Florida Estate Planning & Elder Law E Newsletter  
January  2016
Message from our Attorneys

We trust that 2015 was a good year for you and your loved ones, and we wish you an even better 2016. On the world stage, we've had some turbulent times. Here's hoping the new year is a more tranquil one, at home and abroad.

Again, we want to remind our "snowbird" clients who need to consult with us to phone us promptly for an appointment. That way, we can be sure to see you before you leave again, as well as complete any work that may be necessary.

Happy New Year!  
Joseph S. Karp
Joseph S. Karp
Genny Bernstein
Ge nny Bernstein
Adele S. Harris
Adele S. Harris
Brad Henry
Rachel G. Zetouni
Chad Steskal

In This Issue
Senior Survival Workshops
We have a full schedule of estate planning workshops in 2016, starting in January. Please let your friends and neighbors know about these valuable events. There is no cost to attend!
When the state decides who gets your stuff
State law governs who gets your assets if you die without a valid estate plan. Unfortunately, those laws can result in a windfall for the very last people you'd want to get your money! That is a reality that Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman is learning first-hand.

Alzheimer's Educational Conference
The Karp Law Firm will be at the 19th annual Alzheimer's Educational Conference, March 17-18 at the Palm Beach County Convention Center. Caregivers and professionals alike can benefit from attending. Among this year's speakers is Dr. Kenneth Kosik, co-author of   The Alzheimer's Solution

Spouses should rethink Social Security strategies
With two key Social Security leveraging strategies now eliminated, married couples must re-think about how to squeeze the most from their benefits. This New York Times article highlights the issues to consider.

New: Health Care Surrogate can protect your minor child
Last year Florida introduced the "Health Care Surrogate for a Minor," a legal vehicle allowing parents to empower someone to make health care decisions for their child if the parent/guardian cannot do so. We encourage all our clients with minor children to contact us to establish this document. 

Speakers Bureau
Our attorneys can make presentations on a variety of topics to your civic, business or social organization. Please contact Debbie Karp to discuss your needs. She can be reached at dkarp@karplaw.com or 561-472-6062. 
Oops - missed the IRA distribution deadline?
Don't wait around for the IRS to discover that you've failed to take your required distribution. You may be able to avoid the penalty if you promptly submit a request for a waiver.

Feds fine-tuning ABLE rules
Thanks to the passage of ABLE legislation, a disabled person who has an ABLE account may accumulate savings above the current cap of $2,000, yet still qualify for federal benefits. Accounts will be available in Florida sometime in 2016. In the meantime, the IRS is fine-tuning the federal regulations.

Co-ownership no panacea for Medicaid eligibility
If you make someone a co-owner of your asset, is that asset protected if you apply for Medicaid benefits? The answer is no. There are other disadvantages to co-ownership, too. This recent Palm Beach Post article explains.   

"We've got to talk about it!"
"It" is how aging family members would like to be cared for as they age. That quote is from 89-year-old Phyllis Sabatini, who along with her family is featured in From Nine to Ninety, a touching documentary soon to air nationwide. Our local Florida PBS station, WXEL, will broadcast the program on Thursday, January 7 at 9:30 p.m.   

How to prove Florida residency for tax purposes
Have you moved to Florida to avoid another state's harsh tax climate? It takes more than a Florida address to get that burden off your back and bask in our state's tax perks. Here's how to do it.  

Sitting on savings bonds?
Have old U.S. Savings Bonds sitting around?  Planning to leave them to someone? The Treasury has detailed rules regarding bond redemption as well as the treatment of bonds when they are inherited.