April 16, 2012 is “National Healthcare Decisions Day.” It is a day set aside to educate the public about the importance of health care planning and to encourage people to express their personal wishes regarding health care, in writing, before a health care crisis occurs.
Care for a disabled child after their parents have died is a significant concern for those parents. Often the disabled child is a recipient of public assistance and the assistance is desperately needed for medical care, group homes and/or other major costs of care. In order to keep the public assistance (or obtain it in the first place) those disabled children (and their parents) need to meet financial eligibility requirements. These requirements usually mean a very restricted amount of “available resources” and/or income to the child. For our discussion, that means the disabled child cannot receive an outright inheritance because it would render them ineligible or cause them to lose eligibility for the benefits they rely on.
In New York State, everybody has a plan to pass assets on their death. Without a written Will your assets will pass on by what is commonly referred to as “Intestate Distribution” or “Intestacy.” More formally by Article 4 of the New York Estates Powers and Trusts Law (the “EPTL”) – Descent and Distribution of an Intestate Estate.
On Friday, June 24th, New York became the largest state to legalize same-sex marriage. The law will take effect on July 25th, granting marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples. While the legislation is a major milestone in the national gay rights movement, it may be financially problematic for couples who decide to tie the knot.
On March 30, 2011, New York’s Final Budget Legislation amended Section 369 of the Social Services Law.
The Department of Social Services has a claim against the estate of any Medicaid recipient in the amount of Medicaid assistance issued. The value of the deceased recipient’s estate is used to repay the Medicaid benefits. This new amendment expands the list of assets that are considered to be in an individual’s “estate.” After the death of a Medicaid recipient, the Department of Social Services will be seeking to collect recovery on assets that were not previously permitted.
As spring rolls around and we get ready for warmer weather, our thoughts turn to spring cleaning. Take this time to clean up your current estate planning documents and determine if they need to be revised. It is suggested that your estate planning documents be reviewed every five years to make sure they still comply with your wishes. If any of the categories listed below apply to you, it may be a good idea to embrace the season and make the necessary changes to your Last Will and Testament, Living Will/Health Care Proxy or Power of Attorney documents.
HoganWillig’s Estate Department represented two siblings in a hotly contested and litigated estate. The siblings were alleged out-of-wedlock children of the decedent. Our position was that the decedent had a long-standing relationship with our clients’ mother, even though he was married with marital children. Although the decedent had not completed a genetic blood test during his lifetime, we were able to have genetic testing completed of the known marital children against the DNA of the out-of-wedlock children to show evidence of a genetic link between all of the children.
In March of this year, Governor Paterson signed into law the Family Health Care Decisions Act (FHCDA). The law allows family members to make medical decisions, including decisions about withholding or ending life-sustaining treatment, on behalf of individuals who have lost their ability to make such decisions and have not prepared advance health care directives (such as a Health Care Proxy or Living Will).
As a follow up to our notice of last week, it would appear that no deal has been reached for the extension of the current Federal Estate Tax. Instead, the Federal Estate Tax expired 12/31/09 and we will move into 2010 with the Federal Estate Tax repeal in place.
While the House recently passed a bill to reinstate the estate tax in 2010, last week the Senate rejected a measure to temporarily extend it.
As we previously announced, the House of Representatives voted to permanently extend the present 45% estate tax rate, and the $3.5 million (per person) exclusion from estate taxes.