Couple is married and Mr. makes Mrs. the primary beneficiary of his retirement account.
Mr. & Mrs. get divorced.
Mr. does not change his beneficiary and then dies.
The U.S. Supreme court recently ruled in Kennedy Estate vs. Plan Administrator for DuPont Savings that the ex-spouse gets 100% of the retirement plan because the beneficiary designation trumps the divorce decree .
Moral of story: Always update your beneficiary designations for retirement plans, especially after a divorce.
This add-on for google maps is a little hard to find. When you open google maps, there are two search boxes. Click the second box and a drop down list appears. Select real estate. Then type in whatever address you are interested in in the first box. A map with red dots representing properties for sale near that address will pop up. Then you can use street view to zoom in and see how the neighborhood looks. Chicago magazine wrote about it recently, so it must be cool.
This year, most closings are first-time buyers. They are eager to get the $8000.00 tax credit for first-timers. This is a pretty simple process.
To get the $8000.00 tax credit you can either amend your 2008 tax return or wait to file your 2009 tax return. Since most first-buyers were picked clean of available cash at closing, they amend their 2008 tax return to get the refund right away.
To amend your 2008 tax return, you will need:
1. A copy of your 2008 tax return;
2. Form 1040x, which is the amendment form;
3. Form 5405, the form that indicates that you are a first-time buyer who has joined the land-owning gentry.
If you type “1040x” or “form 5405” into google the forms pop right up. In the attached, I show how to fill out the form. This assumes that the client is single and the adjusted gross income is under $75,000.00.
The refund takes about 6 to 8 weeks to process.
Illinois will offer $6,000.00 interest free loans that can be used as a downpayment by first time buyers.
Details of the program are here.
The $8000.00 tax credit given to first time buyers has been popular and has helped get first time buyers rolling. I did a closing the other day where my client/buyer had already filled out his 1040x (to amend his 2008 tax return) and had it ready to mail in from the closing. That’s thinking ahead. But, the $8000.00 tax credit comes 4-6 weeks after closing and can’t be used for the downpayment. The new Illinois loan program will provide downpayment advances for FHA loans (FHA requires 3.5% down).
Anything that props up the housing market for awhile is good by me.