Guardianships: Someone to Watch Over Them

Michele Morgan, Vice President/Trust Officer MorganM_BUS003xqc

The one thing you should know about guardianships—also known as conservatorships—is that they protect individuals who are unable to make sound decisions for themselves. As court-ordered arrangements, they result in the appointment of an individual or corporation to handle that person’s care and/or financial matters.

The arrangement lasts as long as necessary. In the case of a minor, that may be until they reach the age of 18. For an adult, it could be a lifelong appointment or just until they sufficiently recover from a health issue.

Circumstances That Lead to the Need

Guardianships are subject to state laws, and established by a court proceeding in the individual’s home county. Where children are involved, there is typically a large sum of money—either an unexpected inheritance or a personal injury settlement. Adult guardianships generally arise due to a temporary or permanent disability or an injury.

When the need arises, there are two different roles created in a guardianship: one involving the “Guardian of the Person” where the named individual or corporation is appointed to oversee the needs and care of the individual. The second role is the “Guardian of the Estate” to oversee the individual’s financial matters.

Guardians can be family members, unrelated individuals or, as mentioned above, corporations. Where large sums are involved, judges often prefer to see a bank serve as the guardian of the estate or, at the very least, as a co-guardian to ensure the assets will remain in place to support the individual throughout their life. Regardless of who is appointed the court requires an annual report to ensure the current arrangements continue to serve the needs and best interests of the individual.

Guardianships for children end at the age of 18 with a proceeding that determines the individual is now capable of making rational and prompt decisions about their own care and finances. For adults, a physician typically supplies a statement verifying they’ve regained the capacity to assume responsibility for their own care and finances.

Guardianships versus Powers of Attorney or Estate Plans

The need for a guardianship arises from the lack of other legal documents, such as powers of attorney or an estate plan. Sometimes, family members are overwhelmed by the medical side of caring for a loved one or have trouble agreeing on a course of action. In such cases, they may petition the court to appoint an impartial corporate guardian, especially to oversee financial matters. This saves family members from having to account to the court for how money is spent and from having to reimburse the estate if any charges are deemed inappropriate later.

Compassion Is Part of the Arrangement

While having the court involved in the care and financial matters of a loved one may seem invasive, judges involved with cases like these typically act as extended family members, especially where juveniles are involved. They take a genuine interest in ensuring each person gets what they need to be the best they can be. Compassion carries the day.

To learn more about guardianships and how Old Second can be of assistance in this area, please call me at 630-844-3222. I’m here to help get you the answers you need as you consider your family’s options.

Understanding the Benefits of a Special Needs Trust

Michele Morgan, Vice President/Trust OfficerMorganM_BUS003xqc

When you or a family member has a disability, protecting financial assets becomes a priority, especially when qualification for Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is involved. Fortunately, two types of special needs trusts (SNT) can help accomplish this.

Both trusts offer significant financial protection and can be used to pay for quality-of-life expenses, like wages for personal attendants and travel costs as well as for home furnishings, cars and even the therapeutic treatments not covered by Medicaid. The trusts differ in the degree to which these supplemental expenses are covered. This makes it essential to choose the right one for the job.

  • First-Party-Funded SNTs are funded using the disabled person’s own financial assets.
  • Third-Party-Funded SNTs are created using someone else’s money, not the disabled person’s assets.

While both types of trusts are exempt for Medicaid-qualification purposes, different rules apply to the way distributions can be made. This means the situations for their best use also differ.

First-Party-Funded SNT Rules

This type of trust is used when the disabled person’s own assets are sufficient to pay for the expenses Medicaid doesn’t cover. The disabled person, or someone acting on their behalf, creates the trust. That person is a parent, grandparent, legal guardian or the court. Funds typically come from a personal injury settlement, or inheritance that did not take a disability into account.

These trusts are irrevocable—once established, no changes are permitted. They must also include language that declares Medicaid has a lien on the trust’s assets. Any balances due to Medicaid for services received during the disabled person’s lifetime will need to be repaid to Medicaid before any other distributions may be made per the wishes of the disabled person’s estate.

Because Medicaid has this claim against the trust, all distributions during the trust owner’s lifetime are subject to review by Medicaid. The rules regarding those distributions are restrictive. For instance, a disabled person who wants to give a birthday gift to a sibling is prevented from doing so under this type of trust. The penalty for an errant disbursement can be severe. The disabled person is disqualified from Medicaid, becomes a private payer and needs to spend down the trust. Once that person’s assets reach $2,000 they may reapply for Medicaid.

Third-Party-Funded SNT Rules

This SNT is also exempt for Medicaid purposes because the money is not the disabled person’s and there is not a Medicaid lien. However, with no payback provision, the allowed distributions are less restrictive and determined by the grantor of the trust. Third-party trusts are typically funded with inheritances and bequests from family members who planned ahead and created the trust.

