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How Will the New Tax Law Affect You?

estate planning bucks pa

Signed into law late in 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act slashed the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 21 percent.

Proponents of the law say it will stimulate the economy and create jobs, but how does it actually affect you? We should also note that everything we describe below will end after 2025, assuming legislators don’t vote to extend the cuts.

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Medicare Launches Hospice Compare Website

Nurse consoling patient

Medicare launched its new Hospice Compare website last year in an effort to help patients find and evaluate hospice providers.

The only problem, medical experts say, is that the site may not be all that helpful.

Medicare covers any reasonable care that helps ease the course of a terminal illness through its comprehensive hospice benefit. In August, the agency launched the new website, aimed at improving transparency and giving patients more access to care.

The site provides information on how hospices handle treatment preferences and patient beliefs and values. It also tells patients how facilities assess and treat things like pain, shortness of breath.

But Hospice Compare, run by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) may not be that useful, argue a group of medical professionals in a recent paper published in Health Affairs.

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Medicare’s Part B Premium Will Be Unchanged in 2018, But Many Will Pay More. Got That?

medicare part b premium 2018

When it comes to the 2018 Medicare premium, there’s good news and bad news.

The good news? The standard monthly Part B premium, which is what roughly 30 percent of Medicare beneficiaries pay, will stay at 2017’s rate of $134 next year.

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The Duties of the Executor of a Will

wills in Bucks CountySo, you’ve been named the executor of a will. It’s not a job to take lightly. Dealing with wills in Bucks County – or anywhere else – means managing the administration of a person’s estate after they die.

And while the amount of time you need to commit to this role can vary, administering even a small estate comes with important responsibilities.

Here are a few of the things you’ll be expected to do as the executor of a will.

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New Protections for Nursing Home Residents

nursing home residentsLaws created during the Obama administration to give nursing home residents more control of their care are gradually going into effect. The rules give residents more options regarding meals and visitation as well as making changes to discharge and grievance procedures.

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid finalized the rules in November 2016.  These rules are the first comprehensive update to nursing home regulations since 1991. The first group of new rules took effect in November. The rest will be phased in over the next two years.

Some of the new rules include:

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Time is Running Out: Review Your Medicare Options

medicare open enrollmentAre you happy with your current Medicare plan or plans?

You still have time to think about whether you are in the right plan or whether a new plan could save you money.

Medicare’s open enrollment period, in which you can enroll in or switch plans, expires December 7.

During this period you may enroll in a Medicare Part D (prescription drug) plan or, if you currently have a plan, you may change plans.

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What You Need to Know: Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act

elder law attorneyEvery year, America’s senior citizens lose close to $3 billion due to financial exploitation, either from scam artists or unscrupulous caregivers.

It’s this type of abuse that led lawmakers this year to pass the Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act, put forward by Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley and signed into law by President Trump in mid-October.

The law creates tougher penalties for frauds, expands information sharing rules to prevent financial fraud targeting seniors, and expands the federal criminal code to include email marketing schemes.

“Exploiting and defrauding seniors is cowardly, and these crimes should be addressed as the reprehensible acts they are,” Grassley, himself a senior citizen, said earlier this year.

When you work as an elder law attorney, you see people who have fallen victim to these sorts of crimes all too often. And while stronger penalties are no doubt a good thing, there are things you can do to prevent your loved ones from falling victim to financial elder abuse:

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Nursing Home Costs Rise Sharply in 2017

Nursing Home Costs in 2017

Want to live in a private nursing home room? Expect to pay more.

That’s according to Genworth’s 2017 Cost of Care survey of U.S. nursing homes, conducted by the insurer each year, which found that the median cost for a private room rose 5.5 percent between 2016 and 2017.

Genworth says the median cost of a private room is $97,455, while a semi-private room in a nursing home is $85,775, up 4.44 percent from 2016. This price increase is substantially larger than the 1.24 percent and 2.27 percent gains, respectively, in 2016.

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