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Taking care of aging parents is something you may need to plan for, especially if you think one or both of them might need long-term care. One thing you may not know is that some states have filial responsibility laws that require adult children to help financially with the cost of nursing home care. Whether these laws affect you or not depends largely on where you live and what financial resources your parents have to cover long-term care. But itâs important to understand how these laws work to avoid any financial surprises as your parents age.
Filial Responsibility Laws, Definition
Filial responsibility laws are legal rules that hold adult children financially responsible for their parentsâ medical care when parents are unable to pay. More than half of U.S. states have some type of filial support or responsibility law, including:
- New Jersey
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
Puerto Rico also has laws regarding filial responsibility. Broadly speaking, these laws require adult children to help pay for things like medical care and basic needs when a parent is impoverished. But the way the laws are applied can vary from state to state. For example, some states may include mental health treatment as a situation requiring children to pay while others donât. States can also place time limitations on how long adult children are required to pay.
When Do Filial Responsibility Laws Apply?
If you live in a state that has filial responsibility guidelines on the books, itâs important to understand when those laws can be applied.
Generally, you may have an obligation to pay for your parentsâ medical care if all of the following apply:
- One or both parents are receiving some type of state government-sponsored financial support to help pay for food, housing, utilities or other expenses
- One or both parents has nursing home bills they canât pay
- One or both parents qualifies for indigent status, which means their Social Security benefits donât cover their expenses
- One or both parents are ineligible for Medicaid help to pay for long-term care
- Itâs established that you have the ability to pay outstanding nursing home bills
If you live in a state with filial responsibility laws, itâs possible that the nursing home providing care to one or both of your parents could come after you personally to collect on any outstanding bills owed. This means the nursing home would have to sue you in small claims court.
If the lawsuit is successful, the nursing home would then be able to take additional collection actions against you. That might include garnishing your wages or levying your bank account, depending on what your state allows.
Whether youâre actually subject to any of those actions or a lawsuit depends on whether the nursing home or care provider believes that you have the ability to pay. If youâre sued by a nursing home, you may be able to avoid further collection actions if you can show that because of your income, liabilities or other circumstances, youâre not able to pay any medical bills owed by your parents.
Filial Responsibility Laws and Medicaid
While Medicare does not pay for long-term care expenses, Medicaid can. Medicaid eligibility guidelines vary from state to state but generally, aging seniors need to be income- and asset-eligible to qualify. If your aging parents are able to get Medicaid to help pay for long-term care, then filial responsibility laws donât apply. Instead, Medicaid can paid for long-term care costs.
There is, however, a potential wrinkle to be aware of. Medicaid estate recovery laws allow nursing homes and long-term care providers to seek reimbursement for long-term care costs from the deceased personâs estate. Specifically, if your parents transferred assets to a trust then your stateâs Medicaid program may be able to recover funds from the trust.
You wouldnât have to worry about being sued personally in that case. But if your parents used a trust as part of their estate plan, any Medicaid recovery efforts could shrink the pool of assets you stand to inherit.
Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning and Long-Term Care
If you live in a state with filial responsibility laws (or even if you donât), itâs important to have an ongoing conversation with your parents about estate planning, end-of-life care and where that fits into your financial plans.
You can start with the basics and discuss what kind of care your parents expect to need and who they want to provide it. For example, they may want or expect you to care for them in your home or be allowed to stay in their own home with the help of a nursing aide. If thatâs the case, itâs important to discuss whether thatâs feasible financially.
If you believe that a nursing home stay is likely then you may want to talk to them about purchasing long-term care insurance or a hybrid life insurance policy that includes long-term care coverage. A hybrid policy can help pay for long-term care if needed and leave a death benefit for you (and your siblings if you have them) if your parents donât require nursing home care.
Speaking of siblings, you may also want to discuss shared responsibility for caregiving, financial or otherwise, if you have brothers and sisters. This can help prevent resentment from arising later if one of you is taking on more of the financial or emotional burdens associated with caring for aging parents.
