Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

VA Healthcare

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Should I Have a Trust?

Q: I am a 72 year old widow. I own my house and have an IRA but have very little in cash assets, do I need a trust? A: Yes, you could benefit from having an irrevocable trust. For you, the main purpose of this trust would be to protect your house so that you…

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Duties of an Estate Fiduciary

The executor is a fiduciary of the estate and must administer the estate in accordance with the decedent’s wishes as stated in the will. Generally, the duties of an executor are as follows: Collect and safeguard the decedent’s assets; Obtain appraisals, if necessary; Open an estate checking account; Determine the validity of creditors’ claims; Pay…

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Reverse Mortgage Trusts

Question: My mother owns her home and is considering putting it into an irrevocable trust. She is concerned that if in the future she wanted to take a Reverse Mortgage on the property, she would not be able because the house is owned by a trust, is that correct? Answer:  The mere fact that a…

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New NY Estate Tax Law

New York’s Estate Tax law has just seen its most dramatic change in recent memory. Finally, the exemption has increased from $1,000,000.00 where it has remained since 2002, with the exemption set to increase annually until it matches the federal estate tax exemption in 2019. After 2019, the exemption will be indexed for inflation annually…

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Tax Returns to File When Someone Passes Away

The Executor or Administrator of an Estate may be required to file three separate returns: an individual tax return for the decedent, estate income tax return and estate tax return. 1. Individual Income Tax Return The first step is to file the decedent’s final income tax return for the year of his or her death….

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Life Insurance in your Estate

What You Need to Know About Life Insurance and Your Estate Many people choose to invest in a life insurance policy. Some choose to purchase a term life insurance policy wherein the insured pays a premium for a period of years and if he or she passes away during that period of time, the policy…

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