Russo Law Group

2020 PENSION BENEFIT FIGURES WARTIME VETERAN


REVISED JANUARY 1, 2020

TYPE OF BENEFITMaximum Annual Pension Rate
(Income Limit)
Monthly Maximum Annual Pension Rate
(Income Limit)
Service Pension$13,752$1,146
One dependent$18,008$1,501
Housebound$16,805$1,400
One dependent$21,063$1,755
Aid and Attendance$22,939$1,912
One dependent$27,195$2,266
Each add’l dependent child$2,351+$196

2020 PENSION BENEFIT FIGURES – SURVIVING SPOUSE

TYPE OF BENEFITMaximum Annual Pension Rate
(Income Limit)
Monthly Maximum Annual Pension Rate
(Income Limit)
Death Pension$9,224$769
One dependent$12,072$1,006
Housebound$11,273$939
One dependent$14,116$1,176
Aid and Attendance$14,742$1,229
One dependent$17,586$1,466
Each add’l dependent child$2,351+$196

For more info on Veterans Pension Rates go to, https://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/current_rates_veteran_pen.asp
For more info on Surviving Spouse Pension Rates go to, https://www.benefits.va.gov/pension/current_rates_survivor_pen.asp

100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd. | Suite 102 | Garden City, NY 11530
PHONE 516-683-1717 | FAX 516-683-9393

Garden City | Lido Beach | Islandia | Bay Shore | Manhattan

vjrussolaw.com

Russo Law Group

MEDICAID 2020 UPDATE


COMMENCING JANUARY 1ST, THERE ARE NEW MEDICAID
AMOUNTS AFFECTING MEDICAID ELIGIBILITY.

2020 ASSET AND INCOME ALLOWANCESOne PersonTwo Person
Income Level *including $20 unearned income disregard$895$1,304
Medicaid Resource Level$15,750$23,100
2020 Medicaid Transfer Rates for Nursing Home CareMonthly Rates
Nassau and Suffolk Counties$13,407
New York City$12,844
Northern Metropolitan Area$12,805
2020 Community Spouse AllowancesCommunity Spouse
Maximum Monthly Maintenance Needs Allowance – MMMNA$3,216
Maximum Community Spouse Resource Allowance – CSRA
*greater of: $74,820 or ½ of the married couple’s resources, not to exceed $128,640 (excluding residence)
$128,640
2020 New York Homestead Exemption$893,000

For more information on Medicaid you can visit us at www.vjrussolaw.com.
Additionally, we also have information and resources on Medicare Social Security, Veterans Benefits, Elder Law, Special Needs Planning and Estate Planning. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments.

100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd. | Suite 102 | Garden City, NY 11530
PHONE 516-683-1717 | FAX 516-683-9393

Garden City | Lido Beach | Islandia | Bay Shore | Manhattan

vjrussolaw.com

Archbishop Sheen was known for his evangelism, radio broadcasts, and television show “Life is Worth Living”, which aired nationwide in the 1950s. For the last several years, Catholic dioceses have been at odds as to where his mortal remains should be interred. His remains have been interred in a crypt in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral since his passing in 1979.

His Last Will and Testament

New York’s archdiocese and Saint Patrick’s Cathedral argued that Archbishop Sheen desired to be buried in New York City as indicated in his Last Will and Testament executed five days before his passing in 1979. However, Archbishop Sheen’s niece, Joan Cunningham, believed that he should be interred at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, Illinois, where he was ordained in 1919, especially if it increases his chances of gaining sainthood. Since 2002, the Diocese of Peoria has been working on Archbishop Sheen’s Cause for Canonization as a saint and they plan to continue that quest.

The Court Ruling

In June, the New York Court of Appeals ruled that Archbishop Sheen’s remains shall be transferred to St. Mary’s Cathedral in Peoria, Illinois. The Court reasoned that, based on the record, had the Archbishop, a devout Catholic with a lifelong devotion to the Catholic Church, been given the choice of sainthood or to have his remains interred in New York City, he would likely choose .

Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains

As indicated above, when your wishes regarding a burial place are not clearly delineated in a written declaration, it can cause a lot of issues for your heirs. This can be avoided if the decedent executed a document called the Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains. Pursuant to New York’s Public Health Law § 4201(2), an individual may, in writing, designate a person to control the disposition of his or her remains. This document permits an individual to designate an agent to control the disposition of his or her remains as well as indicate specific instructions for his or her funeral or cremation. Not only does the document ensure that you reach the resting place of your choosing, but it also helps your family during one of the most difficult times of their lives – the loss of you.

As always, consult with an experienced elder law attorney to ensure your burial place wishes are met.

