Finding love later in life may be unexpected and exciting, but should it lead to marriage? The considerations are much different for an older couple than for a young couple just starting out. Before making this decision, you should consider consulting your elder law attorney to review your situation, including the following:
Getting married can have a big effect on your estate plan. Even if you exclude your new spouse in your will, he or she is permitted to take an elective share against your estate (usually one-third). One way to prevent this from happening is to enter into a pre-nuptial agreement before your marriage.
Continue Reading Is It Better to Remarry or Just Live Together?
People have been leaving wills since the days of Ancient Greece, but living wills have only come about in the last 50 years.
The living will was first created in 1967 by Luis Kutner, the attorney who helped found Amnesty International.
Half a century later, there are living will laws in every state. But what do these documents do, and why do people need a living will? Gummer Elder Law has your answer.
Continue Reading When Do I Need a Living Will?
In the early 1850s, Charles Dickens published his popular serialized novel Bleak House, which deals with the British court system.
At the center of the book is a court case called Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, a battle over an inheritance that drags on over several generations.
Dickens used the plot to satirize the court system of his time, but 160 years later and one ocean away, there’s something about the story that rings true: not making your wishes clear can make things difficult for your heirs.
That’s where the PA probate system comes in. Probate – from the Latin for “prove the will” is the process of ensuring your assets are passed on according to the terms of your will. It can be a very simple process, or more complicated, depending on the circumstances.
Continue Reading Understanding Probate of an Estate in Pennsylvania
Whenever we elect a new president, we hear a lot of talk about something called a “blind trust.”
This term refers to a financial arrangement in which a person in elected office sets aside their business interests to avoid a conflict of interest.
It’s one of many types of trusts, all of which are designed to keep assets safe in the long term, either for you or for your loved ones.
Let’s look at some common types of trusts, their benefits and what pitfalls to avoid.
Continue Reading What Type of Trust is Right For You?
As we get older, we begin to think about the legacy we’ll leave behind.
On one level, our legacy is something intangible: What kind of person will people say I was? How did I treat people? How will I be remembered?
But we’re here to talk about the more practical aspect of leaving a legacy: What will happen to your assets after your death.
By coming up with a solid plan for your estate, you can ensure that you’re able to provide for your family without saddling them with added debts. Here are some estate planning steps you can take to make sure your legacy is secure.
Continue Reading How to Make a Great Estate Plan
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has announced the 2017 Estate and Gift Tax limits. The exemptions will increase in 2017 to $5,490,000 ($5.49 million) from $5,450,000 ($5.45 million) in 2016. Therefore, if you die in 2017 and your estate is less than $5,490,000, your estate is not required to pay Federal estate tax. If you are married, both you and your spouse can each claim the $5.49 million exemption, for a total of $10.98 million. If you need any help with your estate administration in the Philadelphia or Bucks County region, please contact Gummer Elder Law for assistance.
When Judy Hanttula came home from the hospital after surgery last November, her doctor’s office called with bad news: records showed that even though Judy had signed up for original Medicare, she was nevertheless enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.
Original Medicare would not pay for the surgery because she now had an Advantage plan, and the Advantage plan would not pay for it because her doctor and hospital were not in its network. So Judy was on the hook for more than $16,500.
Continue Reading Avoid This New Medicare ‘Trap’
Most of us, young and old, have moved to the digital age in one way or another. You have a smartphone, bank online, use email to communicate, text your grandchildren or children, or have an online presence like Facebook.
What happens with all of this digital data once you have departed this life? How will your digital life continue, or end? It is something you should now plan for in arranging your affairs.
Continue Reading Planning Your Digital Afterlife
Medicaid’s look-back period can be confusing, but it’s important because it can have a very significant effect on your ability to pay for long-term care.
Unlike Medicare, Medicaid is a system that’s available only to people who have very few assets. As a result, the government is concerned that people will “game the system” by giving away all their assets to family members and then applying for Medicaid shortly afterward. That’s obviously not fair to the taxpayers who support the system.
Continue Reading How Medicaid’s Look-Back Period Works
Medicare prescription drug plans can change which drugs they cover, possibly leaving you without coverage for a drug you need. Or you might switch plans, and find that your new plan doesn’t cover your medication at all. In these circumstances, it’s good to know that Medicare drug plans are required to offer you a 30-day transition supply of the drug you’re taking.
Continue Reading Has Medicare Dropped Coverage of Your Drugs?