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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

2016 VA Aid and Attendance Pension Rates

What are the 2016 VA Aid and Attendance Pension rates?

For 2016, the Maximum Allowable Pension Rates (MAPR) for the VA Basic Pension, Housebound, and Aid and Attendance ratings have stayed the same as in 2015.

As indicated below, the maximum monthly pension payable to a married veteran in need of Aid and Attendance is $2,120 per month. The maximum monthly payment to a surviving spouse is $1,149.

See the table below:

Maximum Allowable Pension Rate (MAPR)
Approx. Monthly Benefit
(Basic Pension with no dependent)
(Basic Pension with one dependent)
(Housebound with no dependent)
(Housebound with one dependent)
(Aid and Attendance with no dependent)
(Aid and Attendance with one dependent)
Each additional child

Surviving Spouse
(Basic Pension with no dependent)
Surviving Spouse
(Housebound with no dependent)
Surviving Spouse
(Aid and Attendance with no dependent)
Surviving child

Veteran Married to Veteran
(Both Aid and Attendance)

Golowin Legal, LLC provides Medicaid and VA Aid and Attendance planning to families in the central Ohio area.  If you or a loved one is a wartime veteran or surviving spouse and is paying for in-home, assisted living or nursing home care, call us at (614) 453-5208 today to inquire about eligibility for VA Aid and Attendance benefits. Visit our website for more information on VA Aid and Attendance Pension Planning.

Beneficiary Designations - A Big Deal

The linked article from asks "What is the Big Deal About Beneficiary Designations?"

Whether you've never done any estate planning or you already have a will or trust, naming beneficiaries or updating your old beneficiary designations is absolutely critical!

Don't understand why it's important?
You might want to read Egelhoff v. Egelhoff, 532.U.S. 141 (2001) and then ask the children of Mr. David A. Eggelhoff. 
After their father divorced Donna Rae Egelhoff (their stepmother), he forgot to update the beneficiary designations on his Boeing retirement funds. Consequently, instead of his children inheriting his retirement funds when he died unexpectedly...his ex-wife did
In fact, the unanimous opinion of the high court was that federal law governing ERISA retirement plans preempted the contrary state law "disinheriting" ex-spouses. 
When people think about estate planning, many overlook the importance of updating beneficiary information on assets like 401(k)s, IRA and life insurance policies.  This can lead to serious unintended consequences, to include litigation!
Failing to set or update beneficiary designations on financial accounts (to match the instructions in the will or trust document) ranks among one of the most common mistakes in estate planning.  Don't let an Egelhoff-like disaster happen to your loved ones!

Need help with your beneficiary designations? Call Golowin Legal.

Russell C. Golowin helps clients create wills, trusts and other estate planning documents in the central Ohio area. Visit his website for more information on estate planning in Columbus, Ohio.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Guard Your Card To Stop Medicare Fraud

The Department of Health and Human Services says that "your Medicare card is as valuable to thieves as your credit cards."

In order to help reduce Medicare Fraud, it offers these tips:
  1. Guard your Medicare number
  2. Be suspicious of anyone who offers free medical equipment or services and then requests your Medicare number
  3. Don't let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare card or your identity
  4. Review your Medicare Summary Notice to be sure you and Medicare are only being charged for actual services
For more information, visit

Russell C. Golowin assists seniors in the Columbus, Ohio area with Medicaid planning, estate planning, and other related issues such as Medicare. Visit his website for more information on Medicaid planning in Franklin County, Ohio.

Monday, July 29, 2013

2014 Ohio Homestead Exemption Income Limit

Since 2007, the Ohio homestead exemption has reduced property taxes for all Ohio homeowners 65 or older, regardless of their income.  The average savings per homeowner has been estimated to be about $400 per year, though the tax break varied based on local community rates.

However, in 2014, the Ohio homestead exemption will have an income limit of $30,000.  Tax-law Changes to Squeeze Seniors, indicates 
[t]he new income limit likely will bring  a dramatic drop in the number of Ohioans who qualify. In 2006, when the $26,200 income limit was in place, there were only 1,094 new qualifiers in Franklin County.  A year later, after [the income limit was eliminated], there were 37,000 new qualifiers in the county.
It is likely that seniors already receiving the homestead exemption when the new law takes effect on January 1, 2014 will continue to receive their tax break regardless of their income.

This means that Ohio seniors who owned and occupied their home as their primary residence as of January 1, 2013 and are 65, or turn 65 by December 31, 2013 should file a homestead exemption Application for 2013 or the prior year (2012) with their county Auditor by Tuesday, December 31, 2013. Failing to file by the end of this year could result in ineligibility due to the 2014 income cap of $30,000.

Franklin County residents may file a homestead exemption by calling the Franklin County Auditor at (614) 525-3240, visiting the office at 373 S. High St., 21st Floor, downloading a hard copy of the Ohio homestead exemption application, or filing the Ohio homestead application electronically. For more information, visit the Franklin County Auditor's Homestead Information page.

Taps Elder Law provides Estate and Medicaid planning services to clients in the Central Ohio area.  If you are a senior concerned with protecting your home should you require care in an assisted living facility or nursing home, call us today at (614) 453-5208 to schedule an analysis meeting.  In most cases, planning can be done to protect a majority of your assets. Visit our website for more information on Medicaid planning in Columbus, Ohio.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

National Record Service, Inc. Deed Service

Letter from National Record Service, Inc.
If you've received a letter like this one from National Record Service, Inc., don't send in your payment before considering the fact that you can probably get a copy of your deed for free - or much less than the $59.50 that National Record Service charges.

Klamath Falls, Orgegon's Herald and News published an article entitled "Deed Scam Circulating," wherein the County Clerk advised "[National Record Service has] every right to provide that service, but it is a scam in the sense that you can get [a copy of your deed] locally for much less."

Aggravated customers have made 102 complaints on the National Record Service Better Business Bureau's page. While I have no personal knowledge of whether NRS provides satisfactory service once a customer orders a deed, it appears that some are either dissatisfied with the service, or frustrated that they paid more than necessary to obtain a copy of their deed.

In many counties in Ohio one can print a copy of their deed in only a few minutes by visiting the County Recorder's webpage online at no charge.  For example, here is the Franklin County Recorder's online public record search. In counties that don't have online access, a phone call to the County Recorder will tell you how much they would charge to send a copy, which is usually only a few dollars.

Alicia Bodine, a contributor on the Yahoo! Contributor Network, summed up this issue well in an article she titled "National Deed Service, Inc.: A Current Alert with the BBB" when she said "Bottom line is this: Don't pay hard-earned money for something you can easily get yourself."

Russell C. Golowin is an Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney for families in the Columbus, Ohio area.  If you need assistance with creating a new quit claim deed, survivorship deed, or transfer on death affidavit, call (614) 453-5208 today. Visit his website for more information on real estate deeds in Columbus, Ohio.