Understanding the Tax Consequences of Inheriting a Roth IRA

Passing down a Roth IRA can seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t always make the most sense. Before converting a traditional IRA into a Roth IRA to benefit your heirs, you should consider the tax consequences. Earnings in a traditional IRA generally are not taxed until they are distributed to you. At age 70 1/2 you have to start taking distributions from a traditional IRA. Contributions to a Roth IRA are taxed, but the distributions are tax-free. You also do not have to take distributions on a Roth IRA. Leaving your heirs a tax-free Roth IRA can be Continue Reading

What Is Undue Influence?

Saying that there has been “undue influence” is often used as a reason to contest a will or estate plan, but what does it mean? Undue influence occurs when someone exerts pressure on an individual, causing that individual to act contrary to his or her wishes and to the benefit of the influencer or the influencer’s friends. The pressure can take the form of deception, harassment, threats, or isolation. Often the influencer separates the individual from their loved ones in order to coerce. The elderly and infirm are usually more susceptible to undue influence. Continue Reading

About to Turn 65? Your Health Insurer May Be Automatically Enrolling You in Its Own Medicare Plan

As people approach age 65, they should be thinking about their Medicare enrollment choices, including whether to sign up for traditional Medicare or with a Medicare Advantage plan, and if so, which one.  But it turns out that some Medicare-age people are having these important decisions made for them, often without their knowledge. Before they become eligible for Medicare, many Americans are covered by a commercial or a Medicaid health care plan run by an insurance company. These insurers often also operate Medicare Advantage plans, which are the privately run managed-care alternative to traditional Medicare. Under a little-known process authorized Continue Reading

Fighting Nursing Home Discrimination Against Medicaid Recipients

While it is illegal for a nursing home to discriminate against a Medicaid recipient, it still happens. To prevent such discrimination, nursing home residents and their families need to know their rights. The potential for discrimination arises because Medicaid pays nursing homes less than the facilities receive from residents who pay privately with their own funds and less than Medicare pays. Nursing homes are not required to accept any Medicaid patients, but Medicaid payments are a steady guaranteed payment, so many nursing homes agree to accept Medicaid recipients. When a nursing home agrees to take Medicaid payments, it also agrees Continue Reading

What You Need To Know About Paying Home healthcare Workers

The federal government recently extended minimum wage and overtime protections to most home health care workers. If you are hiring a caregiver for yourself or an elderly loved one, you need to become familiar with the rules, even if the paid caregiver is a family member. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employers who hire casual babysitters and domestic service workers to provide “companionship services” to elderly persons or persons with illnesses, injuries, or disabilities are not required to pay the minimum wage or provide overtime pay. Therefore, if you directly hire a caregiver whose job it is to Continue Reading

What You Need To Know About MassHealth

What is MassHealth? The federal Medicare program provides elders with financial assistance to subsidize the costs of medical bills and prescription drugs. However, Medicare does not cover placement in a nursing home. On the other hand, Medicaid, called MassHealth in the commonwealth, is a joint program with the federal government that pays for nursing home placement for qualifying individuals. Why does it exist? MassHealth gives health care coverage to more than a million people in the commonwealth, including seniors. The plan subsidizes all or part of health care premiums and pays for benefits, such as doctor visits, therapy, hospital stays, Continue Reading

Beware of Non-Lawyers Offering Medicaid Planning Advice

In recent years a number of non-lawyers have started businesses offering Medicaid planning services to seniors. While using one of these services may be cheaper than hiring a lawyer, the overall costs may be far greater. If you use a non-lawyer to do Medicaid planning, the person offering services may not have any legal knowledge or training. Bad advice can lead seniors to purchase products or take actions that won’t help them qualify for Medicaid and may actually make it more difficult. The consequences of taking bad advice can include the denial of benefits, a Medicaid penalty period, or tax Continue Reading

What Is Required of an Executor?

Being the executor of an estate is not a task to take lightly. An executor is the person responsible for managing the administration of a deceased individual’s estate. Although the time and effort involved will vary with the size of the estate, even if you are the executor of a small estate you will have important duties that must be performed correctly or you may be liable to the estate or the beneficiaries. The executor is either named in the will or if there is no will, appointed by the court. You do not have to accept the position of Continue Reading

Virtual Senior Center Keeps Elderly Engaged At Home

If you or someone you know has a relative who is home bound, then you are aware of how isolation and the inability to get out and socialize can affect an elderly loved one’s emotional wellbeing. With VSC, you no longer have to worry about your loved one being alone. VSC or Virtual Senior Center is a place where the elderly can congregate online, talk to one another face to face via video chat, or take classes online with the same technology. The link attached below will provide you with personal accounts of elders and facilitators on how the program Continue Reading

Avoiding Pitfalls When Forced to Start Using Retirement Savings

The oldest of the 75 million baby boomers have begun turning 70 in 2016. Becoming a septuagenarian is a milestone in itself, but it also means that soon the IRS will likely be expecting you to start cashing out your tax-deferred retirement savings that you may have spent decades building up. If you don’t start taking what are called required minimum distributions (RMDs) from your non-Roth individual retirement account (IRA) or 401(k) accounts and pay taxes on the withdrawals, you will face a 50 percent penalty on what should have been withdrawn but wasn’t.  But more than this, how you Continue Reading