If your parents took out a reverse mortgage to provide income in retirement, itâs also important to discuss the implications of moving to a nursing home. Reverse mortgages generally must be repaid in full if long-term care means moving out of the home. In that instance, you may have to sell the home to repay a reverse mortgage.
The Bottom Line
Filial responsibility laws could hold you responsible for your parentsâ medical bills if theyâre unable to pay whatâs owed. If you live in a state that has these laws, itâs important to know when you may be subject to them. Helping your parents to plan ahead financially for long-term needs can help reduce the possibility of you being on the hook for nursing care costs unexpectedly.
Tips for Estate Planning
- Consider talking to a financial advisor about what filial responsibility laws could mean for you if you live in a state that enforces them. If you donât have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesnât have to be a complicated process. SmartAssetâs financial advisor matching tool can help you connect, in just minutes, with professional advisors in your local area. If youâre ready, get started now.
- When discussing financial planning with your parents, there are other things you may want to cover in addition to long-term care. For example, you might ask whether theyâve drafted a will yet or if they think they may need a trust for Medicaid planning. Helping them to draft an advance healthcare directive and a power of attorney can ensure that you or another family member has the authority to make medical and financial decisions on your parentsâ behalf if theyâre unable to do so.
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The post An Overview of Filial Responsibility Laws appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
Inheriting property or other assets typically involves filing the appropriate tax forms with the IRS. Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) is used to report a beneficiaryâs share of an estate or trust, including income as well as credits, deductions and profits. A K-1 tax form inheritance statement must be sent out to beneficiaries at the end of the year. If youâre the beneficiary of an estate or trust, itâs important to understand what to do with this form if you receive one and what it can mean for your tax filing.
Schedule K-1 (Form 1041), Explained
Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) is an official IRS form thatâs used to report a beneficiaryâs share of income, deductions and credits from an estate or trust. Itâs full name is âBeneficiaryâs Share of Income, Deductions, Credits, etc.â The estate or trust is responsible for filing Schedule K-1 for each listed beneficiary with the IRS. And if youâre a beneficiary, you also have to receive a copy of this form.
This form is required when an estate or trust is passing tax obligations on to one or more beneficiaries. For example, if a trust holds income-producing assets such as real estate, then it may be necessary for the trustee to file Schedule K-1 for each listed beneficiary.
Whether itâs necessary to do so or not depends on the amount of income the estate generates and the residency status of the estateâs beneficiaries. If the annual gross income from the estate is less than $600, then the estate isnât required to file Schedule K-1 tax forms for beneficiaries. On the other hand, this form has to be filed if the beneficiary is a nonresident alien, regardless of how much or how little income is reported.
Contents of Schedule K-1 Tax Form Inheritance Statements
The form itself is fairly simple, consisting of a single page with three parts. Part one records information about the estate or trust, including its name, employer identification number and the name and address of the fiduciary in charge of handling the disposition of the estate. Part Two includes the beneficiaryâs name and address, along with a box to designate them as a domestic or foreign resident.
Part Three covers the beneficiaryâs share of current year income, deductions and credits. That includes all of the following:
- Interest income
- Ordinary dividends
- Qualified dividends
- Net short-term capital gains
- Net long-term capital gains
- Unrecaptured Section 1250 gains
- Other portfolio and nonbusiness income
- Ordinary business income
- Net rental real estate income
- Other rental income
- Directly apportioned deductions
- Estate tax deductions
- Final year deductions
- Alternative minimum tax deductions
- Credits and credit recapture
If you receive a completed Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) you can then use it to complete your Form 1040 Individual Tax Return to report any income, deductions or credits associated with inheriting assets from the estate or trust.
You wouldnât, however, have to include a copy of this form when you file your tax return unless backup withholding was reported in Box 13, Code B. The fiduciary will send a copy to the IRS on your behalf. But you would want to keep a copy of your Schedule K-1 on hand in case there are any questions raised later about the accuracy of income, deductions or credits being reported.
