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Attorney Sean M. Byrne to Present on Conservation Law at Paralegal Association of Florida

Posted by Bach & Jacobs, P.A., Sarasota, FL

Attorney Sean M. Byrne will be the guest speaker at the meeting of the Suncoast Chapter of the Paralegal Association of Florida, Inc. on the topic of land conservation law in Florida. The meeting will be held on April 14.  Byrne will present an overview of the federal and state laws governing conservation easements and identify the various financial incentives available to landowners who choose to conserve their land.  The presentation will also showcase some of the local success stories of conservation land transactions, including donations and purchases of conservation easements through Sarasota County’s Environmentally Sensitive Lands Protection Program.  Byrne represented Sarasota County in the acquisition of conservation easements across privately owned working ranches in east Sarasota County.   The presentation will give real estate lawyers options to provide landowner clients who are considering conservation as a part of their estate planning.

Sean M. Byrne, Esquire
Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

Do I Need a Lawyer to Help Me with my Medicaid Application?

Posted by Bach & Jacobs, P.A.

Q: When do I need an attorney or lawyer to help me with a Medicaid application?

A:  You should seek the help of a licensed attorney who is experienced in Medicaid planning to learn about your qualification for Medicaid under Florida law.  An advisory opinion has been submitted to the Florida Supreme Court that finds it constitutes the unlicensed practice of law for a nonlawyer to render legal advice regarding the implementation of Florida law to obtain Medicaid benefits.  While federal law authorizes nonlawyer assistance in the application process, it is not advisable for you to pay a nonlawyer give you legal advice about your qualification for Medicaid, to draft a personal service contract and to determine the need for, prepare, and execute a qualified income trust including gathering the information necessary to complete the trust.  Contact Babette Bach, a Florida Board Certified Elder Law Attorney, to set up an appointment to review whether you may qualify Medicaid. To learn more about the full opinion submitted by the Standing Committee on Unlicensed Practice to the Florida Supreme Court, click on this link to the Florida Bar website.

2014 Florida ICP Medicaid Figures for Skilled Nursing Care

Posted by Babette B. Bach, Esq., Sarasota, FL

Question: What are the new 2014 Florida ICP Medicaid Figures for Skilled Nursing Care?

Answer: Some ICP Medicaid eligibility figures for seniors in need of long term care are tied to inflation. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services just released the 2014 figures:

Single Applicant Resource Allowance: $2,000

Institutional Spouse Resource Allowance: $2,000

Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance: $117,240
(Note a Florida primary residence and one vehicle are exempt assets)

Minimum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance: $1,938.75

Maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance (this is the maximum spousal diversion allowed): $2,931

If you need legal advice for Medicare or Medicaid planning, estate planning, probate and trust administration or VA benefits, please contact our office for an initial consultation.Babette B. Bach, Esquire, Board Certified Elder Law

Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile

Babette Bach Esq. will be a keynote speaker for the Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota at the 2014 Stroke Conference “Taking The Lead” in honor of National Stroke Awareness Month.

Posted by Bach & Jacobs, P.A., Sarasota, FL

Babette Bach Esq. will be a keynote speaker for the Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota at the 2014 Stroke Conference “Taking The Lead” in honor of National Stroke Awareness Month.

Ms. Bach’s presentation on “The New Medicaid and VA Benefits 2014” will take place from 12:45 – 1:45pm.

LOCATION: Healthsouth Rehabilitation Hospital of Sarasota, 6400 Edgelake Drive, Sarasota, FL. 34240.
DATE: Saturday, May 3rd, 2014.
TIME: 7:30am to 4:00pm.

To register for this conference, please call: 941-921-8795 or go online: www.healthsouthsarasota.com. Deadline for registration is April 26th, 2014.

Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

 

Property Tax benefits for the surviving spouse of a 100% disabled Veteran

Posted by Bach & Jacobs, P.A., Sarasota, FL

Question: What are the property tax benefits in Florida for the surviving spouse of a 100% disabled Veteran?

Answer:  If a Veteran dies with a rating of 100% service connected disabled, then all Florida property taxes are exempt.  This benefit carries over to the deceased Veteran’s surviving spouse.  The surviving spouse is also exempt from paying property taxes.  If the spouse wishes to move they take the tax value of the home they lived in with their Veteran spouse to their new residence!

