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  • Protecting Spouses of Medicaid Applicants: 2023 Guidelines
    November 22, 2022 The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2023 federal guidelines for how much money the spouses of institutionalized Medicaid recipients may keep, as well as related Medicaid figures. What Are Spousal Impoverishment Rules? Spousal impoverishment is a concern for older couples when there is one spouse who…
  • Does Medicare Pay for Assisted Living?
    November 17, 2022 Assisted living facilities support older adults with daily living while fostering their independence. Individuals who do not require round-the-clock nursing but need help with everyday activities like bathing, housekeeping, medications, and meal preparation can benefit from assisted living. Some seniors choose to move into assisted living following…
  • Common Mistakes in Estate Planning – Part V
    November 9, 2022 Creating an Estate Plan that includes a Revocable Trust, pour-over Will, Property Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Authorization provides numerous benefits during life and at death. During life, the plan provides directions to your family…
  • Common Mistakes in Estate Planning – IV
    With the proliferation of the internet has come a plethora of websites claiming that individuals may take a “Do It Yourself” approach to Estate Planning. While individuals may think that a plan created by one of these companies will meet their needs and save them money, the opposite is true. These plans often fail to contain necessary provisions and usually cost the family more in attorneys’ fees. In addition, a Trusts and Estate practitioner can alert a family to techniques designed to lower the tax burden upon the death of an individual. It’s easy to make costly mistakes if you don’t have an attorney both at the drafting stage and the administration stage of Estate Planning.
  • Common Mistakes in Estate Planning – Part III
    Creating an Estate Plan that includes a Revocable Trust, pour-over Will, Property Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Authorization provides numerous benefits during life and at death. During life, the plan provides directions to your family regarding your medical…
  • Common Mistakes in Estate Planning – Part II
    October 19, 2022 Creating an Estate Plan that includes a Revocable Trust, pour-over Will, Property Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Authorization provides benefits both during life and at death. During life, the plan provides directions to your family…
  • Common Mistakes in Estate Planning – Part I
    October 11, 2022 As most individuals realize, creating an Estate Plan that includes a Revocable Trust, pour-over Will, Property Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney, Living Will, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act Authorization provides benefits both during life and at death. During life, the plan gives…
  • After a Dementia Diagnosis: Preparing for the Future
    October 3, 2022 A diagnosis of dementia, a category of diseases affecting memory and thinking that includes Alzheimer’s disease, can feel overwhelming and upsetting. You might worry that you will lose control over your life and ability to make your own decisions. Fortunately, receiving a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s…
  • Lessons from Patagonia
    September 28, 2022 Individuals whose net worth exceeds a few million dollars often have charitable goals. Some, like Bill and Melinda Gates, create foundations to further those goals. Others, like the late Paul Newman, use foundations to receive profits related to a specific endeavor and to ensure distribution to charitable…
  • What Are Survivor Benefits?
    September 16, 2022 The Social Security Administration provides four types of Social Security benefits: retirement, disability, dependents, and survivor benefits. Survivor benefits are available to the children and spouses of deceased individuals who qualify. If you qualify for retirement or disability benefits, your spouse and children have the right to…
  • What Is Spousal Impoverishment?
    Spousal impoverishment is a concern for older couples when one spouse needs long-term care and applies for Medicaid. If one spouse requires care in a skilled nursing facility and the other remains at home, the spouse at home might face significant financial hardships. The high costs of nursing homes combined…
  • What Is Community Medicaid?
