Elder Law & Estate Planning News
Laws and regulations can change frequently and may impact on the effectiveness of your estate planning. If you're establishing an estate plan for the first time or want to be sure your documents continue to provide the protections you want, contact The Karp Law Firm for assistance.
Elder Law Legal Updates
02/25/2017 - Retirement account fiduciary rule: Back to the drawing board
Fiduciary rule delayed, may be modified or rescinded
01/30/2017 - Methods to Transfer Assets: Pros, Cons, Tax Consequences
Transferring assets by gift or inheritance: pros, cons and tax consequences
01/27/2017 - Nursing Home Regulations updated
Nursing home residents will receive more "person-centered" care with new CMS regulations
01/02/2017 - Special Needs Fairness Act Now Law
Mentally competent disabled individuals may now set up their own SNT's
12/19/2016 - Medicare beneficiaries must get observation status notice
Medicare beneficiaries must receive notice of hospital observation status
12/02/2016 - Some Medicaid eligibility criteria change effective January 2017
2017 changes to Medicaid long-term care benefits eligibility
11/17/2016 - Medicare announces 2017 premiums, deductibles
2017 Medicare premiums and deductibles
10/28/2016 - Long-Term Care Deductions Increase in 2017
2017 deductions for long-term care insurance premiums
10/18/2016 - Social Security recipients get .3% COLA in 2017
2017 COLA just .3%
09/25/2016 - Charities vary widely in efficiency, money management
Check on your charity before making contribution
09/20/2016 - Medicare Open Enrollment October 15 - December 7
Medicare Open Enrollment period begins October 15
08/21/2016 - Social Security Administration reverses text message requirement
Social Security recipients without text messaging regain access to site
08/20/2016 - New Digital Assets Law
Fiduciaries get same access, responsibility for digital assets as for traditional assets
08/09/2016 - FL Supreme Court rules homestead property sale proceeds safe from unsecured creditors
Sale proceeds of FL homestead property not vulnerable to unsecured creditors, under certain circumstances
07/14/2016 - Florida introduces ABLE Accounts
ABLE Accounts now available in Florida
07/08/2016 - Medicaid Monthly Needs Allowance Increases
Florida MMNA increases 7/1/16
06/20/2016 - V.A. Aid & Attendance News
Pension and Pension with Aid and Attendance look-back said to begin December 2016
06/01/2016 - Medicaid Penalty Divisor Increases
Florida raises divisor used to calculate penalty period for uncompensated transfers
04/08/2016 - Dept. of Labor issues guide to paying caregivers
The U.S. Department of Labor has published a new guide that explains your obligations regarding caregiver wages
03/21/2016 - New regulations for caregiver compensation explained
New regulations for caregiver compensation explained
02/17/2016 - March 1 deadline to file for homestead exemption
March 1 deadline to file for homestead exemption
02/08/2016 - IRA charitable rollover now permanent
IRA charitable rollover now permanent
01/15/2016 - 2016 Medicare Premiums, Deductibles
2016 Medicare A & B Premiums, Deductibles
11/22/2015 - 2016 estate tax figures announced
Federal estate tax exemption increases modestly in 2016
10/29/2015 - Deductions for long-term care insurance premiums to increase in 2016
Federal tax deductions increase in 2016 for long-term care insurance premiums
10/19/2015 - Florida Health Care Surrogate law changes
Florida Health Care Surrogate law changes
10/13/2015 - New federal requirements for caregiver wages
New federal law requires paying home health aides and certified nursing assistants minimum wage and overtime
08/26/2015 - Medicaid penalty divisor increases
Medicaid monthly penalty divisor increased
08/22/2015 - Medicare patients must be notified of observation status
Hospitals required to inform Medicare beneficiaries admitted under observation status; still few options for patients.
