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YOUR LEGAL UPDATE FOR FEBRUARY 2013
ILLINOIS CITIZENS FOR BETTER CARE 

ILLINOIS CITIZENS FOR BETTER CARE is an organization  icbc logo you should know.  Begun in 1978, before much of the advocacy for long-term care residents had truly begun, ICBC was there.

 

ICBC is led by Director Wendy Meltzer, who has been the Director since 1988, its staff, its  Board, which includes Janna Dutton. 

 

Their primary focus is helping individual residents, families, and resident and family organizations. Every year, they assist families choose a nursing home, shorten nursing home stays or avoid nursing home placement altogether by helping them find alternative care, improve poor or abusive nursing home care, and cope with Medicaid and Medicare. People, who call them for help finding a nursing home, get the benefit of their unique database to obtain  information about services various nursing homes provide, their violation histories, and the experiences our members have had with them. They charge nothing for any these services, and they receive no government grants to support their work.

 

ICBC also works as an advocate for nursing home residents with Congress, the Illinois Legislature and various government agencies.

 

SOCIAL SECUITY SWITCHING TO AN ALL ELECTRONIC PAYMENT SYSTEM

No more paper checks in the mail. ssa logo

  

Starting March 1, 2013, nearly everyone who receives Social Security must switch to the government's new electronic payment system. Beneficiaries will be able to have their checks directly deposited into their bank account or put on a debit card.

 

The government is switching to electronic payments in order to save money and to provide a more reliable method of delivering payments. The move to paperless payments will save the government close to one billion dollars over the next ten years. It also eliminates the problem of checks that get lost in the mail or are delayed due to bad weather.

 

Currently, around 93 percent of payments are made electronically, but about 5 million checks are still being mailed each month. If you are among those who haven't converted to electronic payments, the following are your options:

  • You can have the checks deposited directly into your bank account. This option allows flexibility with withdrawals, and you will be subject to the bank fees and limits you already have in place.
  • If you can't afford a regular checking or savings account, you may be able to open a special low-cost bank account called an electronic transfer account (ETA). ETA fees are low and you are allowed four free withdrawals a month. However, not a lot of banks have joined the ETA program.
  • You can have your payment put on a Direct Express debit card. The debit card does carry some additional fees if you are planning to withdraw cash. You get one free withdrawal a month and then a $0.90 fee (or more depending on the bank) applies every time you make a subsequent withdrawal that month. You can also use the card like a MasterCard to make purchases directly without fees.

Some individuals are exempted from the requirement to switch to paperless payments. If you are over age 90, live in a remote area that doesn't have electronic payment options, or have a mental impairment that doesn't allow you to manage finances, you may not have to switch to an electronic payment system. Fort more information, call 1-800-333-1795 or visit www.GoDirect.org.

FISCAL CLIFF DEAL BRINGS CHANGES TO
ESTATE TAXES AND IRAS

Congress finally came to an agreement to  avoid the "fiscal cliff,"    and the agreement includes some changes to federal estate taxes and Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). The American Taxpayer Relief Act sets a permanent estate tax rate and provides a tax break for cash donated to charities from an IRA.

 

The new law makes only minor changes to the federal estate tax. The amount that you can transfer tax-free, either during life or at death, will remain the same as it has the past two years. The law permanently sets the estate tax exemption at $5 million for an individual (now $5.12 million due to inflation) and $10 million for a couple (now $10.24 million). (With new inflation adjustments, the exemptions are estimated to rise to about $5.2 million and $10.4 million.) The lifetime gift tax exclusion - the amount you can give away without incurring a tax - also remains the same at $5.12 million. But, you can still give any number of other people $14,000 each per year without the gifts counting against the lifetime limit.

 

Under the new law, the gift and estate tax rate will increase from 35 percent to 40 percent. This means that, if you transfer more than $5.12 million either during your life or upon your death, your estate will be taxed at 40 percent. The new law also makes permanent the "portability" provision currently in place. This allows a surviving spouse to add the unused portion of a deceased spouse's exclusion to his or her own. Note that portability is not automatic -- the estate must file an estate tax form when the first spouse dies, even if no tax is owed.

