Virginia Beach | Law Firm Newswire - Part 5

Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 12, 2014 – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently extended a tax break for married couples. The ruling, announced in Revenue Procedure 2014-18, extends the deadline to take advantage of an estate tax break known as “portability.” The break went into effect on an interim basis in 2011, and it was made permanent under the American Taxpayer Relief Tax Act of 2012. “The IRS grants every U.S. citizen a “basic exclusion,” which is a lifetime exclusion amount from estate and gift taxes,” Andrew Hook, a Virginia Beach estate planning attorney, explained. “For 2014, […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 28, 2014 – A part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands treatment for people with developmental disabilities, but some states may leave insurers with ways to sidestep the new requirement. The ACA, commonly called “Obamacare,” requires health insurance plans for individuals and small groups to include coverage for “rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.” Most insurance plans already cover rehabilitative services, which help people regain skills, such as walking or talking, after a debilitating injury or illness, such as a stroke. “But habilitative services are often excluded,” explains Virginia special needs attorney […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 19, 2014 – Projections show that within 20 years, typical retirees will rely mostly on 401(k)s and other private retirement accounts to meet financial needs. “That may be alarming to some, but the industry is evolving to help meet that challenge,” says Virginia estate planning attorney Andrew Hook. “A number of trends are increasing the effectiveness of 401(k)s and workers’ utilization of them.” Hook identified the following six trends in the retirement investing industry. Increased use of Roth 401(k)s: Like Roth IRAs, Roth 401(k)s are funded with after-tax contributions. Workers pay income taxes […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 23, 2014 – Prospects for Medicaid expansion in Virginia got a boost in the recent gubernatorial election, but they are still far from definite. Democrat Terry McAuliffe won the November 2013 election after campaigning on a promise to support the expansion of Medicaid spelled out in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare.” But his role will, for the most part, be limited to the bully pulpit, urging state legislators to adopt the optional low-income health care expansion. “Expanding Medicaid would greatly help many elderly and low-income individuals and families in Virginia,” said […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 16, 2014 – The Hook Law Center is proud to announce that elder law attorney Andrew Hook has been named one of the best lawyers in Virginia. Best Lawyers, a legal peer-review organization, recently released a directory titled “The Best Lawyers in America”. The book is filled with the profiles of outstanding attorneys in all practice areas and in all metropolitan areas throughout a state. Andrew Hook is the only elder law attorney in the Norfolk area to receive this distinction. “I am humbled by this recognition from my very capable peers in […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 11, 2013 – A recent survey indicates many U.S. veterans are uninformed about the advantages and disadvantages of delaying or hastening the start of their Social Security benefits. The survey, commissioned by financial publishing firm Kiplinger, found that more than 70 percent of veterans either underestimated the reduction in Social Security income incurred as a result of claiming benefits early, or admitted they did not know the costs. Moreover, nearly 90 percent did not realize the increase in benefits they could receive by delaying the onset of payments. Veterans’ law attorney Andrew Hook […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 4, 2013 – A senator and a prominent doctor joined together to call for a doubling of the amount the U.S. government spends on research into Alzheimer’s disease each year. Senator Susan Collins is the senior senator from Maine and Co-Chair of the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force. Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic. The pair co-authored an article on the disease in a recent issue of Parade magazine. Virginia elder law attorney Andrew Hook agreed with the senator and doctor’s recommendation. […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) November 25, 2013 – A new federal grant program is aimed to improve the long-term prospects of disabled children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) initiative will provide assistance to SSI recipients and their families in order to help the kids complete high school, postsecondary education, and job training, as well as find good jobs. “Despite the support that Supplemental Security Income provides, children who receive the benefits nevertheless tend to lag behind in higher education and employment when compared with their peers,” said […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) November 18, 2013 – Workers may convert individual retirement accounts (IRAs) from traditional to Roth IRAs, but some who do so will later undo that conversion. Roth IRAs present certain advantages and disadvantages versus traditional IRAs, and each year, many people elect to make the conversion to Roth. When current circumstances or expectations for the future change, as they so often do, that conversion may be undone in a process called “recharacterization.” Estate planning attorney Andrew Hook explains why people convert or recharacterize their accounts and the rules governing the processes. “Contributions to traditional […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) October 14, 2013 – Two recent announcements show U.S. government agencies will differ in how they implement a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In June, 2013, the Court struck down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied federal benefits to legally-married same-sex couples. As Virginia estate planning attorney Andrew Hook explained, that left those couples in a limbo between state and federal law. “In the eyes of the states in which they married, and other states recognizing same-sex marriages, those couples were legally