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The Attorneys (Janna Dutton, Kathryn Casey, Helen Mesoloras, and Hanny Pei) and Staff (Betty Rodriguez, Pat Sandifer, Julie Dow, and Erin Vogt) of Dutton & Casey



Wish You ... 

 New Hopes

New Aspirations

New Opportunities


New Joys in 2013


Make a New Year's Resolution That You Will Keep!



Create Your Estate Plan....., or if You Already Have One, Review It.


Basic Components of an Estate Plan are:


~Revocable, also called a Living Trust- a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for another person, called a "beneficiary." The rules or instructions under which the trustee operates are set out in the trust instrument. There can be a number of advantages to establishing a trust, depending on the individual situation.


~Will- for the management and distribution of your property after your death.


~Power of Attorney for Property- appointing someone to handle your finances in the event you are not able to.


~Power of Attorney for Healthcare- appointing someone to make healthcare decisions for you in the event you are not able to.



We can assist you with your estate planning matters. The attorneys at Dutton & Casey have over 55 years of combined legal experience in estate planning probate, and elder law. Our attorneys work closely with our clients to develop a plan that addresses all planning issues, from the financial to the personal; a plan that is custom, yet flexible,;and a plan that is both easy for our clients to understand and for their loved ones to administer.


Please click here to learn how we can assist you or someone who you care about.


When you bring a family member or friend to meet with an elder lawNAELA  attorney, you might expect to sit in on the consultation. However, elder law attorneys need to meet with their clients alone for at least part of the consultation, so be prepared to spend time in the waiting room.


Although your instinct may be to sit in on your relative's meeting with the attorney in order to help explain the relative's situation, a new brochure from the American Bar Association explains why elder law attorneys need to meet with their clients without anyone else present.


While elder law issues often involve lots of family members, usually the attorney can only represent one person without a conflict of interest arising. Even if you are the one paying the bill, the lawyer's client -- usually the older person -- is going to be the person whose interests are at stake in the legal planning.


The attorney also has a duty to keep client information confidential, so he or she cannot give you information unless your relative agrees. Each client is different and the attorney needs to find out how much information the client wants shared.


One job of the elder law attorney is to assess a client's competency. The attorney needs to know whether the client has the capacity to make decisions, and speaking privately with the client is the only way to make this determination. The attorney may need to check with you to get details, such as addresses or dates, but, in general, the attorney should be able to get most of the information from the client.


Keeping family members out of the discussion also helps to make it less likely the finished documents will be challenged. There are many cases where a family member is accused of having undue influence over someone in the making of a will or power of attorney. If you maintain some distance from the process, it is less likely that this will occur.


To read the brochure from the American Bar Association, click here.




The Attorneys at Dutton & Casey concentrate in estate planning, probate, and elder law. In fact, Janna Dutton is one of only Eight elder law foundation   Certified Elder Law Attorneys in Illinois. She has had this certification since 1995.


For more information on how we can assist you, please click here.


It's actually two separate taxes, depending on the source


 of income. There will be a 3.8 percent tax on investment income for individuals with adjusted gross income above $200,000, or $250,000 for married couples filing jointly. The same high-income taxpayers will pay an additional Medicare tax of 0.9 percent on wages and self-employment income above the income thresholds.


These taxes are in addition to the 1.45 percent tax that all taxpayers already pay for Medicare. Employers kick in a matching 1.45 percent but they won't have to pay the new 0.9 percent wage tax.


The investment income tax will not apply to tax-exempt income such as municipal bonds or retirement plan distributions.


For details from Reuters on the new tax, including case examples, click here.


Medicare figures for 2013medicare pic

  • Part B premium: $104.90/month 
  • Part B deductible: $147 
  • Part A deductible: $1,184 
  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 61-90: $296/day 
  • Co-payment for hospital stay days 91 and beyond: $592/day 
  • Skilled nursing facility co-payment, days 21-100: $148/day 

As was detailed in the article above, higher-income beneficiaries will pay higher Part B premiums. 

  • Individuals with annual incomes between $85,000 and $107,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $170,000 and $214,000: $146.90/month.
  • Individuals with annual incomes between $107,000 and $160,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $214,000 and $320,000: $209.80/month.
  • Individuals with annual incomes between $160,000 and $214,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $320,000 and $428,000: $272.70/month.
  • Individuals with annual incomes of $214,000 or more and married couples with annual incomes of $428,000 or more:  $335.70/month.

Rates differ for beneficiaries who are married but file a separate tax return from their spouse:

  • Those with incomes between $85,000 and $129,000: $272.70/month.
  • Those with incomes greater than $129,000 will pay a monthly premium of $335.70/month.

The Social Security Administration used the income reported two years ago to determine a Part B beneficiary's premiums. So, the income reported on a beneficiary's 2011 tax return is used to determine whether the beneficiary must pay a higher monthly Part B premium in 2013. Income is calculated by taking a beneficiary's adjusted gross income and adding back in some normally excluded income, such as tax-exempt interest, U.S. savings bond interest used to pay tuition, and certain income from foreign sources. This is called modified adjusted gross income (MAGI). If a beneficiary's MAGI decreased significantly in the past two years, they may request that information from more recent years be used to calculate the premium.


