Helping Seniors & Families
Plan For Their Future
Feasterville, PA
Doylestown, PA

The Gifting Season is Here: What to Know Before You Give

estate planning bucks pa

We’re thinking a lot these days about gifting, and not just because the holiday shopping season is upon us.

Gift giving is an act of kindness, a way to demonstrate our love and affection for people, but it’s also an essential tool in the world of estate planning.

What do we mean? Well, you might want to give away assets while you’re still alive so that they aren’t included in your estate and open to taxation after your death.

We understand this impulse. It not only makes financial sense, but you’ll get to see your loved ones enjoy your gifts. However, it’s important to think about the tax implications that might apply before you act.

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What is a Living Will?

living will

Although the concept of the living will has been around for decades, there are still many misconceptions when it comes to this legal document.

Sometimes referred to as an “advanced healthcare directive“, a living will permits you to express your wishes and instructions for healthcare and healthcare directions when you are incompetent and are in an end stage medical condition or are permanently unconscious. It is not the same as your last will and testament, which permits you to control the disposition of your assets after your death. Nor does a living will address decision making in your day-to-day medical care if you become incompetent.

You can create a living will if you are of sound mind and one of the following applies:

– 18 years of age or older

– A high school graduate

– Married

– An emancipated minor

To be valid, a living must be signed and dated by you, and witnessed by two individuals, each of whom is 18 years of age or older.

Your living will goes into effect when a copy of it is provided to your attending physician, and the attending physician determines you to be incompetent and to have an end stage medical condition or to be permanently unconscious. Once made, your living will is valid, notwithstanding the passage of time, until you revoke it.

A significant benefit of making a living will is that it removes any ambiguity as to your wishes if you are in an end stage medical condition or a permanent coma. This can be helpful to your love ones, especially your children, in removing the burden of making a life and death decision for a parent.

How to Find a Qualified Elder Law Attorney

How to Find a Qualified Elder Law Attorney

No matter the reason, hiring an attorney usually means you’re dealing with a stressful situation.

Maybe it’s an emergency: You’ve been charged with a crime, or you and the company you own has been sued for wrongdoing.

Or maybe you’re planning for the future, creating a will, setting up a power of attorney, which can be a different type of stressful: it’s forcing you to contend with literal matters of life and death.

It’s in situations like these that you’d be best served by seeking out the services of a Doylestown, PA elder law attorney.

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New Medicare Cards Are Coming. That Means New Medicare Scams

medicare scams

Last month, the U.S. government began issuing new Medicare cards to every Medicare recipient in the country.

The roll-out is happening in phases, going state-by-state, with all new cards expected to be distributed by April of 2019. Residents in Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland are among the first getting the new cards.

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How to Prove that a Gift was not Made to Qualify for Medicaid

medicaid gifting rules

It’s important to understand the medicaid gifting rules. If you are admitted to a nursing home, you will usually want to qualify for Medicaid benefits as soon as possible.  However, even if you qualify in all other respects, if you have made a gift within five years of applying for Medicaid, you may not qualify. The PA Department of Human Services will penalize you one month of ineligibility for every $10,043.28 you gave away.

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What is an Elder Law Attorney?

bucks county elder law

What is an elder law attorney?

The dictionary definition of an “elder law attorney” is simple: an advocate for older people, and their loved ones.

But talk to Garrett Gummer, a longtime Bucks County elder law expert, and you’ll get a much more nuanced answer. It’s a role that covers everything from estate planning to will preparation to powers of attorney and healthcare powers of attorney to setting up trusts.

“If your parent or grandparent has to go into a nursing home, we help protect their nest egg,” he says. “There are ways to do that if you properly plan for it.

“If a loved one dies, we help you administer their estate if you’re appointed as the executor. Or if they haven’t done a proper power of attorney, sometimes it’s necessary for us to petition the court to have you or another family member appointed guardian.”

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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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