Video: Voluntary Guardianship

Voluntary Guardianship is an underutilized legal tool, especially for seniors with macular degeneration.  Learn more about what it entails in less than three minutes.  This video excerpt is from a lecture given by Babette Bach, Esq., sponsored by the Parkinson Research Foundation. 

Statewide Medicaid Managed Care Rollout for Manatee County, Florida

Posted By Bach & Jacobs, PA

On February 1, 2014, the new Medicaid reform called “Statewide Medicaid Managed Care” is going to roll out for Manatee County.  The Agency for Healthcare Administration will send an instructional packet to all Medicaid recipients to explain how to select a Managed Care Provider.  There will be an enrollment deadline date and a date which the plan will begin.  

For those people already receiving services through a Managed Care Provider, you can choose to stay with the same plan or you can elect to change your provider.  

You will be able to select a long term care provider from the five providers who have been contracted to serve Manatee County: American Eldercare, Inc., Coventry Health Plan, Molina Healthcare of Florida, Inc., Sunshine State Health Plan or United Healthcare of Florida, Inc.    Please contact the assisted living or nursing home business office to confirm that they have a contract with the plan of your choice.  

After a person is enrolled with a Managed Care Provider plan, he or she will be assigned a care coordinator/ case manager who will meet with them to perform an assessment, develop a plan of care, and assist them in obtaining appropriate care.

Video: Advance Health Care Directives and Living Wills

Do you have an advanced health care directive and a living will?  Learn why you should.  This video excerpt is from a lecture given by Babette Bach, Esq., sponsored by the Parkinson Research Foundation.

 

When to start planning for Medicaid and Long Term Care

Posted by Bach & Jacobs, P.A., Sarasota, FL

Question:     I am interested in doing Medicaid planning for potential future long term care costs, but I don’t know for sure that I’ll even need skilled nursing care or long term care.  Should I start the Medicaid planning process ahead of time or wait until I need the nursing home care to make the plans?

Answer:    Because there is a look back period, there are risks to waiting until a crisis hits to plan for Medicaid.  It is more advantageous to make an appointment with an elder law attorney to evaluate your situation, income, and assets at the outset of a gradual condition that may cause you to eventually need long term care.  Babette Bach is a Florida Board Certified Elder Law Attorney and an expert in public benefits and asset protection planning.  Call Bach & Jacobs today to make an appointment for a consultation with her.

Babette B. Bach, Esquire
Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

Video: Government Benefits

Want to learn more about government benefits that might be available to you?  Veterans Benefits, Medicare and Medicaid may be options for you.  Learn more about them by watching this ten minute video.  This video excerpt is from a lecture given by Babette Bach, Esq., sponsored by the Parkinson Research Foundation.

 

When is ancillary administration necessary for non-Florida residents who die owning real estate in Florida?

Posted by Bach & Jacobs, P.A., Sarasota, FL

Question:     When is ancillary administration necessary for non-Florida residents who die owning real estate in Florida? What are the options for ancillary administration?

Answer:    When a resident of another state dies owning real estate in Florida titled in the decedent’s name, probate proceeding must be commenced to validly transfer the property after the death.  This is the case even if a personal representative has been appointed in the decedent's home state.  If the decedent left a will, any person may petition to admit the Foreign Will to Record in the Florida County where the property is located.  The person petitioning for admission of the will should have “authenticated copies” (learn more about authenticated copies here).  The probate court will appoint an ancillary personal representative who is qualified under the Florida Probate Code who will administer the ancillary probate for the Florida estate. There are other options available to certain ancillary estates that have  values less than $50,000 called short form ancillary administration.  There is also a proceeding called summary administration available to estates with property subject to Florida probate that are worth less than $75,000.  If you are seeking to administer the Florida assets of a non-Florida resident decedent who has died, contact Bach & Jacobs, P.A. to learn which options are available to you under Florida Law.

Fred C. Jacobs, Esquire
Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

Video: What is Guardianship?

What is guardianship?  Here’s an answer in two and a half minutes.  This video excerpt is from a lecture given by Babette Bach, Esq., sponsored by the Parkinson Research Foundation. 

