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Articles Tagged with saratoga elder law

Prince & Tidal

After the death of a musician, we commonly hear about battles between the estate of deceased artists and various music companies, regarding the royalties to a deceased artist’s work, who now owns it, and who is entitled to receive royalties now that the artist is no longer alive. The Estate of music legend Prince has faced a number of legal issues while trying to determine inheritance as well as ownership of music and rights. The music streaming platform Tidal, started by rapper Jay-Z, had the exclusive rights to stream Prince’s last album, however, Tidal is now being sued by the estate for illegally streaming all of Prince’s albums on the platform streaming site. Shortly after Prince passed away, Tidal started streaming the entire catalogue of music, expanding it from the 90 day exclusivity clause it had for the one album.

Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones & Sony Productions

Spendthrift trusts are a type of irrevocable trust in which the grantor seeks to leave property or assets to a beneficiary, under the terms they outline, by which the beneficiary cannot alter, because they have no legal claim to the trust property. An irrevocable trust is a type of trust by which the beneficiary cannot modify the terms of the trust without the first obtaining the permission of the grantor.

Irrevocable trusts allow the grantor to create this trust document in which they transfer their rights to the property into the trust and the trustee, a third party manager of the trust, now technically holds legal title, until the trust allows for vestment in the beneficiaries. Beneficiaries are not the only ones who lack control in these trust situations; in an irrevocable trust, once it is created, the grantor cannot undo the trust to obtain title to the property without first getting the consent of the trustee and beneficiaries.

When To Use a Spendthrift Trust

NEW YORK PROTECTIONS

Many people are leary about purchasing a pre-paid funeral. This blog discussed some of the issues common to prepaid funerals. In 2002, the American Association of Retired People (AARP) issued a consumer “scam alert” warning people to preplan but not prepay for their funerals. Indeed, often this is good advice. What really should be discussed and should be planned for and paid for is an irrevocable prepaid funeral fund.

It will not render a person ineligible for Medicaid, as Medicaid treats irrevocable trusts as an exempt asset. Some prepaid funeral plans incur account maintenance fees or various other unforeseen problems could result from prepaying for a funeral. It is important to note, however, that New York has some of the strongest consumer protection laws in place for prepaid funerals. Most specifically, the law requires that the money be put into an individual account – as opposed to an account for all of the individuals who prepay for their funeral through a particular funeral director or funeral home – that is both interest bearing and insured, which remains the property of the consumer. If the funds are in a revocable account, the consumer may request a full refund at any time. The funeral home or funeral director also ensures that the consumer receives a notice of what bank the funds are held in and as well as a statement of any interested earned.

GOLDEN LIVING CENTER SEEKING TO FORCE ARBITRATION

On December 18, 2015, national long term care facility operator, Golden Living Centers filed a writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court to review a decision of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued on October 27, 2015. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined that the arbitration agreement was void due to reliance on the National Arbitration Forum as the exclusive arbitrator.

The National Arbitration Forum, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, no longer accepts consumer cases pursuant a consent decree with Minnesota Attorney General, Lori Swanson. According to Plaintiff’s counsel (the prevailing party), the Pennsylvania Supreme Court also noted a distorted “lopsided balance of power” between the “far less sophisticated non-drafting party” and the national corporation. As such, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court implicitly framed the matter as a consumer contract, which creates further complications for the Defendant corporation. Consumer contracts are governed by a whole different set of rules and regulations, such as Regulation Z which grants consumers a three day right of rescission on all consumer contracts. Regulation Z controls in timeshare purchases and home refinance loans, so the idea that it would control in nursing home contracts is not a far stretch of existing law.

On December 19, 2014 President Obama signed into law a number of tax and financial measures to extend certain tax benefits. More specifically, the legislation enacted the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2013, which amends section 529(e) of the United States Tax Code, to allow for tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. Almost a year later, almost to the day, both the Federal government and New York state both acted to expand the coverage under the ABLE Act. Prior to the most recent change, ABLE accounts had to be located in the same jurisdiction as the beneficiary.

The law also required state laws enabling such savings accounts. If the state did not have such enabling legislation, individuals in that state would not be able to set up such an account. On December 18, 2015, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the New York Achieving a Better Life Experience (NY ABLE) Act allowing for such savings accounts in New York. On the same day that Governor Cuomo signed the NY ABLE Act, President Obama signed another spending bill that contained, among other things, legislative changes to the ABLE Act. More specifically, sections 302 and 303 of the bill allows for changes in what purchases or expenditures are permitted under the ABLE Act and allowed for beneficiaries to have such accounts in jurisdictions different than the one that they live in.

While one might reasonably believe that the NY ABLE Act is now not necessary, it still has much value as it allows for such accounts to exist within the state and thus subject to the various protections afforded under New York law. It would also draw in capital from other jurisdictions that do not have ABLE Act enabling legislation. All of these measures are part of an expansion of the laws that allow for the financial protections for financial and estate planning for those with special needs. Previous to the PATH Act, individuals with special needs who had savings accounts or other assets over a certain amount (generally, $2,000) would possibly be disqualified from certain governmental benefits. Savings in a PATH Act account will not jeopardize these benefits or eligibility for benefits.

A home equity conversion mortgage, or reverse mortgage, is a lending option that gives qualified homeowners the ability access the equity in their home. The benefits of a reverse mortgage include the ability to access a regular stream of funds or access to a line of credit when you need additional funds for life’s many unexpected events. However, reverse mortgages do have risks that you need to consider.

How a Reverse Mortgage Works

A reverse mortgage is designed to make payments to you from the unencumbered value of your home, which is the difference between the appraised value and the loan balance on your home. After you obtain a reverse mortgage, you will receive a lump sum or monthly payments from your lender; provided, however, you remain in the house and use it as your primary residence. If you have an existing mortgage, you may have to pay the balance of that mortgage as part of obtaining a reverse mortgage, but you will otherwise not have to make payments on the reverse mortgage until you sell the home or stop using the home as your primary residence. When you pass away, the lender will be paid upon the sale of the home.

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