Russo Law Group

SOCIAL SECURITY 2020 UPDATE

SSI FOR NYS RESIDENTS
Individual$870/month
Couple$1,279/month
MAXIMUM TAXABLE EARNINGS
Social Security (OASDI only)$137,700
QUARTER OF COVERAGE
Earnings Required$1,410/quarter
SOCIAL SECURITY DISABILITY THRESHOLD
Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) 
Non-Blind$1,260
Blind$2,110
Trial Work Period (TWP)$910/month
COST-OF-LIVNG ADJUSTMENT (COLA)
For December (payable in January 2020)1.6%
MAXIMUM SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFIT
Workers Retiring at Full Retirement Age*$3,011/month
RETIREMENT EARNINGS TEST EXEMPT AMOUNTS
Under Full Retirement Age**$18,240/year
The Year an Individual Reaches Full Retirement Age***$48,600/year
Full Retirement Age and OverNo Limit
 

* For retirees born in 1938, full retirement age is age 65 and 2 months. Full retirement age will gradually increase to age 67 for those born after 1959. For those born in 1942, full retirement age is 65 years, 10 months. For those born between 1943 and 1954, full retirement age is 66 years. Those born on January 1st should refer to the previous year.

 

** $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $3 in earnings above the limit.

 

*** Applies to earnings for months prior to full retirement age: $1 in benefits will be withheld for every $3 in earnings above the limit.

 

For more information on Social Security you can visit us at www.vjrussolaw.com. Additionally, we also have information and resources on Medicaid, Medicare, Veterans Benefits, Elder Law, Special Needs Planning and Estate Planning. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments.

100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd. | Suite 102 | Garden City, NY 11530
PHONE 516-683-1717 | FAX 516-683-9393

Garden City | Lido Beach | Islandia | Bay Shore | Manhattan

vjrussolaw.com

Russo Law Group

MEDICARE 2020 FIGURES

MEDICARE PART A: HOSPITAL SERVICES
Inpatient hospital deductible$1,408/illness
Daily co-insurance$0/day 1-60 $352/day 61-90 $704/day 91-150
Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Daily co-insurance amount$0/day 1 – 20 $176/day 21 – 100
Part A Premiums For those not otherwise entitled to Part A Benefits who purchase Medicare coverageMedicare Covered Employment – – Less than 30 quarters: $458/month – 30 to 39 quarters: $252/month (if you pay a late enrollment fee – the premium could be higher)
MEDICARE PART B: PHYSICIAN SERVICES
Deductible$198 per year
Co-Insurance20% of approved charge
Balance Billing15% of approved charge
MEDICARE PART B PREMIUMS: YOU PAYIF YOUR YEARLY INCOME IS
SINGLEMARRIED COUPLE
$144.60$87,000 OR LESS$174,000 OR LESS
$202.40$87,001-109,000$174,001-218,000
$289.20$109,001-136,000$218,001-272,000
$376.00$136,001-163,000$272,001-326,000
$462.70$163,001-500,000$326,001-750,000
$491.60$500,000 OR ABOVE$750,000 OR ABOVE

For more information on Medicare you can visit us at www.vjrussolaw.com. Additionally, we also have information and resources on Medicaid, Social Security, Veterans Benefits, Elder Law, Special Needs Planning and Estate Planning. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments.

100 Quentin Roosevelt Blvd. | Suite 102 | Garden City, NY 11530 PHONE 516-683-1717 | FAX 516-683-9393

Garden City | Lido Beach | Islandia | Bay Shore | Manhattan

vjrussolaw.com

When the “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin, passed away in August 2018, her four sons filed paperwork with the Oakland County Probate Court in Michigan indicating that she passed away without a will. Ms. Franklin’s sons nominated her niece to serve as the fiduciary of her estate.

Passing Away Without a Will

When a person passes away without a Will, state law determines how the decedent’s assets will be distributed. At the time of her death, Ms. Franklin was unmarried and had four sons. Under Michigan’s intestacy laws, Ms. Franklin’s estate was to be distributed to her children.

Handwritten Documents

Recently, three handwritten documents (two dated in 2010 and the third dated in 2014) were found in Ms. Franklin’s home. Her estate representative is asking the probate court to determine if any of these documents are valid Wills under Michigan Law. The documents are hard to read, but they generally distribute Ms. Franklin’s assets to her family and one even names Ms. Franklin’s son as the fiduciary of her estate. This is at odds with the current fiduciary since Ms. Franklin’s niece is currently serving as the fiduciary of the estate. In addition, two of her sons are allegedly contesting the documents.

