Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Change is on the way for Community Medicaid Long-Term Care

The rules for applying to Community Medicaid in New York State to cover the cost of long-term care are undergoing an overhaul. Laws signed in April 2020 amend the application process for these services as well as other parts of the Medicaid program. 30 Month Look Back The biggest headline is that there will now…

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Should You be Applying for Medicaid Before the October 1st Deadline?

The Fiscal Year 2020-2021 Budget for New York State was signed in April 2020. Among other changes, the budget put into effect changes to the Social Services law which will impact eligibility for, and administration of, the Community Medicaid program. Among these changes is a new 30 month (2 ½ year) “lookback” for transfer of…

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Gifting to Avoid Taxes

There are several planning methods that can be utilized throughout your lifetime to reduce or eliminate taxes upon your death. Gifting is one option to avoid estate taxes. Anyone can gift up to $15,000 per beneficiary in 2020 without having to pay any gift tax (which is combined with the estate tax). Additionally, the Federal…

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Returning Your RMD to Benefit from the CARES Act

For certain retirement accounts, the IRS requires you to take distributions based upon your life expectancy once you reach the age of 72 ½ (the required age was raised from 70 ½ with the passage of the SECURE Act in December 2019). As a result of the COVID-19 emergency, the CARES Act suspended the requirement…

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Minimalizing Capital Gains with Estate Planning

Real property in the Hamptons has always enjoyed a steady increase in value. But with this increase in value, owners may incur a substantial tax bill from the capital gain in their real property if and when they decide to sell. Federal long-term term capital gains are taxed at the rate of 0%, 15% or…

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Why You Should Never Keep a Will in a Safe Deposit Box

Although it is true that a safe deposit box is a safe place to keep important documents and/or assets, many people do not realize that once the bank is notified of the death of an owner, the box cannot be opened without a court order. This is true even if there is a joint owner…

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Why an Executor Must Account

Question: I am the Executor of my mom’s estate and am getting ready to distribute the assets. I was just going to divide the money equally between myself and my siblings. Is that a good idea? Answer: Absolutely not. As an Executor (or Administrator) of an estate you have a duty to account to the…

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Descendants Trusts

With tax planning becoming less of an issue for the average client, the focus in estate planning has shifted to asset protection for intended beneficiaries. As attorneys, we often hear our clients tell us that they plan to leave everything equally to their children, but that they are concerned that one (or more than one!)…

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Medicaid Asset Protection Trust upon Death of Spouse

Irrevocable “Income Only” Trusts, commonly called Medicaid Asset Protection Trusts, are used to protect assets and allow people to qualify for Medicaid long-term care if needed. Often spouses will place each of their half interest in their home in the trusts, maybe some liquid assets, name a child as trustee and not think about it…

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Naming Guardians for Minors in your Last Will & Testament

Question:  My husband and I have been talking about getting our estate planning documents in order.  We have a modest estate and three sons ages 2, 5 and 7.  What questions should we be thinking about when we see an attorney for a Last Will & Testament? Answer:  As parents of young children, there are…

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