A New Year, New Numbers to Keep in Mind for 2017

Gift and Estate Tax:

  • The federal lifetime exemption for property passing to non-spouse beneficiaries has been increased to $5,490,000.00.
  • The Connecticut lifetime exemption for property passing to non-spouse beneficiaries remains the same at $2,000,000.00.
  • There is still an unlimited gift/estate deduction for property passing to a spouse; however, in order to qualify for the unlimited gift/estate deduction the spouse must be a U.S. citizen.
  • The amount that can be gifted to any one person without needing to file a gift tax return remains the same at $14,000.00 per recipient.
  • Additional gifts can be made for qualified medical expenses and qualified education expenses without needing to file a gift tax return.

Long Term Care Provided in a Nursing Home:

  • If one spouse is living at home (“Community Spouse”) and the other spouse is living in a nursing home, the amount of non-excluded assets the Community Spouse can keep increased to $120,900.00.
  • If one spouse is living at home and the other spouse is living in a nursing home, the minimum amount of monthly income the Community Spouse can have has been increased to $2,002.50, and the amount it can be increased to, without an administrative hearing increased to $3,022.50.
  • If one spouse is living at home and the other spouse is living in a nursing home, the amount of equity in the family home that can be excluded increased to $840,000.00.

Long Term Care Provided in Your Home:

  • The amount of monthly income you can have and still be eligible for the Connecticut Home Care Program for Elders (CHCPE) has been increased to $2,205.00.
  • Use of a pooled trust for excess income to establish eligibility or to avoid co-pays remains a viable option.

If you are interested in learning more about how these 2017 numbers affect you and your family please visit our website and read our blog for recent posts.  For advice specific to you or your family, please contact the office.  We would be glad to meet with you for a no hassle, no charge initial consultation, no matter how long it lasts.

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Don’t Get Kicked Out of Court!

There sometimes comes a time when the person you love can’t safely be cared for at home, at an assisted living facility, a continuing care retirement community, or any other community type setting. In that situation, 24/7 care at a skilled nursing facility (“nursing home”) may be the only choice. As part of the admission process, the resident (or family members acting for the resident) will be asked to sign a package of admission documents. Almost always, the admission documents include an arbitration agreement. Typically, the arbitration agreement says if any dispute arises between the resident and the nursing home, the dispute will be resolved by private arbitration, not the Court system. Although there sometimes are advantages to private arbitration, that is not always the case. For example, if your family member sustained a physical injury that was preventable, you almost always would want a Judge or a jury to hear your case, not a single arbitrator. Since Connecticut recognizes the legality of an arbitration agreement, if you signed one at the time of admission, you are stuck with arbitration. On September 28, 2016, however, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (“CMS”), a division of a federal agency that has regulatory authority over nursing homes receiving funds from Medicare or Medicaid, banned these pre-dispute arbitration clauses in agreements signed after November 28, 2016. Pre-dispute arbitration clauses in existing admission agreements are not affected by the prohibition. If you are admitting a family member to a nursing home it almost always is advisable to have the admission documents reviewed by an attorney of your choosing before signing anything.

 

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Make sure they know where to find your Will

You took the time to plan ahead and execute your Last Will and Testament.  You hide the Will deep in your filing cabinet where you are certain it won’t be tampered with.  But, what happens if no one else can find it?

Although we’re glad you see the importance of executing a Will and making sure it is safe, it is equally important that someone can find your Will after your death so that your wishes may be carried out.   If you bury your Will in your files, under your mattress, or even in a safety deposit box that no one knows about, your children and/or executor may have no idea where to find it.

Creating a Will takes careful consideration as well as your hard-earned money, so make sure you store it somewhere your family easily can locate it after you have died. Here are a few suggestions:

Where to keep your Will:

  • Tell your attorney where you will be keeping your Will so he/she can note its location in his/her file.  Leave a Memorandum letting family members know that they can contact your attorney for information.
  • If you choose to keep your Will at home, keep it in a safe place and/or on a high shelf in a heat-proof, waterproof, fire-proof safe. Make sure that only the most trustworthy people have the safe’s combination or know where to find the key.
  • If you choose to keep your Will in a safety deposit box at your local bank make sure that your executor knows the name and location of the bank where your safety deposit box is located. Ideally, a second trusted person should be an authorized user of the box.