A Holographic Will

A holographic will is one that is written in the testator’s handwriting and is not witnessed. Michigan recognizes and accepts holographic wills provided it meets certain requirements.

New York State

However, unlike Michigan, New York only accepts holographic wills under limited circumstances. Pursuant to New York’s Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law § 3-2.2, New York only recognizes and accepts a holographic will if it is made by:
  1. A member of the United States armed forces while in actual military or naval service during a war, declared or undeclared, or other armed conflict in which members of the armed forces are engaged; or
  2. A person who serves with or accompanies an armed force engaged in actual military or naval service during such war or other armed conflict; or
  3. A mariner while at sea.

Reasons a Holographic Will May Become Invalid

These holographic wills may become invalid under the following circumstances:
  1. If made by a member of the armed forces, after one year following his or her discharge; or
  2. If made by a person who serves with or accompanies an armed force engaged in actual military or naval service, after one year from the time he or she stopped serving with or accompanying such armed force; or
  3. If made by a mariner while at sea, after three years from the time the holographic will was made.

Accordingly, had Ms. Franklin passed away domiciled in New York, these handwritten documents would not be considered valid Wills under New York law. 

Theresa’s Fun Day Bowling Fundraiser!

Saturday, January 18, 2020

Pre-Registration is required

 Register HERE today!

 $25 per bowler | $15 for non-bowlers

INCLUDES: Two Games of Bowling, a Slice of Pizza, Soda and Bowling Shoes.

  * Bake Sale and a 50/50 raffle with raffles for sale at the event!

 

Sponsorship Opportunities Available:

Event Sponsor: $2,500

Table Sponsor: $200

Lane Sponsor: $100

 

For more information: you can contact us at [email protected] or call (516) 432-0200

Theresa Foundation | www.theresafoundation.org

VINCENT J. RUSSO QUOTED IN NEW BRANDING BOOK

Branding in a Digital World – How to Take an Integrated Marketing Approach to Building a Business

Garden City, NY, December 27, 2019 – Vincent J. Russo of Long Beach, NY  was recently quoted in a newly released book, Branding in a Digital World – How to Take an Integrated Marketing Approach to Building a Business, authored by Hilary JM Topper, MPA, CEO of HJMT Public Relations Inc., a full-service public relations and social media agency located in New York.

 

“We asked Vincent J. Russo for a quote because he is a thought-leader in his field,” said Topper. “Vincent’s quote contributed real value and showcased his expertise. I am certain my readers will benefit from his professional experience and insight.”

 

Vincent J. Russo is the Managing Partner of Russo Law Group, P.C., with offices on Long Island and Manhattan, New York.

He has championed the rights of seniors and people with special needs since 1985.

Vincent is a founding member and Past Chair of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section of the NYSBA.

 

He is also a Founding Member, Fellow and Fifth President of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). He is also a member of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of NAELA. Vincent was the founding chair of the NAELA Foundation and is currently a board member.

On behalf of NAELA, he has testified before Congress and was a representative at the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.

 

Vincent is a Co-Founder of the Academy of Special Needs Planners and ElderCounsel, LLC.

He is the president of the Nassau Cerebral Palsy Association’s Guardianship Corporation on Long Island.

He is also a Co-Founder of the Theresa Alessandra Russo Foundation and the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts for Children with Special Needs which were established in memory of his daughter, Theresa. The Theresa Foundation has helped thousands of seniors and people with disabilities through the Theresa Pooled Trust.

 

Vincent is the creator and co-host of the three-time Telly Award TV Show – Family Comes First.

Mr. Russo is a nationally recognized speaker and noted authority on Elder Law, Special Needs and Estate Planning.  He is the Co-Author of New York Elder law and Special Needs Practice.

 

His distinction in Elder Law, Special Needs and Estate Planning has made him one of the most prominent attorneys in the country.

 

Branding in a Digital World talks about taking your passion and turning it into profit. It discusses how branding your business – from your overall image to messaging – is paramount to its success. In this hands-on workbook, Topper helps build a brand, market it effectively across digital media, and ultimately, helps to get a strong return on investment.

 

Topics in the book include, but aren’t limited to:

  • building an integrated marketing plan.
  • using social media marketing.
  • recruiting ambassadors for your brand.
  • integrating IoT and wearable tech.
  • creating compelling blog and social content.
  • increasing your SEO.
  • using public relations, direct mail, and email marketing to tie together the entire process.

There is a special section on fake news, nonprofit management, and more, Branding in a Digital World offers a complete guide to help you learn to better market your product or service so you can gain a competitive edge.

