The Law Office of
Suzan D. Herskowitz, P.L .L .C.
2971 Valley Avenue
Winchester, Virginia 22601
Licensed to practice in
Virginia, West Virginia,
Comments and observations by Suzan D. Herskowitz, P.L .L .C.
|Let the Grandparents Drive!|
posted: 2011-12-09 13:11:18
According to research at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the risk of injury to children in car crashes was 50% lower when grandparents were behind the wheel. "It was the exact opposite of what we expected to find," says Fred Henretig, lead author of the study and a staff physician in the emergency department at the hospital. "(Why) is the million-dollar question." Henretig speculates that the reason might be quite simple: "Grandparents, when they have the opportunity to interact with their grandchildren find that to be the primary focus of their time together," he says. "They're perhaps not as distracted by trying to do a million errands, or get the dinner on the table, or wonder about their response to the latest e-mail.” Thanks to Lisa Carper, Reverse Mortgage Consultant
MetLife Home Loans for this information.
|HAVE YOU PROTECTED YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY?|
posted: 2011-11-16 13:39:53
Unfortunately it's no surprise to me that 64 percent of boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — say they don't have a health care proxy or living will. I'm offering a FREE 20 minute consultation to determine how best to protect your loved ones. Don't you think they're worth it? Don't you want to protect them from the unpleasantness that not being prepared will cause them?
|Our phones February 22, 2011|
posted: 2011-02-22 11:00:11
If you are trying to reach us, we are having some difficulty with our phone lines, particularly with voice mail. It should be up and running again by tomorrow but if you call and we don't answer and you are not given the opportunity to leave a message, please try to call again later. Or send an email. I am sorry for any inconvenience.
|Federal Estate Tax Update|
posted: 2010-09-01 12:31:37
On July 14 the Senate voted down a proposal that would have permanently repealed the federal estate tax. Whether Congress will fix the upcoming predicament (Jan 1, 2011) remains to be seen. Are you prepared if they don't?
|Texas Billionaire's Estate passes tax free|
posted: 2010-07-02 09:06:27
The estate tax laws were enacted in 1916. In 1937, John D. Rockerfeller’s estate paid 70%. In 2010, however, the tax has been repealed – but for 2010 only!
Dan L. Duncan died in March 2010 with an estimated wealth of $9 billion, meaning his four children and four grandchildren will collect billions of dollars that in any other year would have been taxed and added to the United States coffers. If Mr. Duncan had died in 2009, his estate would have been subject to a tax of at least 45%. If he survived until Jan. 1, 2011, his estate would have paid 55% -- because the tax revives as of January 1, 2011.
|Should you leave gifts to your children?|
posted: 2010-06-25 13:58:22
I highly recommend this webpage on gifts to children provided to me by Shenandoah University GiftLegacy. http://su.giftlegacy.com/personal_planner.jsp?WebID=GL2010-1868&D=201026
|Changes for the Estate Tax Exemption?|
posted: 2010-05-07 13:43:03
While the estate tax exemption for 2010 is unlimited, the law is set to sunset December 31, 2010, reinstating the 2001 exemption rate of $1 million on January 1, 2011. Estate and financial planners have wondered since the current law was enacted in 2001 what would happen to the exemption and whether Congress would permit it to be reinstated at the 2001 rates in 2011. On April 22, 2010, the Senate Budget Committee passed the Democratic budget plan for fiscal year 2011, in which the estate tax is to be extended based on the 2009 exemption of $3.5 million per person for 2010 and 2011.
|Changes to Heath Care|
posted: 2010-03-26 12:03:27
While many of the new Reform Act’s provisions take effect in 2013, 2014, or later or will be gradually phased in, some provisions will become effective immediately or shortly. A few are:
*A temporary national high-risk pool will go into effect within 90 days.
*New restrictions on insurers regarding lifetime limits, excessive waiting periods (over 90 days), rescissions, and pre-existing condition exclusions for children.
