Calling all Generous Gift-Givers!

Calling all generous gift-givers!

Are you considering gifting cash, stocks, or property to loved ones this holiday season?  If so, then you’ll definitely want to know that the annual gift tax exclusion for 2018 is rising from $14,000 (where it has been for the past five years) to $15,000.

This means that anyone who gives away $15,000 or less to anyone other than their spouse doesn’t have to report the gift or gifts to the IRS (though you’ll still have to file a gift tax return).

With the increase in the gift tax, the amount you can give to an ABLE account. (INvestABLE Indiana) is also increasing to $15,000. ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities and their families to save money in designated accounts for disability related expenses without jeopardizing their eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other government benefits.

There are so many ways to create a legacy of generosity.

Let us know if we can help.


 

Nuvo “Best of Indy” 2017

Thank you to the readers of Nuvo Newsweekly for choosing our office as an honoree in the “Best Attorney” category for their 2014 “Best of Indy” Issue.  This public recognition means so much to us.

Thank you for inviting us into your adoption journeys, your estate planning and care planning conversations, your celebrations, and even your disappointments.

It is our privilege to advocate for you.

Be the Boss

Be the boss.

We know that most people don’t particularly relish estate planning conversations.

But wouldn’t you prefer to be in charge of naming the trusted loved ones to care for your kids, manage your healthcare, help with your finances, and settle your estate?

We can help you be the boss.

Give us a call and we’ll help you contemplate your mortality (and your estate planning choices) as painlessly as possible.

How to Sign Documents as a Power of Attorney

Have you been appointed as “Attorney-in-Fact” by a loved one in a financial Power of Attorney? If so, then you know that this job isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, it carries quite a bit of responsibility with it.

If you’re signing a legal document on behalf of someone else, always remember to indicate that you are acting under the POA authority in your signature.

For example, if you’re Jane Smith empowered as the agent for Dorothy Smith, you might sign either as: 
“Dorothy Smith by Jane Smith under Power of Attorney” or “Jane Smith, attorney-in-fact for Dorothy Smith.”

It’s important to be clear that you aren’t  signing for yourself but are, instead, signing for the principal. If you just sign your own name, it’s possible that you could be held personally accountable for anything you sign.  Always be mindful that your signature clearly conveys that you are signing in a representative capacity and are not signing personally,

Questions about Power of Attorney documents? Give us a call.

We can help.

New Law Gives Grandparents Notice About Adoptions

Is your family considering a stepparent or a kinship adoption?

If so, you should be aware of House Enrolled Act 1245, which took effect in Indiana on July 1st, 2017.

This new law requires certain classes of grandparents to be notified of adoption proceedings.  Perhaps not surprisingly, there is already a healthy amount of debate and varying interpretation surrounding it.  If you would like to learn more about this legislation, you may do so here.

We will be following caselaw and debate on this issue closely.   In the meantime, if your family has any questions about kinship adoption, let us know.

We can help.

INvestABLE Indiana-Giving those with disabilities the ability to save

To all your abilities, now add the ability to save.

As of July 27th, 2017, ABLE accounts are open for enrollment in Indiana.

INvestABLE Indiana was created in response to the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE) of 2014, which allows people with disabilities and their families to save for many daily disability expenses on a tax deferred basis without limiting their ability to benefit from SSI, Medicaid, and other federal programs.

Who is eligible to open an ABLE account through INvestABLE Indiana?
You can open an account for yourself, or an authorized person can open one for
you if:

-You were diagnosed with a disability before the age of 26; and
-One of the following is true:
1.   You experience blindness as defined by the Social Security Act; or
2.  You’re eligible to receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) or
have a similarly severe disability and can provide a written diagnosis from a
licensed doctor..

What are Qualified Disability Expenses?
These are any expenses that:
-are incurred at a time when the Account owner is an Eligible Individual
-relate to the blindness or disability of the Account Owner
-are for the benefit of the Account owner in maintaining or bettering his or
her health, independence, or quality of life.

Some (but not all) Qualified Expenses include things like education, health, housing, transportation, legal fees, employment training, assistive technology, basic living expenses, and end of life expenses.

Want  to learn more about opening an account for yourself or for a loved one through INvestABLE Indiana?   Give us a call or learn more about investment options and where to begin here.

Stasia is thrilled to serve on the board of the Indiana ABLE Authority, which has helped bring this legislation to life in Indiana.

News/Community Involvement

As an extension of her law practice, Stasia regularly performs at musical events benefitting local organizations who support elders and individuals with special needs.

“Pam’s Party: A Joy’s House Open House” will be held on the evening of Thursday, July 27th @ 6:30pm at Joy’s House in Broad Ripple Village. It’s a celebration to honor caregivers and Guest/potential new Guests.

This open house is free to attend, but you may wish to bring cash for supper and activities, which will be available for purchase.

Hope to see you there!

 

Signed, Sealed Delivered-the Future of Executing Estate Planning Documents

Signed, sealed, and delivered.

One of our wonderful clients just presented us with a new sushi pen for our ever-expanding collection when he signed his estate planning documents this week.

Signed,Sealed,Delivered

But will we always need our fancy and fun pens for this job? Maybe not.

The Indiana Legislature is currently considering a bill that would allow the electronic signature of estate planning documents.

This bill is the topic of hot debate at the moment. Online legal providers such as LegalZoom are focusing on the convenience aspect.

Other practitioners (us included) see some potential benefits, but are concerned with the very real possibility of undue influence and potential difficulties with ensuring proper and personalized drafting/witnessing/execution of documents, especially for our most vulnerable clients..

What do you think of electronic execution of estate planning documents? Opportunity? Headache? Or both?

March is Disability Awareness Month

Did you know that slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population is represented by adults and kids with disabilities?

March is Disability Awareness Month in Indiana and we’re especially appreciative of this year’s campaign theme- “I’m Not Your Inspiration.”

Often, people with disabilities who are successful, athletic, employed, or simply good neighbors are put in the spotlight as inspiration to others.   This year’s campaign theme emphasizes that people with disabilities are people first-people who want to be fully included in their communities, just like everyone else.

You can learn more about Disability Awareness Month here.

Questions about planning for your loved one with disabilities?

We can help.

disability awareness month

News/Community Involvement

We are so pleased (and proud) to announce that Stasia has been appointed by the Indiana Governor’s Office to serve on the Board for the Achieving a Better Life Experience Program (ABLE.)

The ABLE Act was signed into law in March of 2016 and will allow certain people with disabilities and their families the opportunity to contribute to a tax-exempt savings account that can be used for health care needs and other designated resources that promote independence and quality of life.

The mission of the Indiana Able Authority Board is to help develop and implement a qualified ABLE program for individuals with disabilities in the State of Indiana.

We applaud the members of the Indiana State Legislature for their support of the ABLE Act.   It is a critical strategy to providing a pathway to a better economic future for all people with disabilities.

Stasia is thrilled to have the opportunity to help champion ABLE in our community.

Questions about estate planning, guardianship, or long term care planning for your loved one with special needs?

We can help.

ABLE appointment certificate