Leah McElmoyl

Leah McElmoyl

Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel, P.C.

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Latest Publications


New Rules Will Make It Harder to Qualify for Long-Term Care Help From the VA

The Veteran's Administration (VA) offers a pension benefit to low-income veterans (or their spouses) who are in nursing homes or who need help at home with everyday tasks like dressing or bathing. The pension, called Aid and...more

11/12/2015 - Aid and Attendance Benefits Long-Term Care Look-Back Measurement Period Penalties Pensions Surviving Spouse Veterans Veterans Administration

Do Frequent Flier Miles Expire When You Do?

Accumulated frequent flier miles can be valuable assets, but what happens to those miles after somene dies? Can a spouse or other heirs inherit them, or do the miles simply evaporate like a contrail? The answer to...more

11/11/2015 - Airlines Beneficiaries Customer-Loyalty Programs

What Is Cost Basis and How Do You Prove It?

Knowing the "cost basis" of your property is important for tax purposes, but proving cost basis can be difficult. Cost basis adjusts at death, so it is a good idea to appraise property when a joint owner dies. Cost basis...more

11/10/2015 - Capital Gains Cost Basis Homeowners Inheritance Property Tax

Medicare Open Enrollment Means It's Time to Shop Around

Are you happy with your Medicare coverage? Could you get a better plan for less money? It is time to review whether your plan or plans are working for you. Medicare's open enrollment period, in which you can enroll in or...more

11/9/2015 - Health Insurance Medicare Medicare Part D Open Enrollment

Tax Deductions and Credits for People with Disabilities and Their Families

If you or your spouse have a disability, or if you care for a dependent with a disability, you may be able to qualify for one or more tax credits and deductions. Here is a description of some of the more common ones...more

10/13/2015 - Dependent Care Disability Earned Income Credit Medical Expenses Special Needs Adults Tax Credits

Senate Passes Special Needs Trust Fairness Act; Focus Shifts to House

The Senate has unanimously approved the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act, a bill that would allow people with disabilities to create their own first-party special needs trusts without having to rely on others. Now that...more

10/12/2015 - Disabled Pending Legislation Special Needs Adults Special Needs Trust Special Needs Trust Fairness Act

Transferring Assets Could Create a Long Waiting Period When It Comes Time to Apply for SSI

Supplemental Security Income (SSI) is a federal program that helps people with disabilities and very low incomes pay for food, clothing and shelter. Unlike some other disability benefits, SSI is a "needs-based" program, which...more

10/9/2015 - Asset Transfer Disability Benefits Penalties Social Security Administration (SSA) Supplemental Security Income (SSI)

Recent Case Spotlights Problem of Excluding People with Special Needs From Gifting Plans

In an effort to preserve government benefits for a child with special needs, parents giving gifts to children will sometimes provide nothing to the child with special needs while giving substantial amounts to the child’s...more

10/8/2015 - Disability Benefits Estate Planning Special Needs Children Special Needs Trust

Use This Form to Avoid Loved Ones Being Denied Medical Information About You

If you are in the hospital, the last thing you want is for a family member or a trusted friend to be denied information about your condition or prognosis. But this could happen if you haven’t already given authorization...more

7/7/2015 - Forms Health Care Providers Healthcare HIPAA Power of Attorney Releases

Decisions to Make for Your Power of Attorney

A power of attorney may seem like a simple document, but there are several important decisions that need to be made when creating one. From whom to appoint to what powers to grant, care and consideration should be put into...more

5/15/2015 - Estate Planning Power of Attorney

VA Eliminates Net Worth Requirement for Health Care

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has updated the way it determines eligibility for VA health care benefits, making it easier for many veterans to get access to the benefits. The VA will no longer use the veteran's net...more

5/14/2015 - Department of Veterans Affairs Healthcare Veterans' Benefits

Cost of Private Nursing Home Room Now Averaging $91,250

The median cost of a private nursing home room in the United States has increased 4.2 percent to $91,250 a year, according to the 2015 edition of a Cost of Care survey that the insurer Genworth has conducted for the past 12...more