    September 6, 2022 Medicaid is a federal program administered on a state-by-state basis. There are several types of Medicaid — including Community Medicaid. Community Medicaid covers care and medical services that enable a recipient to remain in their home or community as long as possible instead of entering a skilled…
  • What’s Estate Planning Got to do with Interest Rates – Part I
    August 31, 2022 It’s hard to look anywhere these days without seeing something about interest rates or inflation. All of us know that inflation hovers at a forty-year high and we feel that impact every time we go to the grocery store or gas pump. While these represent direct ways…
  • The Inflation Reduction Act
    August 26, 2022 After more than a year of debate over the provisions of the “Build Back Better Act,” President Biden signed the newly titled “Inflation Reduction Act” (the “Act”) into law on Tuesday, August 16, 2022. While the Act represents a scaled back version of the Build Back Better…
  • Miller Trusts Can Help You Qualify for Medicaid
    August 18, 2022 Many seniors find themselves in need of Medicaid to pay for their long-term care but are surprised to learn that their modest monthly income may disqualify them. The reason for this is that Medicaid is a “means-tested” benefit. In other words, you must not have income exceeding…
  • What You Need to Know About Medicaid’s Personal Needs Allowance
    August 12, 2022 Seniors who rely on Medicaid and live in nursing homes receive a personal needs allowance — a monthly stipend the Medicaid recipient can use to pay for needs that Medicaid does not cover. Medicaid restricts the amount of the allowance and how it is used. If recipients…
  • Can a Nursing Home Hold Friends or Family Members Responsible For a Resident’s Care?
    August 2, 2022 If your loved one is entering a nursing home, you may worry whether you could be liable for their care. Under federal law, a facility cannot require a family member or friend to co-sign an admission agreement and take on personal liability. However, nursing homes around the…
  • Plan Ahead Before Seeking Nursing Home Care: Avoid Unnecessary Debt for You and Your Family
    August 3, 2022 Many senior citizens may need the services of a nursing home or at-home care at some point in their life. You might assume that government assistance or health insurance will step in and cover the cost if you cannot afford these services. Unfortunately, neither health insurance nor…
  • What Are the Best Ways to Get Out of Debt Before You Retire?
    July 25, 2022 Retirement is an expensive affair, and planning for it involves managing finances even after you have left the workforce. It is commonly estimated that you should have about 70 percent to 90 percent of your pre-retirement income to maintain the same living standard after you retire. A…
  • What Does “Medicaid Pending” Mean?
    July 19, 2022 In today’s world, it is crucial to have healthcare insurance. So, it can be concerning if your application status is still “Medicaid Pending.” Medicaid Pending status means that your application or your parent’s application has not yet been approved or denied. Essentially, your application is in limbo….
  • Understanding Undue Influence – Part II
      July 14, 2022 Some clients worry that certain beneficiaries will challenge their Estate Plan after death. Sometimes it’s because they have structured their plan to favor one beneficiary over another. Other times, it’s because they have left assets in a trust and named an individual other than the beneficiary…
  • Avoid Unnecessary Family Disputes with a Letter of Instruction
    June 30, 2022 The time immediately after the death of a loved one can be stressful and overwhelming. Family members are grieving, and on top of this, they must handle a variety of organizational and legal tasks. In many cases, there can also be disputes concerning who gets certain possessions,…
  • Understanding Undue Influence – Part I
    June 30th, 2022 Sometimes clients have concerns about whether their Estate Plan could withstand a challenge after their death. If the plan deviates from the equal treatment of all beneficiaries in the same class, then that may cause a client to worry about how best to protect the plan. Often…
  • How Do I Trust Thee… Part II
    June 23, 2022 Many Estate Plans rely upon a revocable trust as one of the foundational documents in the plan to avoid probate. Sometimes, plans include irrevocable trusts to achieve tax-driven results or for other reasons. No matter which kind of trust a client considers, of the many decisions that…
  • Thoughts on Being a Personal Representative
    June 15, 2022 Being a personal representative for an estate is a big job. Years ago, my husband Dave and I agreed to be the backup healthcare power of attorney (POA) and personal representatives for an elderly couple we knew through our synagogue. Sid and Jeanne were delightful, thoughtful, well-organized…
  • How to Get Into a Nursing Home as a Medicaid Recipient
