Massachusetts Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Aid & Attendance Pension

Posted by Dennis Sullivan & Associates on Mon, Oct 20, 2014

Aid & Attendance Pension | Massachusetts Elder Care Attorney

  

 veterans

 

A Little Known Tool for Our Nation’s Heroes

When fighting for the nation comes to the close, every veteran will be proud to come back home to live in peace with their family. Well, that may sound good for the youth that enlisted, but when entering into the golden years, every veteran and his surviving spouse needs a better home care as the cost of assisted living continues to rise. 

Is there an official care for the nation’s hero? Yes, the Veterans Administration has an vastly underused pension benefit called Aid and Attendance that provides money to those who need assistance performing everyday tasks. Families of Veterans should be assisted with the VA’s benefit programs that are available to those honorably discharged Veterans who are age 65 and older and are struggling to pay for their cost of care. 

Revealing the Secret

Most of the veterans have no idea of this pension program exists. The official title of this benefit is a Pension; the reason for using the Aid and Attendance to refer pension is that many veterans (or their single surviving spouses) can become eligible if they have a steady need for the aid and attendance of a caregiver, or if they are housebound. Evidence for this need for care must be certified by VA as a rating. With their rating in place, certain veterans or their surviving spouses can now qualify for Pension.

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we provide a unique education and counseling process which includes our unique 19 Point Trust, Estate and Asset Protection Review to help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones, click here for more information. We provide clients with a unique approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops, call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Tags: veterans benefits, wartime veteran, benefit, VA, VA benefit, VA benefits

Massachusetts Estate Planning Tips | 3 Estate Planning New Year's Resolutions

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Thu, Jan 10, 2013

The New Year is filled with resolutions: lose weight, save money or plan a vacation, but in the thick of things it is easy to forget about planning ahead as you get a little older.

In this article, we review 3 Estate Planning Resolutions that should be part of everyone's 2013.

You Could Lose Everything  Unless You Act Now

1. Review your beneficiary designations.

While the terms of your Will control the distribution
of your probate property, beneficiary designations determine who will inherit your non-probate
assets. Non-probate assets include brokerage or bank accounts with TOD (“Transfer on Death”) or POD (“Payable on Death”) beneficiaries, life insurance proceeds, assets held in a living trust, property held in joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, etc. The beneficiary designations on these assets are just as important to your estate plan as the naming of beneficiaries in your Will because these beneficiaries will also inherit from your estate.

estate plan, 2013, new year

To conduct your review, identify the beneficiaries you have designated for each asset. If you have married, divorced, had children, or experienced any other significant change in family circumstances, you may wish to alter certain designations. If your current designations leave property outright to a minor or an individual with special needs, you may want to consider protecting those assets for your beneficiaries.  For more information on protecting your beneficiaries' inheritances, call our office at (781) 237-2815.

2. Plan for the disposition of your digital assets.

Sure, you know who will inherit your house and your IRA after you are gone, but what will happen to your emails? The tax records stored on your hard drive? Your Facebook page? The family photos in your Flickr galleries?

If your estate plan fails to address these and other digital assets, your loved ones may have trouble accessing financial accounts or lose precious family memories. Furthermore, failing to close online financial accounts may even expose your estate to the risk of identity theft.

Start by making an inventory of your digital assets then give your loved ones or executor instructions regarding what you would like to happen to each asset. For example, are any of your bills on auto-pay? Should your Facebook page be taken down?

3. Schedule a review of your estate plan.

Generally speaking, it is a good idea to review your estate plan every year. This is particularly
important if you have recently experienced a significant change in circumstances, such as a birth or death in the family, a marriage or divorce, or a change in financial circumstances.

As we move into 2013, it is critically important to schedule a time to have your estate plan reviewed by our team of professionals, to be sure that your spouse, home and life savings will be protected.

 

At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops. Call 800-964-4295 to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your beneficiaries, digital assests, Estate Plan and legacy.

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: Estate Planning, Beneficiary, revocable living trust, assets, benefit, 2013, plans, New Year's Resolutions

Massachusetts VA Benefit Attorney | Is the VA Aid and Attendance Benefit Counted as Income?

Posted by Massachusetts Estate Planning & Elder Law Attorney, Dennis B. Sullivan, Esq., CPA, LLM on Mon, Nov 19, 2012

The deadline for Medicare’s open enrollment is three weeks earlier this year that 2011, so boomers need to gather all the necessary information regarding changes and updates to care now to make the best decisions for the health and finances.

