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New rules affecting the elderly and disabled

As we make our way into the New Year, I would like to apprise you of three new items that took effect on Jan. 1, 2015:

New Illinois Power of Attorney for Healthcare – Effective Jan. 1, the state has a new statutory short-form power of attorney for healthcare. Without further changes, this will be the new statutory power of attorney healthcare professionals will use and find recognizable. It therefore may be advisable to have the new power of attorney created for you to replace an old one.

Small Estate Affidavit — Effective Jan. 1, the small estate affidavit has been changed. The small estate affidavit is used to avoid probate when all assets are available on death, do not include real estate, and have a total value less than $100,000. The new statute creates additional liability for the person signing this affidavit so anyone contemplating using this form is advised to seek professional advice first.

ABLE Act — This new federal legislation will be available in Illinois should the state choose to adopt it. The ABLE Act allows a person who becomes disabled before the age of 26 to receive gifts from a loved one up to the annual exclusion amount of $14,000 a year, and such an account may hold up to $100,000 without negatively affecting the disabled person’s eligibility for SSI and Medicaid. Further, the income is not taxed. The funds in the account may be used for the disabled person’s disability related expenses.

These legislative updates may affect you and your family. An elder law attorney can advise you as to how to update your existing documents to conform to these new laws.

About Anthony B. Ferraro

Anthony B. Ferraro is the founder and managing member at the Law Offices of Anthony B. Ferraro. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in accountancy from DePaul University and his Master of Science in taxation. After receiving his CPA designation in 1978, he enrolled in law school, earning his Juris Doctor in 1983 from De Paul University. An elder law practitioner, his practice areas include Medicaid planning and applications, guardianship, probate & trust administration, long-term care planning, nursing home contracts and admission, senior estate planning, special needs planning, estate planning, and estate taxation.

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