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Stephen J. Silverberg, Esq.
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I want to thank my esteemed colleague Natalie Choate, who included the strategy I uncovered and developed in the latest edition of her book “Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits” (available at https://www.ataxplan.com or Amazon). Natalie is the national leader in planning for retirement benefits from qualified plans and IRA accounts; I am honored to call her a friend. Natalie was gracious enough to review the pre-publication version of my article “A Clear Winner in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017: Qualified Disability Trusts.” The article, which was published in the Tax Section of NAELA News Online, explored a wrinkle in the new tax law. Continue reading
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Thank you to Blank Slate for publishing my recent article, “The Difference Between a Stockbroker and an Investment Advisor.” Far too many people don’t understand that there is a big difference between these two roles. Continue reading
A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for another person, called a "beneficiary." The following is a brief overview of a trustee's duties: Continue reading
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No one wants to face the fact that our loved ones will not be with us forever. Facing our own mortality is frightening as well. Although none of us wants to contemplate a time when we or a loved one might become disabled or die, it is important to be prepared. There are many steps families can take in advance of death or disability to avoid future conflicts or uncertainties: Continue reading
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Parents always want to do everything they can to protect their children, but once a child turns 18, they are legally adults. Because of HIPAA regulations(Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), parents have the same legal status as a stranger. Doctors may not speak with parents about their child’s condition, and medical facilities legally may not provide information. Continue reading
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Movies, television, and books like to present wills in dramatic ways--handwritten notes, videos, deathbed utterances--but what actually makes a will valid? The law varies depending on what state you live in, but there are some basic rules. Continue reading
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Few understand the difference between an investment advisor and a stockbroker.The difference is substantial. An investment advisor is a fiduciary; this means they have a legal and ethical duty of primary loyalty to their clients. The interests of their clients are paramount. Investment advisors receive a fee based on a percentage of the value of the account. The interests of the client and investment advisor are aligned and conflicts of interest eliminated. Continue reading
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Federal law requires that beginning on April 1 of the year after you reach age 70 1/2, you must begin withdrawing a minimum amount from your non-Roth individual retirement account (IRA) or 401(k) accounts. These withdrawals are called required minimum distributions (RMDs). But what if you die after age 70 1/2 and before all the account funds have been distributed? Death is no excuse not to take RMDs from an IRA or 401(k). Your heirs must take the final RMD before they can take control of the account. Continue reading
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Thank you to The Island Now for including my article on trusts in a recent issue – “Trusts – Marketing machine or genuine estate planning tool.” The article was written to inform readers about the difference between trusts that are used as part of a comprehensive asset preservation plan and those that I believe are being marketed to seniors inappropriately. Continue reading
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On May 23, 2019, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would significantly change estate planning for retirement benefits from qualified plans and IRAs. It also contains provisions that impact Elder Law planning. The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act of 2019 (the "SECURE Act") received overwhelming support in the House, passing 417-3. The SECURE Act extensively amends the Internal Revenue Code relating to retirement benefits, including provisions that apply during the life of the account owner as well as provisions applicable to Retirement benefits inherited by the account owner’s beneficiaries. Continue reading
I was pleased to be included in a recent article in Newsday about Special Needs families and how they can use Special Needs Trusts to plan for the time when their adult children are grown and their parents have passed away. A Continue reading
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In 2019, we celebrate Passover and Easter holidays on the same weekend, and so we are sending our best wishes to all of our friends, colleagues and family members. Whether you are celebrating Passover, Easter or the Spring Equinox, we hope this holiday finds you surrounded by those you love and the joys of the spring season. Continue reading
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If the first time you think about needing a will is when you take your first vacation without kids, then you need to get started, soon. With the two of you on a plan to a remote island destination, what would happen if you never returned? Who would raise your children, be in charge of their finances, and make sure they grow up according to your aspirations? Continue reading
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Losing the local and state tax deduction has more than a few New Yorkers thinking about making a lower tax cost state their primary residence. For many, that means Florida, especially if they already own a second residence in the Sunshine State. A move to Florida can save a New York resident up to 9% in income taxes and up to 16% in estate taxes. Continue reading
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Protecting the family home is one of the biggest issues that people worry about when discussing Medicaid eligibility. Let's look at some of the basics: While you generally don't have to sell your home in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage of nursing home care, it is possible the state... Continue reading
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Nursing home and long-term care costs continue to rise and it is difficult to qualify for Medicaid to pay for nursing home costs. Long-term care insurance can help cover expenses, but long term care insurance contracts are notoriously confusing. How do you figure out what is right for you? The... Continue reading
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More of your neighbors own guns than you think; yes - even in suburban Long Island’s North Shore. However, unlike other parts of the county where gun ownership is more public, transferring firearms upon death is rarely a part of anyone’s estate plan. Continue reading
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This is the last year that spouses who are turning full retirement age can choose whether to take spousal benefits or to take benefits on their own record. The strategy, used by some couples to maximize their benefits, will not be available to people turning full retirement age (FRA) after 2019. The claiming strategy -- sometimes known as "Claim Now, Claim More Later" -- allows a higher-earning spouse to claim a spousal benefit at full retirement age by filing a restricted application for benefits. Continue reading
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I read the New York Post every day. It’s an old habit that keeps me in touch with a part of New York City that many people, including my colleagues, may have forgotten. One of my favorite reads is John Crudele’s column. For those who aren’t familiar with him, John... Continue reading
Nick Mangold, former Jets football center and seven-time Pro Bowl selection, was my larger-than-life judge in a tailgating cookoff at Sunday’s Jets game - - and I’m thrilled to say that I won. My amazing portable pizza oven (thanks and a shout-out to Roccbox) and decades of dedication to BBQ paid off big time! Continue reading
I’ve been practicing elder law for many decades, but there’s always something new and unexpected in any area of the law. Here, it was a decision in a Medicaid coverage matter skillfully handled by Scott Silverberg, an associate at the firm and also my son. It was a great reflection on the firm, and an important win for our client. Continue reading
The FTC says there’s yet another phone scam, this one from thieves saying they are from the Social Security Administration. It’s not the Social Security Administration (SSA). Like the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), the SSA does not call. Continue reading
I am proud to announce I have been awarded the Accredited Estate Planner® Designation, by the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils. The AEP designation is the only graduate-level designation in estate planning. The designation is administered and is awarded only to estate planning professionals who meet special requirements of education, experience, knowledge, professional reputation, and character. Continue reading
Some changes recently announced will have significant changes on planning for VA pensions, and others brought a sigh of relief to veterans and their advocates. The good news was the announcement that changes in the adjudication of VA pension claims in the final rule are NOT retroactive. Continue reading
Congratulations to my colleagues who share with me the prestige of being named to the New York Metro Super Lawyers list for 2018 in Elder Law. It is an honor to be have been selected for the past eleven consecutive years. Continue reading