Plan Your Journey.

Begin the Begin – Once you begin, you are closer to the end than had you not begun at all.  You may wonder from where the name of this blog originated as it is not the R.E.M. song.  It comes from the above-referenced phrase I remember reading in the eighth grade that my teacher had posted on the wall.  I do not recall the author (and have tried to track that information, but to no avail).

It is clear that this simple phrase has stuck with me throughout the years. And, it is a good place to start when addressing estate planning, business planning, incapacity planning, special needs and elder law issues as well as winding your way through the administration of an estate or trust.  All of these subjects can be sensitive and difficult topics to discuss, a discussion many choose not to start. However, as simply stated once the conversation about these subjects has begun, you will be closer to finishing your plan (and be better prepared) than had no conversation been started at all.

To begin your planning, please contact me at 703.218.2175 or email me at catherine.schottmurray@ofplaw.com.  See Disclaimer.   

Now let’s Begin the Begin!

Latest Blog Posts

  • IRS Issues Tips for Refunds Earlier this month the IRS issued IR-2017-16 to provide taxpayers with information regarding refunds.  In particular, the IRS was interested in debunking a few myths that may be circulating out on the internet about refunds.  First, the IRS has indicated that the statement “all refunds are delayed” is false.  More than 90% of refunds are issued within the normal timeframe, which is less than 21 days.  However, some refunds may be delayed including for those taxpayers claiming the earned income tax credit (EITC) or the additional child tax credit (ACTC).  Delays for refunds on those returns are until mid-February.  Other ... Read more
  • Five New Year’s Resolutions for Your Estate Plan Happy New Year!  Very often the New Year brings all sorts of ‘changes’ for individuals, particularly after having spent any time with family members and friends over the holiday season.  Here is a quick list of five resolutions to consider for your estate plan. Is it time to update your plan?  If a plan is in place, when was the last time you reviewed it? Is it simply a binder of documents you received several year ago when you finished the estate planning process and you haven’t looked at since?  Have circumstances changed that are not captured in the documents?  Who ... Read more
  • A New Year Means New Exemptions from Estate Tax Welcome to the New Year!  As with any new year, there are usually changes to a variety of important numbers for estate planning and elder law purposes.  This year the applicable exclusion amount from Federal estate tax is set at $5.49 million per person.  The lifetime exclusion from gift tax is also $5.49 million per person and the exemption from generation skipping transfer tax is $5.49 million.  The annual exclusion from gift tax remains at $14,000.  The annual exclusion for gifts to non-U.S. citizen spouses increased to $149,000. For local jurisdictions that have estate tax, the District of Columbia increased its ... Read more
  • The Future of Valuation Discounting… Earlier this month, a long awaited hearing was held on the proposed regulations that would reduce the availability of valuation discounting when transferring closely held business interests.  Close to forty individuals testified at the IRS hearing and all but one individual opposed the proposed regulations.  Among several of the reasons why critics opposed the regulations included the following: (a) the potential for a ‘deemed put right’; (b) the creation of a three-year look back period; (c) the forced use of the ‘investment value’ standard for determining fair market value versus the ‘willing buyer – willing seller’ standard; and (d) the ... Read more
  • Five Considerations for Year-End Charitable Giving As the year draws to an end, many of you look to make your charitable donations or are advising individuals regarding their charitable donations.  Of course, there are a variety of ways in which one can make such a charitable gift.  The IRS recently published IR-2016-154, which is part of a series of articles providing taxpayers with relevant information so they can be ready for the next tax season.  In this recent article, the IRS reminded taxpayers of certain aspects of charitable giving in an effort to help taxpayers avoid problems come tax time.  I have summarized these helpful tips ... Read more
  • Notice of Observation Status – Update on Implementation In August 2015, Congress passed the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act (the “Notice Act“).  The Notice Act requires hospitals to give individuals who are receiving observation services as an outpatient for more than 24 hours, oral and written notification of observation status within 36 hours of the beginning of such services.  This notice is critical for individuals on Medicare because Medicare will only cover nursing home care following a hospitalization if the individual is classified as an inpatient for three (3) days prior to needing nursing home care.  If the individual is not classified as ... Read more
  • Special Needs Trust Fairness Act – Update An update for those interacting with seniors and disabled individuals as it relates to the creation of special needs trusts.  In September, the House of Representatives passed the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act (the “SNT Fairness Act“), which the Senate had passed last year.  The SNT Fairness Act fixes an omission in Section 1917(d)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act where the disabled individual was not listed as someone who could create a first-party or self-settled special needs trust.  Under the SNT Fairness Act, the disabled individual will have the authority to create such a special needs trust ... Read more
  • Injunction Halts Implementation of New Overtime Rules (h/t to my colleague, Timothy M. McConville, Esq.) Earlier this year, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued new regulations to the Fair Labor Standards Act that would require changes to how employers classified certain employees unless compensation levels were changed.  This week a Federal Court issued an injunction blocking the implementation of these new regulations that were set to take effect on December 1st.  The injunction was issued nationwide, and therefore, prohibits the DOL from enforcing those regulations anywhere until a final resolution is reached.  The Court’s reasoning behind the injunction was that the DOL exceeded its authority in issuing these ... Read more
  • Injunction Granted Against CMS’ Rule Prohibiting Arbitration Clauses and D.C. Death with Dignity Act Passes An update regarding the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) new rule banning the use of binding pre-dispute arbitration agreement by nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.  As was expected, the nursing home industry has fought back and filed suit in the Northern District of Mississippi.  In a 40 page Order, a Federal District Court Judge has granted the preliminary injunction requested by the American Health Care Association and several nursing homes.  In the opinion, the Judge recognized the position many families find themselves in cases of abuse and neglect when dealing with the nursing home, but ... Read more
  • District of Columbia Passes Death with Dignity Act As had been previously discussed, the District of Columbia was considering passing its form of the Death with Dignity Act (the “Act”) that is modeled after the Oregon law.  The D.C. Council, in a 11 to 2 decision, voted in favor of the bill.  A final vote must be held before the end of the year.  Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has the ability to veto the bill, but in recent comments she indicated that she would not veto the bill and it would become law.  Given D.C.’s status of not being a state, Congress will still have the ability to ... Read more