    June 7, 2022 While Medicaid helps pay for nursing home care, getting into a nursing home as a Medicaid recipient is not always easy. There are several ways to navigate the process, depending on your situation. With the median cost of a nursing home room being more than $250 a…
  • Aging Parents and Estate Planning
    May 31, 2022 The parent-child relationship is pretty well defined. Children generally don’t advise their parents. It’s the other way around. However, this dynamic can shift as parents get older and children become adults. This becomes especially prevalent when considering estate planning and elder law issues. As parents grow older,…
  • How Do I Title Thee…Part I
    May 17, 2022 It’s impossible to fully understand Estate Planning without considering the goals of the clients, along with their underlying assets. After all, many of the more advanced Estate Planning techniques depend upon obtaining discounts for assets and considering which technique to recommend based on a client’s assets. Some…
  • What Makes a Will or Trust Invalid
    May 10, 2022 Attorneys often answer questions relating to the validity of Estate Planning documents. Sometimes, the testator or grantor simply wants to ensure that the documents carry out their last wishes. Other times, a beneficiary questions the terms or amount of their inheritance. Finally, loved ones have concerns that…
  • What to Do If Your Medicaid Application Is Denied
    April 28, 2022 If you apply for long-term care assistance through Medicaid and your application is denied, the situation may seem hopeless. The good news is that you can appeal the decision. Medicaid is a program for low-income individuals, so it has strict income and asset eligibility requirements. Qualifying for…
  • Claiming Social Security Benefits at Age 70
    April 13, 2022 If you are about to turn 70, congratulations on reaching a big milestone. And if you also have delayed claiming Social Security retirement benefits up till now, you are joining a select group — only 6.5 percent of Social Security recipients put off collecting their benefits until…
  • Medicaid’s “Snapshot” Date and Its Crucial Impact on a Couple’s Financial Picture
    April 7, 2022 When a married couple applies for Medicaid, the Medicaid agency must analyze the couple’s income and assets as of a particular date to determine eligibility. The date that the agency chooses for this analysis is called the “snapshot” date and it can have a major impact on…
  • Let’s Talk about Trusts…and Taxation
    March 15, 2022 Many Estate Planning attorneys build estate plans around trusts. Trusts offer great flexibility both during life, for example during a period of disability, and after the death of the grantor by providing asset protection, remarriage protection, asset management, and other benefits which might not be otherwise available….
  • Home Health Aide Costs See the Sharpest Increase in Annual Long-Term Care Survey
    March 9, 2022 Long-term care costs climbed again in 2021, with rates for home health aides and homemakers seeing the sharpest rises, according to Genworth’s annual Cost of Care Survey. The coronavirus pandemic continues to contribute to cost increases. In the past year, Genworth reports that the national median annual…
  • Estate Planning – Something You Shouldn’t Do Yourself
    March 1, 2022 The advent of websites like “Legal Zoom” may lead you to believe that you can create your own estate plan without the assistance of a qualified Estate Planning attorney. You may believe or have heard that writing your intentions on a piece of paper might suffice as…
  • State Income Taxation of Social Security Benefits
    Since the onset of the pandemic, many individuals have decided to relocate. Some move to be closer to family, others for better weather. Still others change domicile for financial reasons, like the pursuit of different job opportunities or for lower taxes. Estate Planning attorneys advise individuals who move to update…
  • What Documents Are Required for a Medicaid Application?
    February 16, 2022 Medicaid applicants must prove that they have limited income and assets in order to be eligible for long-term care services. Before beginning the application process, it is helpful to understand what information you will be required to provide to prove your eligibility. Medicaid is a state-run program,…
  • When a Social Security Recipient Dies, Survivors May Be Eligible for Benefits
    2/4/2022When loved ones pass away, there are lots of considerations, including what happens to their Social Security. The decedent’s payments need to be stopped, but survivor’s benefits may be available to the spouse or, in certain cases, children. Social Security benefits stop at death. If a loved one who was…
  • Court Rules Medicare Beneficiaries Can Appeal Switch to Hospital Observation Status
    A federal court has ruled that hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries who were switched from inpatient to observation status can appeal the decision, making it easier for them to receive coverage for subsequent nursing home care. The ruling appears to bring to an end more than a decade of litigation on behalf…
  • When Can Someone Be Declared Legally Incompetent?
