Dispute Between Brothers Demonstrates Need to Plan for Long-Term Care

A recent New Jersey appeals court case demonstrates how important it is for families to come up with a long-term care plan before an emergency strikes. The case involves two brothers who got into a fight over whether to place their mother in a nursing home – a dispute that resulted in one brother filing a restraining order against the other R.G. was the primary caregiver for his parents and their agent under powers of attorney. After R.G.’s mother fell ill, R.G. wanted to place his mother in a nursing home. R.G.’s brother objected to this plan, but R.G. went Continue Reading

IRS Now Allows Private Debt Collectors to Dun Taxpayers

In a move that could be confusing to seniors who are vulnerable to scams, the IRS will begin using private debt collection agencies to collect past-due taxes. The new program will begin in April 2017.Authorized by a law Congress passed in December 2015, the IRS may now contract with private debt collectors to collect certain debts. The private collection agencies can work on accounts in which the taxpayer owes money, but the IRS is no longer actively working on the account, perhaps because the account is older or the IRS does not have resources to continue pursuing it. Historically, scammers Continue Reading

Aging Drivers and the Law

For better or for worse, our current culture is very car-dependant; in many places, cars are the only convenient link to the outside world. Unfortunately, as people age, driving can become more difficult and more dangerous. The elderly drive less, but have more crashes per mile than younger drivers. This is partially because elderly individuals are more likely to be affected by poor eyesight, chronic disease, and medications that might impair driving. States vary widely on how they treat older drivers.  (For information each state’s license renewal procedures, click here.) While no state will revoke a driver’s license based only Continue Reading

Four Provisions People Forget to Include in Their Estate Plan

Even if you’ve created an estate plan, are you sure you included everything you need to? There are certain provisions that people often forget to put in in a will or estate plan that can have a big impact on your family. 1. Alternate Beneficiaries One of the most important things your estate plan should include is at least one alternative beneficiary in case the named beneficiary does not outlive you or is unable to claim under the will. If a will names a beneficiary who isn’t able to take possession of the property, your assets may pass as though Continue Reading

Senior Activities Best for the Brain

A new study shows that dancing may be the best activity for your brain’s processing speed as you age.  Healthy yet sedentary people in their 60’s and 70’s with no signs of cognitive impairment participated in the University of Illinois in Urbana study – they were divided into groups and assigned different forms of activity like walking, stretching and balance training and dance requiring choreography and a partner.  The study results showed that almost everyone performed better on thinking tests than at the start of the study with the dancing group showing the most improvement.  The study also showed that Continue Reading

Hospitals Now Must Provide Notice About Observation Status

All hospitals must now give Medicare recipients notice when they are in the hospital under observation status. The notice requirement is part of a law enacted in 2015 but that just took effect. Signed by President Obama in August 2015, the law was intended to prevent surprises after a Medicare beneficiary spends days in a hospital under “observation” and is then admitted to a nursing home. This is important because Medicare covers nursing home stays entirely for the first 20 days, but only if the patient was first admitted to a hospital as an inpatient for at least three days. Continue Reading

Is It Better to Use Joint Ownership or a Trust to Pass Down a Home?

When leaving a home to your children, you can avoid probate by using either joint ownership or a revocable trust, but which is the better method?If you add your child as a joint tenant on your house, you will each have an equal ownership interest in the property. If one joint tenant dies, his or her interest immediately ceases to exist and the other joint tenant owns the entire property. This has the advantage of avoiding probate. A disadvantage of joint tenancy is that creditors can attach the tenant’s property to satisfy a debt. So, for example, if a co-tenant Continue Reading

Costs of Some New Long-Term Care Insurance Policies Rise in Latest Survey

A couple who are both age 60 and who purchase new long-term care insurance coverage can expect to pay between 6 and 9 percent more compared to a year ago according to the 2017 Long Term Care Insurance Price Index, an annual report from the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, an industry group. But rates for single men and women remained fairly level or, in some instances, actually declined compared to 2016, reports the association. A married couple both age 60 would pay $2,200 a year combined for a total of $328,000 of long-term care insurance coverage. This represents a 9 Continue Reading

Things Seniors Should Remember at Tax Time

Tax day, which is April 18th in 2017, is approaching and it is time to begin crossing T’s and dotting I’s in preparation for paying taxes. As tax time draws near, you want to make sure you file all the proper forms and take all deductions you’re entitled to. Following are some things to keep in mind as you prepare your tax form. Gifts. Did you give away any money this year? The gift tax can be very confusing. If you gave away more than $14,000 in 2016, you will have to file a Form 709, the gift tax return. Continue Reading

How to Deduct Long-Term Care Premiums From Your Income

Taxpayers with long-term care insurance policies can deduct some of their premiums from their income. Whether you can use the deduction requires comparing your medical expenses to your income in a complicated formula. Premiums for qualified long-term care insurance policies are tax deductible to the extent that they, along with other unreimbursed medical expenses (including Medicare premiums), exceed 10 percent of the insured’s adjusted gross income. In tax year 2016, taxpayers 65 and older only need medical expenses to exceed 7.5 percent of their income, but in 2017, taxpayers 65 and older will have the same 10 percent rule as Continue Reading