TIS THE GIFT

TIS THE GIFT

By Tim Barkley. December 2015. The text message was from Susan: “How much can my fiancé’s mom give away in a year?” I called her back. Some things are best handled in person. “What’s up?” “Thanks for calling right back! My fiancé’s mom wants to give money to her kids before the end of the year so she can get a tax write-off. I knew there was a limit of $10,000 or something. And Bobby’s worried about how much tax he’ll have to pay on what he...

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FUNDING LONG-TERM CARE

FUNDING LONG-TERM CARE

By Tim Barkley. June 2014. Long-term care. Nursing homes. Adult daycare. Resented symbols of helplessness foisted on a generation of Americans who all their lives have prided themselves on self-sufficiency and independence. No one wants to think of herself helpless and dependent, for an indeterminate time powerless and vulnerable in the hands of others. Sometimes family can rally ‘round and care for the frail elder parent, but even then a...

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GIVE IT ALL AWAY!

GIVE IT ALL AWAY!

By Tim Barkley. May 2014. Mom and Susan flanked the lawyer, who addressed Mom: “If I recall correctly, Susan and I had discussed making sure you qualify for Medicaid by giving investments to the kids. Is that what you want to talk about?” Susan assented, “Mom and I talked, and she agreed that the nursing home shouldn’t have everything. She said she and Dad had worked hard to get what they have, and she wants it to go to us kids.” The...

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TANSTAFFL

TANSTAFFL

By Tim Barkley. April 2014. Susan sat across from the table and leafed through a manila file folder. “What do you need to know?” “Well, to figure out whether and when Mom might qualify for Medicaid,” replied the lawyer, “we need to know what she owns and what it’s worth. “There are two basic categories of assets: Exempt and Countable.” He stood up, went to the whiteboard in the corner, and wrote the titles boldly, underlining each....

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FREE RIDE

FREE RIDE

By Tim Barkley. March 2014. Susan caught the lawyer by his elbow in the restaurant. “I thought that was you. Can I ask you a question?” “Sure,” he replied, “what’s on your mind?” “I was talking to a friend who told me that we should put Mom’s houses and money in a trust so that a nursing home won’t take everything.” “Here’s the scoop,” the lawyer told her....

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