    January 24, 2022 If a loved one is experiencing memory loss or suddenly making poor decisions, you may want the court to appoint a guardian, which requires a declaration of incompetence. Determining whether someone is incompetent to make their own decisions is a complicated process. If a loved one is…
  • The Evolution of our Unified Estate and Gift Tax System
    January 19, 2022 Estate planning attorneys often tell clients that even if you don’t have an estate, you need an estate plan. Estate planning involves more than planning to avoid the estate tax, although understanding the estate tax and its impact on a plan are certainly required. Until 1916, the…
  • Double Your Gifting with Spousal Gift-Splitting
    It may be possible to double your gifting by using spousal “gift-splitting.” Spouses may elect to split gifts made to others. If they do so, they must split all the gifts made by the other spouse to others for that year. For example, let’s say John made gifts of $30,000…
  • Start 2022 the Right Way
    Welcome to 2022! Most of us will leave 2021 without hesitation – many had high hopes that 2021 would bring the end of COVID-19 and a return to normalcy and yet we face another variant as we usher in 2022. While things may not have gone the way we hoped…
  • Tax Planning for 2022
    As 2021 draws to a close and the New Year dawns, we need to think of…tax planning! Some years Congress tweaks the laws more than other years. While 2021 held plenty of events: a coronavirus vaccine, new coronavirus variants, a new President, etc., it was a relatively quiet year for…
  • The Sky Isn’t Falling
    September usually brings the start of a new school year, cooler temperatures, football, and a time for reflection in the final quarter. This year, September brought concern, bordering on panic, over proposed changes to the Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) when Congress released legislation containing several proposals eliminating the benefits of…
  • It’s Better to Give Than to Receive
    As this year ends and you plan for the next, it’s a great time to tie up loose ends and position yourself in the best way possible for your individual income taxes for the tax year 2021. Certain tax benefits end on December 31, 2021, so it’s important to take…
  • You Can ‘Cure’ a Medicaid Penalty Period by Returning a Gift
    Anyone who gifted assets within five years of applying for Medicaid may be subject to a penalty period, but that penalty can be reduced or eliminated if the assets are returned. In order to be eligible for Medicaid, you cannot have recently transferred assets. Congress does not want you to…
  • IRS Issues Long-Term Care Premium Deductibility Limits for 2022, and They Look Pretty Familiar
    The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the amounts taxpayers of different ages can deduct from their 2022 income as a result of buying long-term care insurance, and the figures are almost the same as in 2021. Many types of medical expenses are deductible from your taxes. To claim the…
  • Medicare Premiums to Increase Dramatically in 2022
    Medicare premiums are rising sharply next year, cutting into the large Social Security cost-of-living increase. The basic monthly premium will jump 15.5 percent, or $21.60, from $148.50 to $170.10 a month. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the premium and other Medicare cost increases on November 12,…
  • Nursing homes can now lift most COVID restrictions on visits
    November 16, 2021 WASHINGTON — The government on Friday directed nursing homes to open their doors wide to visitors, easing many remaining pandemic restrictions while urging residents, families and facility staff to keep their guard up against outbreaks. The new guidance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services instructs…
  • What It Means to Need ‘Nursing Home Level of Care’ for Medicaid Eligibility
