21 BEST APPS FOR SENIORS

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Seniors are embracing technology in droves. According to the Pew Research Center, 67% of seniors age 65 and older use the Internet and 42% own smartphones today.   Apps for smartphones or iPads can make life easier and more interesting. But with tens of thousands of apps on the market and more coming out …

Can an SNT be the Beneficiary of my Retirement Account?

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When determining whether you can name a special needs trust (SNT) as the beneficiary of your retirement account and accomplish your intended result, you will quickly learn that the answer is “it depends.” It depends on the type of beneficiary designation and on tax laws regarding distribution of retirement account …

TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF SPECIAL NEEDS TRUSTS

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There are two types of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs), commonly designated as first-party and third-party SNTs. It is important to determine which type of SNT you have or need. This depends upon whose property is funding the SNT. If the property funding the SNT originates with the SNT beneficiary, then …

How Medicaid Works and Who it Covers

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One of the biggest flash points in the debate over Republican legislation to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act is the future of Medicaid.  Here are some basic facts about the 52-year-old program.   What is Medicaid? It’s a public health insurance program largely for low-income people, though some …

Retirement Funds and Special Needs Trusts

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Loud and Clear: A Special Needs Conversation   Retirement accounts are often among a family’s largest assets, so you may have thought about leaving a portion to your son or daughter with disabilities. But if they will ever need means-tested benefits, your good intentions could disqualify them for important programs …

Part 3 – Enhanced STAR

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Tax Benefit:   STAR – Enhanced   Tax Benefit Details: Reduces school tax liability by exempting a portion of the value of the home from school tax.   Based on the first $65,000 of full value of the home.   Special rules for NYC, Buffalo, Rochester, Yonkers and Syracuse.   …

2017 Real Property Tax Exemptions Update

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For the next three weeks, in an effort to make sure you are properly updated, we will give you the specific details regarding this year’s Real Property Tax Exemptions.  The three we will outline are the Senior Citizen Homeowners’ Exemption (SCHE), Basic STAR and Enhanced STAR.   Tax Benefit:   …

Governor Cuomo Signs the Care Act into Law

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New York State legislature has passed the Caregiver Advice, Record and Enable (CARE) Act.  It was signed into law by Governor Andrew Cuomo on October 26, 2015 and will take effect in April, 2016.  The primary focus of this new law is to offer assistance to patients and their caregivers …

Updating your Estate Plan after Divorce

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Almost everyone who has been divorced or is ending their marriage needs an estate planning checklist for divorce. It’s imperative they revisit their estate planning documents to avoid inadvertently giving their ex control over their estate. While the divorce process attempts to equitably divide assets, it usually falls short of …

ABLE ACT PASSES

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Following years of national grassroots advocacy efforts, the community of individuals with special needs and their family members will have at their disposal a new tool with which to maintain a private fund of assets while preserving certain   government benefits. On December 19, 2014, the President   signed the Achieving Better Life …

SOME THINGS YOU COULD THROW AWAY

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Our clients often look over the piles of paper (old financial records, mostly) accumulating in their homes, and ask us whether they really need to keep all that stuff. Is it important to hold on to all those documents for legal, tax or other reasons? Sometimes, by the way, the …

Avoid Problems of Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning

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Many people only find out when it’s too late that their estate plans contain costly errors. Mistakes aren’t necessarily limited to lay people using do-it-yourself kits; inexperienced estate planners make mistakes too. Here are some overlooked issues that may occur without the advice of a practiced estate planning attorney. Non-probate …

IRA Rollover Ruling

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Uncle Sam’s Tax Court just ruled that the one-rollover-per-yea​r rule applies to all of a taxpayer’s IRAs rather than to each IRA separately. And that ruling, experts say, is in direct conflict with IRS Publication 590, the bible for IRAs. “Industry leaders, financial advisers, and everyone else who handles IRAs are stunned,” said Denise …

Senate Bill Updates SSI and Would Help Elder Poor

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WASHINGTON, DC – The Supplemental Security Income Restoration Act of 2014 was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). The bill, championed by the National Senior Citizens Law Center (NSCLC),would fix key elements of the Supplemental Security Income (SSI) program that currently make …