Hilary JM Topper, MPA, is a 30-year public relations veteran. She runs both HJMT Public Relations Inc., a full-service public relations and social media agency, and HJMT Media Company, where she curates two blogs and a podcast. In her spare time, she trains for triathlons. Topper is also the author of Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media, but were afraid to ask…Building Your Business Using Consumer Generated Media published in 2009.

Branding in a Digital World is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iUniverse, and at your local bookstore for $20.99 for the softcover and $31.99 for the hard copy.

 

# # #

CONTACT: Lisa Gordon, HJMT PR
1-585-764-9057

The Probate Process – What You Need To Know

Marie Elena Puma joined Hilary Topper on her talk show, Hilary Topper on Air.  During this show, Marie Elena discusses Frequently Asked Questions on Probate.

Here are some of the questions she addresses during the show:

  • What is Probate?
  • When is Probate required?
  • How to select an Executor?
  • What is the process to be appointed Executor?
  • What are the duties and responsibilities of an Executor?
  • How to avoid Probate?

Marie Elena shares her knowledge of the probate process and directs listeners on how to best inform themselves.  If you missed this podcast on probate, it can be replayed here.

hilary topper on air logo

Guardianships: A Practical Explanation

Eric J. Einhart joined Hilary Topper on her talk show, Hilary Topper on Air.  During this show, Eric discusses Frequently Asked Questions on Guardianships.

Here are some of the questions he addresses during the show:

  • What is a guardianship?
  • When is it needed?
  • What does a Guardian do?
  • What is the process to be appointed Guardian?
  • Who can be appointed guardian?
  • What are the costs involved?
  • What can be done to avoid a guardianship?

Eric shares his knowledge of the guardianship process and directs listeners on how to best inform themselves. He provides scenarios that guardianships can offer peace of mind.   If you missed this podcast on guardianships, it can be replayed here.

hilary topper on air logo

Family Comes First Season Twelve!

Brand New Episodes of Family Comes First!

Vincent J. Russo and Victoria Roberts Drogin are proud to announce the premiere of the Twelfth Season of their three-time Telly Award-winning show, Family Comes First.

Join us for the next episode “Up Close & Personal with Victoria Roberts Drogin” on Monday, November 18th, 2019 at 9:30 am.

Family Comes First™ episodes will also run on Mondays at 10:30 pm, Wednesdays at 1:30 pm and Fridays at 1:30 pm.

Family Comes First™ airs exclusively on Catholic Faith Network (formally, Telecare TV) – Cablevision Channels 29 and 137, Time Warner channels 106 (Manhattan), 471 (Queens) or Verizon FiOS TV Channel 296.

For more information and resources on Family Comes First™, please follow us on Facebook or visit our Family Comes First™ website at www.vjrussolaw.com/familycomesfirst.


 Family Comes First 
Airs Exclusively on Catholic Faith Network
Cablevision: Ch. 29 & 137
Verizon Fios: Ch. 296
Charter Spectrum: Ch. 162/471
Live streaming at www.CFNtv.org
Episodes air:
Mondays at 9:30 AM & 10:30 PM
Wednesdays at 1:30 PM
Fridays at 1:30 PM
Copyright © 2019
All Rights Reserved.

 

Today, many assets exist only in an electronic form. These digital assets can result in more complexity when settling a loved one’s estate.

The Role of An Executor or Administrator

The ordinary role of an executor or administrator is to collect the assets of the Decedent and distribute the assets to the beneficiaries of the Decedent’s Estate. This is often done by going through the decedent’s files and mail to uncover the assets he or she possessed. However, due to many assets existing in only electronic form, the estate representative may have a harder job. Not only does he or she need to uncover the asset, but he or she may need to obtain the password to access it. Many internet companies have strict privacy policies, so accessing the digital asset is often difficult.

New York Digital Assets

In New York, Article 13-A of the Estates, Powers, and Trusts Law (EPTL) governs the administration of digital assets. Pursuant to EPTL 13-A-1[i], a digital asset is an “electronic record in which an individual has a right or interest. The term does not include an underlying asset unless it is itself an electronic record”.

Pursuant to EPTL13-a-1(e), the content of electronic communication means the information was:

  1. Sent or received by the user;
  2. In electronic storage by a custodian that provides an electronic communication service to the public or is carried or maintained by a custodian providing a remote-computing service to the public; and
  3. Not readily accessible to the public.

With regard to non-content digital assets, such as a contact list or calendar information, EPTL 13-A-3.2 governs. Pursuant to EPTL 13-A-3.2, the estate representative can access the non-content digital assets if the estate representative provides the custodian with certain documentation, unless the user prohibited disclosure of such assets or a court directs otherwise.