However, there are still rules. Chief among these is that the disabled person may not have any control whatsoever over the funds.

Hiring a Professional

Because the administration and investment of these trusts requires deep knowledge of the disbursement rules, typically either a corporate trustee or a combination of both a family member and a corporate trustee is chosen to oversee them. While naming only a family member is also possible, it puts undue pressure on that person. One false disbursement could strip a loved one of Medicaid coverage.

When hiring a corporate trustee, it’s important to find one who is willing to spend the time needed to understand and accommodate not just the rules but the needs and preferences of the disabled person.

If you, a friend or a family member might benefit from establishing an SNT—or from having a corporate trustee assume more responsibility for administering an existing SNT—we would be happy to talk to you about the options.

Call me at 630-844-3222. I am happy to help in any way I can.

What You Need to Know When Starting Your Own Business

Jane Miller, Vice President—Business Banking

Miller, JaneWhen you’re ready to talk about making the leap from dreaming about starting your own business to the reality of having one, so are we. And, talking is exactly where we’ll start.

Because, this is about more than helping you open a checking account and advising you on how to get your documentation in order. It’s about really getting to know your business, your potential target market and your goals so we show you the right mix of products and services to help you grow.

Get Services Matched to Your Anticipated Needs
Unlike many banks, we make all of our services available to business customers, regardless of their size, as long as it makes sense. This means you don’t have to achieve certain revenue levels to gain access to what you need, when you need it. For instance, if your business is to be a one-person operation, we want to make sure you have access to all of our online and mobile services—from deposit to payment services. Because when you are doing it all, the last thing you need is to spend time away from serving your customers to do your banking.

Find Affordable Borrowing Options
The trickiest part about a small business owner is often financing—making sure you have sufficient funding and additional sources lined up to ensure ongoing liquidity. Many new business owners assume they’ll need to seek alternative online financing sources to do this. But, as a full-service bank, we will work with the business owner to provide options for them to make funds available at a lower interest rate and with more convenient repayment terms than many of the newer alternatives.

Also, unlike many larger banks that require business owners to take on personal loans to fund their businesses, we can structure nearly any size financing. We can even transition a business owner who has already borrowed elsewhere into a more stable lending structure to arrange a more affordable payment and ease stress on their liquidity.

Start Thinking Like an Owner
Once you become a small business owner, our full-service bank offerings can also help you by addressing more than your immediate cash management needs. We can also work with you to set up the type of employee benefits you’ll need to attract and retain quality workers and to secure your own future.

From retirement plans to payday services and cash management tips, we’re here to help you become the business you want to be.

Start-Up Resources for Sole Proprietors
While we’re always ready to serve as a support and sounding board, here are some other resources you may want to take a look at to make sure you are in compliance with state and local regulations:

Old Second salutes our veterans on-staff

In honor of Veteran’s Day, Old Second would like to salute and thank several of our employees who are active or veteran military personnel. Read their bios below.

ALFRED VIDRIO

Alfred Vidrio

Currently I am a Second Lieutenant in charge of second Platoon in Joliet, Gold Company 634th BSB. I have been in the military for over three years. I have been in the Illinois Army National Guard since Aug. 9, 2012. In my entire time with the military, Old Second National Bank has been extremely supportive with me being stationed around the United States. Every time I come back, Old Second welcomes me with open arms and helps me find a position where I can use all my knowledge and military skills. Last year on October 5, 2014, I was activated for military training for several months. When I came back, Old Second welcomed me right away. Every time I have drill Old Second accommodates the dates I need so I can prepare and be there on time. While at Old Second, I have gone through OCS (Officer Candidate School), BOLC (Basic Officer Leadership Course) and a number of Annual Trainings. I feel extremely grateful that Old Second supports the military and does not hesitate to accommodate my military time.

 

TAMMY HANKINS

Tammy Hankins

Tammy Hankins

After graduating High School in 1984 I decided to join the United States Marine Corp.  I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew that I wanted to be self-sufficient and be on my own.  I attended Boot Camp at Parris Island in South Carolina from November 1984 to January 1985. From there, I was stationed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina while I attended school at Camp Johnson close by.  There I learned the details of the Admin Job I had posted for.  My Military Occupational Specialties (MOS) was 0121 Service Record Book clerk.  I remained at Camp Lejeune doing the various admin tasks assigned to me until a position opened up for someone with my MOS.  In February of 1986 I received orders to be transferred to Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, NC where I was assigned to H&HS 28.  My position required that I keep personnel records up to date for the service personnel in my squadron per the Marine Corp standards.  This required much attention to detail and has vastly helped me with the tasks under my responsibility here at Old Second.  While stationed at Cherry Point, I had the privilege and honor of meeting the now retired Commandant, General P.X. Kelly.  I left the service after my term expired in November 1988 as I was a single mother. I served during peace time and was not deployed overseas.  But since I was a single mother, at the time, I greatly appreciated that they allowed me to remain stateside.  I think serving in the Military was one of my greatest experiences.  I learned at a young age what it means to be a team.  When I was hired at Old Second in 1991, my manager told me that my military experience helped her to decide on me for the position.  Hard work, attention to detail and dedication is what I took away from the military and have applied to my position at Old Second.