 

 

 

 

If you are interested in learning more about Wills and other estate planning documents, please call the office to schedule an appointment. We would be glad to meet with you for a free, no hassle initial consultation, no matter how long it lasts.

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Effective 10/1/16: Connecticut has a new Power of Attorney Statute.

Connecticut has a new Power of Attorney Statute.

The 2015 and 2016 sessions of the Connecticut legislature enacted the Connecticut Uniform Power of Attorney Act. This is the first major revision to Connecticut’s Power of Attorney law since 1965. Here are six facts about the new law that may be helpful.

Fact 1: The law became effective on October 1, 2016, but if you have a Power of Attorney Instrument that was signed before October 1, 2016 it remains valid.

Fact 2: The person you name to act for you now is called an “Agent.”

Fact 3: The Power of Attorney Instrument is effective when signed. If you don’t want it to be effective until the happening of a certain event, you need to say that, expressly.

Fact 4: The legislature provided two sample forms that can be used if you want to do that, but you are not limited to those two forms. Other versions of Power of Attorney Instrument with provisions that are tailored to your specific needs also are acceptable.

Fact 5: In most cases a financial institution is required to accept an acknowledged Power of Attorney Instrument, even if it is old and even if it is not on a form recognized by the financial institution.

Fact 6: If those who care about you think your agent is abusing the authority granted, the Probate Court can be asked to look into what is going on.

If you are interested in learning more about the Connecticut Uniform Power of Attorney Act and how it affects you and your family, please contact the office.  We would be glad to meet with you for a no hassle, no charge initial consultation, no matter how long it lasts.

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E.S.

“Thank you for your help with drafting my estate planning documents. You made the process so smooth and captured everything that was important to me. I did not like thinking about my estate but I am so happy to have this finally completed so that my wishes will take place. “

– E.S.

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J. G., Branford

“Allison and her staff were extremely professional and attentive every step of the way – always on top of deadlines and following up consistently with all parties. Their professionalism made an otherwise overwhelming process a stress-free and enjoyable one. I highly recommend her and her team. “

– J. G., Branford

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New PLAN of CT Numbers for 2016

Pooled Trust:

  • Enrollment Fees- paid to establish the trust
    • $1,050.00 for one person
    • $1,350.00 for two clients/trusts per family
  • Trust administration fee- paying bills pursuant to the Personal Care Plan, check deposits, home visits, arranging services, making phone calls, etc.
    • $60.00 per hour
  • Quarterly Pooled Trust Services- time to process deposits, balancing the Pooled trust account and other group financial activities. The fee is divided among all participants.
    • Variable
  • Quarterly Administration fee- Reviewing rate of spending, investing and personal care plans, invoice preparation, billing review, postage and filing.
    • $75.00 per quarter ($300.00 per year)
  • Closing Fees- Final accounting, tax preparation, reporting to the state, and distributing to beneficiaries.
    • $300.00

Third Party and Self Settled Trusts:

  • Enrollment Fees
    • $1,050.00 for one person
    • $1,350.00 for two clients/trusts per family
  • Trust Administration Fee
    • $60.00 per hour
  • Quarterly Administration Fee
    • $75.00 per quarter ($300.00 per year)
  • Closing Fees
    • $60.00 per hour

 

If you are interested in learning more about how these 2016 numbers affect you and your family please visit our website and read our blog for recent posts.  For advice specific to you or your family, please contact the office.  We would be glad to meet with you for a no hassle, no charge initial consultation, no matter how long it lasts.

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M. M., West Haven

“”The entire staff was very professional, courteous, and knowledgeable with any questions or concerns that come up during the closing process. They were very prompt with returning my phone calls or emails when questions came about prior to the closing. When I arrived for the final closing I was welcomed into a very friendly environment where I felt very comfortable. During the closing every piece of paper that was presented was explained thoroughly and the staff made sure I understood every aspect of the mortgage, fees, insurance, etc. As a first time home buyer I would absolutely recommend this firm to anyone I talk to about buying a house. I was nervous already being a first time home buyer, but working with Floman DePaola I felt more comfortable.” “

– M. M., West Haven

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