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Suffolk County, NY Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Changes to the Community Medicaid Program
On August 5, 2014, the Department of Health issued a directive advising local Departments of Social Services (the Agency that administers the Community Medicaid program) of a new regulation regarding the income budgeting rules for married individuals where one spouse is enrolled in Community Medicaid through a Managed Long Term Care Plan. By way of reminder, Community Medicaid is the program that covers care at home. This program covers the cost of a personal care aide to assist with activities of daily living such as bathing, cooking, dressing, etc. The Community Medicaid program will also cover the cost of day programs, transportation to medical appointments, certain assisted living programs, and some durable medical equipment and supplies. Under the new regulation, where one spouse is the recipient of Community Medicaid benefits, the family may no longer utilize a pooled income trust in order to save the excess income. All income in excess of the spousal income allowance must be used for the applicant’s care before Medicaid will pay for any services.
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Using Pooled Income Trusts in Home Care Medicaid Planning

Question:  My parents are in their eighties.  Both are beginning to need assistance with their daily activities.  Even so, neither one is ready to move to assisted living or into a nursing facility.  Mom and Dad own their home and each receive social security and a pension.  Other than that, they do not have much in savings.  I have heard that Medicaid will cover this type of care so long as the recipient is under the income and asset limit set by Medicaid.  Is there a way to preserve Dad’s income for Mom and secure services for him at the same time?

 Answer:   Yes. The situation that you have described is a situation in which many elderly couples find themselves.  The good news is that an elderly person’s high income does not automatically disqualify them from receiving Medicaid Homecare Benefits.  With careful planning and the use of a Not-for-Profit Pooled Income Trust, many elderly persons are able to age in place, get the homecare services that they need, and preserve their monthly income for payment of household bills. 


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Monday, September 22, 2014

Updating Beneficiary Designations

Q: I have always heard that it is a good idea to review your beneficiary designations on financial accounts and life insurance policies periodically; do you have any suggestions?

 A: The biggest issue I see is that people forget to update the beneficiaries on their financial accounts and life insurance policies. Many people designated a beneficiary when they opened their accounts. For many of my clients, this was 10, 20 or even 30 years ago!


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Estate Planning for Second Marriages

Question:  My spouse and I each have children from previous marriages. While we want to provide for our surviving spouse when the first of us passes away, we want to ensure that each of our respective estates is ultimately going to our respective children. Is there a way to accomplish this?

 Answer That is not an uncommon question at all.  There are several issues for you to consider, the first consideration being the execution of a post-nuptial agreement, wherein each of you agree to waive certain interests that spouses have in the other’s estate.


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Monday, September 08, 2014

New Parents Estate Planning

Q:  My husband and I are expecting our first child.  We do not have a lot of assets but we do have retirement plans, insurance policies and a house.  Everyone keeps telling us that we need a Will.  Is that necessary?

A: As you prepare for the arrival of your child, it is important to begin to think about your estate plan to protect your growing family.  “Estate planning” includes signing a Will, but also signing a power of attorney, health care proxy and living will.  Executing a Will and making thoughtful designation of beneficiaries for retirement accounts and life insurance policies ensures the best outcome for your family’s well-being. 

 

 


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Monday, September 08, 2014

Veteran Benefits Programs

Are you or a loved one missing out on unclaimed Veteran benefits?

 Many Long Islanders have a family member who has proudly served in our military.  Many of these Veterans are unaware of the benefits that may be available to them.  Often times, family members and friends are the ones to convince Veterans to pursue benefits for themselves and their dependents.  While many seniors seek assistance in maneuvering the complex world of government benefits and entitlements, most are not aware of the various all programs available to Veterans.


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Friday, August 29, 2014

Spousal Improverishment

Question:  My husband is currently receiving services through the Community Medicaid program.   He is using a Pooled Income Trust to preserve his excess income.  I heard that there are changes that may affect his ability to use the Pooled Income Trust in the future, is this correct?

 

Answer:  Yes.  On August 5, 2014, the Department of Health issued a directive advising local Departments of Social Services (the Agency that administers the Community Medicaid program) of a new regulation regarding the income budgeting rules for married individuals enrolled in Community Medicaid through a Managed Long Term Care Plan.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Why College Age Young Adults Need a Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney

Q: My son just turned 18 and is heading off to college in about two weeks. The college is located upstate.  Are there any legal documents he should execute before he leaves?

A: Yes, your child should execute a Health Care Proxy and Durable Power of Attorney. These two estate planning documents are essential for young adults. Without these documents, parents do not have the authority to make health care decisions or manage money for their children once they turn 18. Even though parents are paying the tuition, cover their children on their health insurance plans and claim them as dependents on their tax returns. That means if a young adult is in an accident and becomes disabled, even temporarily; a parent might need court intervention and approval through a guardianship proceeding to act on his or her behalf.


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Monday, August 18, 2014

Appointing a Guardian for Minors

Question:   My wife and I are in our mid-forties.  We have two children ages 10 and 13.  Should anything happen to my wife and I, how can I ensure that my sister is given legal custody of my children?

Answer:   No matter how young you are, if you have minor children, it is a good idea to establish an Estate Plan which includes a designation of a guardian for them in the event that both you and your spouse pass away.


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Monday, August 11, 2014

Planning for a Family Member with Special Needs
Caring for a loved one with special needs during your life may be one of the most important jobs you have, but many do not realize the importance of planning for that same person for after you are gone. Since so many disabled individuals receive some kind of government benefits, it is imperative to ensure that these benefits continue, even if they receive an inheritance. This protection can be ensured by creating a Supplemental Needs Trust or Special Needs Trust (“SNT”) for the benefit of the disabled beneficiary.
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Monday, August 11, 2014

Probate Estate v. Gross Estate

Question:  Someone told me that assets with named beneficiaries are not subject to estate tax, is that correct?

Answer: No, that is not correct.  Your “gross taxable estate”, meaning the assets that are subject to estate tax, consists of all of the assets which you have an interest in at death, even if those assets do not pass to your beneficiaries through the probate of your Will.  However, if your gross taxable estate is less than the state and federal exemption amounts, there will be no estate taxes due at your death.  In 2014, those who die as residents of New York State with less than $2,062,500 will not owe state estate taxes, and those with less than $5,340,000 will not owe federal estate taxes.  The New York State exemption amount will increase over the next several years to meet the federal exemption amount in 2019.


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© 2014 Nancy Burner & Associates, P.C.
12 Research Way, East Setauket, NY 11733 | Phone:631-941-3434
82 Main St., Westhampton Beach, NY 11978 | Phone: 631-288-5612
1115 Broadway , Suite 1100, New York, NY 10010 | Phone: 631-941-3434

Attorney Website Design by
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