Estate Income and Beneficiary Taxation
If you received a Schedule K-1 tax form, inheritance tax rules determine how much tax youâll owe on the income from the estate. Since the estate is a pass-through entity, youâre responsible for paying income tax on the income thatâs generated. The upside is that when you report amounts from Schedule K-1 on your individual tax return, you can benefit from lower tax rates for qualified dividends. And if thereâs income from the estate that hasnât been distributed or reported on Schedule K-1, then the trust or estate would be responsible for paying income tax on it instead of you.
In terms of deductions or credits that can help reduce your tax liability for income inherited from an estate, those can include things like:
- Depletion allocations
- Estate tax deduction
- Short-term capital losses
- Long-term capital losses
- Net operating losses
- Credit for estimated taxes
Again, the fiduciary whoâs completing the Schedule K-1 for each trust beneficiary should complete all of this information. But itâs important to check the information thatâs included against what you have in your own records to make sure that itâs correct. If thereâs an error in reporting income, deductions or credits and you use that inaccurate information to complete your tax return, you could end up paying too much or too little in taxes as a result.
If you think the information in your Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) is incorrect, you can contact the fiduciary to request an amended form. If youâve already filed your taxes using the original form, youâd then have to file an amended return with the updated information.
Schedule K-1 Tax Form for Inheritance vs. Schedule K-1 (Form 1065)
Schedule K-1 can refer to more than one type of tax form and itâs important to understand how they differ. While Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) is used to report information related to an estate or trustâs beneficiaries, you may also receive a Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) if you run a business thatâs set up as a pass-through entity.
Specifically, this type of Schedule K-1 form is used to record income, losses, credits and deductions related to the activities of an S-corporation, partnership or limited liability company (LLC). A Schedule K-1 (Form 1065) shows your share of business income and losses.
Itâs possible that you could receive both types of Schedule K-1 forms in the same tax year if you run a pass-through business and youâre the beneficiary of an estate. If youâre confused about how to report the income, deductions, credits and other information from either one on your tax return, it may be helpful to get guidance from a tax professional.
The Bottom Line
Receiving a Schedule K-1 tax form is something you should be prepared for if youâre the beneficiary of an estate or trust. Again, whether you will receive one of these forms depends on whether youâre a resident or nonresident alien and the amount of income the trust or estate generates. Talking to an estate planning attorney can offer more insight into how estate income is taxed as you plan a strategy for managing an inheritance.
Tips for Estate Planning
- Consider talking to a financial advisor about the financial implications of inheriting assets. If you donât have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesnât have to be complicated. SmartAssetâs financial advisor matching tool can help you connect with professional advisors in your local area in minutes. If youâre ready, get started now.
- One way to make the job of filing taxes easier is with a free, easy-to-use tax return calculator. Also, creating a trust is something you might consider as part of your own estate plan if you have significant assets you want to pass on.
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The post A Guide to Schedule K-1 (Form 1041) appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
If you think you’re immune to damage from a collection account on your credit report because you pay your bills on time, think again. Medical bills that you don’t know about could be hurting your creditâand the odds are not in your favor.
In fact, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reports that around 31.6% of adults in the United States have collections accounts on their credit reports. That’s almost one in three Americans! Medical bills account for over half of all collections with an identifiable creditor. Chances are good that you too have a medical bill in collections.
Many times, medical bills hit collections because you didn’t even realize you owed anything. Here are four common medical bill myths that can cost you dearly and the truth you need to manage your credit and medical expenses more proactively.
Your Insurance Wonât Cover Everything
It’s a consumer’s obligation to know what they’re responsible for paying. A lot of people are under the impression that their insurance will cover all medical costs, so they donât owe anything. Due to how a visit or procedure is billed with insurance, this isn’t always the case. It’s always best to be prepared for the worst to prevent anything from being sent to collections.
Insurance companies usually send out an Explanation of Benefits (EOB) before you receive a bill from the provider. Be sure to go through these important documents carefully to ensure you understand what your estimated out-of-pocket costs are. If you have questions about why something wasn’t covered, reach out to the provider and your insurance company.