 

Babette Bach Esq. will be a keynote speaker at “Costs Considerations in Caring for Persons with Dementia throughout the End of Life” for the Pines Education Institute

Babette Bach Esq. will be a keynote speaker for the Pines Education Institute at a workshop entitled:

“Costs Considerations in Caring for Persons with Dementia throughout the End of Life”.

LOCATION: The University of South Florida, Sarasota-Manatee.
DATE: Friday, March 14th, 2014
TIME: 8am to noon.

You can reserve a seat at this free workshop online at www.pinesofsarasota.org/education-institute/programs-edu.html, or by calling JoAnn Westbrook, Director of the Pines Education Institute at 365-0250, Ext. 1114.

Video: Power of Attorney

Have you signed a power of attorney?  Learn why you should.  This video excerpt is from a lecture given by Babette Bach, Esq., sponsored by the Parkinson Research Foundation.

 

How much can I give away as a gift without having to pay gift taxes?

Posted by Sean Byrne, Esq., Sarasota, FL

Question: How much can I give away as a gift without having to pay gift taxes?

Answer: For gifts made in 2013 and 2014, the gift tax annual exclusion is $14,000. This means that anyone can gift up to $14,000 to another person in these years without using any of their lifetime exclusion for estate, generation skipping and gift taxes. Married couples can gift up to $28,000 to any person in 2013 and 2014.

You only have to begin paying gift taxes after you have transferred more than the lifetime exclusion amount, which is $5,340,000 for 2014.  However, you will have to file a gift tax return on any gifts to a specific individual in excess of $14,000 ($28,000 for married couples), even if you do not actually owe any gift taxes.  

Attorney Fred Jacobs is Florida Board Certified in Tax Law.  Call Bach & Jacobs to schedule an appointment with Fred if you have questions about how the gift and estate tax laws affect you and your family.

Fredric C. Jacobs, Esquire, Board Certified Elder Law
Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

What is the 2014 federal estate tax rate and lifetime gift exclusion amount?

Posted by Sean Byrne, Esq., Sarasota, FL

Question:  What is the 2014 federal estate tax rate and lifetime gift exclusion amount?        

Answer:  For gifts made or deaths occurring in 2014, the estate, generation skipping and gift tax lifetime exclusion is $5,340,000. For transfers in excess of these limits, the federal government will levy a 40% tax on any amount that exceeds the exclusion amount.

If you need legal advice for tax matters, VA benefits, Medicare, Medicaid planning, estate planning, probate or trust administration, please contact our office for an initial consultation.

Fredric C. Jacobs, Esquire, Board Certified Tax Law Attorney
Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

What is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation and how do I qualify for it?

Posted by Babette B. Bach, Esq., Sarasota, FL

Question: What is Dependency and Indemnity Compensation and how do I qualify for it?

Answer: Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) is a tax free monetary benefit paid to eligible survivors of military service members who died in the line of duty or eligible survivors of Veterans whose death resulted from a service-related injury or disease.  In order to apply for DIC in Sarasota or Manatee County, contact Terry Acton at 941-861-2899.  At the time of application, you will be required to supply documentation that substantiates that the surviving spouse qualifies for the benefit.  A surviving spouse can qualify for DIC if the surviving spouse was either: (1) Married to a service member who died on active duty, active duty for training, or inactive duty training; OR (2) Validly married the Veteran before January 1, 1957; OR (3) Married the Veteran within 15 years of discharge from the period of military service in which the disease or injury that caused the Veteran's death began or was aggravated; OR (4) Was married to the Veteran for at least one year, OR (5) Had a child with the Veteran.  In addition, the surviving spouse must have (1) cohabited with the Veteran continuously until the Veteran's death or, if separated, was not at fault for the separation AND (2) Is not currently remarried.  Note: A surviving spouse who remarries on or after December 16, 2003, and on or after attaining age 57, is entitled to continue to receive DIC. The VA is now recognizing same sex legally married couples for all VA benefits.

If you need legal advice for VA benefits, Medicare, Medicaid planning, estate planning, probate or trust administration, please contact our office for an initial consultation.

Babette B. Bach, Esquire, Board Certified Elder Law
Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

 

What are the new 2014 benefits for Aid and Attendance pension for wartime Veterans and their surviving spouses?

