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2018 Articles

Preliminary Executor

Preliminary Executor

Question: I am the nominated Executor under my mother’s Will, which my sister is in the process of contesting. I understand that a Will contest may be a lengthy proceeding. Is there any way I can be appointed to act on behalf of the estate while that proceeding plays out? Answer:To answer this question, we must start from the beginning. Probate is a Surrogate’s Court proceeding whereby a decedent’s Last Will and Testament is given effect. Under New York State Law, a Will more »

MOLST Form

MOLST Form

Question:  My mother has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has specific wishes with regard to end of life decisions. She executed a living will and a DNR during her last hospital stay; however, she is concerned that her wishes may not be followed. Is there any other document that would ensure her wishes are carried out? Answer: In addition to traditional healthcare advance directives, such as a Healthcare Proxy and Living Will, the MOLST form is another advanced directive one more »

Estate and Gift Taxes in 2018 after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

Estate and Gift Taxes in 2018 after the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the “Act”) increased the federal estate tax exclusion amount from $5 million to $10 million indexed for inflation for decedents dying in years 2018 to 2025. This amount is indexed for inflation back to 2011. The exact amount of the exclusion amount is not yet known for 2018. However, it is estimated to be $11.18 million. This means that an individual can leave $11.18 million and a married couple can leave $22.36 million dollars to their heirs or benefic more »

Should I Revoke My Trust?

Should I Revoke My Trust?

Question:  Several years ago, I went to a lawyer who convinced me to do a trust. Now, I am not so sure that it was the right thing for me. Am I able to revoke a trust? Should I revoke my trust? Answer: The answer is…..it depends. The first question is whether or not a trust can legally be revoked. If the trust is a revocable trust, then you as the grantor can revoke it at any time, without any other party’s consent. The revocation is usually done by a simple document stati more »

Advance Directives

Advance Directives

Advanced directives are documents that you should execute in an advance of incapacity.  These documents come into play when you need someone to act on your behalf with respect to health care decision making and finances.  It is imperative that anyone over the age of eighteen should discuss advanced directives with an estate planning attorney.  Specifically, you should ask your estate planning attorney about a health care proxy, a living will, and a power of attorney.  Each more »

Managed Long Term Care Evaluation

Managed Long Term Care Evaluation

Question:  My mom  has been approved for Community Medicaid and is eligible to receive a   personal care aide in her home. I have been trying to schedule an evaluation with a Managed Long Term Care Company but I have been having some difficultly. So far she had one evaluation and she was not awarded sufficient hours. Should I be hiring an attorney to assist with the home evaluation component of Medicaid? Answer: The home evaluation done by the Managed Long Term Care Company more »

Article 81 Guardianship

Article 81 Guardianship

Question:  My aunt has been diagnosed with dementia and she will need 24/7 care. She is not able manage her finances or secure her own care.  Prior to her current state she did not take any precautions to have assistance in place. What are my options? Answer:  As a first step it is important to assess your aunt’s mental capacity.  Although she requires daily assistance, she may still have the capacity to sign advanced directives such as a Health Care Proxy, Living Wi more »

Family Healthcare Decisions Act

Family Healthcare Decisions Act

Q:  My mother is 87 years old.  She is getting more confused each day and refuses to sign a health care proxy or power of attorney.  What will happen if she becomes unable to manage her affairs? A: If your mother becomes unable to manage things on her own there may be the need for a guardianship proceeding, however this is usually used as a last resort.  Regarding healthcare decisions, there is a New York State law called the Family Healthcare Decisions Act which lists, in more »

Estate Accountings

Estate Accountings

There are many steps and layers associated with the administration of an estate. Ultimately, for most estates, the goal is to distribute the assets to the respective beneficiaries which are named in the decedent’s Will or are intestate heirs pursuant to the laws of intestacy. As part of this administration process, and prior to making any final distributions, the beneficiaries of the estate are entitled to receive and review an accounting prepared and provided by the fiduciary for the more »

Medicaid Resource and Income Levels

Q: What are the Medicaid Resource and Income levels?  I was told they change every year and differ from County to County.  Can you explain? A: With the new year and the cost of living adjustment from social security, the State Department of Health adjusts the maximum amount of income and assets a Medicaid recipient can have in her name. As of January 1, 2018, a single person is eligible for Medicaid if she has assets totaling less than $15,150, up from $14,850 last year, and up to more »

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