Your Medical Bills Can Be Sent to Collections, Even If Youâre Paying
Making payments on a medical bill doesn’t necessarily keep it out of collections. If you’re making small paymentsâor if you make your payment a few days late when you’re under a payment arrangementâyou might discover the provider has turned the bill over to collections.
Protections under the Affordable Care Act give patients at nonprofit hospitals time to apply for financial assistance before any “extraordinary collection measures” are taken. But for the most part, any unpaid balance is fair game.
To prevent medical bills from going to collections while you’re making payments, set up a payment arrangement with the provider and get it in writing. If you make an arrangement to pay off a debt in six months and the provider agrees to it, they shouldn’t send you to collections as long as you make payments as agreed.
Medical Collection Accounts Are Treated Differently
This one is good news for you. Medical bills are treated differently than other bills sent to collectionsâat least as far as your credit report is concerned.
- Medical Debts Are Given Less Weight: Newer scoring models such as FICO 9 and VantageScore 4.0 weight medical collections less than other types of collections so that they don’t impact a score as much. However, not all creditors use these new scoring models, so medical collections could still hurt your ability to get credit in the future.
- Medical Debts Are Given a Grace Period: The three credit bureaus now wait 180 days before listing medical debt on your credit reports. This grace period gives you time to figure out payment options before the debt affects your credit scores.
- Medical Debts Are Removed Once Paid: While most collections remain on your credit report for seven years, medical debt is removed once it has been paid or is being paid by insurance. Unpaid medical debt in collections will still remain on your credit report for seven years from the original delinquency date.
Tips for Dealing with Medical Bills
Any time you are contacted by a collection agency, you have the right to written confirmation of the debt as well as the right to dispute it. That’s your right under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you know your rights, you’re in a better position to stand up for them.
Under the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act, you also have the right to dispute inaccurate information on your credit reports. But you have to know how to properly dispute an item on your credit report to get results.
Some best practices to consider when dealing with medical debt include:
- Never assume that you won’t owe. Ask your provider for details about costs, and follow up with your insurance company and provider even if you don’t get a bill.
- Always ask for proof of what you owe. If a medical provider or its billing entity sends you a statement, it’s probably not going to contain a detailed breakdown of all the charges. You have a right to receive that information, though. Request it in writing, and then review all the charges to ensure that they reflect the services you received.
- Compare bills to insurance EOBs. Your insurance explanation of benefits breaks down each charge. Typically, an EOB should tell you how much the provider charged, how much the insurance disallowed, how much the insurance paid and how much you owe. Make sure what you’re billed for doesn’t exceed what the insurance said you owe.
- Make payment arrangements as soon as possible. It’s never too early to talk to your provider’s billing department. Even if they aren’t sure exactly how much you owe, start asking about payment arrangements. Many providers have processes in place to create payment schedules or discount portions of your bill if you pay in advance.
- Ask to make monthly payments on medical bills. You may be able to make monthly payments, but you will need documented proof that the provider or collector has agreed to this. That way, if they report a negative item on your credit report, you can dispute it showing they agreed to the payments you’re making.
Dealing with Medical Bills in Emergency Times
The only certainties in life are death and taxesâand the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that not even taxes are certain. During emergency times, rules and regulations around medical bills might change. Government interventions and hospital policies right now are making it easier for many people to seek much-needed health care during this time if they have COVID-19.
At a time when your personal finances might also be strained by loss of income or other factors, facing medical bills might seem daunting. But even during a crisis, you shouldn’t ignore this aspect of your health care. Instead, discuss options as early as possible with your provider, and let them know if you don’t think you’ll be able to pay. If you speak up proactively, medical providers can act early to help you access any assistance that might be available.
Any time you’re facing financial pressure because of medical bills, you might consider a personal loan. Personal loans let you spread out a large expense over time, and they might be a good option if you can’t get a medical collector to agree to a payment plan.
Medical Debt and Your Credit Score
If you’re concerned about how your medical debt could be impacting your credit, you can typically check your three credit reports for free once a year, but currently under the accommodations for COVID-19, you can check weekly until the end of April 2021.
