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Elder Law Articles

Finding the best retirement calculators

Figuring out how much to save for retirement and when you can safely stop working can be difficult. A growing number of online retirement calculators, many of them free, are available to help. Although these calculators can yield vastly different results, they can be useful tools. Based on information about you and your finances, calculators try to predict how much you need to save to achieve your retirement goals. Some calculators are web-based, and others require

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New brokerage account safeguards aim to protect seniors

As the population ages, elder financial abuse is a mounting problem, and vulnerable seniors can become victims of scammers who convince them to empty their investment accounts. Now, new rules have been put in place to protect seniors with brokerage accounts from financial scams. According to the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the organization that regulates sales of securities, its Securities Helpline for Seniors has received more than 12,000 calls and recovered more than $5.3 million

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When can you delay taking Medicare?

Although you’re eligible for Medicare at 65, there are circumstances in which you might not want to apply, particularly if you’re working for a larger employer or contributing to a health savings account (HSA). However, you may face penalties if you don’t sign up at the right time, so it’s important to know when you can delay signing up without a penalty. You can first sign up for Medicare during your Initial Enrollment Period, which is

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It’s now harder for veterans to qualify for long-term care benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has put in place new rules that make it more difficult to qualify for long-term care benefits. The rules, similar to those already in force for Medicaid, establish an asset limit, a look-back period, and asset transfer penalties for claimants applying for pension benefits that require a showing of financial need. The main VA benefit for those needing long-term care is Aid and Attendance, which offers money to low-income veterans

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The new tax law means it’s now time to review your estate plan

The tax law signed in 2017 doubled the federal estate tax exemption, meaning the vast majority of estates won’t have to pay federal estate tax. But that doesn’t mean you should ignore its impact on your estate plan. The law doubled the federal estate tax exemption to $11.18 million for individuals and $22.36 million for couples. (These figures are indexed for inflation, so in 2019 they are $11.4 million and $22.8 million, respectively.) The tax rate

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How does work affect your Social Security payments?

Many people continue to work after retirement age, either by choice or out of necessity. But if you are receiving Social Security benefits, you need to be aware of how working can affect your benefit payments. Earning income above Social Security thresholds can cause a reduction in benefits and mean your benefits will be taxed. Whether it makes sense to work and collect Social Security at the same time is a complicated assessment that depends on

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The little-known tax on Roth 401(k) distributions

Employee retirement savings plans come in two main types: the traditional 401(k) and the Roth 401(k). The benefit of a Roth 401(k) over a traditional 401(k) after retirement is that distributions from a Roth 401(k) are tax-free, but there is a little-known situation in which distributions can be taxed. Contributions to a traditional 401(k) are made pre-tax, so although it reduces your taxable income in the year you contribute to it, you have to pay taxes

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How to prepare when elderly parents move in with adult children

More and more parents are moving in with their adult children, and the trend probably won’t reverse any time soon. As nursing home costs continue to rise, children and their parents are finding that living together is a better arrangement, both financially and emotionally. But having a parent move in is a big adjustment for everyone, and it is important to be prepared. Preparations can range from making physical adjustments to the house to figuring out

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When can an adult child be liable for a parent’s nursing home bill?

Although a nursing home cannot require a child to be personally liable for their parent’s nursing home bill, there are circumstances in which children can end up having to pay. This is why it is important to read any admission agreements carefully before signing. Federal regulations prevent a nursing home from requiring a third party to be personally liable for a resident’s charges as a condition of admission. However, children of nursing home residents often sign

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