2014 Estate Planning Update (February 2014)

Here is a 2014 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii.

How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes?

A little over one year ago, Congress passed a law  making the exemption from estate taxes $5,000,000 (adjusted for inflation) without a built in expiration date. Taking into account inflation, the actual amount exempt from estate tax for 2014 is $5,340,000. The Hawaii Estate Tax law was amended to follow the Federal read more

Creative Medicaid Spend Down Techniques (May 2013)

As you are probably well aware, my father, Sanford K. Okura, and I have both written extensively on qualifying for Medicaid to pay for long term care costs while protecting your assets from nursing home costs.  Our law practice focuses on this problem as a key specialty within estate planning and elder law. Most people think that they have to spend all their money on their care–down to $2,000–before they can get qualified for Medicaid to pay read more

2012 Estate Planning Update (January 2012)

Here is a 2012 update on important numbers used in Estate Planning and Medicaid Planning in Hawaii.

How much money and property can a person have at death without paying estate taxes?

Under a temporary federal law, $5,000,000 is tax free this year. From January 1, 2013, only $1,000,000 will be tax free.  There is a bill in Congress, introduced on November 17, 2011, called the “Sensible Estate Tax Act of 2011,” which proposes to reduce the exemption to $1,000,000 immediately. You can track this read more

Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens – Part 3 (May 2010)

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM MEDICAID LIENS (PART 3)

Last month and the month before, I explained how to protect your home from Medicaid liens.  In my April column, I described how a parent can transfer the family residence to the children, and keep a “life estate.”

The life estate allows the parent to continue to live in the home for life.  If the parent goes into a nursing home and receives Medicaid help, the government can still put a Medicaid lien on the property.  The lien is like read more

Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens – Part 2 (April 2010)

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM MEDICAID LIENS (PART 2)

Last month we discussed the dangers of having the government put a Medicaid lien on your home and property if you end up in a nursing home.  Remember, a “revocable living trust” cannot protect your home from nursing home costs.

Some senior citizens who are worried about Medicaid liens just give the house to the children.  I do not think this is wise.  There are many cases in which the parents gave the home to the children, then the children read more

Protect Your Home From Medicaid Liens (March 2010)

PROTECT YOUR HOME FROM MEDICAID LIENS

More and more senior citizens are becoming concerned about nursing home costs.  No one really wants to go to a nursing home.  Nearly every elderly person would prefer to stay at home.  However, no matter how much children love their parents, caring for an elderly parent at home can be so stressful that a stay in a nursing home often becomes necessary.  A Kaiser Family Foundation Survey in 2003 found that if you are 65 years of age or older, there is a 45% read more

New Medicaid Rules Are Now Effective (November 2009)

The February 2006 Estate Planning Insights column was entitled “Big Change in Medicaid Laws.”  On February 1, 2006, Congress passed the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005.  President Bush signed the bill into law on February 8, 2006.  This new federal law makes important changes to the rules about qualifying for Medicaid for nursing home costs.  These are the biggest changes in this area of law since 1993.

According to the Deficit Reduction Act, some important parts of the new law were to be read more

New Rules for Nursing Home Medicaid

On February 8, 2006, President Bush signed the Deficit Reduction Act.  This federal law made big changes to Medicaid for nursing home costs.  Important parts of the new law were supposed to be effective from February 8, 2006.  However, the Hawaii Department of Human Services only recently announced Hawaii’s proposed new rules based on the federal law.  The public hearing on the new rules will be held on July 28, 2009.

One of the big changes involves the home.  Under the old law the home read more

Medicaid Planning

MEDICAID PLANNING

             I am thinking about a meeting I had recently.  The daughter of a client came to discuss her mother’s situation.  Mother is elderly.  She suffers from congestive heart failure.  Recently, she was so weak that she was hospitalized for a while.  Then she was transferred to a nursing home.  For now, Medicare is paying for the nursing home cost.  When Medicare stops paying in a few weeks, mother will have to pay the bill herself.  This nursing read more