08/09/2015 - IRS no longer sending estate tax closing letters
Personal representatives filing Form 706 after 5/31/15 must request closing estate tax letters from the IRA
07/21/2015 - Some employers drop domestic partner benefits
Supreme Court decisions moves some companies to drop domestic partner benefits
07/19/2015 - Medicare moves to cover end-of-life counseling
Medicare proposes that beginning in 2016, it will pay doctors to talk with patients who request end-of-life counseling
07/01/2015 - Affordable Care Act Upheld: Implications for Special Needs Children
Now that Obamacare is the law of the land, some parents of special needs children should re-evaluate their planning
06/17/2015 - New FL law seeks to curb elder guardianship abuse
New law to curb elder guardianship abuse
06/02/2015 - Medicaid Monthly Needs Allowance Increases
Community spousal diversion figure will increase effective July 1, 2014
04/10/2015 - FL Supreme Ct: Non-lawyer Medicaid planning a felony
Florida Supreme Court says non-lawyers offering Florida Medicaid planning advice committing a felony; those referring to them or using their services may be aiding and abetting a crime.
03/10/2015 - Reverse mortgage requirements get tighter
Financial assessment required for prospective HECM borrowers beginning April 27, 2015
01/19/2015 - FL Supreme Ct: Non-lawyer Medicaid planning costly, maybe criminal
FL Supreme Court: Hiring a Non-Lawyer for Medicaid Planning may be a crime
01/09/2015 - Disabled benefit from new ABLE accounts
ABLE Act allows special needs individuals to save over $2,000, keep government benefits
01/06/2015 - Update: Florida same sex marriage
Estate planning options change dramatically for same-sex spouses in Florida effective 1-6-2015
12/21/2014 - Military Survivor Benefits can go to Special Needs Trust
Disabled children of military families may now receive parent's survivor benefits in Special Needs Trust
12/02/2014 - Medicaid long-term benefits rules change
Some Florida eligibility rules for long-term care benefits change effective January 1, 2015.
11/28/2014 - Federal estate tax changes
Despite the increase in the federal estate tax exemption, capital gains taxes and state estate taxes remain an estate planning issue for many
11/20/2014 - Veterans facing long waits may see non-VA doctors
Long wait time qualify veterans to see non-VA providers through the temporary Veterans Choice program
11/05/2014 - 2015 estate tax, gift tax figures announced
Lifetime estate tax exemption rises in 2015, annual exclusion unchanged
11/04/2014 - LTC deductions for 2015
IRS announces 2015 deductions for long-term care insurance premiums
10/27/2014 - IMPACT Act gives consumers better data about nursing homes
Consumers will get more accurate, comprehensive data about nursing homes starting in 2016
10/14/2014 - Medicare Open Enrollment October 15 - December 7
Medicare Open Enrollment starts Oct. 15
08/07/2014 - V.A. allows some vets to see private doctors
New V.A. Law allows eligible veterans to see private doctors
07/23/2014 - "Longevity insurance" gets boost with new IRS regs
IRA funds may now be used to purchase a deferred income annuity, aka "longevity insurance"
07/01/2014 - Medicaid Monthly Needs Allowance Increased
Community spousal diversion figure increased effective July 1, 2014
07/01/2014 - Medicaid Personal Needs Allowance Increases
Medicaid Personal Needs Allowance Increases
06/15/2014 - Supreme Ct: Inherited IRA not protected in bankruptcy
Proper estate planning required to protect the IRA you leave your child against possible bankruptcy claims
05/12/2014 - Record Transfer Services solicitation: Ignore it
Your Florida property deed can be obtained from the local Property Appraiser - ignore solicitations!
02/27/2014 - V.A. Monthly Pension Rates Adjusted
Effective Dec. 1, 2013, maximum pension, and pension with aid and attendance, was revised upwards by the VA Administration.