If you’d like to monitor your credit more regularly, Credit.com’s free Credit Report Card provides you with an easy-to-understand breakdown of the information in your credit report using letter grades. It also includes a free credit score that’s updated every 14 days.
The post What to Know About Medical Bills Sent to Collections appeared first on Credit.com.
A fiduciary deposit account is an account thatâs owned by one or more persons but managed by another. The owner is known as the principal, while the manager is known as the fiduciary. These accounts are sometimes used to handle estate or trust assets, among other purposes. Their legal status and their insurance coverage are determined by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Hereâs what you need to know about this type of account.
Fiduciary Deposit Account, Defined
A fiduciary deposit account, also known as a principal account, is a deposit account that a person or other entity, acting as a fiduciary, establishes to benefit one or more persons who own the assets in the account, according to FDIC rules. The individual who opens the account doesnât have ownership of it nor any ownership interest.
Some examples of fiduciaries of these accounts are trustees, agents, nominees, custodians and guardians. Fiduciary accounts are used in various ways:
- Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts
- Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) accounts
- Decedent estate accounts
- Real estate and other escrow accounts
- Brokerage deposits
- Accounts with a power of attorney
When FDIC Pass-Through Insurance Coverage Applies
All deposits managed by a fiduciary on behalf of the accountâs owner or owners are insured by the FDIC for the full $250,000 on a pass-through basis. This means that all the deposits are considered to be deposits made directly from the principal as long as three requirements are met:
- The owner of the funds must be the principal and not the fiduciary who set up the account. The FDIC may review the fiduciary and ownerâs agreement on the account as well as state laws to confirm this.
- The record of the insured depository institution (IDI) account must indicate the agency nature of the account. For example, the ownership of the account may read ABC Company as custodian, ABC for the benefit of (FBO) or Sally Rowe UTMA John Rowe, Jr.
- The IDI, fiduciary and third-party records must show the ownersâ identities and the ownership interest(s) in the deposit account.
For example, letâs say XYZ Brokerage firm establishes an account for Sally Rowe at ABC Bank. In this example, Sally Rowe is the owner, or the principal, of the money in the account. This account would then be added with any other single accounts she owns at ABC Bank, which would be insured as a single account for up to $250,000.
If we assume Sally has more single ownership accounts at ABC Bank, she will not receive additional coverage because XYZ Brokerage firm opened the account for her. With a fiduciary account, coverage is provided as though the actual owner opened the account at the IDI, assuming all responsibilities are met.
Pass-through coverage is also possible if a guardian retains part of the interest paid by the IDI as a guardian fee.
When FDIC Pass-Through Insurance Coverage Doesnât Apply
If requirements of a fiduciary account are not met, the account will be insured under the fiduciary, not the intended principal. In this case, the fiduciary will own the deposits and the account will be categorized as a single account or corporate account. These deposits will then be combined with other deposits the fiduciary holds in the same ownership at the IDI where funds are held. The total sum will be insured up to $250,000.
For example, letâs say a customer of a deposit broker is assured by the guardian (fiduciary) that he or she will earn 5% on a deposit when the IDI is paying only 3%. The guardian would not be a guardian then; he or she would be a borrower with an independent responsibility to pay 5%. In this case, the deposits are no longer eligible for pass-through coverage for the principal. Instead, the deposits are now considered corporate deposits belonging to the guardian.
A fiduciary deposit account is an account set up by someone for another person, who actually owns the money. The one who sets up the account and manages it is known as the fiduciary, while the owner of the money is known as a principal. This kind of arrangement is used to handle assets in trusts, escrow accounts, brokerage accounts and decedent estates, among other uses. Itâs important that these arrangements carefully follow all the FDICâs legal requirements, as well as applicable state regulations, to qualify as a fiduciary deposit account.
Estate Planning Tips
- Consider talking to a financial advisor about your estate plans. Finding a financial advisor doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service can connect you with several in your area in minutes. If youâre ready, get started now.
- If you have an agent, they may make decisions about your 401(k) account. Find out how much money youâll have in your account by the time you retire with our free 401(k) calculator.
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