For more information, please go to www.medicare.gov


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)  released the 2013 federal guidelines for how much money the spouses of institutionalized Medicaid recipients may keep and the limit on how much a home can be worth for its owner to still qualify for Medicaid.


In 2013, the spouse of a Medicaid recipient living in a nursing home (called the "community spouse") may keep as much as $115,920 without jeopardizing the Medicaid eligibility of the spouse who is receiving long-term care. Called the "community spouse resource allowance," this is the most that a state may allow a community spouse to retain without a hearing or a court order. While some states set a lower maximum, the least that a state may allow a community spouse to retain in 2013 will be $23,184.


Meanwhile, the maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance for 2013 will be $2,898. This is the most in monthly income that a community spouse is allowed to have if their own income is not enough to live on and they must take some or all of the institutionalized spouse's income. The minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance - the income level below which a state may not allow a community spouse to fall -- is $1,891.25 in the lower 48 states ($2,365 for Alaska and $2,176.25 for Hawaii). This figure took effect July 1, 2012, and will not rise until July 1, 2013.


In determining how much income a particular community spouse is allowed to retain, states must abide by this upper and lower range. Bear in mind that these figures apply only if the community spouse needs to take income from the institutionalized spouse. According to Medicaid law, the community spouse may keep all their own income, even if it exceeds the maximum monthly maintenance needs allowance.


Home Equity Limits

Medicaid will not cover long-term care services for applicants whose homes are valued above a certain limit. For 2013, that limit is $536,000, although states have the option of increasing this equity limit to $802,000. But, the house may be kept with no equity limit if the Medicaid applicant's spouse or another dependent relative lives there.


These new figures (except for the minimum monthly maintenance needs allowance) became effective on January 1, 2013.


For more on protections for the healthy spouse, click here. For more on Medicaid's asset rules, click here.




Medicaid continues to be a VITAL but very confusing program. The attorneys at Dutton & Casey have over 55 years of combined experience assisting others with Medicaid. For additional information, please click here.


Did you know that, even if you stay in the hospital  overnight, HOSPITAL you might still be considered an "outpatient"?


Your hospital status (whether the hospital considers you an "inpatient" or "outpatient") affects how much you pay and more.


 click here to learn more.




Legal Planning When Living with a Chronic Medical Condition: Huntington's Disease


Presenter: Janna Dutton

Date: Saturday, March 9, 2013

Location: Northbrook Hilton Hotel, 2855 Milwaukee Ave, Northbrook, IL


This presentation is part of the annual conference of the Huntington's Disease Society of America, Illinois Chapter.


For more information, please go to their website. 







Medicaid in Illinois


As you know, since January 1, 2012, the Medicaid program in Illinois has undergone major changes. Attend this program, facilitated by Elder Law Attorney Janna Dutton to learn more about the changes, how it impacts our clients, and the ethics of how changes to a program, designed to serve a valuable population, increased their vulnerability.

Presenter: Janna Dutton, Attorney and Partner

Date: Friday, January 18, 2013

Time: 12 noon

Location: Rush University Medical Center, Room TBA, Chicago, Illinois.

Registration: There is no charge to attend. Advanced registration is required. Contact Julianne Hosford at 312-942-0459 or julianne_hosford@rush.edu . One hour of ethics CEU Social Work credit will be awarded.


Medicaid Update and Planning Documents for the Elderly Client


Presenter: Janna Dutton, Attorney and Partner

Date: Friday, January 25, 2013

Time: 8:30 am-10:30 am

Location: Renaissance Chicago, 1 West Wacker, Chicago, IL 60601.

Cost: $189 per person for a group of 2 or more registering before January 24, 2013; $209 per person for people registering before January 24, 2013; $229 for people registering on January 25, 2013.


This program is part of the program, IL ElderLaw 2013.

For More Information or Registration: please click here


Guardianships: What They Are, How They Work, and How They Can Assist Your Clients


Presenter: Janna Dutton, Attorney and Partner

Date: March 5, 2013

Location: Greater Illinois Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. This session is for employees only.


Elder Law and Ethics, 2013

Please join us for an interactive presentation and case studies of elder law & ethics topics such as:

  • Determination of decisional capacity
  • Risk factors for neglect, abuse, exploitation, and undue influence
  • Solutions for helping those at risk
  • Changes to Medicaid

Presenter: Janna Dutton, Attorney and Partner

Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Registration: 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Program: 9:00 AM - 12 Noon

Location: Covenant Home, 2720 W. Foster, Chicago, IL 60625

Continuing Education: This program will award 3.0 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers, Professional Counselors, and Nurses. This program satisfies the Illinois social worker three hour ethics requirement.

Registration: There is no cost to attend. However, advanced registration is required and seating is limited. Click here to register.  




For current information on upcoming presentations, or to inquire about hosting a program at your location, please read our website, future editions of YOUR Legal Update, like us on Facebook, and connect with us on Linkedin.

group shot sept 2012 

Our Attorneys

From left to right:

Helen Mesoloras, Janna Dutton, Kathryn C. Casey, Hanny Pei.  


click here to learn more about our attorneys.

Appointments with our attorneys are available in
Arlington Heights, Chicago, Skokie and Vernon Hills, Illinois.