01/17/2014 - 2014 Planning Points Newsletter
Annual Florida estate planning and elder law newsletter now viewable online
11/23/2013 - 2014 unified estate/gift tax exemption increases
Beginning in 2014, the lifetime unified estate tax and gift tax exemption will increase as a result of adjustment for inflation
11/12/2013 - 2014 Medicare Premiums
Medicare premiums and deductibles have been announced for 2014
11/09/2013 - 2014 tax deductions for LTC insurance premiums
IRS announces 2014 deductions for long-term care insurance premiums
09/19/2013 - FL Medicaid Divisor increases
Florida Medicaid has increased the monthly exemption used to determine the penalty period
08/27/2013 - Medicare D premiums remain level in 2014
The CMS announces prescription drug program premiums will remain stable next year
07/26/2013 - New HIPAA rules expand patient protections, privacy
Sweeping changes in HIPAA regulations enable patients to more easily access their personal medical records; provide greater privacy protections too
07/03/2013 - Florida Medicaid Monthly Needs Allowance Changes
Community spousal diversion figure increased effective July 1, 2013
07/01/2013 - DOMA reversal: Implications for Floridians
The Supreme Court decision should give same-sex married couples in Florida equal benefits under Florida law... but changes nothing at the state level
06/30/2013 - Early Alzheimer's Educational Series begins Sept. 30
Alzheimer's Association will conduct group meetings for people with early stage Alzheimer's or mild cognitive impairment
06/03/2013 - Alert: You may be eligible for compensation for Injuries caused by common drugs, defective medical devices, procedures
Manufacturers may be required to compensate you for injuries you sustain as a result of certain drugs and medical devices
05/20/2013 - Florida Medicaid shifting to managed care program
Those receiving Medicaid long-term care benefits will need to choose a managed care provider very soon
04/25/2013 - How permanent is the permanent estate tax, really?
WH budget seeks changes to "permanent" estate tax
02/11/2013 - Veterans Benefits Booklet updated
The Karp Law Firm's Guide to Veterans Benefits has been updated to reflect the new laws effective Dec. 2012.
02/07/2013 - 2013 Planning Points online
2013 Planning Points now online
01/08/2013 - New monthly V.A. pension rates
V.A. cost-of-living adjustment increases rates for Pension, and Pension with Aid and Attendance.
01/02/2013 - Federal estate tax: Congress acts, finally
The American Taxpayer Relief Act ends taxpayers' longstanding uncertainty about federal gift and estate taxes.
12/16/2012 - Rule change for V.A. Pension, Pension with Aid & Attendance
New V.A. rule makes it more difficult to claim room and board at a residential facility is an unreimbursed medical expense.
12/09/2012 - Medicaid long term benefits rules change again
The applicant's income cap and community spouse's resource allowance figures increase January 1, 2013
11/19/2012 - Annual gift tax exclusion increases in 2013
Starting in 2013, the annual gift tax exclusion is $14,000
10/29/2012 - Medicare improvement standard eliminated
"Improvement standard" cannot be used to deny Medicare coverage for skilled nursing care and rehabilitation
10/19/2012 - 2013 tax deductions for LTC premiums
The IRS has issued 2012 deductibility limits for long-term care premiums
09/01/2012 - Medicaid penalty divisor increases effective 9/1/12
Florida Medicaid has increased the monthly exemption used to determine the penalty period
08/17/2012 - 2013 Medicare D premiums steady; Open enrollment earlier
The average premium for Medicare Part D coverage to remain unchanged in 2013.
08/12/2012 - Pending marriage termination ends spouse's DPOA power
person named as agent under his/her spouse's Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property may no longer act on the spouse's behalf in the event of divorce, or when an action is filed for divorce or legal separation.
07/19/2012 - Status report on federal estate tax legislation
Republicans and Democrats proposing legislation to decide the fate of the federal estate tax
07/18/2012 - Affordable Care Act spawns scams
Federal Trade Commission warning the public about new telephone scam
06/10/2012 - Aid & Attendance lookback under consideration
The General Accounting Office has released a report suggesting that the Veterans Administration adopt an asset "look-back" period when determining a veteran's eligibility for Aid and Attendance benefits.
03/16/2012 - IRS extends deadline for portability election
Qualifying estates have a six-month extension for filing Form 706 to elect portability
02/23/2012 - Medicaid Spousal Diversion Rule changes 7-1-2012
The Florida Medicaid minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance increases effective July 1, 2012
02/22/2012 - 2012 Tax Deductions for LTC Premiums
IRS deductibility limits for long-term care premiums
02/22/2012 - 2012 Planning Points online
Karp Law Firm's annual newsletter available
12/01/2011 - Increase in VA Pension & Aid and Attendance Benefits
VA maximum pension, aid & attendance benefits increase
11/13/2011 - Estate and Gift Tax Exemption to increase in 2012
The lifetime unified federal estate tax and gift tax exemption will increase beginning Jan. 1, 2012.
