Reducing winter home insurance claims and homeowner costs

It’s winter storm season, which means it’s a good time to review what kinds of seasonal damage your insurance will cover and learn how to reduce your risk. The good news is that most home insurance policies cover winter damage. A standard policy will generally cover issues caused by ice dams, falling ice, frozen and burst pipes, and the accumulated weight of snow on your roof. Most policies will also cover living expenses if your home becomes uninhabitable and you need another place to stay while repairs are made. Exclusions. Flood damage, on the other hand, from rapid snow melt…..

Continue Reading

You bought a house with undisclosed defects – now what?

You’ve just moved into your new home. You’re excited to finally have the hassle of real estate negotiations and moving behind you, and you’re looking forward to settling in. But there’s a storm not long after, and your basement fills with several inches of water. You didn’t see that coming and you know that fixing the problem is going to cost several thousand dollars. Are you stuck with the bill? Almost every state has disclosure laws requiring home sellers to share certain information about the condition of a home. Generally, sellers have to speak up (i.e. sign an official disclosure…..

Continue Reading

Broker agent found not liable in slip-and-fall case

Real estate agents and brokerages have been closely watching a slip-and-fall case in Iowa. The suit is a reminder to homeowners that they need to manage hazards prior to real estate showings at their property. A prospective homebuyer slipped on a patch of ice when visiting a property. The buyer suffered injuries and sued both the homeowners and the listing brokerage, claiming they failed to provide adequate warning of a dangerous condition and failed to remediate a hazard. The prospective buyer had scheduled a tour through her own buyer’s agent, and they were granted access through use of a lockbox……

Continue Reading

Inflation Reduction Act 2022: What homeowners need to know

Homeowners can take advantage of energy-related tax credits that were passed as part of the Inflation Reduction Act. While the benefits in 2022 are generally a revival of expired programs, new and expanded benefits have been added starting in 2023. Green home improvements For 2022, a homeowner can take a lifetime tax credit of $500 for energy efficiency improvements such as insulation, improved windows or doors, or energy-efficient HVAC. This is a one-year revival of the Nonbusiness Energy Property Credit, which had expired in 2021. If you’ve previously claimed a tax credit of this nature, you may have already used…..

Continue Reading

Avoiding fraud in homebuying transactions

Real estate transactions present a lucrative opportunity for cybercriminals to steal significant sums of money. These thefts typically occur through wire fraud in which a homebuyer, or other party, is tricked into wiring money into the wrong account. In many cases these funds are irretrievable. In a case in New Jersey, for example, an employee for a title agency failed to follow company protocol and mistakenly wired funds to a fraudulent account. The title agency filed a claim against their professional liability policy, but the insurance company denied coverage under an exclusion for wire fraud. The title company lost in…..

Continue Reading

Addressing elder identity theft

Identity theft is the illegal use of someone else’s personal information — such as name, Social Security number, driver’s license number or bank or credit card information — to make purchases, borrow money, open a cellphone account or get a credit card. While anyone can fall victim to identity theft, senior citizens can be particularly vulnerable. That’s because more people, such as home health care workers, nurses, family members and other service providers they tend to rely on for assistance, may have access to personal information that can be put to nefarious use. A number of states, including, most recently,…..

Continue Reading

Medicare Advantage ‘risk adjustment’ may affect care

Unlike traditional Medicare, which runs on a fee-for-service arrangement, the Medicare Advantage program pays participating private health plans a flat fee every month to provide whatever care a patient needs based on their age, gender, geography and risk factors that impact their health. To cover patients with expensive conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, Medicare provides a higher monthly payment using a “risk adjustment” for each such condition. So the unhealthier the patient, the more the plan takes in. Unfortunately, this has created an incentive for unscrupulous healthcare companies to game the system by adding codes to patients’ medical…..

Continue Reading

Is your loved one being unduly influenced?

“Undue influence” is a legal term that refers to a vulnerable person, such as an older or ill individual, being influenced by someone else into doing something that doesn’t reflect their actual wishes. For seniors, this often comes in the form of someone manipulating a senior into signing a will or coercing them into giving someone control over their financial affairs. In order to prove undue influence, you need to show that the victim was susceptible because of a physical disability, physical dependency and/or mental or psychological condition. You also need to prove that the person exploiting them had an…..

Continue Reading

Nursing homes suing friends and families to collect on bills

A recent trend has emerged where nursing homes are attempting to collect on their residents’ unpaid bills by pursuing friends and relatives, even those who have no financial ties to the residents or legal responsibility for them. Monroe County, New York, home to the city of Rochester, provides a snapshot of this practice. According to reports, 24 nursing homes filed nearly 250 debt collection suits in court between 2018 and 2021, the vast majority of which targeted a friend or relative of the resident. Many of the suits involve aggressive tactics, including baseless accusations of people of hiding residents’ assets……

Continue Reading

The Inflation Reduction Act: What you should know

This summer, President Joe Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). In addition to measures to address climate change, generate revenue and boost U.S. manufacturing, the law includes provisions that some have described as a “game changer” for millions of American seniors on Medicare who have been dealing with soaring drug costs. First, the law caps how much seniors on Medicare can be forced to pay out of pocket each year on medication and vaccines. Starting in 2025, out-of-pocket spending on prescriptions will be limited to $2,000 per year. Seniors should also feel some relief in 2024, a…..

Continue Reading

Office Hours

Mon. - Fri.: 8:30 am - 5:30 pm

The Spectrum Building
613 N.W. Loop 410, Suite 840
San Antonio, Texas 78216-5507

Phone: (210) 742-1410
Fax: (210) 742-1414

9.3Gilbert Vara Jr.
powered by Birdeye