*Limitations on insurers’ ability to impose annual limits on the dollar value of coverage.
*New insurance must pay the full cost of specified preventive care.
*Children can stay on their parents’ insurance policies until age 26.
*Rebates on Medicaid prescription drugs increase, retroactively effective to January 1, 2010.
*Contributions to employee flexible spending accounts will be limited to
$2,500 per year, indexed to CPI, and reimbursements for non-prescription drugs will no longer be allowed beginning January 2011.
|VA Benefits for Vietnam Vets|
posted: 2010-03-02 13:55:52
Recently the VA announced that veterans some Vietnam veterans are now eligible for benefits because the VA now assumes that all Vietnam Vets have been exposed to Agent Orange and therefore have presumptive disabilities. Based on clinical research, these diseases are on VA's Agent Orange list of presumptive disabilities. Certain monetary benefits, health care and vocational rehabilitation services may also be provided to Vietnam veterans' offspring with spina bifida. Children of female veterans who served in Vietnam are now authorized health care and monetary benefits for certain additional birth defects. Vietnam vets are entitled to a complete physical and if a disease is suspected to be Agent Orange related, medical care will be provided for free. If a spouse already died as a result of an Agent Orange condition, the surviving spouse and dependents can still file for benefits.
posted: 2010-02-15 08:42:19
Google Health allows you to store and manage all of your health information in one central place. And it's completely free. This will enable you and your family to access your health information centrally and securely. It's definitely worth checking out.
|High Cost of Funerals|
posted: 2009-10-22 13:07:46
Did you know that according to the National Funeral Director's Association a funeral costs more than $7000 and that doesn't include a cemetery plot, the burial costs, a grave marker or tombstone or flowers? Be prepared and consider pre-planning whether pre-paid or otherwise. This will save your family the time as well as the pressure to over-spend during a time of grief.
|Virginia Medical Directives and Health Care Decisions|
posted: 2009-08-03 13:56:01
VIRGINIA: New Law Effective July 1, 2009
Advance Medical Directives and Health Care Decisions Act Revisions; Senate Bill 1142 was signed into and became effective July 1, 2009. It makes significant changes to the Health Care Decisions Act and options available under Advance Medical Directives. Your current medical directive IS STILL VALID however you may wish to consult with your attorney about the options that are now available to you.
|No Social Security Cost-of-Living Increases|
posted: 2009-06-19 08:41:48
According to the Congressional Budget Office, if you receive Social Security, you will not get a cost-of-living increase (COLA) in 2010. This is the first time in 35 years that no COLA will be issued.
|National Healthcare Decisions Day|
posted: 2009-04-07 13:08:17
April 16, 2009 is National Healthcare Decisions Day. The goal of this day is that by April 16th we will all talk to our loved ones about our deaths. National Healthcare Decisions Day, which is in its second year, is a collaborative effort of national, state, and community organizations committed to ensuring that all adults with decision-making capacity have the opportunity to communicate their preferences for end-of-life care. This means getting your medical directives up to date and informing your families of your decisions concerning end-of-life matters.
|Seniors to receive stimulus payment|
posted: 2009-03-30 15:01:24
If you collect Social Security or disability benefits, you will receive a one-time, $250 payment. The payments will start being sent in May. You don't have to do anything to receive the payment. The payments will be sent separately from your regular Social Security payments. Source: CNN Political Ticker
|Only the Deceased's Estate Has to Pay the Debts|
posted: 2009-03-04 10:00:41
As reported today in the New York Times, collectors will call a decedent's family and convince them to pay the deceased's credit card bills, utility bills or any other debt they had when they died. They don't really tell you however, that you are not responsible for the debt, the deceased's estate is. I have seen this numerous times over the years, collectors praying on the bereaved. If a collector comes calling, you can just say "no" and refer them to the local court handling the estate.
