Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

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…

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Inherited IRAs

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…

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Using Pooled Income Trusts in Homecare Medicaid Planning (UPDATED)

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…

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Article 17A Guardianship

Question:  My daughter is 18 years old and is developmentally disabled.  She is unable to make medical decisions for herself and cannot handle her own finances.  A social worker suggested that I apply for an Article 17A Guardianship.  What is an Article 17A Guardianship and is this advisable? Answer: When your daughter turned 18, she…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Spousal Refusal

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…

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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…

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