5/13/2015 - Healthcare Healthcare Costs Nursing Homes

Medicaid's Gift to Children Who Help Parents Postpone Nursing Home Care

In most states, transferring your house to your children (or someone else) may lead to a Medicaid penalty period, which would make you ineligible for Medicaid for a period of time. However, there are circumstances in which...more

5/12/2015 - Adult Children Medicaid Penalties Real Estate Transfers

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Reintroduced in Congress

After falling short in the previous Congress, Congressmen Glenn 'GT' Thompson (R-Pa) and Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) recently introduced the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2015, a bill designed to make it easier for people...more

4/16/2015 - Special Needs Adults Special Needs Trust

Recreational Vehicles and Government Benefits Are Not a Walk in the Park

If you own or are thinking of owning a recreational vehicle (RV), you need to consider the vehicle's impact on your government benefits, especially Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid....more

4/15/2015 - Medicaid Social Security Benefits

Can a Person Who Receives Disability Benefits Own a Car?

The short answer is yes. Although many disability benefit programs like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid impose resource limits on beneficiaries, a beneficiary's household is allowed to own one vehicle of any...more

4/14/2015 - Disability Benefits Motor Vehicles Social Security Disability

Special Needs Trusts and Financial Aid: What Should Applicants Do?

Out of all of the stress-inducing steps in the college application process, the financial aid application may be the most confusing and stressful of all, especially when an applicant can't afford to attend college without...more

4/13/2015 - FAFSA Federal Student Aid Financial Aid Special Needs Trust

Social Security Benefits to Inch Up 1.7 Percent in 2015

The nation's elderly and disabled Social Security recipients will receive a 1.7 percent increase in payments in 2015. This is expected to raise the average monthly payment for the typical retired worker by $22. The increase...more

11/10/2014 - COLA Social Security Social Security Benefits

Parents' Medical History May Make Long-Term Care Insurance More Expensive

Your parents' health could be one of the many factors that long-term care insurance providers take into account when deciding how much to charge you. One large insurer has started rating applicants based, in part, on the...more

11/7/2014 - Affordable Care Act Health Insurance Healthcare Long-Term Care Medical Records

Estate Planning for a Vacation Home

If you are lucky enough to own a vacation home, then you need to figure out what will happen to it after you are gone. Many parents hope to keep vacation homes in the family, but guaranteeing that can be tricky....more

11/6/2014 - Estate Planning Vacation Homes

What Is the Difference Between a 401(k) and an IRA?

The terms 401(k) and individual retirement account (IRA) are bandied about quite a bit when discussing retirement planning, but what are the actual differences between the two? The main distinction is that a 401(k) -- named...more

11/5/2014 - 401k Financial Products IRA Retirement Retirement Plan

7 Questions to Ask When You've Been Invited to Be Trustee of a Special Needs Trust

So you have been asked to serve as the trustee of a friend or family member's special needs trust. While your selection is a great honor, it is also a great responsibility. Here are seven questions to ask before saying...more

10/15/2014 - Special Needs Trust Trustees Trusts

When a Parent Retires, a Child with Disabilities Could Qualify for SSDI

When the parent of an adult with disabilities retires, the child may qualify for federal disability benefits, even if the child has never worked. This benefit, known as the Disabled Adult Child program, allows the...more

10/14/2014 - Disability Benefits Disabled Children Retirement

Advance Medical Directives? Now There's an App for That

An advance directive gives instructions on the kind of medical care you would like to receive should you become unable to express your wishes yourself, and it often designates someone to make medical decisions for you. But an...more

5/8/2014 - Advance Directives American Bar Association (ABA) Estate Planning Healthcare Mobile Apps

Case Illustrates Dangers of Executing a Will Without Legal Assistance

People sometimes try to save money by not consulting with a qualified attorney when executing their will, instead using a pre-printed form or online program. A recent court case offers yet another example of the hazards of...more

5/7/2014 - Boilerplate Language Estate Planning Forms Intent Wills

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