» Tax Planning

Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) September 9, 2014 – Estate planning attorney Michael Gilfix addressed growing concerns about Medi-Cal asset recovery in a recent article in the San Jose Mercury News. Last week, a bill designed to scale down Medi-Cal’s asset recovery programs was passed unanimously by the California State Assembly. Nonetheless, many in the state — including Sacramento insiders — fear that Governor Jerry Brown may veto the bill, according to the Mercury News. But Gilfix pointed out that there are still practical solutions for those who wish to access Medi-Cal benefits while preserving their estates, even if […]


Continue reading full article »

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 2, 2014 – A report from the Nursing Home Report Card, a Families for Better Care project, ranked Virginia poorly on nursing home quality measures. The state received a grade of “D,” with an overall ranking of 33rd out of 50 states. “The fact that there are many nursing homes in Virginia that have problems means that it is that much more important for seniors and their families to engage in proper planning and research before choosing a nursing facility,” said Andrew Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with the Hook Law Center. […]


Continue reading full article »

Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) September 2, 2014 – Michael Gilfix was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle regarding unexpected estate claims by Medi-Cal and the ways families can protect themselves. On August 24, 2014, the Chronicle published an exposé on the recent expansion of Medi-Cal’s little-known estate recovery program. According to reporter Kathleen Pender, the new Affordable Care Act (ACA) has expanded the number of Medi-Cal recipients subject to estate recovery. Medi-Cal has long conducted a limited program that allows it to claim and recover assets from the estates of some deceased Medi-Cal recipients. However, as Pender pointed […]


Continue reading full article »

Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) August 29, 2014 – A major report from the American Association of Retired People (AARP) has named California a strong performer in long-term care systems for older adults and the disabled. The report, called a “scorecard,” evaluated states on 26 different criteria and then aggregates the findings into an overall ranking. California finished ninth overall and drew top scores in several areas. The state earned a first-place rating on the availability of Medicaid benefits (Medi-Cal) to cover the costs of long-term care. The report also gave California a second-place rating for the diversity of […]


Continue reading full article »

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 26, 2014 – Sometimes, one of the partners constructing a prenuptial agreement is a business owner. Typically, the document will then be designed to ensure that preexisting assets are completely protected in case of divorce. This often leads to restrictive prenuptial agreements that keep all preexisting assets separate. Unfortunately, that safe, restrictive prenup can prevent the surviving spouse from receiving assets upon the other spouse’s death. “A prenup is essential for protecting your assets in case of divorce, but it doesn’t always account for problems that may occur if you were to die,” […]


Continue reading full article »

Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) August 22, 2014 – The federal government has introduced a major new initiative to combat rising abuse and exploitation of the elderly — the “Elder Justice Roadmap,” a comprehensive framework for neutralizing financial, psychological and physical risks to older Americans. The Roadmap outlines newly launched educational programs and policy steps designed to increase reporting and prosecution, but it mainly focuses on encouraging individuals, families and institutions to identify risks and take steps toward prevention. Elder law attorney Michael Gilfix recently authored an article entitled “Addressing Financial Elder Abuse: Should the Bar be Lower?” that […]


Continue reading full article »

White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) August 18, 2014 – Best Lawyers in America has once again selected Bernard A. Krooks, JD, CPA, LLM, CELA, AEP to be included in its definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States in the field of Elder Law and Trusts and Estates. This marks the eighth consecutive year that Krooks has been recognized for this honor. Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession. A listing in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor conferred on a lawyer […]


Continue reading full article »

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 5, 2014 – With careful financial planning, many people are able to enjoy a comfortable retirement and leave a substantial estate to their heirs. But one often-unconsidered factor has the potential to add a large additional expense to the balance sheet: the possibility that one will require long-term care in a skilled nursing facility. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, most people over age 65 will require long-term care services of some type in their lifetime, and 40 percent will require nursing home care for some period of time. Many […]


Continue reading full article »

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 29, 2014 – Employers who offer 401(k) retirement savings accounts are increasingly providing the option of a Roth 401(k). This presents workers with the same question that IRAs do: which to choose, traditional or Roth? According to a prominent Virginia estate planning attorney, the choice depends on individual circumstances, but Roth 401(k)s may generally offer greater tax flexibility. “When an employer offers the option of contributing to both a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k), it can be wise to make at least some Roth contributions,” said Andrew Hook, an attorney with the […]


Continue reading full article »

Palo Alto, CA (Law Firm Newswire) July 23, 2014 – With more 8.6 million aging baby boomers in California alone, end-of-life discussions are becoming increasingly important. Families need to make it a priority to speak with loved ones before, not after, a crisis strikes. A 2012 California Healthcare Foundation (CHFC) survey revealed that nearly 60 percent of respondents felt that having an end-of-life discussion with their family was “extremely important” — yet 56 percent of those respondents had not yet communicated those wishes with the person they would want making that decision on their behalf. Only 23 percent had their […]


