365 Route 59, Suite 231 ~ Airmont, New York 10952
(845) 425-3900 info@haaszaltz.com


  • Can Alzheimer’s Disease Be Prevented?
    September 20, 2023 While new knowledge becomes available each year about promising potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, recent research is also focusing on the prevention of the disease or mitigation of its symptoms. Newly developing treatment techniques and technology may bring a path for prevention, perhaps in particular among people … Read more
  • Notarizing Documents for Seniors With a Dementia Diagnosis
    September 11, 2023 An Alzheimer’s or dementia diagnosis can be a challenging journey for the person and family alike. When the diagnosis occurs, a ticking clock begins on the timeline for getting proper and sound notarizations done for crucial legal documents. What Does It Mean to Get a Document Notarized?According … Read more
  • The Role of Assisted Living Facility Staff
    September 6, 2023 Seven out of 10 people will require assisted living care in their lifetime. In 1995, the National Center for Assisted Living created National Assisted Living Week to shed light on the critical role that assisted living communities play in many older adults’ lives. This year, National Assisted … Read more
  • Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans – Are They Right For You?
    August 30, 2023 As of 2020, approximately 12.5 million people have both Medicare and Medicaid coverage. Medicare is a federal health insurance program for people over 65 and certain disabled individuals. Medicaid is a joint federal and state program that helps provide medical care for those with limited income and … Read more
  • Your Will Can Protect Your Children With Disabilities
    August 16, 2023 August signifies National Make-a-Will Month. For the one in five families who care for children with special needs, estate planning is crucial. Parents of a child with a disability face numerous challenges and concerns. One 2022 study found that getting sick stands among these parents’ biggest worries. … Read more
  • IRS Confirms Grantor Trust Status Alone Does Not Cause a Step-Up in Basis
    August 15, 2023 Earlier this year the IRS released Revenue Ruling 2023-2. That Ruling examined a common situation in advanced estate planning. The grantor had set up an irrevocable trust and had gifted assets to the trust in what was a completed gift for gift tax purposes. The taxpayer retained … Read more
  • How Changes in the Student Loan Landscape May Affect You
    August 7, 2023 According to AARP, people aged 60 and older owe upwards of $290 billion in student loan debt. Thankfully, many federal student loan borrowers have experienced payment reprieves for the past few years due to multiple payment pauses enacted during the pandemic by the CARES Act and other … Read more
  • 11 Things You Can Do Online Via the Social Security Website
    July 26, 2023 The Social Security Administration (SSA) website hosts a wealth of online tools that offer you convenient access to benefits information. To make the most of these tools, simply create a my Social Security account online. It is free to set up a mySSA account. More than 65 … Read more
  • How No Surprises Act May Help With Unexpected Medical Bills
    July 24, 2023 The No Surprises Act is a federal law enacted to protect patients from unexpected medical bills incurred on or after January 1, 2022. It aims to address the issue of surprise medical billing, which can occur when patients receive unexpected charges for their medical care. The Act … Read more
  • Why Georgia’s New Medicaid Program May Impact You
    July 17, 2023 In June 2023, Georgia announced the implementation of the Pathways to Coverage program, effective July 1, 2023. If successful, it could allow able-bodied adults who have not previously qualified for Medicaid to join the program and have access to health coverage if they meet certain conditions. What … Read more
  • Home Health Services Underutilized by Seniors, Study Shows
    July 12, 2023 Health Affairs estimates that 4 million older adults can only leave their homes with assistance, making accessing care challenging. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1.3 million Americans receive care in nursing homes. According to A Place For Mom, more than 810,000 reside in … Read more
  • What to Do If You Lose Your Medicaid Coverage
    July 6, 2023 During the COVID-19 pandemic, states could not take away Medicaid coverage from any residents enrolled in this program. In recent months, however, this has been changing. If you are on Medicaid, be sure to take some time to understand whether your coverage may be at risk. How … Read more
  • Supreme Court Preserves Right to Sue Public Nursing Homes
    June 29, 2023 In a major win for nursing home residents and their families, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the right to sue government-run nursing homes under the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA). In a 7-2 decision, the court decided that these plaintiffs could seek relief in federal … Read more
  • CMS: Medicare Will Soon Cover Certain Alzheimer’s Treatments
    June 26, 2023 Medicare recipients living with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s recently received promising news: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it would begin covering new Alzheimer’s treatments that receive approval from the FDA. “If the FDA grants traditional approval, CMS is prepared to ensure … Read more
  • The Wonder of Wills
    June 12, 2023 This blog often focuses on Revocable Trusts and the flexibility, continuity, and protections that they provide. Of course, in addition to the foregoing benefits, trusts avoid the probate process, which can be lengthy and expensive in some states. While extolling the virtue of an Estate Plan based … Read more
  • Senior Citizens Face Loss of Buying Power, Study Shows
    June 5, 2023 Inflation affects all consumers, but older Americans are facing an especially dramatic loss of buying power. A recent survey by the Senior Citizens League shows that Social Security benefits have seen a 36 percent loss in buying power since 2000. That number is actually an improvement from … Read more
  • Getting Paid as a Family Caregiver Through Medicaid
    May 29, 2023 Caring for an ailing family member is difficult work, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be unpaid work. There are programs available that allow Medicaid recipients to hire family members as caregivers. All 50 states have programs that provide pay to family caregivers. The programs vary by … Read more
  • Will Robotics and AI Be the Future of Elder Care?
