COVID-19 Updates and Law Updates
July 10, 2020
RE: COVID-19 Updates / Law Updates
What an unusual and challenging time we are all experiencing. We want to update you on recent news and remind you that we are available to you and your family, should you need our assistance. First of all, Marc E. Fishbein has joined the ALTA Estate Services, LLC team as a Registered Associate Legal Document Preparer. Marc brings strength to our client relations, legal document preparation and research team as well as the Emergency Telephone Hotline Program. Marc will be attending law school this fall and will join our team as a licensed attorney upon graduation. We have also teamed up with James Quijada, EA, enrolled agent with the IRS as a tax preparer. James Quijada is an excellent accountant who also specializes in trust and estate tax returns as well as corporate tax planning. We are so pleased that the ALTA team is growing, and this only allows for additional support to you and your family members in times of need.
For All Existing Clients: The Emergency Telephone Hotline Program
Please remember that as a client of ALTA Estate Services, LLC, you and your family members have access to our Emergency Telephone Hotline Program during times of medical crisis, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, at no charge. We previously gave you our Emergency Telephone Hotline Program ID Cards to put in your wallets and to give to family members. We now attach a Memorandum to give to family members to explain the use and benefits of this Emergency Telephone Program. In addition, it is imperative to update your telephone contact information on file with us so we can assist and reach out to your designated family members. We have had more than twenty clients pass away in the last three months. We have had numerous telephone calls from clients and family members asking for our assistance. Family members are trying to communicate with medical professionals or healthcare providers for their parents or loved ones who are currently patients in hospitals or nursing homes. Please remember, we are here to help in these situations by providing the necessary legal documentation to these institutions in order to allow for communication as well as provide support and guidance to your loved ones.
Review and Update Your Medical Powers of Attorney with HIPAA Consent
If we have not previously met with you within the past two years to review and/or update your Medical Power of Attorney with HIPAA Consent (HCPOA), it is imperative that we discuss any changes or updates needed to this document. In addition, if you want to change or add anyone to your HCPOA, call us and we can handle this update for you. The HCPOA is critically important for family members to communicate with healthcare professionals and obtain information if you are in a nursing home or hospital. Remember, without a proper HCPOA, your loved ones will not be able to communicate regarding your medical issues. Consider also obtaining a HCPOA for your adult children. Many parents recent called us regarding their children in hospitals. They are frustrated that they cannot obtain information regarding the status of their children’s health. With a proper HCPOA, you will be able to communicate with any medical professionals or care givers regarding your child’s health status, should the need arise.
Review and Update Your Trust and Estate Planning Documents
If you have not completed an estate plan and a Living Trust, now is the time to consider this important step for the benefit of your family members. In addition, you should consider such an estate plan for your loved ones, if they do not have an estate plan already in place. We can assist in this matter. Further, it would be wise to review your current Trust and estate plan to incorporate strategic language and any updates which will improve the working capability of these documents at time of need.
For Clients that Own and Operate a Business (LLC)
If you own and operate a business, you should consider operating this business as a limited liability company (LLC). If properly established, LLC’s provide asset protection from business liability as well as tax savings from business income. Both of these benefits make it wise to conduct your business as an LLC. We can assist you in this matter, protect your assets and save you on taxes.
NOTE: Arizona recently adopted the New Arizona Limited Liability Company Act which impacts all existing LLC’s and LLC’s to be formed in the near future. If you have an existing LLC, you should contact us immediately to make sure that your LLC complies with the New Arizona LLC Act. If you are considering setting up an LLC, you should definitely contact us to make sure you do this correctly and completely, including the important tax election filings with the IRS to reduce your tax liability.
The Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (Irrevocable Medicaid Trust)
The Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAP Trust), previously defined as the Irrevocable Medicaid Trust (IMT), is a wonderful option to add to your estate plan in order to protect your assets from Medicaid Spend Down should you or your spouse need long term or assisted care living. If you require such assisted care, you may need to apply to the Government (Arizona State Long Term Care System or ALTCS, or the Federal Medicaid Program) for financial assistance. If this is necessary, you may be required to “Spend Down” or liquidate your assets. This can have a huge negative financial impact on you and/or your spouse. This life event can easily wipe out all of your estate assets and negatively impact your future financial security. The MAP Trust protects your assets and future financial security from such a liquidation or Spend Down. You should contact our office to schedule an appointment to discuss this important Program in more detail.
NOTE: Many of you already have taken advantage of this asset protection plan. If you have not followed up with us in the past two years, it is imperative that you contact us to review your Irrevocable Medicaid Trust to assure that it still complies with all ALTCS and Medicaid regulations. This quick review can be done by telephone, at no charge to you. Failure to do so may result in the loss of this important asset protection benefit under current ALTCS and Medicaid regulations.
In conclusion, we strongly recommend that you call us to discuss the important issues highlighted above. Again, we do not bill for telephone conferences or meetings. Education is empowerment. Keeping up with all current laws in your estate and business planning is essential for your future financial security. In addition, we have created a new website at www.altaestate.com. Please visit this website and see all the new and important information we have included on various topics of estate planning, business and tax planning as well as asset protection. We would appreciate your feedback regarding our website by responding on the Contact Us page.
We are always available for you. Please stay safe and healthy during these unusual and trying times and give us a telephone call. We look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,
ALTA ESTATE SERVICES, LLC AZCLDP 81125
Alyssa A. Marino AZCLDP