    When applying for Medicaid’s long-term care coverage, in addition to the strict income and asset limits, you must demonstrate that you need a level care typically provided in a nursing home. Whether you are applying for nursing home coverage or through a Medicaid waiver program for coverage at home, you…
  • It Can Be Scary to Die Without an Estate Plan…the HORRORS of Intestacy
    When I think of something truly terrifying, it’s dying without an estate plan. Although the pandemic encouraged people to consider what would happen at their death, many folks believe that they “have time” or are overcome with feelings of superstition and dread when considering planning for the end of their…
  • How Estate Planning Documents Help Prevent Elder Abuse
      With age comes wisdom and often, vulnerability. While aging is inevitable, it’s often hard to face as previously routine tasks become more difficult or require the assistance of another. Suddenly, keeping up with the latest technology overwhelms an individual who abandons the project in frustration. Minds become addled and…
  • In 2022, Social Security Beneficiaries Will See the Biggest Increase in 39 Years
    The year was 1983: The U.S. invaded Granada. A gallon of gas cost 96 cents.  That year was also the last time that Social Security recipients saw a cost-of-living increase steeper than the one just announced for 2022. This year, Social Security benefits will rise 5.9 percent, the sharpest upsurge…
  • Better Than No Loaf: Medicaid Planning Using “Half a Loaf” Strategies
      It is preferable to conduct long-term care planning well in advance of needing care. However, if you haven’t planned ahead, there are some strategies available to avoid spending all your assets. Three so-called “half a loaf” approaches allow a Medicaid applicant to give away some assets while still qualifying…
  • Estate Planning Reduces Stress During High Anxiety Times
    September 21, 2021 by Tereina Stidd Everyone who lived through September 11, 2001, shares a common experience. Although colored by our individual circumstances, we remember looking at the horrific images of destruction and misery and wondering why this tragedy occurred. Since that fateful day, Americans have flocked to churches, synagogues,…
  • Nursing Homes Grapple with Whether to Force Staff to Get Vaccinated
    As COVID-19 cases start to rise again due to the highly contagious Delta variant, nursing homes are considering requiring staff members to be vaccinated. Only 59 percent of nursing home staff are partially or fully vaccinated nationwide, and the percentages are much lower in some states. While 81 percent of…
  • Delightful Clients
    How likely is it that two new clients with same last name – let’s say Smith – would show up at the same time? It turns out that the first Smith’s son had asked about booking the appointment but didn’t take the offered slot, then another Smith called in shortly…
  • Medicare Would Cover Dental, Vision, and Hearing Under Senate Democrats’ Spending Plan
    The Senate Democrats’ proposal for a $3.5 trillion spending plan includes expanding Medicare to provide dental, vision, and hearing benefits. The proposal is now being negotiated in Congress.  Currently Medicare does not offer much in the way of dental, vision, and hearing benefits. Medicare Part A will cover certain emergency…
  • You May Be Overestimating Your Social Security Benefits
    Studies have found that workers overestimate how much they will receive in Social Security benefits when they retire. Having a good understanding of the realities can help you plan for retirement.  Researchers from the University of Michigan studied the expectations of workers and found great uncertainty about future Social Security benefits…
  • Dangers of Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning
    July 27, 2021 by Steve Hartnett  Occasionally, those who aren’t Estate Planning attorneys will attempt to do their own Estate Planning. They think they can find a document online or use a friend’s document and can figure it out. Unfortunately, there are many pitfalls one could run across. Let’s look at three…
  • What Issues Do Baby Boomers Face with their Parents’ Estate?