 

The new estate tax rates and rules are "permanent," but only until Congress decides to revisit them and the President agrees to the changes. But, keep in mind that the new law does not address state estate taxes, which many states have.

 

The fiscal cliff deal also brings back a tax provision called the IRA charitable rollover that had expired in 2011. The law extends the provision through 2013. This allows investors aged 70.5 or older to transfer as much as $100,000 a year from an IRA directly to a charity without counting it as taxable income. Non-Roth IRA owners are required to take yearly minimum distributions from their IRAs starting at age 70.5 and the charitable donation can count toward the taxpayer's minimum required distribution for the year.

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Confused??  The attorneys at Dutton & Casey concentrate in estate planning and can assist you to plan for the for the future. Click here to learn more.

 SOCIAL SECURITY ADMISTRATION PROGRAM OPERATIONS MANUAL

The Social Security Administration's Program  Operations Manual System (POMS) is now available on the Internet.

 

 

The POMS, which runs to more than 20,000 pages, is the agency's internal policy and operations manual. In addition to viewing the entire POMS, visitors can select the "Recent" views option to find only the most recently-updated sections of POMS. This section lists all changes made within the previous 7, 15 or 30 days. 
 
 UPCOMING PROGRAMS FOR COMMUNITY MEMBERS

 

upcoming prgs

 

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

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

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.

 

Registration: There is no charge to attend. However, advanced registration is required. For more information, please go to their website.

 

TRUSTS: What They Are, How They Work, and How They May Help You or Someone You Care About

A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for another person, called a "beneficiary." There are different types of trusts (revocable, irrevocable, testamentary, and special needs), and each type of trust serves a different purpose. Katie's presentation style and vast knowledge on this subject make her the perfect person to speak on this important topic.

 

Presenter: Kathryn C. Casey, JD

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Time: 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Location: Kenneth Young Center, 1001 Rohlwing Road, Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Registration: There is no charge to attend this program. However, advanced registration is required. click here to register.

 

Understanding Key Legal Issues for Family Caregivers

This session will attempt to answer legal questions common to all family caregivers in the hope of assisting you avoid legal pitfalls. Questions to be covered are: "What are the duties and authorities under a Power of Attorney for Property, Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Trust or Living Will?"; "What options are available in planning and paying for long-term care?"; "How can family caregivers utilize Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and personal care contracts to maximize another's quality of life?"

 

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date: Monday, April 22, 2013

Time: 8:30 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.

 

Janna's session is part of the event, "A Systematic Approach to Building Your Caregiver Network", being sponsored by Midwest Palliative & Hospice Care Center, Elderwerks, and Northshore Senior Center.

 

Location: Midwest Palliative and Hospice Care Center, 2050 Claire Court, Glenview, Illinois

Registration: There is no charge to attend. However, advanced registration is required.Click here to register.

 

Navigating Legal Issues for Family Caregivers

This session will attempt to answer legal questions common to all family caregivers in the hope of assisting you avoid legal pitfalls. Questions to be covered are: "What are the duties and authorities under a Power of Attorney for Property, Power of Attorney for Healthcare, Living Trust or Living Will?"; "What options are available in planning and paying for long-term care?"; "How can family caregivers utilize Medicare, Medicaid, long-term care insurance and personal care contracts to maximize another's quality of life?"

 

Presenters: Janna Dutton, JD, and Rebecca Lerfelt, LCSW, Assistant Director of PLOWS Council on Aging.

Date: Saturday, April 27, 2013

Time: 10:00 A.M. - Noon

Location: Orland Park Public Library, 14921 Ravina Ave., Orland Park, Illinois

Registration: There is no charge to attend this program. However, advanced registration is required. Please call PLOWS Council on Aging at 708-361-0219 or click here.

 

Legal Ability Planning - How To Prepare for and Prosper in Adulthood

Adequate legal planning for living with a disability, whether your own or your loved one's, involves more than writing a will.  It requires legal documents designed for living.  Attend this session, led by an attorney practicing disability and elder law, as she discusses important topics, including health care planning and coverage, financial and health care surrogate decision-making, long term care, and other important planning tools designed to protect your physical, mental, and financial health, or that of someone you care about, during life.

