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Stephen J. Silverberg, Esq.
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We are grateful for our clients, colleagues, friends and family and hope you find yourself in the company of loved ones on this Thanksgiving Day. With warm wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving from all of us. Continue reading
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Estates of decedents who die during 2020 have a basic exclusion amount of $11.58 million, up from a total of $11.4 million for estates of decedents who died in 2019. An individual taxpayer may leave $11.58 million to heirs with no federal or gift taxes due. A married couple will be able to leave $23.16 million. Continue reading
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The letter portrays the SECURE Act as a lot of sunshine and happy news for the middle-class, the reality is much different. It contains seismic changes to IRA distribution rules in effect for over 40 years. It also permits sponsors of 401(k) plans to expand the use of annuities to provide benefits under the plan and repeals the onerous Kiddie Tax provisions, which subjected the children of soldiers killed in action to confiscatory income tax rates. Continue reading
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With the start of Medicare enrollment season here, more seniors are finding themselves baffled by an array of choices. How can you avoid making a mistake that may haunt you for the rest of your life? Continue reading
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If you think you don’t have a will, think again. You do. It may not be the one you wanted, but you have one. It’s the one that New York State (or Florida) thinks you want to have. You may not like that kinship generally governs the distribution of your assets. You may have a sibling who you have barely been able to be in the same room with for the past twenty years, but absent a will and a spouse, that sibling may be your primary heir. Continue reading
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Pre-retirement, many folks think they have only to enroll in Medicare and all will be well – including their health care budget. It would be great if it was that simple. It’s not. And not understanding how Medicare works and which plan to pick can make medical expenses a bigger part of a retirement budget than expected. Continue reading
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As a BBQ maven, I spend a fair amount of time, making sure that my tools are well maintained. They take much abuse from high heat, charred fats, and sauces. The results are delicious, but the tools get messy. Your estate plan faces more challenges than you may know. That’s why you need to review your estate plans. Sometimes all they need is a quick swipe, and other times, they need a thorough overhaul. Continue reading
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Understanding how Medicare’s election periods and applying for the right program at the right time is a critical part of preparing for the health care costs of retirement and aging. Because we have seen how often people have trouble determining the Medicare benefits most suitable for them, we are offering help to clients with these decisions, and how to protect themselves from making very expensive mistakes. Continue reading
For the sixth consecutive year, I am honored to have been selected by my peers as one of the 2020 Best Lawyers in America© in the practice area of Elder Law. I thank my colleagues who nominated me to this select group of Elder Lawyers. As you may know, being... Continue reading
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