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Do You Pay Capital Gains Taxes on Property You Inherit?

Dec 14, 2020

When you inherit property, such as a house or stocks, the property is usually worth more than it was when the original owner purchased it. If you were to sell the property, there could be huge capital gains taxes. Fortunately, when you inherit property, the property’s tax basis is “stepped up,” which means the basis would be the current value of the property. For example, suppose you inherit a house that was purchased years ago for $150,000 and it is now worth $350,000. You will receive a step up from the original cost basis from $150,000 to $350,000. If you…

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Medicare Premiums to Increase Slightly in 2021

Dec 14, 2020

Medicare premiums are set to rise a modest amount next year, but still cut into any Social Security gains. The basic monthly premium will increase $3.90, from $144.60 a month to $148.50. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the premium and other Medicare cost increases on November 6, 2020. The hike could have been much worse due to rising costs during the coronavirus pandemic, but the bipartisan budget bill passed in October capped the increase. While the majority of beneficiaries will pay the added amount, a “hold harmless” rule prevents Medicare recipients’ premiums from increasing more than…

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What to Look for When Choosing a Medicare Advantage Plan

Dec 14, 2020

As Medicare premiums rise, a Medicare Advantage plan can seem like an attractive option. But if you are considering switching from Original Medicare to a Medicare Advantage plan, you need to know what to look for. Medicare Advantage plans are run by private insurers, unlike Original Medicare, which the federal government operates, although the medical providers are private. The government pays Medicare Advantage plans a fixed monthly fee to provide services to each Medicare beneficiary under their care. The plans often look attractive because they offer the same basic coverage as original Medicare plus some additional benefits and services that…

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How to Fix a Required Minimum Distribution Mistake

Dec 14, 2020

The rules around required minimum distributions from retirement accounts are confusing, and it’s easy to slip up. Fortunately, if you do make a mistake, there are steps you can take to fix the error and possibly avoid a stiff penalty. If you have a tax-deferred retirement plan such as a traditional IRA or 401(k), you are required to begin taking distributions once you reach a certain age, with the withdrawn money taxed at your then-current tax rate. If you were age 70 1/2 before the end of 2019, you had to begin taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) in April of…

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A Modest Social Security Increase for 2021

Dec 9, 2020

The Social Security Administration has announced a 1.3 percent rise in benefits in 2021, an increase even smaller than last year’s. Cost-of-living increases are tied to the consumer price index, and a modest upturn in inflation rates and gas prices means Social Security recipients will get only a slight boost in 2021. The 1.3 percent increase is similar to last year’s 1.6 percent increase, but much smaller than the 2.8 percent rise in 2019. The average monthly benefit of $1,523 in 2020 will go up by $20 a month to $1,543 a month for an individual beneficiary, or $240 yearly.…

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Should Seniors Who Lose Their Job During the Coronavirus Pandemic Claim Social Security Benefits Early?

Apr 23, 2020

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment is skyrocketing. Seniors who lose their jobs may be tempted to claim Social Security benefits early, but should they, given the resulting reduction in future benefits?

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Law Firms Devising Creative Strategies to Help Clients Safely Execute Documents During Pandemic

Apr 23, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread, estate planning is a higher priority than ever.  But no one wants to put themselves or others at risk while doing it. Elder law and estate planning firms are well aware of this concern.

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Medicare and Medicaid Will Cover Coronavirus Testing

Mar 9, 2020

With coronavirus dominating news coverage and creating alarm, it is important to know that Medicare and Medicaid will cover tests for the virus. 

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Medicaid Protections for the Healthy Spouse

Mar 4, 2020

Medicaid law provides special protections for the spouses of Medicaid applicants to make sure the spouses have the minimum support needed to continue to live in the community.

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Feds Release 2020 Guidelines Used to Protect the Spouses of Medicaid Applicants

Feb 21, 2020

The federal government has released the 2020 federal guidelines for how much money the spouses of Medicaid recipients may keep, as well as related Medicaid figures.

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