 

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Location: Jewish Community and Family Services, 5150 West Golf Road, 2nd Floor, Skokie, IL 60077

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

 UPCOMING PROGRAMS
FOR PROFESSIONALS
event 2   
 
Guardianships: What They Are, How They Work, and How  They Can Assist Your Clients

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date: March 5, 2013

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

 

Progressive Tour (Lake County)

Date: Thursday, March 14, 2013

Time: 8:30 AM - 1:30 PM

For More Information or to Register: click here

 

TRUSTS; What They Are, How They Work, and How They May Help You or Your Clients

A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for another person, called a "beneficiary." There are different types of trusts (revocable, irrevocable, testamentary, and special needs), and each type of trust serves a different purpose.

 

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date: Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Registration: 8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

Program: 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Location: Terrace Gardens Assisted Living, 8415 Waukegan Road, Morton Grove, Illinois

Continuing Education: This program will award 1.0 clock hour to Illinois Social Workers, Counselors, and Nurses.

Registration: There is no charge to attend. However, advanced registration is required. Click here to register.

  

TRUSTS: What They Are, How They Work, and How They May Help You or Someone You Care About

A trust is a legal arrangement through which one person (or an institution, such as a bank or law firm), called a "trustee," holds legal title to property for another person, called a "beneficiary." There are different types of trusts (revocable, irrevocable, testamentary, and special needs), and each type of trust serves a different purpose.
  
Presenter: Kathryn C. Casey, JD

Date: Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Program: 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM

Location: Kenneth Young Center, 1001 Rohlwing Road, Elk Grove Village, Illinois

Continuing Education: This program will award 1.5 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers and Counselors.

Registration: There is no charge to attend. However, advanced registration is required. click here to register

 

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, JD

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 3 hour ethics requirement.

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

 

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: Kathryn C. Casey, JD

Date: Friday, April 19, 2013, 2013

Registration: 8:30 AM - 9:00 AM

Program: 9:00 AM - 12 Noon

Location: The Admiral, 929 West Foster, Chicago, IL 60640

Continuing Education: This program will award 3.0 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers, Professional Counselors, and Nurses, and this program satisfies the Illinois social worker 3 hour ethics requirement. This program is being offered in connection with NASW Illinois Chapter.

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

 

Are You Prepared to Serve All Seniors? Think Again.

As professionals, we are very aware of the challenges faced by our aging population, especially those who are frail or ill. For lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals facing a health crisis, the challenges are often magnified. Out of fear, both real and perceived, many LGBT seniors delay or avoid getting the care they need.

 

This training, offered through the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and sponsored by Dutton & Casey, the Senior and Community Resource Center at St. Alexius Medical Center, Center on Halsted, and Elderwerks, will provide you with information and resources to best serve LGBT older adults and address the unique challenges faced by this community. The training will include group discussion, interactive small group activities and break-out sessions.

  

Presenter: Britta Larson, M. NH, Senior Services Director at the Center on Halsted

Dates: Monday, April 22, 2013 or Monday, September 23, 2013

Registration: 8:00 AM - 8:30 AM

 

Presentation: 8:30 AM - 12:30 PM

 

 

Location: St. Alexius Medical Center, 1555 Barrington Road, Hoffman Estates, Illinois

Continuing Education: This program will award 4.0 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers, Professional Counselors, and Nurses.

Registration: There is no cost to attend. However, advanced registration is required and seating is very limited. Click here to register for the April session. Click here to register for the September session.  

 

Legal Ability Planning - How To Prepare for and Prosper in Adulthood

Adequate legal planning for living with a disability, whether your own or your loved one's, involves more than writing a will.  It requires legal documents designed for living.  Attend this session, led by an attorney practicing disability and elder law, as she discusses important topics, including health care planning and coverage, financial and health care surrogate decision-making, long term care, and other important planning tools designed to protect your physical, mental, and financial health, or that of someone you care about, during life.

 

Presenter: Janna Dutton, JD

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2013

Time: 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Location: Jewish Community and Family Services, 5150 West Golf Road, 2nd Floor, Skokie, IL 60077

Continuing Education: This program will award 2.00 clock hours to Illinois Social Workers and Professional Counselors.

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

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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.