Suffolk County, NY Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog
Friday, July 25, 2014
Bonding of an Estate Fiduciary
Q: I was recently appointed Administrator of my uncle’s estate, but the Decree from the Surrogate’s Court said that I must post a bond. What does that mean?
A: It is fairly common that the fiduciary of an estate may receive notice that the he or she must be bonded in order to complete the appointment by the Surrogate's Court. The bonding requirement of an Executor (when a Will is probated) or an Administrator (when there is no Will) is not as strange or as intimidating as it may sound.Read more . . .
Friday, July 18, 2014
Gifting in 2014
Question: My mother is widowed and is beginning to decline in health. I have four siblings. We know that in order to qualify for Medicaid, Mom cannot have more than a certain amount of assets in her name. She rents a house, but has approximately $150,000.00 in various CD accounts. A friend of hers told her that she can give up to $14,000.00 to each of us annually without penalty and still qualify for Medicaid if she needs it in the future, she would like to give these gifts before the year end so that she can gift again in 2014, is this advisable?
Answer: NO! We often see clients who believed this to be true, and thinking that they were doing the prudent thing did exactly this sort of gifting, resulting in long periods of ineligibility when the time came to apply for Medicaid.Read more . . .
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
Supreme Court Finds that Inherited IRAs Are Not Protected
In a recent United States Supreme Court decision, the Court unanimously found that IRAs that are inherited, are not protected from creditors in a bankruptcy proceeding because they are not considered “retirement funds” as interpreted by the Bankruptcy Code.
In the case, CLARK V. RAMEKER, an individual inherited an IRA from her mother and later filed for bankruptcy. At the time she filed for bankruptcy, the IRA had roughly $300,000.00 remaining. Typically, when filing for bankruptcy, certain assets are considered exempt, including retirement funds. However, until this case was decided it was unclear whether an IRA which is inherited receives the same protection as an IRA as an IRA that is still held by the original contributor. Read more . . .
Friday, July 11, 2014
Transfer of a Motor Vehicle to the Surviving Spouse
Q: My husband passed away a couple of months ago. All of our assets were held jointly except for one of our cars, which was held in his sole name. The car is worth about $20,000.00. What do I need to do to transfer the car into my name? Do I need to go to Court?
A: A little known but important property right for surviving family members is known as exempt property, and is found in the New York Estates, Powers and Trust Law. Exempt property is property that passes automatically to a surviving spouse or children under the age of 21, regardless of the laws of intestate succession or the terms of a will.Read more . . .
Wednesday, July 09, 2014
Question: My husband suffers from Alzheimer’s disease and may soon need a nursing home. I have been told that if he needs to go to a Nursing Home, I will have to spend down all our assets to receive Medicaid benefits, is this true?
Answer: No, you will not have to spend all the assets. Because Medicaid is needs based program, certain income and asset requirements must be met in order to be eligible. Read more . . .
Friday, June 27, 2014
Credit Card Debts of a Decedent
Q: My mother passed away with significant credit card debt, as the executor and one of the beneficiaries her estate am I responsible to pay these bills?
A: As executor of your mother’s estate you have the responsibility to use the assets of your mother’s estate to pay her debts. Assets that are includible in the estate are ones that are in your mother’s sole name without a joint holder or named beneficiary. You are not held personally liable for your mother’s debts and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits collection attempts against you personally as a surviving relative.Read more . . .
Friday, June 20, 2014
Special Needs Trust
Question: I have three sons and one is disabled. Should my Will leave everything to my other two sons so that my disabled son does not lose his government benefits when he receives an inheritance? I am sure my other two sons will always take care of him.
Answer: There is no reason to disinherit your disabled child. Chances are that your disabled son will certainly need the inheritance when you die.Read more . . .
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Inherited IRA’s are Not Protected in Bankruptcy
Q: I heard that the United States Supreme Court recently issued a decision that inherited IRA’s are not protected from creditors in bankruptcy; can you explain this to me?
A: The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Clark v. Rameker was issued on June 12, 2014. The essence of the decision is that once an IRA is inherited, it is no longer considered a retirement asset and it is not shielded from creditors in bankruptcy.Read more . . .
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Should I Be Putting Property in My Children’s Names?
Elder Law attorneys hear this question constantly. Typically, once people reach a certain age there is an invisible pressure to transfer assets out of one’s name and into that of their children. Some people feel that if they do not do this, the “State” will take their money either in taxes or for the costs of long term care. Along with the the real issues that seniors should be considering regarding transferring their property, there are many myths.Read more . . .
Monday, June 09, 2014
Question: All of the attention in the news recently about the Veteran’s Administration Health Care System has made me wonder whether I am entitled to any assistance with paying for my prescriptions drugs?
Answer: The Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) is the arm of the Veteran’s Administration that administers healthcare to eligible veterans. The Veterans Health Administration is America’s largest integrated health care system with over 1,700 sites of care, serving 8.76 million veterans each year.Read more . . .
Friday, May 30, 2014
Taking RMDs from IRA Accounts
Q: I will be turning 70 ½ later this year and I know that I have to begin taking my required minimum distribution soon. I have heard that there are penalties assessed by the IRS if I do not take the distribution correctly, can you explain this to me?
A: You are correct, the general rule is that you must take your required minimum distribution (“RMD”) the year after you turn 70 ½.Read more . . .
Nancy Burner & Associates, P.C. has offices in Setauket, Westhampton Beach, and Manhattan New York.