In This Issue
Message from the Partners
Five Reasons to Review Beneficiary Designations
401(k) Retirement Plans for Small Business: Why, What and How To
Medicare and Obamacare
Whats New?
Quick Links
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Samuel Sayward & Baler 
 858 Washington Street, Suite 202
Dedham, MA 02026
Phone: (781) 461-1020
Fax: (781) 461-0916
News from
Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC

November 2013

Attorneys Suzanne Sayward, Maria Baler, and Steven Joshua Samuel


Message from the Partners


Dear Clients and Friends,


The holiday season is here and New Year is just around the corner. In this issue we have included articles to help you stay informed in 2014.  It's our goal to keep you updated on the most important issues in estate planning, health care decision-making, and financial matters, and to help you make the best decisions for you and your family.  


Our feature article, published in The Dedham Transcript this summer and written by Attorney Baler, provides details about beneficiary designations -- an often overlooked aspect of estate planning.  While most people understand what it means to designate a beneficiary for their life insurance and retirement accounts, they do not necessarily understand the importance of reviewing and updating these designations from time to time, or do not remember to do so. Attorney Baler gives five reasons to review your beneficiary designations now!


Attorney Sayward writes about a hot topic in health care: The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, and the uncertainty about how the new law will affect health insurance coverage and health care options. While Medicare recipients will continue to receive their usual coverage and benefits, there are many unanswered questions for individuals, families, and businesses. She provides important information and resources to help you stay informed as the issue unfolds in 2014.


In his financial article, Attorney Samuel points out the benefits of 401(k) retirement plans for small businesses, explaining the benefits of offering such plans to employees and what owners can do to address some of their financial and administrative concerns.  For example, there are independent specialists who can work with business owners to explain why they should consider implementing a 401(k), how to determine the services and costs, and how to integrate the plan into their company. 


Finally, congratulations to Attorney Sayward for being named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer for the fourth year in a row! Read about her designation and more news from our firm below.


This issue marks the four-year anniversary of the SSB Newsletter! We are pleased that our readership is growing and encourage you to send us ideas for future articles. As always, please feel free to send us email addresses or forward this newsletter to friends and family members!


Wishing you a safe and enjoyable holiday season!


Steven Joshua Samuel

Suzanne Sayward

Maria Baler



Five Reasons to Review Beneficiary Designations 
By: Attorney Maria C. Baler

Beneficiary designations are an often overlooked aspect of estate planning.  While most people understand that they can designate a beneficiary for their life insurance and retirement accounts, they do not necessarily understand that the beneficiary designation forms control those assets absolutely.  This is true regardless of how long it has been since you designated the beneficiary, what your current intentions may be, or what your Will or Trust may say.  Here are five reasons to review beneficiary designations from time to time:


1. You Change Jobs.  I often receive calls from my clients when they change jobs because the HR department has given them lots of forms to fill out, including beneficiary designation forms for their group life insurance policy and their 401k.  These forms are often filled out in haste during a hectic first week when the new employee has lots of other things on his mind.  New forms are also required if you add additional life insurance or if your company changes 401k providers.  In these situations, it's easy to simply list your spouse as the primary beneficiary of your life insurance and retirement accounts, and your children as the equal contingent beneficiary, and move on to the next form.  However, take the time to think about those designations to be sure that they are consistent with the rest of your estate plan.  If you have set up a trust for the benefit of your young children or for estate tax planning purposes, should the trust be named as the beneficiary?  You may not know the answer to that question, but your estate planning attorney will.  Take the time to make a call or send an email to be sure those designations are made correctly.


2. Your Marital Status Changes.  As a result of the recent enactment of the Uniform Probate Code in Massachusetts, beneficiary designations in favor of a former spouse are deemed void after a divorce.  However, there is some question about whether the terms of an individual retirement plan or federal ERISA law could override this provision of state law.  To be safe, if you are recently divorced you should update your beneficiary designations to reflect your current intentions. Conversely, if you are newly married, it is important to review and update your beneficiary designations as well.


3. Your Estate Plan Changes.  A good estate plan will change as an individual's circumstances change.  A trust that was the beneficiary of your retirement account when your children were young may no longer be appropriate when they are having children of their own.  A previously responsible child may develop a drug or alcohol addiction, or have a tendency to spend money inappropriately.  It may become appropriate to leave your assets, including life insurance or retirement benefits, in unequal shares to your children for various reasons.  Grandparents may wish to name grandchildren as beneficiaries if their children have sufficient wealth.  For all of these reasons and many others, the manner in which you designate family members as beneficiaries of your life insurance or retirement accounts may need to change as time goes on.  Don't forget to revisit beneficiary designations when making changes to your estate plan so that they are consistent with each other.


4. It's Time to Consider the Tax Implications.  How retirement benefits are distributed at the death of the retirement plan participant can have significant income tax implications.  This may not warrant a lot of thought if you have $20,000 in your retirement account.  However, as time goes on, many people build up considerable wealth in their retirement plans.  A beneficiary who receives a large lump-sum payment from a retirement plan will also receive a big income tax bill and lose a significant portion of the account to income taxes.  It is possible to reduce these adverse income tax implications with thoughtful planning (see #5 below).  Life insurance and retirement accounts are also subject to estate tax at the owner's death.  Planning can also reduce the impact of this tax, for example, through the use of irrevocable trusts or, for those with charitable intentions, by leaving these assets directly to charity.