11/07/2011 - Medicaid asset and income limits change in 2012
New income and asset limits for eligibility for Florida Medicaid long-term care benefits
10/23/2011 - 2012 IRS deductions for long-term care premiums
The IRS has issued 2012 deductibility limits for long-term care premiums
10/17/2011 - CLASS Act abandoned
The federal government will not implementat its opt-in long-term care insurance program.
09/21/2011 - Florida Durable Power of Attorney Law changes
New requirements for Florida Durable Power of Attorney go into effect Oct. 1
06/29/2011 - FL modifies Medicaid benefits criteria
Florida Dept. of Children and Families changes Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance, Home Equity Exemption
06/07/2011 - Inherited IRAs now creditor proof in FL
Creditor protection is now extended to IRA's inherited by Florida residents.
04/17/2011 - Holocaust Restitution Organization Seeks Heirs
Assets in Israel await claim by Holocaust victims' heirs
03/18/2011 - Florida Alzheimer's Report released
Alzheimer's Disease on the rise in Florida
03/16/2011 - Florida Bill jeopardizes family caregiving arrangements
Personal service contracts between parents and caregiver children under threat
03/16/2011 - Attorney Karp in So Florida Business Journal
The older seniors with children grow, the more likely their needs and intentions change, said Joseph Karp, a board-certified elder law attorney...
03/04/2011 - Planning Points 2011 now online
2011 Estate Planning/Elder Law Newsletter available
02/21/2011 - Maybe the Do-Over isn't done just yet
AARP requests that repayment of early benefits be extended through December 2011
01/31/2011 - New reverse mortgage program
A new reverse mortgage program is now available that can signficantly reduce the traditionally high up-front costs associated with reverse mortgages.
01/28/2011 - The new Estate Tax law explained
What the new federal estate tax law may mean for you.
01/26/2011 - New free preventive services for Medicare recipients
Thanks to the recently passed health reform law, Medicare recipients may now receive certain preventive services absolutely free of charge.
01/18/2011 - Estate Tax certainty still elusive
Three new bills in Congress aim to repeal the newest estate tax law
12/21/2010 - No more Social Security "Do-Overs"
The Social Security has eliminated an option that allowed some seniors to retire early and still come out ahead
12/14/2010 - End of Year Alert: IRA RMDs are back
IRA required minimum distributions have been reinstated for 2010
11/08/2010 - 2011 IRS Deductions for LTC Premiums
The IRS has issued 2011 deductibility limits for long-term care premiums
10/26/2010 - Homestead Law changes
A change in Florida's homestead property law may impact on your estate planning, particularly if you are involved in a second marriage and have children from a prior marriage.
08/18/2010 - $250K FDIC insurance made permanent
The $250K maximum FDIC deposit insurance has been made permanent.
08/16/2010 - Estate Tax: September showdown?
The estate tax may come up for discussion earlier than experts believed
08/08/2010 - Get help at new health website
New government wesite helps clear up health care confusion
07/15/2010 - New Rules for Veterans PTSD Benefits
The Veterans Administration will no longer require veterans applying for post-traumtaic stress disorder benefits to demonstrate that their disorder stems from a specific military-related event.
07/13/2010 - Yankee owner's estate the 3rd to pass tax-free in 2010
With his passing on July 23, George Steinbrenner becomes the third American billionaire to die in the "year of no estate tax."
06/17/2010 - Step-up in basis eliminated this year
Capital gains taxes are higher if you sell an appreciated asset you've inherited this year.
05/28/2010 - Eligible for Medicare but employed with health benefits?
Should you enroll in Medicare if you are approaching 65 and still getting employer health benefits?
04/23/2010 - New tax breaks to buy long term care insurance
Tax code changes provide incentives to buy long-term care insurance
04/22/2010 - V.A., Soc. Security benefits going paperless
V.A.,Social Security: The check's not in the mail
04/20/2010 - Listen: 2010 estate tax oddities
NPR reports on the lengths people are going to as they cope with this year's bizarre estate tax situation.
