Posts Tagged ‘boomers’

LGBT Retirees Have Additional Estate Planning Concerns

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Members of the LGBT community tend to save more money for retirement than the population as a whole.  But LGBT seniors planning for retirement also face unique concerns.

According to experts, people in the LGBT community tend to be higher earners, and have smaller families, some with no children.  While lower family expenses may make it easier to plan for retirement, LGBT couples without children may also have to plan for additional caregiver costs as they approach retirement age.

Although same-sex couples may now marry in New York, the federal government does not yet recognize those marriages, and this creates complications for LGBT couples in terms of tax and estate planning.

As one example, estate taxes in 2013 will revert to a $1 million exclusion.  When a heterosexual spouse passes away, his or her assets over $1 million can usually pass to the surviving spouse without being subject to the tax, but this federal right does not apply to LGBT couples, married or not.

Social Security is another concern for LGBT couples, as spousal benefits are not provided to same-sex partners.  In addition, federal pension plans do not provide for spousal benefits.  LGBT couples must also be careful when moving property into joint ownership, as this can result in a large gift tax.

With careful estate planning, there are solutions to many of these issues.  LGBT couples planning for retirement would be advised to seek the counsel of a qualified estate planning attorney familiar with the unique needs of the LGBT community.

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Assistance is Available for Struggling Seniors

Wednesday, October 10th, 2012

Seniors face many issues relating to housing, hunger, income, abuse and isolation. In the State of New York, The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance is accountable for developing and overseeing programs that provide aid and support those that are eligible and need assistance. The programs mentioned below compliment the primary government benefits programs of Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid for seniors and people with special needs.

  • Energy Assistance: The Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) is a federally-funded program to assist people with low incomes with their energy expenses, including heating bills and some energy-related home repairs (HEAP can help those who are meet eligibility requirements pay for any of the following: electricity, propane, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene, coal or any other heating fuel). In order to qualify for HEAP in New York State, you must need help with your energy bills and meet an income requirement.  A single person must have an annual income of less than $24,360.  Applications can be made at any social services office. To locate a social services office in your area, click here.
  • Housing Assistance: The Bureau of Housing and Support Services (BHSS) concentrate solely on the problems revolving around the homeless, at-risk, and low-income households in New York State. The Homeless Housing and Assistance program supplies capital grants and loans to not-for-profit corporations, charitable and religious organizations, municipalities and public corporations to acquire, construct or rehabilitate housing for persons who are homeless and are unable to secure adequate housing without special assistance.
  • Telephone Assistance: Low-income seniors may also qualify for assistance with their telephone bills.  The Lifeline program provides federal assistance for low-income older adults, for one telephone per household.  The program is available for landlines or cell phones, and you can apply directly through your telephone service provider. To be eligible, consumers must have an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participate in a qualifying state, Federal or Tribal assistance program.
  • Food Assistance: The Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) provides an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card, which can be used just like a debit card to purchase groceries at participating supermarkets and other retail food stores.  The program is available to people with low incomes, particularly seniors, and you can apply in person at your local social services office, or online at To find out if you are eligible for SNAP, click here.

To read a full list of supplemental benefit programs offered by the State of New York, visit: For more information about our elder law services, visit