A good estate plan doesn’t end with the signing of your documents. there are many post-signing tasks that need to be completed and are often overlooked. Mr. Di Costanzo will share valuable tidbits that are necessary to complete your estate planning.

July 16th, 2020 Functional limitations can severely impact a person’s ability to manage his/her own financial and personal affairs. Usually resulting from cognitive impairment,

Insights from the 2019 Tax Season

Dear Mr. Di Costanzo, Is it true I can gift $15,000 without jeopardizing Medicaid eligibility for nursing home care? This is a question I’m continually asked, so I’m glad I have another opportunity to clear things up. The main thing to remember is that IRS rules are different from Medicaid rules.

By Salvatore M. Di Costanzo In certain circumstances, a revocable living trust must be strongly considered.  To determine if a revocable living trust is an appropriate necessity, one must first understand its purpose.  Unlike a Last Will and Testament (“Will”), a revocable living trust does not need to be probated upon one’s death.  Probate is…

How we're managing during the pandemic

by Joanna C. Feldman and Salvatore M. Di Costanzo   This is not easy.  Every day brings a new development.  Shelter-in-place.  Workplace restrictions.  Isolation.  Illness.   Fear.  Anxiety.  Loneliness.  We understand.  We feel it, too. We also understand that during this time of rampant uncertainty, many people want at least one thing to be certain:…

living will vs. healthcare proxy

We have all heard the saying “life is full of regrets”.  I have compiled a list of the most common regrets that I often hear from clients, but more often, their family members, during my practicing as an elder law and special needs planning attorney.  If you have neglected any of these topics, my hope…

As the parade route approached, I captured my first glimpse of the Grand Marshal.  He was a 93-year-old seasoned World War II veteran who exuded confidence, honor, and pride.  Accomplished in ways that many of us will never experience; a true hero.  It was Memorial Day 2016, and the Grand Marshal was my Uncle.

Elder Law and Estate Planning: A Series of Defined Terms

As an elder law attorney, I am frequently asked questions, the answers of which have been taken for granted during the ordinary course of business. The common denominator among these questions surfaces from a misunderstanding of words and phrases used daily.  I thought it would be a good idea to write a piece explaining some…

The need for a guardianship really depends on the facts and circumstances of each case, however, many guardianship cases result from the absence of a properly drafted power of attorney (“POA”) and statutory gifts rider (“SGR”).  In order to sign these documents, one must possess contractual capacity.  Most people diagnosed with the onset of dementia…

Turkey, Football and Eldercare Discussions

Traditionally, Thanksgiving is the holiday when the entire family, for better or worse, comes together.  After the melatonin calms everyone’s nerves, this a great opportunity for families to discuss sensitive topics which are often set aside for “some other time”.  In some instances, the discussion might be driven by children encouraging family members to get…

We receive this response too often from clients who, after working with another attorney on their elder law and estate planning matters, learn that their planning is incorrect, unnecessary or deficient.  This is becoming increasingly problematic for the consumer in all areas of law, but arguably more impactful in this area because of both the…

Is there a limit on how much I can gift for Medicaid Purposes?

Generally, in determining the Medicaid eligibility of a person receiving nursing facility services, any gifting of assets made by the applicant within the “look back period” will render the person ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time equal to the value of the gift divided by the regional rate.  Under current law, the look…

Reports of elder financial abuse continue to increase, and the elderly are particularly vulnerable to scams or to financial abuse by family members in need of money.

living will vs. healthcare proxy

This question often arises where an individual requires some assistance with her activities of daily living but can largely function on her own. These are almost always homecare cases and can be tricky from a planning perspective. We utilize the professional knowledge of geriatric care managers, nurses or social workers to assess the functional limitations…

A 529 plan is a very common planning technique used by grandparents to fund a grandchild’s college education. Simply stated, contributions to a 529 plan grow tax-free over the life of the plan and if used for qualified tuition costs, the distributions from the plan are also tax-free.

Co-authored by Joanna C. Feldman Under the usual fact pattern, a retirement account will not render someone ineligible for Medicaid.  There are initially two major issues when considering whether someone is eligible for Medicaid: resources and income.  Retirement accounts can fall in both categories. For resources purposes, in New York, retirement accounts, such as IRAs, 401(k)s,…

While I cannot say whether there are mistakes in your estate planning documents, the wording of your document may be confusing to you as a non-attorney. Legal documents contain a great deal of legalese.  For purposes of this response, I am assuming that you are leaving all of your assets to your children.  First, it…

The elderly are vulnerable, and as a result, are often soft targets for non-physical abuse. I refer to them as “silent abuses” because they are often difficult to identify, or worse, prove. Examples include undue influence, duress, coercion, mental abuse, and financial exploitation. Generally, a common predicate for most cases begins with a close, confidential…

When I meet with people for the first time who are interested in estate planning, their focus is usually on after-death planning.  Whether their concern is minimizing estate taxes, planning for minor or spendthrift children, or simply passing assets to the next generation as quickly and efficiently as possible, nearly every meeting begins with a…

Co-authored by Joanna C. Feldman The truth is that very often, “elder law” attorney is a misnomer as it pertains to many of our clients.  For example, nearly everyone should have a comprehensive Power of Attorney. Some of our youngest clients have just become adults who come to us for a Power of Attorney before…

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