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Are Trusts Still Useful If the Estate Tax Is Repealed?

With Republicans in control of Congress and the presidency, there is talk of eliminating the federal estate tax, which in 2017 affects estates over $5.49 million. This begs the question: With no estate tax, do you still need a trust? While trusts can be used to shelter assets from the estate tax, trusts have many other valuable estate planning uses. A trust is a legal arrangement through which...

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New Protections for Nursing Home Residents

New Obama-era rules designed to give nursing home residents more control of their care are gradually going into effect. The rules give residents more options regarding meals and visitation as well as make changes to discharge and grievance procedures. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid finalized the rules — the first comprehensive update to nursing home regulations since 1991 — in...

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Study Finds That Social Security Workers Often Provide Incomplete Information

Americans are misinformed about many aspects of Social Security, and local Social Security offices may not be helping, according to a study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The study found that the Social Security field offices often did not provide key information that would help people make well-informed decisions about when to file for benefits. Deciding on the right time and the...

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Short-Term Care Insurance: An Alternative to the Long-Term Care Variety

A little-known insurance option can be an answer for some people who might need care but are unable to buy long-term care insurance. Short-term care insurance provides coverage for nursing home or home care for one year or less. As long-term care premiums rise, short-term care insurance is gaining in popularity. This type of insurance is generally cheaper than its long-term care counterpart...

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Hospitals Now Must Provide Notice About Observation Status

All hospitals must now give Medicare recipients notice when they are in the hospital under observation status. The notice requirement is part of a law enacted in 2015 but that just took effect. Signed by President Obama in August 2015, the law was intended to prevent surprises after a Medicare beneficiary spends days in a hospital under “observation” and is then admitted to a nursing home....

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Is It Better to Use Joint Ownership or a Trust to Pass Down a Home?

When leaving a home to your children, you can avoid probate by using either joint ownership or a revocable trust, but which is the better method? If you add your child as a joint tenant on your house, you will each have an equal ownership interest in the property. If one joint tenant dies, his or her interest immediately ceases to exist and the other joint tenant owns the entire property. This...

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