Proving a transfer was not made in order to qualify for Medicaid

Medicaid law imposes a penalty period if you transferred assets within five years of applying, but what if the transfers had nothing to do with Medicaid? It is difficult to do, but if you can prove you made the transfers for a purpose other than to qualify for Medicaid, you can avoid a penalty. You are not supposed to move into a nursing home on Monday, give all your money away on Tuesday, and qualify for Medicaid on Wednesday. So the government looks back five years for any asset transfers, and levies a penalty on people who transferred assets without…..

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Be aware of housing protections for tenants with support animals

While everyone gets some level of comfort and companionship from their pets, some people get extra support that improves their mental well-being on a daily basis. Emotional support animals help people with life-limiting disabilities, including mental health issues, feel more comfortable functioning in the world. If you have an emotional support animal, you are entitled to certain housing protections. Landlords and property managers are governed by the Fair Housing Act (FHA), a federal law that prevents discrimination against tenants and requires accommodations for all assistance animals, including those who provide emotional support. Different designations, different rules By definition, assistance animals…..

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Buying long term care insurance for your parents

Are your parents adequately prepared for retirement? If not, are you planning to help them out? In many families, one or more adult children will step up to help Mom and Dad when they can no longer safely take care of themselves. That could mean time away from your family and job or pitching in financially to cover a variety of expenses. Your parents will inevitably need some care in their retirement years. If they’re not prepared to pay for it on their own, you might consider it as part of your own estate plan — particularly if you have…..

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Make an estate plan for your digital assets

Today, 77 percent of Americans go online every day, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey, and most of us maintain at least some kind of digital data in the cloud. We save emails, post to social media, and store photos in online albums. All of this digital information has created a new issue for you, your heirs, and the technology firms that hold your assets. The key concern is maintaining your privacy and security and determining who can legally access this information upon your death. A statute called the Revised Uniform Access to Digital Assets Act provides a…..

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Housing hunt: Should parents buy off-campus property?

A college town can be a good place to own rental property. Students are continually rotating through, and even faculty can be a transient group in need of temporary places to live. With dorm costs rising and space at a premium in certain college towns, some parents are investing in off-campus property as a way to manage costs and ensure their student has reliable housing. Buying property can cost less than dorm living or renting, but the math varies by market. A 2017 study by Redfin calculated that monthly mortgage payments were less expensive than renting a dorm room at…..

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Protect work with lasting value: Estate planning for copyrights

Artists and their families have unique needs when it comes to estate planning. Be aware of the following strategies to protect the value of an artist’s work during and after his or her lifetime: Copyright eligibility. The first step is understanding what constitutes a copyrightable work. Protection is available to original works that are either written or otherwise recorded, including literary, musical, artistic and certain other intellectual works. These categories are to be interpreted broadly and can include maps, architectural plans, buildings and mobile apps. Registering a copyright. Next, ensure that the artist’s assets have been registered with the U.S……

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New tax law prompts IRA conversions

Lower income tax rates make this an attractive time to convert your traditional IRA into a Roth IRA. By converting, you’ll pay taxes on those funds now instead of at some future (likely higher) rate. The main hurdle will be paying taxes owed. If you convert $50,000 from a traditional IRA to a Roth, your taxable income will increase by $50,000. If you’re in the 24% tax bracket, that amounts to $12,000 in taxes owed. That might feel like a hit now, but it could be a financially sound decision, particularly if you expect to be in a higher tax…..

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Insurers push back on Fannie Mae policy change

Insurers are refusing to back certain mortgage applicants, despite Fannie Mae approval. The pushback comes less than a year after Fannie Mae eased its debt-to-income (DTI) requirements, allowing borrowers with DTI of up to 50 percent to obtain low down payment mortgages, assuming the borrowers fell within other risk benchmarks. Fannie Mae’s policy change was welcomed by housing advocates who said it would open the housing market up to credit-worthy people with high debt loads. The Urban Institute estimated that the shift could assist 95,000 new borrowers annually. DTI is a significant factor in mortgage decisions. If your DTI is…..

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When your parents die with debt

At any age, the death of a parent is a difficult experience. But these days more adult children are dealing with an added stressor: the realization that Mom or Dad died with debt. In the past decade, there’s been a steep increase in debt among senior households. According to a report from the Employee Benefit Research Institute, half (49.8 percent) of families age 75 and older have debt, averaging $36,757. Most senior debt is tied to housing expenses, but auto loans, medical bills, credit cards and student loans also factor in. If you think your parent may die with debt,…..

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Cities shifting rules on short-term rentals

A number of cities have been passing new rules governing Airbnb, HomeAway, and other short-term rental hosts. For example, Charleston, South Carolina allows property owners to rent out their primary residence, with restrictions. The new rules ban whole house rentals and limit guests to no more than four adults at one time. Hosts will have to register with the city to stay in compliance. The city of Los Angeles, meanwhile, is considering similar legislation. The latest draft caps the number of days someone can rent out their home at 120. But qualified hosts without nuisance complaints can pay a fee…..

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