Why repealing the estate tax is a bad idea

CongressThe Republican tax reform plans in Congress could reduce or end the estate tax. The House proposal would eliminate the tax, while the Senate version would reduce it. According to The Atlantic, the estate tax will only bring in about $20 billion this year. While that adds up to about one-half of one percent of the total amount of revenue that goes to the US Treasury, it has a lot more to do with symbolism. Derek Thompson explains why in this article at The Atlantic.

Helping young disabled people transition into adulthood

A new program in the South Side of Chicago is helping young disabled students make the often-difficult transition into living independently as an adult. Politico Magazine describes it as sort of a community college for special education students. Southside Occupational Academy was created to help students with intellectual and developmental disabilities prepare for living on their own and possibly getting a job. Read more about this unique school in this article at Politico Magazine.

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How tax reform could affect the alimony deduction

CongressA House-sponsored tax reform measure making its way through Congress proposes to end the tax deduction for alimony. That would eliminate a tax break for the ex-spouse who pays alimony, and the tax hit for the ex who receives it, according to CNBC. Divorce lawyers may want to rush through any pending cases before the end of the year because of the uncertainty surrounding the proposal, according to one divorce attorney who said his phone started ringing as soon as news about ending the deduction made the news. Read more about how family attorneys are reacting to the possibility in this story at CNBC.

Podcast: Inside Trump’s immigration crackdown

Expedited removal is a law enforcement tool that allows for rapid deportations for undocumented immigrants who are arrested near the US border. The Trump administration wants to expand the program, but opponents say it would give too much power to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. At Reveal by The Center for Investigative Reporting, this podcast breaks down the expedited removal program.

Register now for the 2018 Trial Lawyers Summit

As the 2018 Trial Lawyers Summit gets closer, rooms at the Loews Miami Beach are filling up fast, and discounts will be disappearing. With attendance limited to 1,000, act now to secure your reservation for the #1 legal conference of the year!

The National Advocates, the premier legal association for those superior attorneys practicing Matrimonial and Family Law, Social Security Disability Law, Employment Law, Immigration Law, Wills, Trusts and Estates Law and Bankruptcy Law, hosts its first breakout session on Tuesday, February 6th. The emphasis for the session will be on how Matrimonial and Family Law cases can be affected or affect cases in the other Advocates areas of practice. Experts will share their experiences and tips on how to seamlessly navigate those cases where the areas of practice intersect.

Family Law – Caryn Margo Green, BCS
Interaction of Family Law with Bankruptcy – Douglas Neway, U.S Chapter 13 Trustee
Interaction with Immigration – Desiree Claudio
Interaction with Estates, Wills and Trusts – (TBD)
Interaction with Criminal Law – Mark O’Mara

Register now to secure your reservation for the 2018 Trial Lawyers Summit, February 4-7, 2018 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel in South Beach, Florida! To register and learn even more about the Summit, go to ntlsummit.com. We hope to see you in South Beach in February!

How the undocumented are treated in federal prisons

A commentary at The Marshall Project claims that undocumented immigrants in the federal prison system aren’t given the same “work and self-improvement opportunities” offered to citizens. Jacob Shuman says, “The truth is that the BOP discriminates against undocumented people by denying them access to essential drug counseling and job training in prison.” Shuman also says it’s time for the Bureau of Prisons to reform the exclusionary policies, which he calls “both ineffective and inhumane.” Read more of Shuman’s commentary here.

7 tips for avoiding estate fights

When drawing up wills and other estate planning documents, don’t forget about the person’s personal property, advises estate planner John J. Scroggin. According to CNBC, “The single biggest point of conflict among family members is not the million dollars over here,” said Scroggin, who is an accredited estate planner and a partner with the Roswell, Georgia-based law firm Scroggin & Co. “It’s the yellow Tweety Bird [figurine] that sat in mom’s kitchen for 40 years.” Scroggin offers seven tips to avoid some of the biggest mistakes in estate planning in this story at CNBC.

‘Dreamer’ application deadline Thursday

undocumented immigrantsAfter the Trump administration ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in March, it said it would continue to process pending and renewal applications received through Thursday, October 4, according to the Los Angeles Times. With that deadline looming, law firms and legal clinics are scrambling to submit paperwork before time runs out. “We basically are in emergency mode,” said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights. Meanwhile, attorneys are warning their ‘dreamer’ clients to prepare for worst case scenarios. The ‘dreamer’ program was created by President Obama in 2012 to allow young immigrants brought to the US illegally to secure work permits and temporary reprieves from deportation.

Liability Medicare Set Asides (LMSAs): October is here! Now what?

By B. Josh Pettingill, MBA, MS, MSCC & Jason D. Lazarus, J.D., LL.M., MSCC

The debate regarding addressing Medicare’s future interest in liability settlements is filled with nuance and subtleties. An essential step in understanding the big picture is starting with the genesis of set asides, the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Statute. Although, the finer points of this issue may leave room for interpretation, the MSP is express and clear. It precludes Medicare from paying for any item or service when payment has been made by a liability insurance policy, self-insured or no fault plan.

The debate is limited to the fashion in which we address a statue that has not been enforced up until this point as it relates to payments made by Medicare after settlement. The fact that a law has not been enforced in this way in the past does not mean it is irrelevant, especially when recent steps by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) begin to do just that. This article will examine the form, function and attempts at regulation surrounding set asides in liability cases.

A Medicare Set Aside (MSA) is currently not required by any regulation or statute, even in workers’ compensation cases. However, an MSA, according to CMS, is Medicare’s preferred method for protecting its future interests when the settlement funds future medical care. Starting October 1st, CMS is purportedly going to deny making payments for accident related care post-settlement of a liability or no-fault claim on the basis they should be paid for out of an MSA…

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