The deadline of Dec. 7 is right around the corner and the more information boomers have about the plans, the better off they will be now and down the road.

 A new federal ruling could transform the way that Medicare covers long-term care and allows more patients to receive home health care services.

I sat down with Robert Quinlan, an independent insurance agent/broker since 1986 in New Windsor, N.Y. and had him review the following: 

Boomer: Please explain how a recent court decision on Medicare services could impact boomers now and in the future.

Quinlan: The federal case in Vermont called Jimmo vs Sebelius was decided last month and expands Medicare’s skilled care services to people who needed care to maintain their health or prevent or slow further deterioration.

Prior to this decision, Medicare would not approve skilled care services to those who had no prospects for improvement in their health like people with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or patients that have had a stroke.

The potential for more Medicare paid services will be limited to skilled care, which is care provided by licensed professionals like physical therapy, respiratory therapy, speech therapy or care from registered nurses. There will be no restrictions on the types of diseases that will be covered.

The lawsuit was brought by a class of individuals receiving Medicare services and other organizational plaintiffs like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The case’s defendant was Kathleen Sebulius, U.S. Secretary of Health, and Human Services who represents the federal government’s Medicare program. 

The ruling will not expand other Medicare services today. For example, nursing home coverage will still be limited to 100 days. Medicare costs for skilled care services are expected to rise in the short term, but longer-term costs for nursing homes and hospitals could be lower if more people receive better care at home and avoid more costly care later. 

Why does this case matter? People with chronic illnesses and accidents have been denied skilled care under Medicare because their condition was not improving. Now there is the likelihood that these people will receive more robust care that has eluded them in the past.

The final settlement of the case must be approved by the court which is expected to take several more weeks. Stay tuned! 

Boomer: Are there tax benefits available for small business owners who want to buy long-term care insurance?

Quinlan: Yes, there are federal tax benefits when you purchase long term care insurance (LTCI) as a business owner. If you are:

  • Self employed: you can deduct 100% of your long-term care insurance premiums up to the IRS’s “Eligible Premium” amounts. For example, the 2012 tax deduction limit is $350 starting at age 40 or less, going to $3,500 if you are age 61 but not yet age 71 and $4,370 for people age 71 and older.
  • Partnership, LLC or subchapter S corporation: The partnership, LLC or Subchapter S pays the LTCI premium. You may deduct up to 100% of the age-based Eligible Premium like the self employed person with no age criteria.
  • Subchapter C corporation – entitled to a 100% deduction of the LTCI premium as a business expense on the total premium paid. The deduction is not limited to the “Eligible Premium” schedule.
  • Individuals:  LTCI premiums are considered medical expenses for individuals . For a person who itemizes tax deductions, medical expenses are tax deductible if they exceed 7.5% of the person’s adjusted gross income in tax year 2012. The amount that can be deducted as a medical expense is limited to the IRS’s “Eligible Premium” that is referred in the above “Self Employed” section.

 In addition to these federal tax benefits, your state may also have a tax benefit for LTCI premiums. For example, New York State permits tax payers to take a 20% tax credit (better than a tax deduction) on the LTCI premiums with no 7.5% adjusted gross income rule or age threshold. For example, if you paid an annual premium of $4,000 for your long term care insurance, you would receive $800 tax credit ($4,000 times 20%) on your NYS tax bill.

 The above information is only intended as general information. As in all tax matters, check with your own tax/financial advisor before taking action.

Boomer: I have seen many ads about Medicare insurance plans since September, and I have noticed that some Medicare insurance plans offered by private insurance companies have zero or low premiums, namely Medicare Advantage plans (Part C). How is that possible? Do these plans offer comprehensive coverage like coverage in original Medicare Parts A and B?

Quinlan: Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private insurance companies that are required by law to have comparable services as the original Medicare Parts A (hospital insurance) and B (medical insurance). Plus they also offer additional services like prescription drug coverage and vision care. Some plans will also pay for membership in gyms. The premiums for these Medicare Advantage plans are often low premiums or no premiums (not a misprint). How is this possible? The federal government pays the private insurance companies to offer these services to local communities across the US. About 25% of Medicare eligible Americans are covered by these plans today. 