 

KEITH MCINTOSH

Keith McIntosh

Keith McIntosh

On July 9, 1968, I had the proud honor of enlisting with the United States Air Force and 2 days after, I was in basic training at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. I was 19 years young and eager to learn and wanted to help my country in any way that I could. After 6 weeks of basic training I was sent to Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois and learned to be a Petroleum, Oils and Lubricants Specialist, or more commonly known as a Fuels Specialist. I drove various ground refueling vehicles used for refueling the various aircraft the Air Force had in their arsenal. After receiving my training I was sent to the 126th Air Refueling Wing located at O’Hare Field in Chicago and remained there for 6 years performing my refueling duties as required in support of air refueling aircraft that flew various missions throughout the United States and into Western Europe. I was a part of the Illinois Air National Guard and periodically was sent to Rhein- Main Air Base in Frankfort, Germany for maneuvers sanctioned by NATO, and supporting all the free countries in Western Europe during the Cold War. If you asked me if I would do it over again, I would say in a heartbeat…  These were some of the best times of my life!

 

HECTOR ESPINO

Espino

Hector Espino

I went to basic training in October of 2011 and graduated in January 2012. I then proceeded to Marine Combat Training for a month. In March I attended Financial Management School in Camp Johnson, North Carolina for my MOS (Military Occupation Specialty) school. In June 2012, I was stationed at Camp Pendleton, California with Combat Logistics Regiment 17, while at CLR-17 I was as an auditor for travel claim and as customer service. In July 2014 I was deployed to Camp Leatherneck in Helmand Province, Afghanistan with Combat Logistics Battalion 1 (CLB-1). While in Afghanistan I was a UPA (Unit Paying Agent) Representative and trainer, in a nutshell I paid out any sort of debt we owed to Afghanistan nationals for causing any accident harm to civilians and/or property. On top of being a UPA agent I was the trainer, I worked with MARSOC (Marine Special Operations Command) and Army special forces as well to teach them all the regulations and the procedures to be a UPA Rep. I came back from Afghanistan in October 2015. I was one of the last Marines out of Camp Leatherneck before we handed over control to the Afghanistan Army. When I came back from Afghanistan I was assigned a special duty of being a member of the Inbound Platoon for CLR-17 now known as Headquarters Regiment 17. The inbound platoon was new program in charge of receiving new Marines into the Marine Corps Fleet and helping them settle into the fleet in regards to any questions with housing or their new way of life. The Marine Corps not only set me up to be able to be successful at Old Second National Bank, but be set for anything to come my way in life after the Corps. I believe Old Second hired me not only for my cash handling experience but just for the fact I was enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and we Marines are known to be professional and give our all to whatever the mission may be.

 

TIMOTHY VAUGHAN

vaughan

Timothy Vaughan

I have been in the US Army Reserves for nearly 27 years, since November 1988.  Prior to that, I was active duty from 1983-1988.  Old Second has supported my participation in the Army Reserve by consistently granting me time off to attend Battle Assemblies (previously known as Drills), Annual Training, Army schools attendance, and for deployments and mobilizations. My annual training ranges year to year from a few days spread out over the year to several weeks in one month.  Army schools attendance has ranged from one week to my culminating leadership training at the Sergeants Major Academy which was 11 months.  I have had 2 deployments, one each to Iraq in mid-2007 to mid-2008 and Afghanistan from mid-2009 to mid-2010.  The bank supported me again when I mobilized in support of overseas operations at Fort Bliss, Texas for just over 3 years from mid-2011 to mid-2014.  I have spent over 6 years on active duty as a reservist out of the last 8 years and have never had to worry about having a job to come home to as Old Second has always honored their pledge to me to return to my same position and salary.  This has helped me to focus on my mission as a Soldier and not having to worry about employment once I return back home. Old Second helped to provide comfort items for the troops that were deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom by having their branches collect toiletries and other items for Project Santa which sent stockings stuffed with these items to units overseas.  I was the recipient of these items during both deployments (picture attached).  In one of the years in which I was not deployed, the bank let me deliver the supplies raised one fall to the group that packed and mailed the items to Soldiers during working hours.  The box truck used was packed with around 1,000 lbs of supplies which provided for well over 500 large stockings for troops overseas (picture attached). As my time left in the Army Reserve is drawing to a close, I look back over the last 26 years plus in which I have been able to perform my duty as a Soldier and have to give credit to Old Second National Bank for allowing me to pursue that passion while being a supported employee.

