Choosing Retirement Account Beneficiaries Requires Some Thought

While the execution of wills requires formalities like witnesses and a notary, the reality is that most property passes to heirs through other, less formal means. Many bank and investments accounts, as well as real estate, have joint owners who take ownership automatically at the death of the primary owner. […]


Why You Should Use an Attorney for Medicaid Planning

Many seniors and their families don’t use a lawyer to plan for long-term care or Medicaid, often because they’re afraid of the cost. But an attorney can help you save money in the long run as well as make sure you are getting the best care for your loved one. […]


Proving That a Transfer Was Not Made in Order to Qualify for Medicaid

Medicaid law imposes a penalty period if you transferred assets within five years of applying, but what if the transfers had nothing to do with Medicaid? It is difficult to do, but if you can prove you made the transfers for a purpose other than to qualify for Medicaid, you […]


Be on the Lookout for New Medicare Cards (and New Card-Related Scams)

The federal government is issuing new Medicare cards to all Medicare beneficiaries. To prevent fraud and fight identity theft, the new cards will no longer have beneficiaries’ Social Security numbers on them. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is replacing each beneficiary’s Social Security number with a unique identification […]


Patience is Prudent

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) of 2017, passed at year end, has been called the most extensive tax legislation in more than 30 years. It’s certainly far reaching, covering individual income taxes, business income taxes, and estate taxes. The new law has many tax saving opportunities as well […]


Know Your True Tax Rate

It has been widely reported that the TCJA lowers federal income tax rates for many people. The highest tax rate, for example, has fallen from 39.6% to 37%. Many people who are in lower brackets also stand to benefit. Example 1: Alice Young had $100,000 of taxable income in 2017. […]


Rethinking Retirement Contributions

The TCJA generally lowered federal income tax rates, with some exceptions. Among the ways in which lower rates impact tax planning, they make unmatched contributions to traditional employer retirement plans less attractive. Example 1: Chet Taylor has around $100,000 in taxable income a year. Chet contributed $12,000 to his company’s […]


Regard Roth Conversions Carefully

The article “Rethinking retirement contributions” explains why the new TCJA devalues putting money into traditional tax-deferred plans and favors Roth versions. Does the same reasoning apply to conversions from Roth to traditional accounts? From a tax viewpoint, the answer may be yes, but other factors indicate you should be cautious […]


Are State and Local Taxes Reasons for Relocation?

As many people are all too aware, some states and localities impose higher income and property taxes than others. Residents of high tax areas may have taken some solace by itemizing deductions on their tax returns and reducing federal income tax obligations by deducting the taxes paid. Example: Jennifer Knight […]


Positive Prognosis for Medical Deductions

Many miscellaneous itemized deductions, including unreimbursed employee business expenses (see the CPA Client Bulletin, February 2018), no longer can be used to reduce your income, starting with 2018 tax returns. Some observers predicted a similar demise for medical and dental expenses. As it turned out, these deductions not only were […]