Online Tools

Some custodians offer an online tool that permits a user to provide direction to the custodian regarding the disclosure of his or her digital assets. However, this online tool is not offered by all custodians and sometimes the user does not avail himself or herself of such an online tool. If that is the case, then the custodian may look to the decedent’s Will, Trust, or other agreement before disclosing any information to the estate’s representative.

A Case Study

In Matter of Coleman, a twenty-four (24) year old man passed away unexpectedly without a will. His parents were appointed Co-Administrators of his Estate. After his passing, his parents took possession of his iPhone; however, they were unable to access any information since they did not know his passcode. His mother contacted Apple, Inc. to see if she would be able to obtain any information from her son’s iPhone. The Apple representative informed her that she would not be able to retrieve any information from the iPhone without the passcode; however, if the phone was backed up to the iCloud, then she would be able to obtain information without the passcode. In order for Apple to release any information from the iCloud, a court order would be needed since the decedent did not provide Apple with authorization to disclose the content of his digital assets.

Thereafter, the Co-Administrators of the Estate petitioned the Court seeking an order to have access to their son’s digital assets associated with his iPhone. After analyzing the facts at hand and balancing the decedent’s interests in his not having consented to the disclosure of content of any of these digital assets during his lifetime, the Court found that, at this time, the Petitioners did not demonstrate the need to access the content of the decedent’s digital assets for the administration of his Estate; however, the Petitioners were permitted to have access to the non-content digital assets. Matter of Coleman, 2019 N.Y. Slip. Op. 29067 (Westchester Cnty. Surr. Ct. Mar. 11, 2019).

As you can see, digital assets can be a complex matter when it comes to settling a loved one’s estate. As always, we encourage you to seek counsel and plan ahead accordingly.

 

Wednesday, November 6
12:00-2:00pm
Red Lobster
211 Old Country Rd #217
Carle Place, NY 11514
(Lunch)

Register Here

Tuesday, November 12
12:00-2:00pm
The Irish Coffee Pub
131 Carleton Ave.
East Islip, NY 11730
(Lunch)

Register Here

 

Seating is Limited. Online Registration Required.
Register Online at vjrussolaw.com
Contact: Ashley 516-393-3164

 

Family Comes First

Premiere of Season Twelve!

Vincent J. Russo & co-host, 

Victoria Roberts Drogin are thrilled to announce the Season 12 premiere of 

Brand New Episodes of Family Comes First!

Vincent J. Russo and Victoria Roberts Drogin are proud to announce the premiere of the Twelfth Season of their three-time Telly Award-winning show, Family Comes First.

Join us for the premiere episode “Up Close & Personal with Fr. Tony Stanganelli” on Monday, October 28th, 2019 at 9:30 am.

Family Comes First™ episodes will also run on Mondays at 10:30 pm, Wednesdays at 1:30 pm and Fridays at 1:30 pm.

Family Comes First™ airs exclusively on Catholic Faith Network (formally, Telecare TV) – Cablevision Channels 29 and 137, Time Warner channels 106 (Manhattan), 471 (Queens) or Verizon FiOS TV Channel 296.

For more information and resources on Family Comes First™, please follow us on Facebook or visit our Family Comes First™ website at www.vjrussolaw.com/familycomesfirst.


 Family Comes First 
Airs Exclusively on Catholic Faith Network
Cablevision: Ch. 29 & 137
Verizon Fios: Ch. 296
Charter Spectrum: Ch. 162/471
Live streaming at www.CFNtv.org
Episodes air:
Mondays at 9:30 AM & 10:30 PM
Wednesdays at 1:30 PM
Fridays at 1:30 PM
Copyright © 2019
All Rights Reserved.

 

Trusts – Do You Need One?

Frank L. Buquicchio joined Hilary Topper on her talk show, Hilary Topper on Air.  During this podcast, Frank discusses how a Living Trust can be an invaluable planning tool. Trusts can be utilized for a myriad of reasons including avoiding probate and protecting assets from the cost of long term care. They can also be used to protect a loved one who has special needs. It is a common misconception that trusts are “for rich people”. “Rich” is, of course, a relative term, but you do not have to be financially “rich” for a trust to be helpful in your estate plan.

Frank will address the topic trusts and answer common questions such as:

  • What is a living trust?
  • What’s the difference between a revocable and irrevocable living trust and when should each be used?
  • How do living trusts work?
  • How can you determine if you need a living trust to protect a loved one with special needs?

Frank is a wealth of information and was able to direct listeners on how to best inform themselves.  If you missed this podcast on trusts, it can be replayed here.