03/22/2010 - Health Reform to close donut hole
The Health Reform Bill passed by the House offers several benefits for seniors and their families
03/18/2010 - Medigap Plans to Change June 1, 2010
Medigap plans will be changing effective June 1, 2010
03/10/2010 - Delayed Retirees Can Access SSA Calculator
If you're collecting Medicare but not yet collecting Social Security benefits, you now have access to the SSA's online retirement calculator.
02/21/2010 - New Tax Law May Imperil Spouse in 2010
The lapse of the federal estate tax in 2010 may create unpleasant consequences for married couples with substantial assets and older estate plans
01/20/2010 - 2010 "Planning Points" Now Online
Karp Law Firm's latest newsletter now available
01/16/2010 - New Medicare Premiums, Deductibles, Co-Payments
2010 Medicare Premiums, Deductibles, Co-Pays
01/05/2010 - IRS Increases Deduction for LongTerm Care Insurance Premiums
You can now claim a larger deduction for your long-term care insurance premiums.
01/01/2010 - Federal Estate Tax in Limbo for 2010
The federal estate tax expired Jan. 1, 2010. But chances are the tax will be back, perhaps very soon.
12/03/2009 - FDIC calms depositors' jitters, extends $250K coverage
The FDIC has announced that it will extend increased coverage through Dec. 13, 2013.
12/03/2009 - Community Resource Allowance unchanged
Florida Medicaid has announced that there will be no increase in community resource allowance for 2010
09/30/2009 - New Yorkers Get Durable POA Protections: Will Florida Follow?
NY seeks to curb financial abuse with new Durable POA law
09/14/2009 - 529 plans can pay for computers in 2009-2010
For 2009-2010 the IRS will permit 529 funds to pay for computer equipment and software
06/18/2009 - Florida Medicaid Changes Spousal Diversion Rules
Florida Medicaid "minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance" to increase
01/04/2009 - Required Distributions Suspended in 2009
If you're a retiree who would normally need to make minimum withdrawals from your retirement plan this year, help is on the way.
11/25/2008 - 2009 Medicare Premiums
Skilled Nursing Facility Co-Payments for 2009, other premiums and deductibles announced by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
11/25/2008 - 2009 Medicaid Impoverishment Numbers
Florida Medicaid has released new eligibility numbers for those seeking long-term nursing home Medicaid benefits
10/26/2008 - 2009 Rules for Long-Term Care Premium Deductions
The IRS has issued rules for deductions taxpayers can take off their taxes for long-term care premiums in 2009.
08/21/2008 - Changes to Medicare Part D
Medicare Part D Premiums to Increase in 2009
03/12/2008 - Surviving Spouses Get Home Sale Tax Break
The government has extended the period in which surviving spouses may sell their home and still qualify for the maximum capital gains tax break
07/29/2007 - New insurance policies offer Medicaid applicants asset protection
The Florida Long Term Care Insurance Partnership may help you preserve assets if you apply for Medicaid benefits for long-term nursing home care. To participate in the program, you must
02/01/2007 - Deficit Reduction Act toughens Medicaid eligibility criteria
Medicaid look-back periods, exempt asset criteria and other requirements have been toughened for Medicaid eligibility for long-term nursing home care as a result of the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.
01/01/2006 - Pension Protection Act of 2006: Impact on Estate Planning
Pension Protection Act does not guarantee heirs' ability to stretchout 401(k) or 403(b
04/01/2004 - FDIC changes rules for revocable "living" trust accounts
Those with accounts titled in the name of a living trust held at an FDIC-insured institution will soon find increased protection for the account...
01/01/2003 - Florida permits pets to be beneficiaries
Beginning January 1, 2003, Florida joins a growing number of states that permit a person to name a pet as beneficiary in an estate plan...
01/01/2002 - Florida Power of Attorney law changes
The durable power of attorney authorizes one or more individuals (agents) to conduct your affairs if you cannot, thus minimizing the chances of court interference in your affairs...
10/01/2001 - Florida Elective Share law changes
Under Florida law a surviving spouse can exercise his/her right to receive 30% of the deceased spouse's estate...