Good Day Alabama: Oct. 20, 2015

Good Day Alabama: Oct. 20, 2015

Here's what you saw on Good Day Alabama:

MONEY TUESDAY - Stewart Welch with the Welch Group joined us to discuss your will - have you reviewed it lately? Take one moment and think about what your will says. Who does your will leave your assets to if you were to die today?  If you are married and both of you died today, who would your estate go to?  Would it go outright to those beneficiaries or would it go into a trust?  And if it goes into a trust, when does the trust terminate? 
Including any life insurance, what is the total size of your estate?  Are your heirs well equipped to handle the money or assets they will inherit? This week is Estate Planning Week all across the nation and we want everyone to know how important it is to have a properly drawn will and accompanying estate planning documents. If you have not reviewed your will within the past 24 months, then right now is the perfect time to get with your attorney or professional advisor.  A few issues you'll want to consider are:

  • The Death Tax.  The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 -ATRA- significantly raised the value of an estate that is not subject to the death tax called the estate tax exemption amount.  You can leave an unlimited amount of assets to a spouse plus up to $5,430,000 of assets to a non-spouse such as a trust or directly to children.  If you are married, you can each leave up to this amount to a non-spouse for a total of $10,860,000.  This exemption amount is indexed for inflation so we expect it to rise in future years.  If your will was written before 2012, it is particularly important that you have it reviewed by a professional since many of the estate tax reduction strategies used prior to that time are less appropriate based on the new laws.
  • Double check beneficiary designations and account ownership.  Have you had any significant life changes in the past few years-- the death of a family member, divorce, significant inheritance, the birth of a child or grandchild?  Take a moment and make a list of all of your retirement accounts - 401k, IRAs, Roth's, life insurance policies, and annuities.  Next, list the beneficiaries for each account.  Finally, the hard part, list the 'contingent' beneficiaries for each account.  Lots of folks don't remember who their contingent beneficiaries are and the results can be disastrous.  For example, one person had his wife as the primary beneficiary of his IRA but left the contingent beneficiary blank.  The wife predeceased him and he didn't remember to change his beneficiary.   He died and the IRA went to his estate instead of directly to his son.  As a result, instead of being able to spread out the income taxes over his life expectancy, the son had to pay the income taxes within five years.  We've seen a number of similar disasters related to divorcees.  Remember, minor children -under age 19 in Alabama- should not be named direct beneficiaries of any assets.
  • Power of Attorney.  Effective January of 2012, the State of Alabama adopted a new model Power of Attorney agreement which compels financial institutions to accept and follow its terms.  POAs drawn prior to this change may or may not be accepted by various institutions.  You'll want a new one that complies with current law.
  • Is a trust needed?  If you have minor children, your will should make provisions for holding your assets in a trust at least until the age of majority - age 19.  In many cases, we find that young adults are not prepared to handle even relatively small amounts of money and are better served using a trust and trustee to help manage money until they have had time to experience 'the real world' for several years.
  • Elder Care issues.  As our population ages, many of our elder citizens and their family face complex issues related to healthcare, aging and personal finances.  With careful planning, you can improve the quality of life while preserving financial assets.
  • Income Taxes.  Liz Hutchins, Birmingham-based lawyer and president of the Estate Planning Council of Birmingham added, "Income tax planning can be more important than estate tax considerations in many estates, especially when the total assets are less than the $5.43 million estate tax exemption. Plans may need to be revised to allow heirs to take full advantage of income tax savings after your death.  If you have a closely held business and your business succession plan includes trusts, special attention needs to be given to the appointment of the trustees due to the 3.8 percent net investment tax that went into effect in 2013."

Often, estate planning involves the teamwork of a number of professionals including attorneys, Certified Financial Planner™ professionals, CPA's, trust officers and Chartered Life Underwriters.  That's because there needs to be a coordination of estate taxes, income taxes, multigenerational financial planning, life insurance planning and trust planning.  It's these combined efforts that typically create the most effective estate plans. The Estate Planning Council of Birmingham includes professionals across each of these disciplines. For more information, visit www.birminghamepc.org.

BETH K - How safe are your supplements?  UAB Nutritionist Dr. Beth Kitchin joined us with some answers! She says dietary supplements are a $14 billion-plus industry. Yet, supplements are largely unregulated when it comes to safety and effectiveness. Researchers have now estimated how many consumers end up in the emergency room after taking unsafe supplements. Their findings were published in last week's New England Journal of Medicine. 
What the Researchers Did: The researchers used admissions information from 63 emergency departments in the United States from 2004 to 2013. During that time, 3667 people who were admitted to the emergency room because of side effects from nutrition supplements. The researchers used those numbers to estimate that 23,000 people in the U.S. are likely admitted to hospital each year due to supplement side effects. Young adults -20 34 years- were the most likely to end up in the ER due to nutritional supplements at 28 percent of admissions. Twenty-one percent were unsupervised children.
What Kind of Supplements? While the researchers were not able to gather data on exact supplement names, they were able to get general information about the types of supplements that were most likely to pose problems and what kinds of symptoms motivated the ER visits. Supplements that were used for weight loss and increasing energy were two of the biggest suspects. These types of supplements were implicated in the majority of cases that involved the most serious symptoms: rapid heart rate, chest pains and irregular heartbeat. These types of supplements often contain excessive amounts of caffeine (often under other names like cola nut or guarana) or other ingredients that can increase the heart rate.
Tips for Consumers:

