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Plans for the New Year

Another year has flown by. Here’s hoping that it was a fulfilling one for you and that 2016 brings good health and happy times for all. It’s also time for a few reminders:

 

  • As we reported last month, unfortunately for the third time in 40 years the Social Security Administration is not offering a cost-of-living adjustment. A flat consumer price index (CPS) caused by lower gas prices is part of the reason.
  • The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services also announced that Medicare Part B premiums will rise 16% in 2016 for wealthier This increase hits 30% of Medicare recipients.
  • Make it a New Year’s resolution to develop a detailed estate plan that will protect you and your loved ones now and in the If you already have a plan, but it’s been a while since you have looked at it, I suggest taking it out of the drawer and study it carefully. A lot may have changed and you’ll want to revise it.

ABLE Indiana

In mid-September of last year I wrote a piece on The Achieving Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act. You can review it here.

It refers to legislation passed in the U.S. Congress in late December 2014. The ABLE Act allows people with disabilities to establish tax-free savings accounts without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. The purpose of an ABLE account is to use such funds to supplement an individual’s public benefits for “qualified disability expenses,” such as medical and dental care, education, employment training, housing, and transportation. Implementation of the law has progressed slowly. Despite the IRS publishing proposed regulations to add needed detail to the law in June of last year, many questions remained and the IRS delegated most details of implementation to the individual states. Even after treasury regulations, the State of Indiana must pass its own legislation authorizing ABLE accounts. By the end of 2015, nothing was enacted in Indiana.

 

ABLE UPDATE:

Indiana Senate Bill #11

Now thanks to a bill authored and presented earlier this month by Sen. Luke Kenley and Sen. Erin Houchin (and Co-Authored by Sen. John Broden, Sen. Ronald Grooms), there are signs of progress in establishing Indiana ABLE accounts. According to a synopsis of Senate Bill No 11:

ABLE savings accounts for persons with a disability. Creates the “achieving a better life experience” (ABLE) authority (authority). Establishes the ABLE board (board) of the authority. Requires the authority to establish a qualified ABLE program under which a person may make contributions for a taxable year for the benefit of an eligible individual with a disability to an ABLE account to meet the qualified disability expenses of the designated beneficiary in compliance with federal law. Sets forth duties and powers of the authority and the board. Establishes a general operating fund, endowment fund, and trust fund. Effective: July 1, 2016. Read first time on January 5, 2016 and referred to Committee on Tax & Fiscal Policy.”

It’s a beginning. We’ll certainly continue to report on any further progress here. Meanwhile, people are eligible for an ABLE account in any other state where a plan has been established. Study the plans carefully as no two are quite the same. If you would like further information or to schedule a consultation regarding ABLE, please contact the Stinson Law Firm.


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The Stinson Law Firm has years of experience in all of these areas. We can help you alleviate a lot of the stress and concern. Our goal is to secure your present and future and leave you with the peace of mind you deserve.

 

Jeff is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation, a distinction held by only a handful of lawyers in Indiana. For almost 20 years, he has focused on elder law, estate planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, Veterans Affairs benefits planning, special needs planning, guardianships, and estate administration.

Jeffery D. Stinson, Certified Elder Law Attorney
Jeff is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney (CELA) by the National Elder Law Foundation, a distinction held by only a handful of lawyers in Indiana. For almost 20 years, he has focused on elder law, estate planning, long-term care planning, Medicaid planning, Veterans Affairs benefits planning, special needs planning, guardianships, and estate administration.