Retirement Planning: How an Elder Law Attorney Helps

Elder law in Maine involves any area of the law that can affect older people—including retirement planning. Retirement planning includes understanding how retirement age affects your Social Security retirement benefit, evaluating your retirement assets and income sources, ensuring that you have the right health coverage, and even looking ahead to early long-term care planning. We encourage you to read more below or view our video about elder law and what our elder law attorneys can do for you. You may also want to look at our Maine elder law resources.

To speak with us about your specific concerns, please contact Nale Law Offices. With offices in Waterville, we help clients in all parts of Maine with their retirement planning issues.

Planning for Health Coverage in Retirement

Lining up adequate health insurance is a major concern for people planning to retire, especially if they do not yet qualify for Medicare and need to replace their health insurance provided by employment. We advise individuals planning to retire before the age of 65 on obtaining health coverage with a private health insurance provider.

Medicare becomes available to most people at age 65. At that point, we assist clients with timely enrolling in Medicare and choosing the option that is best for them. If seniors do not sign up on time, they may be subject to penalties and higher premiums for their lifetime, so timely enrollment is especially important.

Enrollees have a choice between original Medicare, which consists of Part A for hospitalization and Part B for outpatient services. Original Medicare has deductibles and copays, and on average, pays for about 80% of health care needs. We advise clients on choosing a supplement plan to help pay those copays and deductibles that Medicare does not cover. We also guide clients in selecting prescription drug coverage to go with their Medicare Part A and B and supplemental coverage.

Medicare Advantage is an alternative to original Medicare coverage. The big difference between original Medicare and Medicare Advantage is that with Medicare Advantage involves contracting directly with an insurance company. Enrollees receive the same benefits as under original Medicare, and plans often cover prescription drugs, vision, and dental care. The insurance company typically requires Medicare Advantage patients to seek hospital care and doctors’ care from in-network providers, which keeps costs down.

Because health care coverage is so important to seniors, we take care to understand our clients’ unique needs and help them timely enroll in a plan that is best for them.

Replacing Employment Income with the Social Security Retirement Benefit

When it comes time to replace employment income, we make sure our clients understand how their retirement age affects their benefit. Social Security retirement benefits are available as early as age 62, but the Social Security Administration currently considers retirement age to be 66. Seniors who start taking Social Security benefits before 66 receive an 8% reduction in benefit for each year less than that age they begin receiving benefits. In other word, a senior who chooses to start taking Social Security will receive a benefit that is 32% less per month than if they had waited until they were 66.

On the other hand, every year (up to four years) that a senior delays their first Social Security payment results in an 8% bonus to their monthly benefit. So, a senior who retired at 70 would receive a monthly payment 32% greater than it would have been had they retired at 66.

Other Retirement Assets and Income

Most people cannot rely only on Social Security for income in retirement. We help our clients to build a plan that involves not only Social Security, but their “nest egg” assets that might include a pension, traditional IRAs, Roth IRAs, or employer-provided plan like a 401(k) or 403(b).

We will advise how to combine all those different benefits to set up a retirement plan so that clients can enjoy continued quality of life, secure in the knowledge that their funds will last the rest of their lives. We also make sure that their assets are used in such a way that they avoid taxes on their Social Security benefit and ensure that the “nest egg” is preserved.

People spend their working life focusing on accumulation of assets; on retirement, the goal becomes preservation of assets. When we help our clients develop a retirement plan, we take into account healthcare, Social Security, and other retirement assets, so that we can help them preserve both their quality of life and the assets they worked so hard for.

Speak with Our Maine Retirement Planning Attorneys

To speak with us about any aspect of retirement planning, please contact Nale Law Offices in Waterville. We work with individuals and families throughout Maine.