Articles Tagged with fishkill elder law attorney

Trustees serve a very important role in the effective administration of a trust. The maker of the trust document, the grantor, gives another neutral third party, the power to administer the terms of the trust throughout the lifetime of the grantor and after, if the terms of the trust provide so. The trustee is essentially in charge of managing all the assets of the trust, without taking an interest in them. While a trustee can also be the maker of the trust, many people elect another individual, or a corporate trustee to continue administering the trust upon their death.

There are some express terms that a trustee must follow, such as:

  • Keeping separate the investments and accounts of the trust,

In the largest single criminal healthcare fraud laundering scheme that dates back to 2009, three Floridians have been charged with defrauding Medicare and Medicaid of over $1 billion dollars. The owner of more than 30 nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Miami and a few in Illinois worked with a hospital administrator and physician assistant to put thousands of people through their care systems that did not in fact qualify or to use them to bill unneeded services and medication. Using these laundered funds, the head mastermind behind the scandal took private jets, bought half a million dollar watches, hired private escort services and pay off a reported nearly $9 million dollars in credit card bills.

Once in the criminal’s facilities, the conspirators further kept the individuals in the nursing homes by heavily medicating them with narcotics to keep receiving Medicare and Medicaid. Additionally, the individuals in the homes received medically unnecessary services just to bill to insurance. This is the not first health care fraud scheme to affect the South Florida area; South Florida has been ridden with fraudulent scandals targeting government aid systems and has had government attention called to it several times. While this issue has been brought to the attention of officials in the Miami, leading them to create ‘strike forces’ in hopes of catching these criminals, it is evident that the problem is difficult to regulate.

Fraudulent schemes extended beyond the healthcare system to law enforcement, who were paid kickbacks in cash or disguised as charitable donations payments for services, and payment for lease services. There were many players associated with the scandal, not only law enforcement officers, but doctors and pharmacists were taking part in the billing scheme in order to receive more kickbacks from the nearly 14,000 elderly patients that went through the defendant’s care facilities. It is no surprise that the defendant withdrew almost $4 million dollars over the past few years, since many of these payouts were in cash. This charge is not the defendant’s first regarding healthcare fraud; in 2006, defendant settled a civil claim in which he was ordered to pay out $15.4 million dollars for conducting Medicare fraud. These current charges will show that the defendant failed to learn from his illegal conduct and continued to defraud these programs of funds for over half a decade.


When a person applies for Medicaid eligibility there are many pitfalls that an unsuspecting or unsophisticated applicant can run afoul of. To help them retain the benefit of certain monies that they would normally have access to third parties or the applicant themselves can create a special needs trust to help keep the public benefits and still benefit from the money in the trust. The various different trusts have different legal requirements that must be met to qualify as that type of trusts.

Moreover, different trusts accomplish different goals and yet other types of trusts exist that have nothing to do with Medicaid or other public entitlement program eligibility but help to reduce tax liability. Some trusts accomplish two tasks, such as a third party special needs trusts, which allow seniors to live a relatively modest and respectable life and qualify for Medicaid at the same time. While other types of trusts only satisfy just one legal goal, such as a grantor retained annuity trust, which allows a person to make a gift of an asset that will likely appreciate rather quickly, but incur no gift tax liability. Finally, there are other types of trusts that outlive their utility, such as pooled trusts.


For those of among us who care for elderly parents or relatives, you do it without expectation of compensation or reimbursement. You dedicate time, money, resources and do it day in and day out and will continue to do so without concern for recompense. That does not mean, however, that you would not take any financial reimbursement from outside companies or or tax exemptions from the IRS. Most people do not realize that caring for an elderly parent or relative comes with some fairly generous tax benefits. There are some very important and precise legal definitions that need to be satisfied before you can properly claim your elderly relative dependent.


For over a decade it was sound and perfectly legal advice for financial advisors and elder law practitioners to advise their married clients to file and suspend their social security benefits, thereby maximizing their financial returns.  The basic advice was to advise a married couple to have the spouse who earned more through his/her lifetime to file for social security benefits at the full retirement age.  After the higher earning spouse filed, the lower earning spouse would automatically be eligible for spousal benefits and would therefore file for spousal benefits.  Once the lower earning spouse started to receive benefits, he/she would get a higher monthly benefit amount as the lower earning spouse would piggyback on the higher earnings of their spouse.  

At that time, the higher earning spouse would suspend their benefits and work, thereby increasing their social security benefits even more, so that way when they hit the maximum benefit age now set at 70 they would have a higher monthly benefit amount.  When the higher earning spouse hit the maximum benefit age, they would have maxed out their social security earnings and have already benefitted from a spouse who collected social security benefits in the meantime.  It all comes down to dollars and cents.  Someone has to crunch the numbers to determine if it made sense for the couple to do it, although for the majority of couples it did make sense.  

The question also had to be asked, when was the optimum time?  Again, someone had to crunch the numbers to find the sweet spot.  There was even a second strategy for those whom it did not make sense to do so.  The second approach was for both spouses to file a “restricted application”, whereby each spouse would only receive their spousal benefits.  This let them increase their own earnings, so that way when they reach seventy, they have maximized their social security benefits.  In either event, the couple would be able to benefit from an additional several thousands of dollars.

Sumner Redstone is an entertainment business mogul with a majority share ownership of CBS entertainment and Viacom, and through Viacom, BET and Paramount Pictures, all through his majority ownership of his family business, National Amusement, which originally started out in the drive in movie theater business during The Great Depression.  In just the last few weeks a case against Mr. Redstone by the IRS presents an oddity in the law, which may make many people shutter.  More particularly, the IRS issued a Notice of Deficiency for a taxable event from 1972 – over 40 years later.  

The nature of the case revolved around a transfer of shares in National Amusement Corporation in 1972 to separate trusts set up for the grandchildren of the founder, Sumner Redstone’s father Michael Redstone.  Sumner set up one trust for his kids while his siblings set up separate trusts for their kids.  At the time the transfer of interfamily stock was of a insignificant amount that passing them from personal ownership to a trust did not even require a tax return.  One can and should ask about the concept of a statute of limitation.  

Apparently, as the case against Mr. Redstone shows, the IRS does not have a statute of limitation for unfiled tax returns.  26 U.S.C. § 6501(c)(1) establishes that when a taxpayer files a fraudulent tax return, (c)(2) otherwise attempts to avoid tax liability, or (c)(3) fails to file a tax return, there is no statute of limitation.  Mr. Redstone has an impressive educational pedigree, where he graduated from first in his class from the Boston Latin School and then graduated Harvard in only three years in 1944, which was actually common at the time.  After graduation he served as an officer in the United States Army, helping to decode Japanese messages.  He attended Georgetown Law School after the war and then received his LL.B. in 1947 from Harvard Law.  After working for various governmental departments followed by private practice, Mr. Redstone went to work for the family business, which was booming by then.

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