Estate & Trusts

Six Things to Consider Before Making Gifts to Grandchildren

Posted by on Sep 15, 2014 in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts | 0 comments

Grandparents often are particularly generous to grandchildren as they see their family’s legacy continuing on to a new generation. In many cases, grandparents feel they have ample resources and their children or grandchildren may be struggling financially. Assistance with summer camp fees, college tuition, wedding costs or the downpayment on a first home, can relieve pressure on the next generation and permit grandchildren to take advantage of opportunities that otherwise would be out of reach. Some grandparents also don’t feel...

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Three Reasons Why Joint Accounts May Be a Poor Estate Plan

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts | 0 comments

Many people, especially seniors, see joint ownership of investment and bank accounts as a cheap and easy way to avoid probate since joint property passes automatically to the joint owner at death. Joint ownership can also be an easy way to plan for incapacity since the joint owner of accounts can pay bills and manage investments if the primary owner falls ill or suffers from dementia. These are all true benefits of joint ownership, but three potential drawbacks exist as well: Risk. Joint owners of accounts have complete access and the ability...

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How to Protect an IRA From Heirs’ Creditors

Posted by on Aug 6, 2014 in Elder Law, Estate Planning | 0 comments

When a person declares bankruptcy, an individual retirement account (IRA) is one of the assets that is beyond the reach of creditors, but what about an IRA that has been inherited?  Resolving a conflict between lower courts, the U.S. Supreme Court recently (and unanimously) ruled that funds held in an inherited IRA are not exempt from creditors in a bankruptcy proceeding because they are not really retirement funds. Clark v. Rameker (U.S., No. 13-299, June 13, 2014). This ruling has significant estate planning implications for those who...

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5 Questions To Ask Before Making Gifts for Tax Planning or Medicaid

Posted by on Jul 15, 2014 in Elder Law, Estate Planning | 0 comments

Many seniors consider transferring assets for estate and long-term care planning purposes, or just to help out children and grandchildren. Gifts and transfers to a trust often make a lot of sense. They can save money in taxes and long-term care expenditures, and they can help out family members in need and serve as expressions of love and caring. But some gifts can cause problems, for both the generous donor and the recipient. Following are a few questions to ask yourself before writing the check: Why are you making the gift? Is it simply an...

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How To Make Your Funeral Wishes Known

Posted by on Jun 16, 2014 in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts | 0 comments

How can you make sure your funeral and burial wishes will be carried out after you die? It is important to let your family know your desires and to put them in writing.  Just don’t do it in your will. To help your family or close friends follow your wishes after you are gone, you can write out detailed funeral preferences as well as the requested disposition of your remains. In addition to explaining where you want your funeral to be held, the document can include information about who should be invited, what you want to wear, who should...

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Dangers of Creating A Will Without Legal Assistance

Posted by on May 15, 2014 in Elder Law, Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts | 0 comments

People sometimes try to save money by not consulting with a qualified attorney when executing their will, instead using a pre-printed form or online program.  A recent court case offers yet another example of the hazards of doing this. Deciding the long-running case, the Florida Supreme Court has ruled that money acquired by a woman after she used a form to execute a will should be distributed as if she had never made a will at all.  A justice hearing the case called it “a cautionary tale of the potential dangers of . . . drafting a will...

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Effort to Fix Medicare’s ‘Observation Status’ Loophole Gathers Steam

Posted by on Feb 24, 2014 in Elder Law | 0 comments

Support is building for legislation to correct a technicality in Medicare law that is preventing thousands of hospital patients from being covered for a subsequent nursing home stay. Medicare pays all or part of the costs for up to 100 days of a nursing home stay, but only if the patient was first admitted to a hospital as an inpatient for at least three days. To avoid financial penalties from Medicare if they readmit patients too quickly, hospitals are increasingly not admitting patients at all but rather placing them “under...

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Medicaid Expansion Signups Hindered by Fear of Estate Recovery

Posted by on Feb 6, 2014 in Elder Law, Estate Planning | 0 comments

A fear that the government will seize their house after they die is causing some people to not sign up for expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A long-standing provision in Medicaid law allows states to recoup Medicaid costs by putting a claim on the home or other assets of older deceased Medicaid recipients. In 1993, Congress passed a law requiring that states try to recover from the estates of deceased Medicaid recipients whatever benefits they paid for the recipient’s long-term care. But the law allows states to go...

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Using an Annuity to Keep the Spouse of a Medicaid Applicant from Becoming Impoverished

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in Elder Law, Estate Planning | 0 comments

When one spouse qualifies for Medicaid to pay for a nursing home stay, the spouse who is at home is often left without many resources. While Medicaid has rules to prevent community spouses from impoverishment, the protections aren’t always enough. There are steps that you can take to increase the community spouse’s income, and as a recent case illustrates, an annuity may be a good option. In order to qualify for Medicaid coverage, the applicant can have no more than $2,000 in resources (in most states). In general, the community spouse...

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“Obamacare” Should Be of No Concern to Medicare Beneficiaries, Although Scammers May Tell You Otherwise

Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 in Elder Law, Health Care Law, News | 0 comments

Starting October 1, 2013, people who lack health insurance can start signing up for coverage through the new Internet-based health insurance marketplaces set up under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare).  Most of those who don’t already have insurance will have to buy coverage by March 31, 2014 or pay a penalty. But if you already have Medicare, you have nothing to worry about.  You have coverage that will continue as before (better than before, in fact) and you don’t need to do anything.  Any stranger who tries to tell you otherwise is...

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