AdobeStock_34525943-300x200What’s the secret to happiness?

Not sure there are any secrets, but there appears to be a formula. By studying happy people, researchers have been able to find common traits and links between them. This is good news for us! It means we can take steps to actively increase our happiness. Who doesn’t want that?!

We can choose to age gracefully and happily by focusing on these six things:

By Paul Czepiga

AdobeStock_182906497-300x193We wrote not too long ago about some Connecticut estate tax changes that occurred due to legislation passed in October 2017. That legislation tied the Connecticut gift and estate tax exemption to the federal exemption amount.

The federal exemption amount was, at the time that Connecticut tied it self to it, $5.49 million. Unexpectedly in December 2017, just two months after Connecticut’s change, as part of President Trump’s tax overhaul, the federal exemption amount suddenly increased to $11.18 million.

AdobeStock_71412567-300x194States, including Connecticut, are looking for loopholes to soften the impact of a new $10,000 cap on the state and local tax deduction also known as SALT.  And the IRS wants to put a stop to local governments using creative workarounds.

In the meantime, in response to the reform, Connecticut legislature passed a new law making several state and local changes. Two of its provisions are designed as workarounds to SALT:

  1. The first provision is a new entity-level income tax on most pass-through businesses that is offset by a state personal or corporation income tax credit for the entity’s members. Because entity-level taxes remain deductible at the federal level, pass-through businesses will be able to claim this new state tax as a deductible expense against their federal taxes and pass along the benefit of the deduction to their members.
  2. The second provision is that municipalities will be allowed to provide a property tax credit to eligible taxpayers who make voluntary payments to municipally-approved nonprofits (i.e. community supporting organization) and is designed to allow taxpayers that make these payment to claim a federal contribution deduction for the donation to the nonprofit.

But the IRS, in Notice 2018-54, published May 23, 2018, stated it intends to propose regulations addressing the federal income tax treatment of transfers to funds controlled by state and local governments (or other state-specified transferees) that the transferor can treat in whole or in part as satisfying state and local tax obligations.

The proposed regulations will make clear that the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, informed by substance-over-form principles, govern the federal income tax treatment of such transfers. The proposed regulations will assist taxpayers in understanding the relationship between the federal charitable contribution deduction and the new statutory limitation on the deduction for state and local tax payments.

The SALT wars have begun! Stayed tuned to see how it plays out.

 

AdobeStock_158377229-300x200No one looks forward to applying for Medicaid. It’s a complex and grueling process, the rules are always changing, and there are so many things that can go wrong.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, there are companies that are only too willing to take advantage of this situation. These companies claim to be able to process your Medicaid application at a low cost.  But these non-attorneys may cause their customers great harm – putting Medicaid applicants at risk for a number of serious issues including denial of eligibility, severe tax liability, loss of spousal assets and other situations that may threaten the client’s life savings and other assets.

Often it is the nursing home that refers Medicaid applicants to these companies, so there is the very real possibility of a conflict of interest.

AdobeStock_77977180-300x200By E. Jennifer Reale

“This is the last thing Mom and Dad would have wanted” – one of the most common sentences I hear when representing clients in contested probate litigation.

When a Will or a trust or even the actions of a trustee are challenged, there often is what we call an extensive discovery, which brings to light personal information that you’d rather not go public.

iStock_000016746886Small-300x300Gifting money is a nice thing to do for a friend or family member, but—as the saying goes—no good deed goes unpunished. If you’re not careful, your gift could turn out to be subject to the federal gift tax of up to 40%.

In part one of this series, we covered the annual and lifetime exclusions as well as lifetime exclusion on the first $11.2 million of your estate. We also talked briefly about the Connecticut state gift tax—the only one in the country—and which kinds of gifts are exempt from the tax.

In this second part of the series, we’re going to look at which kinds of gifts are subject to the gift tax, including gifts to minors.


AdobeStock_86244892-300x237By Lynda Lee Arnold

Do you know about the new Connecticut MOLST form?

Maintaining control over medical care can be challenging in the best circumstances, but we face even more layers of complexity when dealing with the physical and emotional challenges of serious, life-limiting illness or advanced progressive frailty.

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Heart in woman hands. Love giving, care, health, protection concept

Dementia, whether caused by Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s or some other disease, creates a very particular and emotionally fraught set of challenges for both patients and caregivers. When you’re navigating your way through this heartbreaking landscape of gradual memory loss, impaired reasoning, and personality changes, you need all the support you can get. You may be surprised to learn about one valuable resource that is too often overlooked – hospice.

Our previous post Hospice and Dementia: Not What You Might Assume, explored some specific ways hospice can help. This piece will talk about its benefits and when you should reach out to hospice.

Angels-300x214By Carol Frances, Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri

Hospice care is misunderstood. I want to spread the news to all caregivers of loved ones with dementia, that this support system (provided, in my opinion, by angels) may not be what you assume.

When my mom fell at the dementia unit of a California assisted living facility, her physician ordered hospice care. I was confused why she did this as although my mom was certainly declining – she needed help being fed, which is not uncommon for people with advancing dementia – she wasn’t near dying and could still talk and walk.

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