Medicaid Divorce and Asset Protection

As more elderly couples face the need for significant medical care, they are also looking to protect their assets in the event one of them becomes incapacitated and requires nursing home care. This has spawned a new term: “Medicaid divorce.”

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Will a “Divorce Mortgage” Become a Reality in the U.S.?

With more senior couples divorcing, those who wish to keep the house may have the answer to their prayers provided it makes its way this side of the Atlantic: the “divorce mortgage.”

The concept is catching on in the U.K., according to an article in the British paper The Telegraph. As in the U.S., many senior couples in the U.K. are untying the knot, with 28% of them selling their home after the split, according to Nationwide. Another 13% have moved into a smaller house and 8% are now renting an apartment.

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Assembly Proposes Bill to Codify Foreclosure Mediation Program

A group of New Jersey Assembly members recently proposed legislation which, they said, is designed to help reduce the number of foreclosures in the state and allow homeowners to keep their homes.

The Union News Daily is reporting that Assembly members Mila Jasey, Jerry Green, Jamel Holley and Elizabeth Muoio have drafted a bill that would codify the state’s Foreclosure Mediation Program, with the goal of improving New Jersey’s housing market. Under the bill, at the time the homeowner receives notice of intention to foreclose, they must also receive notice allowing them the option to take part in the Foreclosure Mediation Program. When the mortgage foreclosure complaint is filed, the homeowner must again receive notice of the option to participate in the program. In addition, the bill would authorize eligible homeowners to submit a request to schedule a mediation session with the lender.

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Think Tank Urges Seniors to Look to Reverse Mortgages as Part of Retirement Plan

With what he sees as today’s seniors being “home-rich” but “cash-poor,” G. William Hoagland, senior vice president of the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), suggested that seniors look outside traditional forms of retirement planning and start thinking about reverse mortgages, according to an article from Reverse Mortgage Daily.

Speaking before a policy forum hosted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, Mr. Hoagland said the untapped home equity could provide senior homeowners with the financial resources that they need to set themselves up for retirement. “Home equity, we think, is underutilized in retirement planning,” he said.

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Taxation and DOMA

The United States Supreme Court has handed down its much-anticipated decision on the fate of Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the ruling has many implications for taxpayers. The Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA in Windsor v. U.S., June 26, 2013, opening the door for the federal government to extend to same-sex married couples the same benefits available to opposite-sex married couples, including a host of tax-related benefits.

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DDD and Medicaid

If a recipient needs services from the Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD), that recipient must qualify for Medicaid.   The changes enacted have affected many DDD recipients.

Any new DDD application is required to meet the functional criteria and have Medicaid eligibility before they can begin receiving any services. If a person already receives DDD benefits but has not secured Medicaid, that individual must become Medicaid eligible to ensure continuation of current services and prior to receiving any new service.

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New Jersey Estate Tax

In New Jersey, any estate larger than $675,000 is subject to the New Jersey Estate Tax.

A New Jersey estate tax return, Form IT Estate, must be filed if the decedent’s gross estate plus adjusted taxable gifts exceeds $675,000 within 9 months of date of death. The New Jersey estate tax is either the maximum credit for state inheritance, estate, succession or legacy taxes allowable under the provisions of the Internal Revenue Code in effect on December 31, 2001 (this is called the “Form 706 Method”), or an amount determined pursuant to the Simplified Tax System prescribed by the Director, Division of Taxation (this is called the “Simplified Form Method”).

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Social Media and Texts as Evidence

Typically, a victim in a Domestic Violence matter wants to introduce threatening texts or facebook posts. They bring no documentary evidence with them, only it is on the person’s cell phone. In New Jersey, the permanent restraining order date is set for 10 days after the entry of the temporary restraining order.   What is a Judge supposed to do.   Have the victim read the material on the cell phone.

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Miller Trusts

Effective December 1, 2014, in order to qualify for Medicaid, the applicant whose income exceeds the monthly income cap under the Medicaid program must create a Miller Trust. The excess monthly income is essentially placed into a self-created Miller Trust and paid directly to the nursing home each month by the designated trustee.

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