5. Consider How -- not just Who.  All of that wealth in your life insurance policies and retirement accounts could have a significant impact on the beneficiary who receives it (or who has the option to receive it) in one lump sum.  In addition to the income tax impact (see #4 above), receiving a large amount of money all at once may have an adverse impact on a beneficiary's work ethic and lifestyle.  If the timing is wrong, inherited assets can be lost to creditors, divorce, bankruptcy or other troubles.  If a beneficiary is disabled and receiving public benefits, receipt of payments from life insurance or retirement benefits can result in disqualification from these very important benefits.  In addition to reviewing who is named as beneficiary of your life insurance and retirement accounts, consider how they will receive the funds and whether controlling the manner in which that happens is in the best interest of your beneficiary.   


Life insurance and retirement accounts often hold significant wealth but receive less attention than they deserve when it comes to planning.  Review your beneficiary designations periodically to ensure they are consistent with your planning goals while being mindful of tax and other implications.


This article is not intended to provide legal advice or create or imply an attorney-client relationship. No information contained herein is a substitute for a personal consultation with an attorney.

401(k) Retirement Plans for Small Business: Why, What and How To

 By: Steven Joshua Samuel, JD, MBA, AIF 


Retirement plans, such as 401(k)s can be important to a small business's ability to attract and keep employees as well as enhance a business owner's retirement. Nevertheless, only 30% of small businesses in the US offer 401(k) plans, according to a Surepayroll survey cited in the Wall Street Journal (9.30.13 page R2).


Small business owners likely avoid creating 401(k)s out of concern that the plans are time consuming and hard to administer, expensive, and not important enough for themselves or employees. Though there is some basis for these concerns, help from 401(k) independent specialists routinely address these concerns. Here's what small business owners and employees need to know when considering a 401(k) plan:


Why Create a 401(k) 


In a basic 401(k) plan:


Owners and employees can get an income tax deduction for themselves in 2014 for saving $17,500 ($23,000 if age 50 or older) in a 401k plan, compared with $5,500 for an IRA (if over 50, $ 6,500);


Owners can get a business tax deduction for company contributions to employee accounts, including their own, up to the maximum total contributions per account of $51,000 ($56,500 if over 50);


Small businesses get a tax credit of up to $500 a year for three years to offset the costs of starting a 401(k) plan, and all annual administrative fees paid by the business are tax deductible;


Employees can save easily through payroll deduction and get a tax deduction for their contributions;


For a well-advised plan, contributions can be invested in quality low cost investments;


Very successful businesses can set up a complimentary retirement plan that allows owners to put away significant dollars for their benefit ($200,000+ depending on circumstances) in addition to the 401k limits described above.


What Services and Costs are Involved in a 401(k) Plan


Services required to maintain a 401(k) plan can be minimal and still be adequate to meet fiduciary requirements to employees. Additional services such as education and advice can be provided effectively with slightly more cost;


Costs in 401(k) plans should be evaluated in relation to the type and quality of services necessary to achieve business owner goals;


All 401(k) plans require record keeping services to account for what is in each participant's account, at a cost usually between 25 basis points - 100 basis points (0.25% to 1%) per year or may be priced as a flat fee per employee;


Investment costs vary between 10 basis points and 200 basis points or higher;


Assistance with plan design, administration and other owner-related fiduciary responsibilities vary;


Payment for professional advising may be based on commission or a flat fee arrangement and generally decrease as plan assets grow.


How to Put a 401(k) in Place and Maintain it Painlessly


Giant mutual fund and insurance companies as well as smaller independent financial advisory firms enable small business owners to start and maintain 401(k) plans. Services can be bundled or a la carte. Independent financial advisory firms help businesses from A to Z with designing a plan to meet their personal, company and employee needs and then select vendors (mutual fund companies for investments and specialized "third party administrators" for record keeping and administration) that best meet the business's needs. Having an independent advisor helps ensure services and investments are fairly and competitively priced and that there are no conflicts of interest when it comes to recommendations.  As always, it is best to have a conversation with a trusted advisor who has experience with these issues.


Samuel Financial LLC is located at 858 Washington Street, Dedham, MA 02026 and can be reached at 781.461.6886.  Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment adviser.  Commonwealth does not provide legal or tax advice. Please consult with a legal or tax professional regarding your individual situation.

Medicare and Obamacare 


By: Suzanne R. Sayward


The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, is such a political hot button that it can be difficult to find out how this new law will affect health insurance coverage options and the cost of health insurance and health care.  One thing that will not change under the ACA is coverage for Medicare recipients.  If you currently receive Medicare, you do not need to take any action to continue your coverage and your benefits will not be reduced. 


In fact, under the new law, Medicare benefits have been expanded to include free preventive benefits, cancer screenings, and an annual wellness visit.  There are no "marketplace exchanges" for Medicare, and according to the Department of Health and Human Services, it is illegal to sell someone with Medicare a Marketplace plan.  You can learn more about the ACA and Medicare at the following sites:


The Center for Medicare Advocacy:


The federal government's website:


The Kaiser Family Foundation:  

What's New?


Attorney Sayward is Recognized as Super Lawyer

Congratulations to our partner Suzanne R. Sayward on being named a Massachusetts Super Lawyer for 2013!  Super Lawyers is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  The selection process is multi-phased and includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations. This is Suzanne's fourth consecutive year to be named a Super Lawyer.


New Look for the Office

For those of you who have visited our office in recent months, you will have noticed we are redecorating our sitting area and our large conference room. Please pardon our appearance during this transition period!  We eagerly await the completion of this project and will include photos of our new look in our next newsletter!



Samuel, Sayward & Baler LLC Website Now Accessible on your iPad and iPhone


We have  updated our website and are now accessible on all mobile devices.  We have also added a blog to the site which we will update from time to time with information on current topics.  So check us out on your iPad or your iPhone at and let us know what you think!