    May 29, 2023 Adults 65 and older constitute the fasting-growing age demographic in the United States. When it comes to elder care, this expanding population is facing a scarcity in people equipped to support them as they get older. One estimate predicts a shortage of 151,000 paid direct care workers … Read more
  • Avoid Foreclosure With Repayment Plan for Reverse Mortgages
    May 22, 2023 Using reverse mortgages, adults 62 and older may draw upon home equity to support their needs and remain in their homes. Many older adults with reverse mortgages have a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM). The Federal Housing Administration insures HECMs, and the U.S. Department of Housing and … Read more
  • The Joy in Joint Trusts
    April 26, 2023 Married individuals may decide to create a joint trust to address their Estate Planning needs. Joint trusts make sense in community property states because those states consider assets accumulated during the marriage as community assets and require that both spouses have equal management rights with respect to … Read more
  • How Tax and Non-Tax Considerations Impact Estate Planning- Part II
    April 26, 2023 When most folks think about Estate Planning, they focus on who gets what along with who distributes what. In some cases, clients consider their taxes, but that often occurs only when their estate will exceed the Applicable Exclusion Amount (currently $12.92 million in 2023). Comprehensive Estate Planning … Read more
  • How Tax and Non-Tax Considerations Impact Estate Planning- Part I
    April 19, 2023 When most folks think about Estate Planning, they focus on who gets what along with who distributes what. In cases in which an individual’s estate is not expected to exceed the Applicable Exclusion Amount, currently $12.92 million, taxes may simply be an afterthought. Comprehensive Estate Planning, though, … Read more
  • Why Hire an Elder Law Attorney?
    April 10, 2023 Elder law attorneys may specialize in estate planning, incapacity planning, and end-of-life care for seniors. These practitioners are essential because they work to protect a vulnerable population. To plan for their future and their care, seniors and their families should consider hiring an elder law attorney. How … Read more
  • Medicaid Planning
    March 23, 2023 A recent National Public Radio (“NPR”) article discussed one family’s experience with the Medicaid estate recovery program, something many elderly Americans and their families face. When the matriarch of the family received a diagnosis of Lewy body dementia, a case manager from the Area Agency on Aging … Read more
  • What Bruce Willis Can Teach Us About Incapacity Planning
    March 8, 2023 America’s favorite tough guy, Bruce Willis, recently received a diagnosis of Frontotemporal Dementia or FTD which destroys the brain’s frontal or temporal lobes. The condition strikes individuals between ages 45 and 64 and is the most common form of dementia for those under 60. His diagnosis brings … Read more
  • Is Medicaid Expanding in Your State?
    February 23, 2023 As of late 2022, more than 84 million people were enrolled in Medicaid — a number that has steadily increased in recent years. Amid the pandemic, total enrollees climbed by 20 million people from 2020 to 2022 alone. Meanwhile, the debate among lawmakers on further expanding Medicaid … Read more
  • Show Your Love by Creating an Estate Plan
    February 16, 2023 Estate Planning offers a practical and easy way to show your loved ones that you care. Simply put, an Estate Plan serves as a set of instructions regarding how you want your assets to pass, to whom you want them to pass, and when you want them … Read more
  • Tips on Creating an Estate Plan that Benefits a Child with Special Needs
    February 8, 2023 Parents want their children to be taken care of after they die. But children with disabilities have increased financial and care needs, so ensuring their long-term welfare can be tricky. Proper planning by parents is necessary to benefit the child with a disability, including an adult child, … Read more
  • What Is Memory Care, and What Are Its Benefits?
    January 31, 2023 Memory care is specialized care for patients living with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other conditions that cause memory loss. Hospitals and nursing homes may have memory care units or a separate entity dedicated to this service. Memory care provides seniors with meals, opportunities to socialize, mentally stimulating … Read more
  • Can You Appeal When a Hospital Considers You an Outpatient?
    January 13, 2023 A hospital’s classification of you as inpatient or outpatient can significantly affect Medicare’s coverage, shaping how much you pay for services and whether your coverage includes care in a skilled nursing facility. Medicare Part A pays for inpatient hospital and post-hospital extended care, including care in a … Read more
  • Ending Guardianship of an Adult
    January 5, 2023 While a guardian can support the protected person by making important decisions, in some cases, an individual may wish to change or dissolve the arrangement. The ward, their family, or other involved people might feel that the guardian is not doing a good job. They may then … Read more
  • 5 Reasons for Seniors to Celebrate in 2023
    December 26, 2022 It has been a tumultuous few years. Amid a continuing pandemic, tense midterm elections, and a war in Ukraine, we have grappled with more than our fair share of grim news. However, with the new year upon us, there are some silver linings — in particular for … Read more
  • The Importance of Having an Estate Plan
    December 19, 2023 The headline read “Battle Over Anne Heche’s Estate Settled” when it should have read “Yet Another Celebrity Dies Without an Estate Plan.” Anne Heche was a well-known actress who died unexpectedly following a fiery car crash in August 2022. Anne left behind two sons, one of whom … Read more
  • Pros and Cons of a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust
    December 8, 2022 A Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT) is one option a person may consider to protect their assets from Medicaid and nursing homes or long-term care. A MAPT is an irrevocable trust created during your lifetime. The primary goal of a MAPT is to transfer assets to it … Read more
  • What Is the Difference Between Medicaid and Medicare?
    December 1, 2022 Although Medicaid and Medicare are both public health insurance programs, they have essential differences. Medicare is a federal program for older adults, people with disabilities, and individuals with end-stage renal failure. Medicaid is federal-state assistance for those with limited incomes. History of Medicaid and MedicareCongress amended the … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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. … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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, … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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, … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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. … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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, … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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, … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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, … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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 … Read more
  • 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.   … Read more
  • 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, … Read more