Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Public Housing and Medicaid Refreshers from the Congressional Research Service

Congress has released two new Congressional Research Service reports to the public. The reports, given to Congress in January, provide an introduction to two valuable government services.  

Introduction to Public Housing by housing policy specialist Maggie McCarty "serve[s] as an introduction to the federal public housing program. It provides information on the history of the program, how it is administered and funded, and the characteristics of public housing properties and the households they serve." The report reviews the trends in the public housing program and introduces the current debate surrounding the issue of private funding for public housing.

The second report, Medicaid: An Overview by Alison Mitchell, Evelyne P. Baumrucker, and Elicia J. Herz, looks at the basic elements of medicaid such as eligibility, services, and financing. The report then deals with selected issues relating to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: "the ACA Medicaid expansion, the impact of the ACA health insurance annual fee on Medicaid, and the ACA maintenance of effort (MOE) with respect to Medicaid eligibility."

These CRS reports cover the issues at a basic level, but they are an excellent resource for a quick refresher on Medicaid and the federal public housing program. Whether you want to be sure your aware of the issues that are of interest to Congress or need a perspective on how to introduce a client to aspects of these programs, you'll find something useful in the CRS reports. At under 50 pages each, they're worth the read.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Estates Plans Are Not Just For The Old

In his article in the most February 2014 issue of Estate Planning, Attorney Sean R. Weissbart talks about an often overlooked estate planning client population--the young and wealthy. The article, "Estate Planning Strategies for the Young and Wealthy," discusses estate-planning strategies attorney's should consider for their young and wealthy clients. From the article:

Young and wealthy individuals do not fit the mold of the traditional estate-planning client, and advice for them should be tailored accordingly. To prepare for possible changes in life circumstances and unpredictable future tax laws over the course of these individuals' life spans, practitioners should use flexible strategies when advising the young and wealthy. This article addresses several of the most effective estate-planning strategies for clients in this enviable segment of the population. The strategies discussed in this article address how to provide the young and wealthy with the benefits that matter most to them: minimizing estate and gift tax, maintaining use and control over their wealth, and asset protection.

The strategies Weissbart explains include making completed gifts to trusts, with forced estate tax inclusion; transferring assets to self-settled domestic asset protection trusts; creating life insurance trusts; and maximizing exclusion gifting.