For the New York Times article, see: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/business/04dead.html?th=&adxnnl=1&emc=th&adxnnlx=1236178802-urV0t3rUuLawILGRjWaSgQ
|Is your business ready for avian flu?|
posted: 2009-02-16 13:18:34
As a business owner, or as an employee of a business, do you know how your company will deal with an avian flu pandemic? Will you or your employer have a role in promoting quarantine effectiveness or preventative hygiene? Contact me for free information to assist you in insuring your business is ready (VA, WV, FL or TX only please).
|Baby Boomers Living with their Children|
posted: 2009-02-02 15:55:06
“More than 3.6 million parents lived with their adult children in 2007, according to recently released Census Bureau data, up 67 percent from 2000.”
Source: U.S. News & World Report, November 20, 2008
|Retirees are granted reprieve from mandatory withdrawals from retirement plans|
posted: 2009-01-16 14:09:31
Congress has approved legislation providing relief to retirees by allowing them to defer 401(k) and IRA withdrawals in 2009 without penalty. Unfortunately, the relief won’t help retirees for 2008. Minimum withdrawals are required for those retirees age 70-1/2 and older for the 2008 tax year despite losses most of us have experienced in the market this past year. If you have put off taking your minimum withdrawal, you must do so for 2008 or face a penalty equal to 50% of what you should have withdrawn. At least you know that for 2009, you will be able to postpone the withdrawal.
|In Memory: W. Reed Quilliam, Jr.|
posted: 2008-12-30 13:17:16
An “in memoriam” for W. Reed Quilliam, Jr. was in the December 2008 issue of The Texas Bar Journal. Reed Quilliam was a law professor of mine when I attended law school from 1983 to 1986. Professor Quilliam was, without a doubt, the number one reason I practice estate planning. He took a subject that, for some, is dull as dirt, and made it so interesting, I could not fathom practicing outside of this field. Professor Quilliam was not only an excellent teacher, he was a very gracious man. So for this blog entry, I hope that you will indulge me for re-printing the obituary of this man from The Texas Bar Journal. “Quilliam, 79, of Lubbock, died July 14, 2008. He received his law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and was admitted to the Texas Bar in 1953. He was a private practitioner. He served as a state representative for four terms, representing Lubbock County. He was a professor of law at Texas Tech University School of Law from 1969 until his retirement in 1995. He was an associate dean of the law school and a visiting professor at Southern Methodist University and Pepperdine University schools of law. He served for a year as executive director of the State Bar of Texas. He wrote a history of the Texas Tech Law School, which was published in 2006. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1953 to 1955. He is survived by his son, W. Reed Quilliam III of Lubbock; a daughter, Kathryn Quilliam Reeves of Lubbock; and three grandchildren.”
|Average daily cost of nursing home in 2008|
posted: 2008-12-15 14:01:38
According to AARP, the average daily cost of a semi-private nursing home room this year was $191. That's $69715 a year!
|Prenups and Marriage|
posted: 2008-12-10 12:52:45
According to AARP, the number of second and third marriages, as well as first marriages later in life, is growing and that population controls 72% of the nation’s net worth. Yet, in a 2007 survey taken by Thompson West (legal information company), 41% of respondents said they would likely refuse to sign a prenuptial agreement. Another 41% said they would probably agree to sign. The remaining respondents were unsure what to do.
Prenups can be a valuable tool to use with second marriages in addition to wills and trusts.
|Older Folks Should Be Allowed to Have a Say in Their Health Treatment|
posted: 2008-11-24 00:00:00
Yale University researchers have determined that older people do indeed have opinions about their health and treatment and that doctors should encourage their older patients to speak up.
As reported in Reuters, lead researcher Dr. Terri Fried said giving older patients ""this kind of active role in treatment decisions means more customized outcomes for patients".
Not surprisingly, the researchers discovered that providing this active role may enable doctors and patients to choose treatment that will suit the patient's life rather than an individual health problem.
Source: Reuters Health (13 November 2008)