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January, 2017
 
HAPPY 2017!!!
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It seems like last week we celebrated the turn of the century, worrying all the computers would crash, and now its 2017. Before we know it - the roaring 20's all over again! We hope you had an amazing 2016 and may 2017 bring you joy.
Lifespan Strategies
Lifespan Strategies is a resource website for everyday life. We hope you will take a moment to check it out.
There is also a Flip Board magazine.
2017 Estate Tax Exclusion Amount Increasing
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The IRS has announced that the basic federal estate tax exclusion amount for the estates of decedents dying during calendar year 2017 will be $5.49 million, up from $5.45 million for calendar year 2016.

Also, if the executor chooses to use the special use valuation method for qualified real property, the aggregate decrease in the value of the property resulting from the choice cannot exceed $1,120,000, up from $1,110,000 for 2016.

The increase in the estate tax exclusion means that the lifetime tax exclusion for gifts will also rise to $5.49 million, as will the generation-skipping transfer tax exemption. The annual gift tax exclusion will remain at $14,000 for 2017.

For details on many of these and other inflation adjustments to tax benefits, go to:  https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-drop/rp-16-55.pdf

Remember that Washin gton State's estate tax exclusion amount differs from the federal amount.  An important factor to keep in mind when planning your estate.

Social Security and Medicare Part B Increases for 2017
Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits will increase 0.3 percent in 2017.  The 0.3 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) will begin with benefits payable to more than 60 million Social Security beneficiaries in January 2017.  Increased payments to more than 8 million SSI beneficiaries began on December 30, 2016.  The Social Security Act ties the annual COLA to the increase in the Consumer Price Index as determined by the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.  The Social Security Act provides for how the COLA is calculated.

In the new year, the standard Medicare Part B premium amount will be $134 (or higher depending on your income).  However, most people who get Social Security benefits will pay less than this amount.  This is because the Part B premium increased more than the cost-of-living increase for 2017 Social Security benefits.  If you pay your Part B premium from your monthly Social Security payment, your monthly premium can go no higher than the increase you receive to your monthly Social Security benefit.  Social Security will tell you the exact amount you will pay for Part B in 2017. 

Most Social Security beneficiaries will not see a reduction in their 2016 monthly benefit amount because of the increase in the Medicare Part B premium.  This is because the Social Security Act contains a "hold harmless" provision that protects most beneficiaries. The amount of the benefit payable between 2016 and 2017 will stay the same even though the Medicare Part B premium increases.

To learn more about Medicare Part B costs go to Medicare at the Medicare webpage.

More Services
We also offer assistance with long-term care insurance reviews, reverse mortgage advice and counseling, and pet and gun trusts
We encourage each of you to keep up to date with the latest legal news and issues by visiting our website. Additionally, don't hesitate to contact our office with questions or to schedule a consultation.

Sincerely,
John Hugg & Staff
Hugg & Associates, PLLC

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Some Favorite Blogs & Sites
Want to keep up on news which relates to everyday life?  Check out our Flipboard magazine.  http://flip.it/GqcZJ 
 
There is a new government website Business Healthcare that offers employers information and educational materials on how the Affordable Care Act will affect their businesses.   Among other things, the site provides businesses with content on tax credits and other provisions in the law.   The site can help you learn how to provide affordable coverage options to your employees.
 
Protect the seniors in your family from scams and con artist! The FBI Scams page keeps you informed of the latest outrageous scams.

Keep up to date on the latest Washington news, including protecting seniors, from the Washington State Attorney General

Read articles from one of our favorite law blogs, Above the Law. Irreverent and timely, the blog will entertain and inform you.

Resources:

 

 

American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) 

 

Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)

 


National Association of Elder Law Attorneys

 

Hugg & Associates, PLLC |    shelli @jmhugglegal.com | http://www.jmhugglegal.com