    Gail Rubin – Academy Guest BloggerAmerican Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys, Inc. ~~~~~~~ I recently had to clear out my parents’ home here in Albuquerque. As a Baby Boomer facing a lifetime of photographs, paperwork, furniture and memorabilia, this has been a daunting challenge. My parents used to split their…
  • It’s Important to Have a Coordinated Estate Plan
    June 15, 2021 by Steve Hartnett  An Estate Plan includes various different moving parts. The Revocable Trust may be the keystone of the plan, but it’s important to consider how the other parts of the plan will work with…or against…the plan. Let’s look at a simple example. John had three children and…
  • Supreme Court to Hear Case That Could Increase the Bite That Medicaid Takes Out of Settlements
    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case disputing how much states can recoup from Medicaid recipients’ settlements in personal injury cases. The decision has the potential to affect anyone who receives government assistance with their medical care following a disabling injury that results in a lawsuit.  …
  • Dual Eligibility: How Qualifying for Both Medicare and Medicaid Can Help With Costs
    Qualifying for Medicare hardly means free health care — there are still premiums and deductibles. However, people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid (called “dual eligibility”) receive help paying their out-of-pocket costs.  Medicare is a federal program available to anyone 65 or older. It consists of four major parts,…
  • Using Estate Planning to Prepare for Medicaid
    Long-term care involves not only a loss of personal autonomy; it also comes at a tremendous financial price. Proper planning can help your family prepare for the financial toll and protect assets for future generations.  Long-term care can be very expensive, especially around-the-clock nursing home care. Most people end up…
  • Just In Time
    Wow, what a morning. It started with one of our staff expressing her desperate measures to keep birds from coming into her house. Everything is sealed up; the windows are closed, the attic is shut, yet every now and then a new bird pops in and launches yet another quest…
  • Thousands of Elderly and Disabled SSI Recipients Accused of Owning Property That Isn’t Theirs
    In December 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) had a nasty surprise for Laura Marshall (not her real name), a 74-year-old woman just scraping by in senior citizen housing in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood: The agency demanded that she repay more than $10,000 in benefits, claiming that she owned…
  • Medicaid’s Home Care Waivers Can Help You Avoid a Nursing Home, But the Line May Be Long
    Medicaid long-term care benefits traditionally pay mainly for nursing home care, but the federal government can grant “waivers” to states allowing them to expand Medicaid to include home and community-based services. The downside is that receiving care in a nursing home is an entitlement, while getting care at home is…
  • Trust Me, You’re Gonna Like This – The See-Through Trust as a Beneficiary
    August 12th, 2019 Jim Blankenship – https://blankenshipfinancial.com/ One area that often gets short shrift in discussions of IRAs and beneficiary designation is the use of a trust as the beneficiary. Part of the reason behind this may be the perceived complexity of trusts in general; at any rate, it’s not…
  • Court Cannot Reform Medicaid Recipient’s Deed Because It Would Affect Medicaid Agency’s Right to Estate Recovery
    A Massachusetts land court rules that a Medicaid recipient’s estate may not reform a deed to treat the recipient’s property as though it was transferred before she died because the reformation would unfairly prejudice the right of the Medicaid agency to recover from her estate. Casey v. Papamechail (Mass. Land Ct., No….
  • Revocable Trusts Are Not Always Treated the Same as an Individual
    June 1, 2021 by Steve Hartnett  A revocable trust is usually treated the same as the individual who created the trust. For federal income tax purposes, a revocable trust is a “grantor trust” under section 676 of the Code. Therefore, all items of income and expense of the trust flow through to…
  • How to Start a Funeral Planning Conversation
    May 27, 2021 by Gail Rubin Estate planning attorneys see it all the time. Most clients avoid the funeral planning conversation, even though advance planning can reduce stress at a time of grief, save money and head off family conflict. We have ample evidence that humans have a 100% mortality rate. It’s…
  • How You Can End Up in Medicare’s Donut Hole, and How You Get Out
    Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plans can have a coverage gap—called the “donut hole”–which limits how much Medicare will pay for your drugs until you pay a certain amount out of pocket. Although the gap has gotten much smaller since Medicare Part D was introduced in 2006, there still may be…
  • “Last Will and Testament” Origin