Your doctors and hospitals must be part of the network in your Medicare Advantage plan. You will pay more money for out of network services. Insurance companies may not offer these plans in every county in your state. Check with your local insurance company or insurance agent/broker if these plans are offered in your county. You must also be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B to enroll in these Medicare Advantage plans. You will not need to purchase a Medicare supplement plan.

 Now until December 7, 2012 is a good time to review your current Medicare coverage to make any plan changes during this year’s Medicare open enrollment period. New plan coverage will become effective January 1, 2013.



Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/11/15/what-boomers-need-to-know-about-medicare-changes/#ixzz2CgaTfuN5

The deadline for Medicare’s open enrollment is three weeks earlier this year that 2011, so boomers need to gather all the necessary information regarding changes and updates to care now to make the best decisions for the health and finances.

The deadline of Dec. 7 is right around the corner and the more information boomers have about the plans, the better off they will be now and down the road.

 A new federal ruling could transform the way that Medicare covers long-term care and allows more patients to receive home health care services.

I sat down with Robert Quinlan, an independent insurance agent/broker since 1986 in New Windsor, N.Y. and had him review the following: 

Boomer: Please explain how a recent court decision on Medicare services could impact boomers now and in the future.

Quinlan: The federal case in Vermont called Jimmo vs Sebelius was decided last month and expands Medicare’s skilled care services to people who needed care to maintain their health or prevent or slow further deterioration.

Prior to this decision, Medicare would not approve skilled care services to those who had no prospects for improvement in their health like people with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or patients that have had a stroke.

The potential for more Medicare paid services will be limited to skilled care, which is care provided by licensed professionals like physical therapy, respiratory therapy, speech therapy or care from registered nurses. There will be no restrictions on the types of diseases that will be covered.

The lawsuit was brought by a class of individuals receiving Medicare services and other organizational plaintiffs like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The case’s defendant was Kathleen Sebulius, U.S. Secretary of Health, and Human Services who represents the federal government’s Medicare program. 

The ruling will not expand other Medicare services today. For example, nursing home coverage will still be limited to 100 days. Medicare costs for skilled care services are expected to rise in the short term, but longer-term costs for nursing homes and hospitals could be lower if more people receive better care at home and avoid more costly care later. 

Why does this case matter? People with chronic illnesses and accidents have been denied skilled care under Medicare because their condition was not improving. Now there is the likelihood that these people will receive more robust care that has eluded them in the past.

The final settlement of the case must be approved by the court which is expected to take several more weeks. Stay tuned! 

Boomer: Are there tax benefits available for small business owners who want to buy long-term care insurance?

Quinlan: Yes, there are federal tax benefits when you purchase long term care insurance (LTCI) as a business owner. If you are:

  • Self employed: you can deduct 100% of your long-term care insurance premiums up to the IRS’s “Eligible Premium” amounts. For example, the 2012 tax deduction limit is $350 starting at age 40 or less, going to $3,500 if you are age 61 but not yet age 71 and $4,370 for people age 71 and older.
  • Partnership, LLC or subchapter S corporation: The partnership, LLC or Subchapter S pays the LTCI premium. You may deduct up to 100% of the age-based Eligible Premium like the self employed person with no age criteria.
  • Subchapter C corporation – entitled to a 100% deduction of the LTCI premium as a business expense on the total premium paid. The deduction is not limited to the “Eligible Premium” schedule.
  • Individuals:  LTCI premiums are considered medical expenses for individuals . For a person who itemizes tax deductions, medical expenses are tax deductible if they exceed 7.5% of the person’s adjusted gross income in tax year 2012. The amount that can be deducted as a medical expense is limited to the IRS’s “Eligible Premium” that is referred in the above “Self Employed” section.

 In addition to these federal tax benefits, your state may also have a tax benefit for LTCI premiums. For example, New York State permits tax payers to take a 20% tax credit (better than a tax deduction) on the LTCI premiums with no 7.5% adjusted gross income rule or age threshold. For example, if you paid an annual premium of $4,000 for your long term care insurance, you would receive $800 tax credit ($4,000 times 20%) on your NYS tax bill.

 The above information is only intended as general information. As in all tax matters, check with your own tax/financial advisor before taking action.

Boomer: I have seen many ads about Medicare insurance plans since September, and I have noticed that some Medicare insurance plans offered by private insurance companies have zero or low premiums, namely Medicare Advantage plans (Part C). How is that possible? Do these plans offer comprehensive coverage like coverage in original Medicare Parts A and B?