 

 

Scoring Credit: Play It Smart

Jackie Allison, First Vice President, Retail Services 

Jackie Allison, First Vice President, Retail ServicesWhether you are requesting credit in the form of a credit card, car loan, or a home mortgage, it literally pays to have a winning credit score. The higher your score, the less you will pay over the life of the loan.

Who’s Keeping Score?
There are three main credit reporting bureaus:

  • Experian
  • Equifax
  • TransUnion

Each collects information in a report that summarizes your financial history. The bureaus use this information to calculate your credit score. Those scores are used by potential lenders to see if you are a “good credit risk,” someone who will likely pay back what they borrow, as agreed.

What Affects a Score?
While each bureau uses a different formula, they look at the same factors:

  • Whether you pay your bills on time. A late payment once in a while may not be damaging, but a pattern of late or missed payments is.
  • The amount you have outstanding each month as a percentage of your available credit. A high percent outstanding actually can lower your score.
  • The number of new credit applications you’ve submitted recently. This can signal a concern to the potential lender that you are acquiring too much new debt too quickly.
  • Payment history. If you have been late on a payment, get the account current and stay current. This will help improve your credit score.
  • The extent of your borrowing history. To have a credit score, you need to have had credit and demonstrated you can repay it. A good way to start building your history may be to have a parent co-sign on a loan application when you start working or, if you are able to do so, apply for a CD-secured loan at OSNB.

Before you apply for credit, take a look at your reports. You may request a free report once every 12 months from each bureau. To request your free reports, visit AnnualCreditReport.com.

Question any inaccurate information. And, if you are a joint borrower, exchange reports before applying. It may make more sense for the person with the higher score to apply for the loan on their own to lower its overall cost to you both.

If you do have a low score or a limited credit history, talk to us. Your banker can make suggestions that may help you raise it and lower your future borrowing costs. Because when it comes to your credit score, it’s never too late to improve it. For additional information, visit the FDIC’s consumer protection page.

Be Diligent About Your Vigilance: 9 Tips for Banking More Securely

Julie Perez, Vice President—Operations
Bryan Handell, Investigator—Aurora Police Department

Julie Perez, Vice President—Operations

As the banking industry continues to work to keep your accounts safe from would-befraudsters and scammers, here are nine tips we put together, with help from Investigator Bryan Handell of the Aurora Police

Department, to aid in protecting your personal information and financial accounts.

1. Monitor your accounts. Too many people never even open their bank or credit card statements to review activity in their accounts. The sooner you catch fraudulent activity, the sooner we can shut it down.

2. Look over your shoulder. Whenever providing information to a salesclerk or customer service representative or when keying it into an ATM, be wary of shoulder-surfers lurking nearby.

3. Carry only what you need. It’s rare that you would need to have your Social Security card in your wallet. If necessary, carry a photocopy with the last four digits blacked out.

4. Keep your eye on cash. In crowds, men are advised to keep their wallets in their front pockets. In bars and restaurants, women should resist the urge to sling their purses over the backs of chairs.

Numbers to Know in case of Identity Fraud5. Be a good Samaritan, just not a naïve one. It’s natural to want to help, but it can be an intentional distraction to divert your attention away from a pickpocket taking advantage of the crowds at a concert, sporting event or any other busy event. Help, but stay aware.

6. Verify before you trust. It’s okay to provide personal information when you’ve called your credit card company or bank or logged on to their secure site. It’s not okay when the contact is unsolicited. Even a caller I.D. number can be manipulated—verify such calls independently.

7. Take your password protection seriously. Use a strong password, and don’t use it for everything or base it on information easily inferred from looking at your Facebook or LinkedIn pages.

8. Don’t toss—shred instead. Dumpster diving is a real thing, especially in areas with alleys or where garbage bins are left unsecure. Also, keep your papers, passwords and files out of sight. Financial fraud is often committed by those closest to us—a family member or friend who sees an opportunity and goes for it.

9. Educate your children. From naïve sources of personal information to easy targets for fast-money counterfeit check scams, kids and young adults can unintentionally sabotage their financial well-being and yours. Foster a greater sense of awareness and skepticism to help keep both their information and money safe as well as yours.

“The thing to remember is that criminals look for easy targets. By being aware and taking a few defensive moves, you can appear not to be worth the trouble,” advises Investigator Handell.

For more tips, check our website.

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