Robert W. Good, Scott C. Bucy, Allen G. Drescher (Ret.), Cheri L. Elson (Ret.) - Attorneys at Law
823 Siskiyou Blvd ● Ashland ● Oregon ● 97520
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The SECURE Act: What You Need to Know

This article is courtesy of the Oregon Community Foundation.  If you would like more information about this article, or the Oregon Community Foundation itself, please go to their site!

As you have almost certainly heard by now, the SECURE (Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement) Act was signed into law on December 20, 2019. As its name suggests, this law is focused on issues related to retirement planning. The provisions that are especially noteworthy in the context of charitable planning include:

QCD Age Unchanged. While the age at which required minimum distributions must be taken has been increased from 70 ½ to 72, the law does not change the age for eligibility to make a qualified charitable distribution (QCD) from an IRA account to a charity. Your clients can still make a QCD after age 70 ½. While this is good news for taxpayers who like the ease of QCDs for their charitable giving, it is important to note that this change may affect the analysis of tax benefits to the taxpayer since they no longer have an RMD that would require tax be paid upon withdrawal.

Alternatives to Stretch IRAs. Most non-spouse IRA beneficiaries can no longer elect to stretch their distributions from their inherited IRA over their lifetime, a commonly used planning tool referred to as the stretch IRA. Clients with large IRA accounts who were hoping to maximize the tax-free appreciation period for their heirs may be interested in alternative planning tools that will help them achieve similar goals. Your charitably inclined clients may wish to consider creating a testamentary charitable remainder trust. Since a CRT is tax-exempt, it can receive IRA account assets without tax being due up front and additional appreciation of the assets will similarly be tax-deferred. Similar to an IRA, the beneficiaries are taxed as payments from the trust are  received over their lifetimes. Whatever is left in the trust after the beneficiaries’ deaths will then go to a charity named by the trustor.

Please let us know if you would like to see gift proposals or illustrations for a client’s testamentary charitable remainder trust. We are happy to partner with you in exploring options and creative solutions for your clients’ estates. Please contact Rebecca Bibleheimer at (503) 944-2124 or at Oregon Community Foundation.

The Culture of Care

The signs of a good nursing home include treating the underlying medical problems, relieving pain, and doing everything possible for the residents to feel comfortable and at peace.  Psychoactive drugs should always be the last resort for treating the symptoms of dementia and there are many steps a care facility can take before resorting to medication.

Enlightened care providers are increasingly turning to “comfort care” to enhance the quality of life for their residents. This approach, as its name suggests, focuses on keeping the residents comfortable using a nurturing, individualized approach looking at the emotional, social, and spiritual needs of their residents, as well as the medical ones.  The goal is to keep residents comfortable, thereby avoiding unnecessary drugs. This can be done through a variety of means:

  • knowing the residents well enough that basic needs are never a major issue, and needs can be anticipated
  • embracing a philosophy of individualized care
  • adjusting the manner and pace of interacting with the residents to be more suitable for the needs of those living with dementia
  • recognizing and treating pain aggressively
  • treating family and friends as the true partners in care that they are

The simplest of issues may trigger conflict: an incompatible roommate, room temperature issues, unenjoyable music choices, a loud television.  Someone living with dementia may not be able to effectively communicate what is bothering them and it is up to the care providers to be patient and understanding in discovering the root of the issue.  Common symptoms of dementia, such as restlessness, pacing, and repeated questions, should be both anticipated and accepted.

Individualized care and more attention are some of the best substitutes for drugs.  As your loved one’s advocate, insist on a customized care plan which takes into account personal sleeping and eating schedules, bathing methods, and other services which will keep your loved one happy and comfortable.  A facility which takes the time to really learn about their residents, their history and life’s journey, will be more likely to meet these needs effectively.

Nursing homes can also stop unnecessary drugging by improving staff training on how to respond to symptoms of dementia.  Talk to the facility where your loved one lives and ask if they have the local Alzheimer’s Association chapter conduct training for their staff.  There are also certified coaches in Teepa Snow’s “Positive Approach to Care” who can provide valuable training for both independent and facility-based care partners.  If on-going training is not part of their protocol, urge them to make it so.

It takes a village to be a care partner to someone living with dementia.  Finding a residential facility able and willing to truly be part of that village will help ensure there is no unnecessary medicating and that your loved one will have the best life possible until the very end.