Quinlan: Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private insurance companies that are required by law to have comparable services as the original Medicare Parts A (hospital insurance) and B (medical insurance). Plus they also offer additional services like prescription drug coverage and vision care. Some plans will also pay for membership in gyms. The premiums for these Medicare Advantage plans are often low premiums or no premiums (not a misprint). How is this possible? The federal government pays the private insurance companies to offer these services to local communities across the US. About 25% of Medicare eligible Americans are covered by these plans today. 

Your doctors and hospitals must be part of the network in your Medicare Advantage plan. You will pay more money for out of network services. Insurance companies may not offer these plans in every county in your state. Check with your local insurance company or insurance agent/broker if these plans are offered in your county. You must also be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B to enroll in these Medicare Advantage plans. You will not need to purchase a Medicare supplement plan.

 Now until December 7, 2012 is a good time to review your current Medicare coverage to make any plan changes during this year’s Medicare open enrollment period. New plan coverage will become effective January 1, 2013.



Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/11/15/what-boomers-need-to-know-about-medicare-changes/#ixzz2CgaTfuN5

The deadline for Medicare’s open enrollment is three weeks earlier this year that 2011, so boomers need to gather all the necessary information regarding changes and updates to care now to make the best decisions for the health and finances.

The deadline of Dec. 7 is right around the corner and the more information boomers have about the plans, the better off they will be now and down the road.

 A new federal ruling could transform the way that Medicare covers long-term care and allows more patients to receive home health care services.

I sat down with Robert Quinlan, an independent insurance agent/broker since 1986 in New Windsor, N.Y. and had him review the following: 

Boomer: Please explain how a recent court decision on Medicare services could impact boomers now and in the future.

Quinlan: The federal case in Vermont called Jimmo vs Sebelius was decided last month and expands Medicare’s skilled care services to people who needed care to maintain their health or prevent or slow further deterioration.

Prior to this decision, Medicare would not approve skilled care services to those who had no prospects for improvement in their health like people with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or patients that have had a stroke.

The potential for more Medicare paid services will be limited to skilled care, which is care provided by licensed professionals like physical therapy, respiratory therapy, speech therapy or care from registered nurses. There will be no restrictions on the types of diseases that will be covered.

The lawsuit was brought by a class of individuals receiving Medicare services and other organizational plaintiffs like the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Paralyzed Veterans of America. The case’s defendant was Kathleen Sebulius, U.S. Secretary of Health, and Human Services who represents the federal government’s Medicare program. 

The ruling will not expand other Medicare services today. For example, nursing home coverage will still be limited to 100 days. Medicare costs for skilled care services are expected to rise in the short term, but longer-term costs for nursing homes and hospitals could be lower if more people receive better care at home and avoid more costly care later. 

Why does this case matter? People with chronic illnesses and accidents have been denied skilled care under Medicare because their condition was not improving. Now there is the likelihood that these people will receive more robust care that has eluded them in the past.

The final settlement of the case must be approved by the court which is expected to take several more weeks. Stay tuned! 

Boomer: Are there tax benefits available for small business owners who want to buy long-term care insurance?

Quinlan: Yes, there are federal tax benefits when you purchase long term care insurance (LTCI) as a business owner. If you are:

  • Self employed: you can deduct 100% of your long-term care insurance premiums up to the IRS’s “Eligible Premium” amounts. For example, the 2012 tax deduction limit is $350 starting at age 40 or less, going to $3,500 if you are age 61 but not yet age 71 and $4,370 for people age 71 and older.
  • Partnership, LLC or subchapter S corporation: The partnership, LLC or Subchapter S pays the LTCI premium. You may deduct up to 100% of the age-based Eligible Premium like the self employed person with no age criteria.
  • Subchapter C corporation – entitled to a 100% deduction of the LTCI premium as a business expense on the total premium paid. The deduction is not limited to the “Eligible Premium” schedule.
  • Individuals:  LTCI premiums are considered medical expenses for individuals . For a person who itemizes tax deductions, medical expenses are tax deductible if they exceed 7.5% of the person’s adjusted gross income in tax year 2012. The amount that can be deducted as a medical expense is limited to the IRS’s “Eligible Premium” that is referred in the above “Self Employed” section.