Posted by Babette B. Bach, Esq. Sarasota, FL


Aid and Attendance is a pension for Veterans and surviving spouses who require regular care attendance form another person to assist with the activities of daily life such as eating, bathing, dressing, medication allocation, blind, or need for assisted living or skilled nursing care.
Aid and Attendance benefits can assist paying for the costs of a caregiver in the home, assisted living and skilled nursing costs.  

Aid and Attendance benefit for wartime Veterans for 2014 is as follows:

  • Single Veteran = $1,758 a month
  • Married Veteran = $2,085 a month
  • Surviving Spouse of at Veteran = $1,130 a month

If you need legal advice for VA benefits, Medicare, Medicaid planning, estate planning, probate or trust administration, please contact our office for an initial consultation.

Babette B. Bach, Esquire, Board Certified Elder Law
Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

How do I benefit from setting up a QIT or Qualified Income Trust for Florida Medicaid - and what is it?

Posted by Babette B. Bach, Esq., Sarasota, FL

Question: How do I benefit from setting up a QIT or Qualified Income Trust for Florida Medicaid – and what is it?

Answer: A Qualified Income Trust is commonly called a QIT or a Miller Trust.  It is necessary under Florida Medicaid law when the Medicaid applicant for skilled nursing home care or Medicaid diversion has gross monthly income of $2,163 or greater. (2014 figures).

When set up properly, this irrevocable trust enables a person to deposit income into a trust account each month.  The money in the QIT account will not be counted as an asset for Medicaid or Long Term Care Benefits eligibility.  However all monies deposited into the QIT can only be used to pay for the applicant’s medical expenses, care costs and spousal or other court ordered support.  The goal of the QIT is to secure all of the income for medical necessities and spousal support and to provide a Medicaid lien on the account upon the passing of the applicant.

Only an attorney is licensed to draft an irrevocable QIT.  Once established the trustee needs to be advised as to how to set up and correctly fund the account.  If the QIT account is not correctly funded, the applicant will be either denied or disqualified from receiving Medicaid.  These accounts are monitored by the Florida Department of Children and Families and the trustee must produce all bank statements, proof of gross income and receipts for all disbursements.  Be careful to save all records.

Upon the death of the Medicaid applicant, Medicaid has a lien on all assets remaining in the QIT and the trustee is responsible to satisfy this lien and to provide documentation.  This is another time that professional assistance is recommended.

For this reason, it is often recommended that board certified elder law attorney is consulted. It is also worth noting that this type of trust is irrevocable which means it cannot be cancelled and any funds remaining in the account at the time of your death are paid to the State up to the value of benefits paid out to you.

Please call us to schedule an appointment for assistance with Medicaid planning.

Babette B. Bach, Esquire, B.C.S.

Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

What are the tax rules on giving away gifts during your lifetime?

Posted by Fredric C. Jacobs, Esq., Sarasota, FL

Question: I want to give gifts to my family. What are the tax rules on giving away gifts during your lifetime?

Answer: You are free to give away gifts forming part of your estate while you are alive without incurring any federal gift tax or estate tax but there are limits to be aware of which do change from time to time.

For 2014, the limit has been raised to $5.34 million which means that you can gift this amount away during your lifetime without owing this tax. Annually, you are entitled to gift up to $14000 in cash or other assets to as many recipients as you would like which is the annual exclusion amount.

In addition, other gifts which are not subject to tax include:

• Schooling fees, if paid directly to the school

• Medical expenses also if paid directly to the treatment provider

• Gifts to your spouse (if your spouse is a U.S. citizen)

• Gifts to a political organization for its use

• Gifts to certain charities

It is worth noting that the current federal gift/estate tax rate is 40% and that if a gift is subject to taxation then it is the person who makes the gift, not the person receiving the gift, who has to pay the tax due.

For more in depth advice specific to your family’s situation, please contact us and we will be happy to set up an initial consultation with one of our highly experienced tax attorneys.

Fredric C. Jacobs, Esq.

Bach & Jacobs, P.A.
240 S. Pineapple Avenue, Suite 700
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-906-1231
941-954-1185 facsimile
www.bachjacobs.com

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 - 240 S. Pineapple Ave, # 700 - Sarasota, FL 34236  941.906.1231

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