. Maybe you're lonely and you miss that daily interaction with colleagues, coworkers, and clients. Just because you worked forty years as an attorney doesn't mean you're overqualified for a job with Uber, for example, or as a part time content producer for a local law firm. In fact, a job like that may be just the mental stimulation, challenge, or financial boost you need.


            As a senior living in San Diego, when it comes right down to it, you have some challenges to overcome and a new life to adjust to. Today, seniors aren't just living in their old houses, they're either buying new homes or moving into retirement communities to bookend their lives with some brand-new memories. This is a new start for you; just make sure you not only get the home you want (if you plan to move), but that you follow the steps we mentioned above in order to keep your life together long into your retirement years.



Meta: Senior Living in San Diego can be a freeing experience if you plan accordingly. Learn how to prepare for what's to come to enhance your retirement experience.