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Don’t Forget to Fund Your Trust!

When you left our office after signing your trust agreement you had peace of mind knowing that your estate plan was legal and enforceable. If you decided that you would fund the trust on your own did you complete that process? When you choose to handle things yourself we do not have an ongoing duty to monitor. Remember: In order for your estate to avoid probate the assets you own (excluding for example an automobile, I.R.A., 401k) must either be titled in the name of the trust or name the trust as the beneficiary (and remove any previously named beneficiaries).

Many times people will forget to re-title their assets into their trust. That is why we offer our clients the service of assisting them with the retitling process. It is efficient and cost effective as the process is handled by our Certified and Florida Registered Paralegals at their cost effective hourly rate.

Give your beneficiaries the gift of peace of mind, knowing that your trust has been properly funded.

Payments to Caregivers of Dementia Patient are Deductible Medical Expenses

The United States Tax Court has ruled that payments to caregivers of a dementia patient are deductible medical expenses even though the caregivers were not licensed health care providers. A deduction can be taken once medical expenses exceed 7.5% of the adjusted gross income of the taxpayer. “Medical care” includes services required by a chronically ill person under a physician‟s plan of care. Estate of Lillian Baral v. Commissioner issued July 5, 2011.

Critical Budget Cuts in Reverse Mortgage Counseling!

Individuals age 62 and older may apply for a reverse mortgage and convert the equity in their home to cash. A reverse mortgage can be a great financial tool for individuals who are „house rich but cash poor‟ and want to age in place in their home. The mortgage does not have to be repaid until the owner moves, sells the house or, dies.

In order to apply for a reverse mortgage an applicant must receive counseling from an independent third party so they can make an informed decision. There are several issues to understand about a reverse mortgage such as insurance, origination fees and how the proceeds may affect eligibility for Medicaid. The Department of Housing & Urban Development‟s (HUD) budget has provided the funds to pay for the counseling.

Unfortunately, as a result of federal budget cuts there was a significant reduction in federal funding for the reverse mortgage counseling program. Counseling funds will be cut off as of October 1, 2011. Consequently, applicants may have to pay for the counseling themselves.