    Have you ever wondered why the dispositive instrument in which you express your wishes is called a “Last Will and Testament?” Few people, including Estate Planning attorneys, know the reason. In fact, the history is a little muddy. Occasionally, clients will ask this question. Now you’ll know the answer! It’s…
  • Saying Medicaid Estate Recovery Keeps Families in Poverty, Advocacy Groups Call for Abolishing It
    To qualify for Medicaid coverage of long-term care, you must satisfy very complicated financial eligibility rules—rules that often can be traps for the unwary. One of the most significant traps is Medicaid’s right to recover its expenses from your estate after you die – a practice known as “estate recovery.” Under…
  • Fair Isn’t Always Equal and Vice Versa
    When deciding how to split your assets among your children at death, there are many different factors to consider. Equality is certainly one of those factors. But it’s not the only factor. Fair doesn’t always mean equal and vice versa. Here are some situations in which some parents might think…
  • President Biden Proposes Billions in Increased Funding for Home Health Care
    President Biden has introduced a plan to spend $400 billion over eight years on home and community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities. The money would go to expand access to care and support higher-paying caregiving jobs.  As the elderly population grows, our long-term care system is becoming…
  • Use It Before It’s Gone
    April 20, 2021 by Steve Hartnett The current estate tax exemption is $11.7 million. This is a record high. The “permanent” exclusion is $5 million and is adjusted for inflation from a 2011 base year. Then the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act temporarily doubled it. At the end of 2025, the doubling…
  • Rockland Resident Victim Of Grandparent Scam: Ramapo Police
    Plus there’s a new twist. Tell the senior citizens of your acquaintance to beware. Lanning Taliaferro, Patch StaffPosted Mon, Apr 19, 2021 at 2:44 pm ET RAMAPO, NY — A Ramapo resident was recently the victim of the now-classic grandparent scam, police said. The con artist took a significant amount from a senior…
  • How an Irrevocable Trust Is Superior to Gifting
    If you would like to pass on your assets during your lifetime, you may want to consider an Irrevocable Trust. While simply giving something now to someone you love sounds best, an Irrevocable Trust has proven to be a better way to preserve those assets for the future.  Trust Me…
  • IRS Announces That Face Masks and Related Purchases Are Tax Deductible
    The IRS has announced that the tax deduction for medical expenses includes amounts spent on face masks, sanitizer and other products purchased to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.  If you have significant medical expenses, you may be able to deduct them from your taxes. Many types of medical expenses are…
  • How to Dispose of “Stuff”
    March 9, 2021 by Steve Hartnett  Even wealthy clients are often most concerned about the possessions which they have around them. They may have financial accounts with lots of zeros, yet they are most concerned about the things which they have collected or been given over the years. At first glance, this…
  • How to Use Estate Planning to Prepare for Medicaid
    Long-term care involves not only a loss of personal autonomy; it also comes at a tremendous financial price. Proper planning can help your family prepare for the financial toll and protect assets for future generations.  Long-term care can be very expensive, especially around-the-clock nursing home care. Most people end up…
  • Beneficiary Designations and the SECURE Act Basics
    February 9, 2021 by Steve Hartnett  Clients spend lots of time, money, and energy planning their estates. Estate Planning attorneys help them by counseling these clients and preparing various documents to meet the goals of the client, such as a Will or Trust. An increasing part of American wealth is governed by…
  • You can do this.
    I’m the first point of contact at Haas & Zaltz, LLP. This means that when you call in, I’m usually the first one you’ll meet. I welcome your questions, then ask mine, and convey our client process, tailored to your specific needs. I’m not a lawyer (although I play one…
  • UPDATE: Major Changes to Community Medicaid Coming Soon
    In the shadows of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Cuomo and the New York State Legislature quietly made significant changes to New York’s Medicaid rules, making it harder for New Yorkers to obtain Medicaid benefits for long-term care. Community Medicaid, the program which provides care for clients at home, represents the…
  • Preparing for the Unexpected…and the Eventual
    If you were asked to sum up this past year in one word, what would it be? I know my choice: Uncertainty. COVID-19 delivered a whirlwind of unpredictability that we are still desperate to manage. With so many facing death and economic hardship, our need for control first expressed itself…