Continue reading full article »

Moorestown, NJ (Law Firm Newswire) July 22, 2014 – On November 4th, the expert elder law attorneys of the Begley Law Group will teach a one-day “crash course” on the essentials of elder law for legal practitioners. As Americans live longer and longer, elder law practices have grown and grown. Attorneys hoping to expand their practice into this area need to master a number of particular issues. To serve this need in a time-saavy legal culture, the Begley Law Group has condensed the essential information into an intensive “Elder Law in a Day” crash course. Lawyers will travel from across […]


Continue reading full article »

Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 8, 2014 – On June 28, 1969, members of the gay community spontaneously rose up in protest against a police raid being conducted at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The ensuing riot is now considered one of the most important instigating events for the LGBT rights movement that followed. Though there is no set date for LGBT Pride events nationally, many cities center their events to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. Now, as June comes to a close with days or weeks of pride for the LGBT community, extra attention should be paid […]


Continue reading full article »

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) June 16, 2014 – Attorney Andrew Hook of the Hook Law Center has been selected for the 2014 Virginia Super Lawyers list. Selection for the list is a recognition of excellence in the practice of law, and the honor is awarded to the top five percent of attorneys in the state. Super Lawyers has named Hook one of Virginia’s top attorneys since 2006. “I am honored to receive this recognition from my peers and from Super Lawyers,” said Hook. “At the Hook Law Center, we work hard to deliver the best possible service to […]


Continue reading full article »

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) June 5, 2014 – Personal finance website Bankrate.com has ranked Virginia as the 10th best state in the country in which to retire. The top three spots went to South Dakota, Colorado and Utah. New York was ranked as the worst state for retirees. Bankrate based its rankings on a number of factors, including health care quality, cost of living, taxes, crime rates and amount of sunshine. Virginia’s relatively low crime rates, reasonable cost of living and moderate taxation earned it its high rank. “Virginia is a great state for retirees,” said Andrew Hook, […]


Continue reading full article »

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) May 22, 2014 – The Social Security Administration (SSA) owes thousands of Americans higher benefits, amounting to millions of dollars in total. SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) – the agency’s internal watchdog – recently conducted an internal audit that revealed failures to increase some retirees’ benefits properly. “The problem lies with some retirees’ receipt of spousal benefits,” explained elder law attorney Andrew Hook. “These retirees initially claimed spousal benefits, but they later became eligible for higher benefits based on their own employment. Social Security failed to notify them of that fact.” The […]


Continue reading full article »

White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) May 1, 2014 – The assistance of an elder law attorney when applying for Medicaid is essential to make sure that your interests and assets are protected. Many people think of Medicaid as a service that is only for the poor, but it has also become the default method for many people to pay for long-term care, such as one receives in a skilled nursing facility. There are income and asset limits that need to be met to be eligible for Medicaid, but there are legal strategies that can be used to protect some […]


Continue reading full article »

White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) April 25, 2014 – As one nears retirement age, a number of important financial planning milestones begin to approach. It can be difficult to keep them all straight, so here is a timeline of what happens when. At age 59 1/2, people can begin to make withdrawals from 401(k)s, traditional IRAs and similar retirement savings accounts, without an additional tax penalty of 10 percent. (Withdrawals are still taxed as income in any case.) Of course, just because one can begin to make withdrawals at this age does not mean one necessarily should. At age […]


Continue reading full article »

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 22, 2014 – The Social Security Administration recently announced an expedited approval process for disability claims filed by disabled veterans. The new process was announced in a statement from Acting Commissioner of Social Security Carolyn W. Colvin. It applies to veterans with a disability compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total (P&T) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These veterans’ applications for Social Security Disability Insurance will be treated as high-priority and be decided on an expedited basis, similar to those under the Wounded Warriors program. Hampton Roads veterans attorney Andrew […]


Continue reading full article »

Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 10, 2014 – In late February, U.S. News & World Report released its 2014 evaluation of the “Best Nursing Homes” across the country. The ratings cover every state and every major metropolitan area in the United States. An overall score from one to five is broken down into searchable components, including nurse staffing, fire safety and other common criteria. Happily, Texas boasted one of the highest “Best Nursing Homes” ratings in the country. Approximately 15 percent of the homes found in Texas have been awarded the coveted five-star rating for 2014. Only California, Ohio […]


Continue reading full article »

Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) April 4, 2014 – In the autumn of 2013, UnitedHealthcare dropped thousands of doctors across the country from its Medicare Advantage plans. At least ten states were affected. Nearly 16 million people are enrolled in Medicare Advantage, and many struggled to make the adjustments needed before the December enrollment deadline. These struggles sparked a national concern: how does Medicare Advantage protect seniors when private insurance companies make changes? Under Medicare Advantage, the federal government reimburses insurance carriers for their care of beneficiaries. UnitedHealthcare is one of the leading providers. When an insurance company makes a […]


Continue reading full article »