Estate Planning

Samuel B. Ledwitz Joins the The National Advocates Top 100 Lawyers

Samuel B. Ledwitz Joins the The National Advocates Top 100 Lawyers Link to Samuel’s Profile at The National Advocates The National Advocates: Top 100 Lawyers is an invitation-only national organization composed of America’s Premier Lawyers. Membership is extended solely to a select few of the most qualified attorneys from each state who exemplify superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and profile as lawyers practicing in designated aspects of the law. Members of The National Advocates are carefully screened prior to receiving an invitation for membership. The criteria used in the evaluation process include, but are not limited to, the following: Reputation among peers, the judiciary, and the public The previous year’s achievements in the practice area of specialty Board Certifications in area of specialty Nominations received from leading lawyers, current members and/or our executive committee members Leadership and membership within other national and state lawyer or specialty organizations Rankings and ratings of the attorney by established associations or organizations The National Advocates’ mission is to promote excellence in the legal profession through advocacy training, marketing, networking and education of lawyers....

HIPAA PRIVACY PROTECTIONS AND CHARLIE SHEEN

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, which is also known as “HIPAA”, is a body of laws enacted by Congress in 1996 which are designed to uphold and protect the transmission, confidentiality and privacy of our medical records and other related healthcare information (known collectively as Protected Health Information). No one can peruse your confidential files without your explicit approval. Those found violating this federal mandate are subject to fines, jail time, or both. The maximum penalty for flagrant disregard of this legislation is one million dollars and up to 10 years in federal prison. This governmental safeguard shields every U. S. citizen—including tabloid celebrities such as Charlie Sheen. Mr. Sheen was having a dental procedure performed recently, and his healthcare records/privacy became compromised. A dental assistant who worked there told her son that Mr. Sheen was going to be at her dental office on a particular date and time—which is a flagrant violation of HIPAA’s privacy protections. Instead of facing potential financial liability and incarceration, her boss simply fired her. In retaliation, this dental assistant leveled charges against Mr. Sheen saying that he had gone mad, “pulled out a knife,” and destroyed her workplace due to a violent reaction to nitrous oxide (also known as laughing gas).   Sheen’s dentist/oral surgeon denied the allegations when questioned by the Los Angeles Police Department. In his professional opinion, the star’s reaction was a consequence of the anesthetic being mixed with prescription pain medication that Charlie was taking. In all likelihood, no charges will be filed against Mr. Sheen. This case underscores the value of HIPAA. It upholds (and has the...

BE CAREFUL ABOUT “REVERSE” MORTGAGES

On the surface, a reverse mortgage seems like an excellent way to supplement your retirement income. By using your house as collateral, a bank will pay you (instead of you paying them) its equity (value) back to you in monthly installments. By taking into account their hidden fees and with the eventual loss of title of ownership, the following paragraphs will argue that this type or mortgage may not be such a great idea after all. The reverse mortgage originated in 1989. In that year, the Federal Housing Administration, under the direction of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, started a program called Home Equity Conversion Mortgages. As Mortgages in Canada are available to property owners over the age of 62, their relative ease in being obtained and popularity through clever advertising, made them grow at an exponential rate. Some Expert Witnesses claim that these home loans covered even the post-construction procedures, such as surveys and inspections. Under their terms, the home being mortgaged must be your primary residence. The amount of money that can be paid to you is based upon the equity of your house. If you have other mortgages in force (with using your home as collateral), the remainder of your equity will be the basis upon which the funds will be derived. Payments made you can be in one lump sum, in installments for the rest of your life, or as a credit line. Another plus is that this source of income is not subject of income tax. The duty to repay the loan is deferred until either: your die (as being the...
WHAT IS “ASSISTED” LIVING?

WHAT IS “ASSISTED” LIVING?

As we, our parents and relatives age, their ability to live independently eventually becomes unsafe, unrealistic—or both. One option in having them avoid the very real possibilities of household accidents and injuries can be found in convincing our elder loved ones to reside in assisted living facilities. Not to be confused with convalescent homes, assisted living accommodations are less expensive and offer options that can enable seniors to enjoy a large degree of autonomy. They range from single residences to multi-level apartment complexes. Visually, they are more appealing than nursing homes (without their depressing atmosphere). In addition, they provide a more traditional residential ambiance in that they have reading areas, kitchenettes and private sleeping quarters. What also distinguishes them from a convalescent setting is that they reinforce “activities of daily living” or ADL’s (morning routines, bathing, preparing meals, and getting dressed). This is provided by staffing case managers who instruct and recommend more efficient ways to help them continue to live independent lives. In many ways, it is the best of both worlds. Seniors are able to have onsite care/support as needed, while being able to enjoy their golden years in a safe, independent environment. Tenants are encouraged to participate in group activities (such as shuttle service to attend concerts, movies, and casinos). In addition, many are allowed to have small pets live with them. As they age, seniors can transition to an elder care facility once it becomes evident that intensive medical care and attention are needed. According to Arizona Assisted Living Cost, assisted living facilities are regulated at the state level. In general, these facilities are required...

BE SKEPTICAL WHEN GETTING AN EMAIL OR PHONE CALL FROM THE I.R.S.

In their never-ending pursuit with finding new ways to scare and defraud honest taxpayers, criminals are now employing a new scam. This one involves reaching out to citizens (either by telephone or via the internet), identifying themselves as I.R.S. agents, and making baseless criminal allegations demanding immediate payment of taxes owed. Once more, many scammers have been able to modify Caller I.D. readouts and in using the official federal agency’s logo embedded within their fraudulent emails in order to pull off this deception. This trick is currently being carried out across the United States, and has needlessly stressed out and swindled a large number of middle class families and retirees. According to the Internal Revenue Service, agents do not initially contact taxpayers either by phone or by email regarding a tax matter. Instead, residents are first notified by regular mail. Only after someone has been formally contacted by traditional methods do they confer electronically. If you or a loved one receives any type of phone call or email like this, the first step in taking action is to contact your local I.R.S. field office. Their number can be found in the white pages, or online. Second, you can notify the U.S. Treasury Inspectors at (800) 366-4484 and provide them with as much relevant information as you can. Another option to take in fighting back is to simply email: phishing@irs.gov and copy/paste the suspect email message. Lastly, the I.R.S. recommends that you also contact the Federal Trade Commission and activate a consumer complaint by filing an “I.R.S. telephone scam” report. Their main website is:...