wed,” Hook said. “But according to the federal […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) October 7, 2013 – Stiff penalties for careless Medicaid planning make it necessary for families to form a proper strategy many years ahead of time. Medicaid provides health care for those with little assets or income and is the most popular way to pay for long-term nursing home care. Long-term care is very expensive, making Medicaid the only option for many families who need it, but qualifying for Medicaid usually requires very low asset levels. As Virginia elder law attorney Andrew Hook explains, this can lead families to make missteps with severe consequences. “A […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 24, 2013 – Estates that do not use their entire estate tax exclusion allowance may pass on the remainder to a surviving spouse, but the process is not automatic. Called “portability,” the rule was made permanent as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA). But Virginia estate planning attorney, Andrew Hook, cautions that an estate tax return must be filed in order for the surviving spouse to claim portability. “Not every estate is required by law to file an estate tax return,” Hook said. “But the IRS has made it […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 17, 2013 – A recent study shows baby boomers may not adequately understand their retirement health care needs. The Center for Secure Retirement surveyed 1,300 middle-income people aged 49 to 67. Those surveyed tended to underestimate the cost of long-term care and the likelihood they will need it. Most lacked a plan to pay for health care and a proper understanding of what Medicare provides. “Health care in retirement represents a great financial challenge for many Americans,” said Virginia elder law attorney Andrew Hook. “Knowledge and planning are immensely important no matter your […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 20, 2013 – The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), extensively impacting taxes and federal benefits. Section 3 of DOMA defines marriage, for the purpose of federal law, as a legal union between one man and one woman. The Supreme Court deemed that section unconstitutional by a 5-4 decision issued on June 26, 2013. How that decision is applied to the law by various federal agencies will determine whether same-sex married couples are granted any of a number of the legal benefits of marriage. “The effects of […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 13, 2013 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) released a new online application for disability compensation claims. The agency says the online form allows claims to be processed more quickly because the procedure is electronic from start to finish. The VA has already begun implementing a computerized process for handling the paper claims it receives. Officials say electronic claims processing is a key part of the agency’s plan to eliminate its infamous claims backlog by the end of 2015. “Anything that speeds these disability benefits to our deserving veterans is welcome news,” […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 11, 2013 – A recent court decision illustrates the potential pitfalls of investing in “alternative” assets with an individual retirement account. Lawrence Peek and Darrell Fleck of Colorado used assets held in their self-directed IRAs to purchase a fire-safety business. In a May 9, 2013 ruling, a judge for the U.S. Tax Court said that the pair’s actions were not allowed and effectively terminated their accounts when they made the transaction. The two now owe taxes amounting to nearly half a million dollars. “IRA funds can be invested in a number of ways […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 4, 2013 – A pilot program to reform Medicaid in Virginia was recently approved by federal health care regulators. The three-year program will affect over 78,000 Virginians who are eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare – so-called “dually eligible” individuals. It is a crucial first step in reforms state lawmakers are requiring before they will expand Virginia’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. “This program affects some of Virginia’s most vulnerable citizens,” said elder law attorney Andrew Hook. “If it can provide them with better access to health care while also creating […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) June 19, 2013 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) announced it will expedite decisions on claims more than one year old. In a news release, the VA said that effective immediately, the agency’s claims raters would begin making provisional decisions on the oldest backlogged benefits claims. After a provisional rating has been given to a claim, the veteran will have one year to submit additional evidence before a final decision is issued. “Too many veterans endure very long waits to receive desperately-needed disability benefits,” commented veteran’s attorney Andrew Hook. “Hopefully this initiative will […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) June 5, 2013 – A new study indicates that a cancer drug may be used to treat Alzheimer’s. Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center administered the drug nilotinib to mice in very low doses. They theorized that the drug, which causes cancer cells to self-destruct, might have a similar effect on aberrant brain cells at low doses. “Alzheimer’s and similar diseases affect some 5 million people in America alone, and planning for their needs is a challenge for families and communities” said elder law attorney Andrew Hook. The researchers began by finding a […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) May 10, 2013 – Virginia has not agreed to expand Medicaid, the governor told the Obama administration. In a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Governor Bob McDonnell clarified language contained in the state’s recently-passed budget. The provisions outline “a series of reforms that must be completed to the satisfaction of a new legislative commission prior to consideration of Medicaid expansion,” the letter said. The governor wrote that some in the media and the state capitol had interpreted this as an approval of Medicaid expansion, a characterization McDonnell called “absolutely incorrect.” […]


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