 In addition to these federal tax benefits, your state may also have a tax benefit for LTCI premiums. For example, New York State permits tax payers to take a 20% tax credit (better than a tax deduction) on the LTCI premiums with no 7.5% adjusted gross income rule or age threshold. For example, if you paid an annual premium of $4,000 for your long term care insurance, you would receive $800 tax credit ($4,000 times 20%) on your NYS tax bill.

 The above information is only intended as general information. As in all tax matters, check with your own tax/financial advisor before taking action.

Boomer: I have seen many ads about Medicare insurance plans since September, and I have noticed that some Medicare insurance plans offered by private insurance companies have zero or low premiums, namely Medicare Advantage plans (Part C). How is that possible? Do these plans offer comprehensive coverage like coverage in original Medicare Parts A and B?

Quinlan: Medicare Advantage plans are provided by private insurance companies that are required by law to have comparable services as the original Medicare Parts A (hospital insurance) and B (medical insurance). Plus they also offer additional services like prescription drug coverage and vision care. Some plans will also pay for membership in gyms. The premiums for these Medicare Advantage plans are often low premiums or no premiums (not a misprint). How is this possible? The federal government pays the private insurance companies to offer these services to local communities across the US. About 25% of Medicare eligible Americans are covered by these plans today. 

Your doctors and hospitals must be part of the network in your Medicare Advantage plan. You will pay more money for out of network services. Insurance companies may not offer these plans in every county in your state. Check with your local insurance company or insurance agent/broker if these plans are offered in your county. You must also be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and B to enroll in these Medicare Advantage plans. You will not need to purchase a Medicare supplement plan.

 Now until December 7, 2012 is a good time to review your current Medicare coverage to make any plan changes during this year’s Medicare open enrollment period. New plan coverage will become effective January 1, 2013.



Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/11/15/what-boomers-need-to-know-about-medicare-changes/#ixzz2CgaTfuN5


Read more: http://www.foxbusiness.com/personal-finance/2012/11/15/what-boomers-need-to-know-about-medicare-changes/#ixzz2CgaTfuN5

I get this question frequently.  Does Medicaid count the VA benefit as income for eligibility purposes is more specifically the question.  The answer is “no, it is not”.  There is a specific Medicaid Communication (25 years old) that states that VA Aid & Attendance benefits are not counted as income.  Please be aware that there are other VA benefits, however, that may be treated as income and also be aware that it is the aid and attendance portion of the benefit that is not countable.  How much that turns out to be depends on each individual case.  You must examine your award letter.

                Please also note that the VA benefit will drop to $90 per month when the recipient qualifies for Medicaid.  When there is a spouse at home, the community spouse may be entitled to receive more than $90 per month.   Our practice with our elder law clients is to notify the VA when Medicaid is approved (but not when we file the application since we don’t want the benefit to stop until Medicaid is approved).

I get this question frequently.  Does Medicaid count the VA benefit as income for eligibility purposes is more specifically the question.  The answer is “no, it is not”.  There is VA, veteran, Medicaid, benefita specific Medicaid Communication (25 years old) that states that VA Aid & Attendance benefits are not counted as income.  Please be aware that there are other VA benefits, however, that may be treated as income and also be aware that it is the aid and attendance portion of the benefit that is not countable.  How much that turns out to be depends on each individual case.  You must examine your award letter.

                Please also note that the VA benefit will drop to $90 per month when the recipient qualifies for Medicaid.  When there is a spouse at home, the community spouse may be entitled to receive more than $90 per month.   Our practice with our elder law clients is to notify the VA when Medicaid is approved (but not when we file the application since we don’t want the benefit to stop until Medicaid is approved).

For more information go to www.SullivanVeteransReport.com, which contains important information on the “Hidden Benefit” available to veterans and their spouses, and the steps you should be taking right now to find out if your loved one qualifies.

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At the Estate Planning & Asset Protection Law Center, we help people and their families learn how to protect their home, spouse, life-savings, and legacy for their loved ones.  We provide clients with a unique educational and counseling approach so they understand where opportunities exist to eliminate problems now as they implement plans for a protected future.

We encourage you to attend one of our free educational workshops. Call 800-964-4295 and register to learn more about what you can do to enhance the security of your spouse, home, life savings and legacy.

Click Here to Register For Our Trust, Estate & Asset  Protection Workshop

Tags: Elder Law, Medicaid, Massachusetts, Attorney, Veteran, VA, benefit, income

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