Elder Rights

SECURE Act: How It Will Affect Your Retirement

Here is a game changer. On December 20, 2019, as part of the budget package, President Trump signed the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act),  which is effective January 1, 2020. The Act is the most important legislation affecting retirement accounts in decades. The SECURE Act has several positive changes: It increases the required beginning date (RBD) for required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your individual retirement...

What Is IRMAA?

Seniors Avoid the Cliff! By Robert S. Morris Our practice of Elder Law includes all legal issues common to older people. One issue of concern to everyone on Medicare or Social Security is the issue of hidden taxes. What is the Income Related Monthly Adjustment Amount (IRMAA)? We are all aware of income taxes and payroll taxes but there are other taxes hiding out there. One of those is IRMAA, which stands for...

7 Ways To Prevent Elder Fraud

$27 Billion and Counting Elder Fraud Hits a New High A bombshell report on elder fraud was recently released by Comparitech, a consumer research company that focuses on the United Kingdom, the United States, and Canada.  You are not going to like the conclusions. According to Comparitech’s research, senior citizens in the United States may lose nearly 25 times more to scammers than what is being reported.   That would mean more than...

Why You Should Not Write-off Your Elders

The Statistics Speak For Themselves Before you buy into that stereotype that all older Americans are demented, helpless and lonely, check out these statistics. Ninety-seven percent of Americans  over 65 are NOT in nursing homes.  Here’s an even more interesting statistic - ninety-one percent of Americans aged 85 and older are not in nursing homes. Ninety percent of Americans aged 65 and older DO NOT have Alzheimer’s dementia.  Ninety percent, folks.  According...

Special Needs Trusts – Planning for Disabled Folks

Many families are blessed with a child (or adult) who happens to have a disability. There is obviously some concern regarding that loved one’s care and standard of living once a parent or other caregiver is no longer able to provide for them. SSI and Medicaid Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid can help, but they are limited and require the disabled person to have very depressed levels of assets and...

Great Ideas for Families: Preparation Goes a Long Way

This may sound harsh, but you need to do more for your family than just sign a will. You should also leave them a map to follow. How do you go about it? Prepare your executor.  You should have a list of all of your beneficiaries and professional advisors with their contact information. Tell your executor where you keep your original will. Tell your successor trustees where you keep your original...

Scams with a 2019 Twist: SSA, Grandchildren and Disasters

The Social Security Administration is not going to call you out of the blue and threaten you with arrest if you do not press a number and give your personal information. Your grandchild does not need you to send $10,000 in small bills, folded inside magazine pages, via federal express to get him or her out of legal trouble.  Funds donated through a GoFundMe page set up after a natural...

Guardianship: Abuse or Protection? Buzz Aldrin’s Dilemma

The rich and famous are not immune from guardianship, and neither are you. Take, for example, Buzz Aldrin. His guardianship case was in the news in 2018 not only because of his fame but also because of the unusual counteraction that he took:  he sued back. The contretemps started in a Florida court when two of Aldrin’s three children and his business manager filed a guardianship action against Aldrin.  Aldrin, age 88, responded...

I DON’T HAVE A WILL… SO WHAT? (PART 2)

Not long ago, I published Part 1 of this Article in which I discussed the State of Texas’s rules for how your property is divided if you die without a will. For many people, that division is far from what they want done with their own assets and possessions.  It also causes sticky joint management issues between children from prior relationships (or their parent/the ex-spouse), and current spouses.  That thought...

Happy HIPAA! Getting the Most from Your Family Gathering

Perhaps there was a master plan that caused the traditional family gatherings of Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas to fall so close together. If you are into conspiracy theories, you might even question the motive behind throwing family members into close contact for days on end. The incidental benefit is that after all of the forced family togetherness, you now have a good idea who you want to name on your...

Changes for Better or Worse – New Laws Hit Seniors Hard

New laws, rules and court opinions are coming out faster than Washington gossip, and there’s no end in sight. The new Fiduciary Rule has been phased in for brokers and insurance agents, who now must give advice based on their client’s interests and not on the agents’ own financial interests. The effective date was June 9, 2017, although the full rule (including the enforcement provision) didn't take effect until January...

Criminal Behavior: Medicaid Planning by Non-Professionals

Medicaid is a government program that pays for nursing home care. The recipient (often elderly) must have limited income and assets to qualify for the benefit. Planning and applying for Medicaid can be complicated. Thus, a cottage industry of “Medicaid planners” has sprung up.   And that is where the difficulty arises. A lawyer can legally advertise and charge for Medicaid planning services. For everyone else, it’s a crime.   There is...
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