4 Northeastern states sue Trump administration

Four northeastern democratic states have sued the Trump administration claiming the new federal cap on the $10,000 cap on local and state taxes is unfair and unconstitutional.

New York, New Jersey, Maryland an Connecticut say the new tax overhaul has upended 150 years of precedent and that the deductions are essential to prevent the feds from abridging constitutional states rights. New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement the new law is a result of “hyper-partisan and rushed process.” A State analysis found that the cap will increase New Yorkers taxes by $14.3 billion in 2018 an another $121 billion from 2019 to 2025.

According to the lawsuit filed yesterday in Manhattan Federal Court, the so-called SALT deduction will make it more difficult for the four states to maintain their taxation and fiscal policies, thus “hobbling their sovereign authority to make policy decisions without federal interference.”

The tax law, passed last December, caused some local governments to revise their rules to help last-minute change in federal tax strategies, while homeowners in states with the highest property taxes quickly began looking to prepay bills ahead of the cap.

In a written statement, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the federal government “went after these states deliberately” in crafting the SALT deductions cap.


Read More

Three common estate planning mistakes

Even if you think you have your estate issues all planned out, quite often there are things you might have accidentally left out. We came up with five common mistakes that many people make, even the most conscientious planners can make.


So, ten tears ago you added your first born son as a beneficiary in your will. In that time he became a real deadbeat and you no longer want to include him. If you don’t change your will, he gets a piece of your estate if you don’t change your will. This may seem like a no-brainer, but it is a common error because quite often when it comes to wills, people sign it and forget it.

If you remarry this mistake can loom large and your ex-spouse can wind up with part of your estate if you don’t replace them with your current spouse.

The Unexpected

What happens if your spouse gets sick and your kid gets divorced? Is your kid hounded by creditors. These and other possible glitches can be solved by setting up trusts. In a trust you can control how, to whom and when money gets distributed, unlike an outright inheritance from a will.

Selling your house for a buck

This used to be common; selling your house to your kids for a dollar. But tax rules rules have changed over the last 50 years. If you sell your property to one of more of your children, they are on the hook tax-wise if they decide to sell it. If the propety is worth $600k an they sell it for $600k there is no tax liability. However, if they only paid a buck and they sell it for $600k they have to pay gains tax on $600k. Ouch.




Read More

Are reverse mortgages worth it?

You’ve seen the commercials with Robert Wagner extolling the wonders of a reverse mortgage. Is he trying to sell you a bill of goods? Is a reverse mortgage worth it? That depends.

What exactly is a reverse mortgage? Reverse mortgages are available to homeowners who are 62 and older. To be eligible, you must live in your home as your primary residence.

Reverse mortgages work in a different way than traditional mortgages. With a traditional mortgage, you make payments to a lender. In a reverse mortgage the lender makes payments to you. The exact amount you receive will be based on the value of your home. Also a reverse mortgage allows you to keep your home.

Getting paid.

There are few ways to get paid with a reverse mortgage. You can opt for a lump sum payment, a credit line, a monthly payment, or a combo of the three.

Which you choose depends on your situation and how you want to use the money. Some just want it as a supplemental income. Some need it for a one time expense and others want to use the money as sort of a rainy day fund for emergencies.

A reverse mortgage is only viable if you have a big chunk of equity in your home. If you still have a small mortgage you will need to talk to a financial adviser to figure out your best options.


Where the reverse mortgage sort of matches up with taritional mortgages is with fees. There are closing costs like in regular mortgages. Then there are loan originiation and appraisal fees. The lendr may charge loan servicing fees an mortgage insurance premiums.

Know what the funds will be used for. 

Have a plan. Before you embark on a reverse mortgage it is important to have figured out what you will use the funds for. If your in your early 60s you’ll have to make sure you don’t spend your money too frivolously to make sure you don’t run out later in retirement.

Check out other options 

If you’re short on dough, don’t have any family that wants to inherit your home, and you don’t want to leave it, then a reverse mortgage might be for you. If you have other  assets or income other solutions might be a better fit. You can sell your home to your kids or refinance your mortgage.



Read More

What you should know about strokes

Even though strokes are the leading cause of preventable deaths, very few people know much about them. So, the American Stroke Association has published a list of things you didn’t know about strokes for its 20th anniversary. Here are the top 10.

  1. There are three different types of strokes: Ischemic, Hemorrhagic, and TIA (Transient Ischemic Attack). Ischemic occurs as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. It accounts for 87 percent of all stroke cases. Hemorrhagic occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. Two types of weakened blood vessels usually cause hemorrhagic stroke: aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations(AVMs). But the most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke is uncontrolled hypertension (high blood pressure). TIA is caused by a temporary clot. Often called a “mini stroke”, these warning strokes should be taken very seriously.
  2. During a stroke, nearly 120 million brain cells die every hour. Compared with the normal rate of cell loss in brain aging, the brain ages 3.6 years each hour without treatment. The sooner the patient gets medical care, the better their chances of recovery.
  3. About 66 percent of the time, someone other than the patient makes the decision to seek treatment – recognizing the warning signs and sudden symptoms of stroke to receive treatment fast, could help save a life.
  4. F.A.S.T. is an acronym used to teach the most common warning signs and sudden symptoms of stroke. F.A.S.T. stands for (F) face drooping, (A) arm weakness, (S) speech difficulty, (T) time to call 9-1-1. Less than half of the population is aware of the signs.
  5. Stroke symptoms can also include sudden numbness, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden severe headache with no known cause and sudden trouble walk
  6. Calling 9-1-1 and arriving at the hospital in an ambulance is the fastest way to get treated quickly during a stroke emergency. Driving to the hospital is a common mistake people make, that can result in longer wait times before the patient receives medical care.
  7. Patients who have an ischemic stroke, may have a treatment window for mechanical clot removal within six hours to up to 24 hours in certain patients with clots in large vessels.
  8. Alteplase (also known as tPA) is a drug used to dissolve a blood clot that causes stroke. Stroke patients who arrive at a hospital within 90 minutes of symptom onset and qualify to receive tPA are almost 3 times more likely to recover with little or no disability.
  9.  Nearly half of all adults in the U.S. (an estimated 103 million) have high blood pressure.
  10.  High blood pressure is the most common controllable cause of stroke. Recent guidelines redefined high blood pressure as a reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher. A normal reading would be any blood pressure below 120/80 mm Hg and above 90/60 mm Hg in an adult.

To read more about strokes please visit National Stroke Association

Read More

Nursing homes dosing patients with anti-psychotic drugs

According to a Human Rights Watch report, nursing homes are doping tens of thousands residents with anti-psychotic drugs that don’t have diagnoses that require them. Not only that they are doing it without the patients’ consent.

In the report called, “They Want Docile,” the group claims 179,000 residents of long-term nursing homes across the country are given anti-psychotic drugs each week that are not appropriate for their condition. They claim the drugs are used for their sedating side effects, which make patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease easier to manage.

Hannah Flamm, an NYU law school fellow at Human Rights Watch told the Guardian, “People with dementia are often sedated to make life easier for overworked nursing home staff, and the government does little to protect vulnerable residents from such abuse.”

The report is based on publicly available data and visits  to 109 nursing facilities from October 2016 to March 2017 in California, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, New York and Texas. They also interviewed 323 people living in nursing homes, nursing facility staff and long-term care and disability experts.

An attorney for AARP, Kelly Bagby, which has been involved in several court cases challenging nursing home medication practices, told Fox News  “given the dire consequences” of antipsychotics, the number of elderly people with dementia taking the drugs “should be zero.”

Read More