  • Talk to your doctor before starting a supplement – especially if it is marketed for weight loss or for energy
  • Start with a lower dose to see how you feel
  • Stop taking the supplement if you notice any side effects and call your doctor
  • Report any side effects to the supplement company


TALLADEGA RACE WEEKEND - It's race weekend at the Talladega Superspeedway! Chairman Grant Lynch joined us with details on all the events. Catch practices between noon and 4:25 p.m. on Friday and the "Big One on the Blvd" Driver Parade and fan competition at 6:30 p.m. that evening. On Saturday catch the NASCAR Camping World Truck Qualifying at 9:30 a.m. and race at noon. The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Foodland/ Food Giant Qualifying is at 3:15 p.m. The Saturday Night Infield Concert features country artist Easton Corbin at 7:30 p.m. And on Sunday, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Race begins at 1:30 p.m. The CampingWorld.com 500 is the third and final event in the Contender Round of the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup format; Following the CampingWorld.com 500 the number of Chase drivers eligible for the championship title will be reduced from 12 to eight. Joey Logano is the only driver who has locked in his spot for the next round. Talladega Superspeedway is NASCAR's biggest and baddest track and features 3- and 4-wide, 200-mph racing on the 2.66-mile, 33-degree banked venue. NASCAR's Most Competitive track has an astounding record of 88 lead changes in an 188-lap race. Talladega is known as "NASCAR's Party Capital" where fans of all ages can have a great time. For tickets or more information, visit talladegasuperspeedway.com or call 1-877-Go2-DEGA.

WILDLIFE EXPERT - Stuart Goldsby with the Division of Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries joined us to discuss deer hunting and archery. He shows us some equipment and discusses crossbow safety tips. Archery Season in North Alabama Zone A runs October 15 until January 31st. Archery Season in South Alabama Zone B runs October 25th through February 10th. Stuart says hunters must be in possession of the Harvest Record while hunting deer and turkey. It is only voluntary though to use the "Game Check" on your phone app or at the website outdooralabama.com and the Avid Bowhunter Survey for hunters that can be found at research.dcnr.alabama.gov/AvidHunter/.

JEH JEH LIVE - Jeh Jeh joined us live from Elements Float Spa. It is located at 4851 Cahaba River Road, Birmingham, Alabama 35243. This spa claims to take you to another level. It lets you float in a pod designed to give you the best rest. Flotation REST - reduced environmental stimuli therapy - is one or more sessions of floatation, usually for sixty minutes, in a purpose built float tank containing Epsom salt solution at 97 degrees Fahrenheit. The solution's relative density is 1.25 making it impossible not to float, usually supine, "on your back" except for pregnant women. The temperature is correct for maintaining body temperature without muscular action and there is no postural requirement either, so a profound state of relaxation is achieved within 15 to 20 minutes. For more information, call 205-518-0800 or visit elementsfloatspa.com.

WILD & SCENIC FILM FESTIVAL - Wild & Scenic Film Festival lands in Birmingham Thursday, October 22! The Festival will showcase short films from the largest environmental film festival in the world as well as films highlighting and exploring local issues. The Alabama Rivers Alliance and Alabama Environmental Council will host the 8th annual Birmingham screening of the Wild and Scenic Film Festival at Avon Theatre - 2829 7th Avenue South. The centerpiece of Alabama's Wild & Scenic program is a selection of award-winning films from the national Wild & Scenic Film Festival. Considered one of the nation's premiere environmental and adventure film festivals, this year's films combine stellar filmmaking, beautiful cinematography and first-rate storytelling to educate, entertain, inspire solutions, celebrate the outdoors and ignite possibilities to restore the earth and create a positive future for the next generation. This year's Birmingham showing will also feature Southern Environmental Law Center's Southern Exposure film series, a selection of five short documentaries about Alabama's natural resources and the environmental issues that impact all of us. Some of the filmmakers, film subjects and others involved in the project will be on hand to discuss the films. Following the program, there will be a panel discussion including Q & A. It is Thursday night with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and show starting around 6 p.m. It will be at the Avon Theatre - 2829 7th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL 35233. Ticket prices are $25 each and include food, beverages and a one-year membership in the Alabama Rivers Alliance and Alabama Environmental Council. Tickets for students and seniors are $10 each and kids 12 and under get in for free. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.alabamarivers.org.

Tomorrow on Good Day Alabama, Jeh Jeh helps us Shop, Save, and Share! We talk college football with Lars Anderson! Forget those us secret ingredients.... we show you how to use maple syrup to spruce up your recipes! The children's doctor joins us to take your questions about your children's health! And Mickey takes us to the Birmingham Zoo to meet his new friends! Join us for this and much more tomorrow on Good Day!