Firm News Feed Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0800firmwise Kypreos Appointed as Co-Chair of Florida Probate Rules Committee<p>Firm Shareholder, <a href=";A=3447&amp;format=xml">Theodore Kypreos</a>, has been appointed by <a href="">President-Elect of the Florida Bar, Michelle Suskauer</a>, as Co-Chair of the <a href="">Florida Probate Rules Committee</a>. Theo&rsquo;s one-year term as committee officer begins on July 1, 2018. The Florida Bar&rsquo;s standing committees are comprised of various volunteer groups that are dedicated to furthering the Florida Bar&rsquo;s mission and annual objectives.</p> <p>Theo is actively involved in industry organizations, holding several leadership positions within the <a href="">Florida Bar</a> including serving on the Executive Council for Real Property, Probate and Trust Law section. Theo was the <a href="">2014-2015 President of the Palm Beach County Bar Association</a>, he previously served on the Board of Directors for the <a href="">Chamber of Commerce of the Palm Beaches</a>, and currently serves as <a href="">President for the University of Florida Law Alumni Council</a>.</p> <p>Theo, a member of the Firm&rsquo;s Board of Directors, focuses his practice in the areas of probate and trust <a href=";LPA=1688&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4248">litigation</a>, <a href=";LPA=1694&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4248">trust and estate</a> administration, guardianship law, and fiduciary litigation. He represents a broad range of clients, including corporate and individual fiduciaries, individual heirs and beneficiaries, and charitable institutions and beneficiaries.</p>Firm News25 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0800 G. Hawkins Speaks at Annual Conference for Institutionally Related Foundations<p>Scott Hawkins presented at the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) Annual Conference for Institutionally Related Foundations in Miami, FL on April 19. Scott addressed the topic of &ldquo;Separating Fact from Fiction: State Scrutiny of Institutionally Related Foundations.&rdquo; His expert panel shared strategies on how foundation leaders can demonstrate their value to state officials.</p> <p>Hosted by CASE, the Annual Conference for Institutionally Related Foundations is designed for foundation executives and other senior staff and provides a forum to learn about the critical and emerging issues affecting institutionally related foundations. Now in it&rsquo;s 26<sup>th</sup> year, the conference conducts in-depth general session presentations that set the stage for smaller elective sessions with thought leaders in various industries and disciplines.</p> <p>Scott Hawkins, Jones Foster&rsquo;s Vice-Chair, is a nationally recognized corporate and business litigation attorney. He is actively involved in various industry and community organizations, serving as the Chair of the University of Florida Foundation from 2014-2016. Scott represents public and private companies in a variety of industries, including education, technology, medical, environmental, real estate, land use, insurance, and military. Scott focuses his practice in commercial and corporate litigation with an emphasis on intellectual property, trade secret disputes, covenants not to compete, securities, and real estate litigation.</p>Firm News19 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0800 W. Smith Honored with Anquan Boldin Foundation Award<p>Firm Shareholder <a href=";A=5714&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4295">Grasford Smith</a> was honored by the <a href="">Anquan Boldin Foundation</a> with an award for his loyal and dedicated service to the community. Grasford was presented the award by Anquan Boldin himself, an <a href="">NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year</a>, during the foundation&rsquo;s <a href="">Annual Charity Golf Tournament</a> at <a href="">PGA Resort</a> in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.</p> <p>The Anquan Boldin Foundation, also known as <a href="">Q81</a>, is dedicated to expanding the educational and life opportunities of underprivileged children. The Q81 Foundation has over 10 years of history impacting communities at large. Q-Fest, held annually in Palm Beach, Florida, is the Foundation&rsquo;s most celebrated event, and has been the cornerstone in generating resources to sustain the charitable efforts that Anquan and his family are dedicated to.</p> <p>Grasford Smith serves on the <a href="">Board of Directors for the Anquan Boldin Foundation</a> and is deeply committed to a variety of philanthropic organizations and initiatives throughout the community.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <img src="" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="left" alt="" border="0" width="400" height="300" /></p>Firm News13 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0800 W. Smith Recognized by NYU LACA with Rising Star Award<p>Jones Foster is pleased to announce that the <a href="">NYU Law Alumni of Color Association (LACA)</a> has recognized <a href=";LPA=1688&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4248">litigation </a>shareholder, <a href=";A=5714&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4295">Grasford Smith</a>, as a 40 Under 40 Rising Star at the organization&rsquo;s <a href="">2018 Spring Dinner</a> due to his outstanding accomplishments as a leader in the legal industry.</p> <p>NYU LACA promotes and supports the professional development and general advancement of the Law School&rsquo;s alumni and students of color, and seeks to more fully involve alumni, students, and faculty of color in the educational, social, and intellectual life of the Law School. The annual Spring Dinner brings together the LACA Executive Board, alumni, faculty, administrators, and students to celebrate the achievements of the outstanding LACA alumni. This year, they proudly celebrated their 40th anniversary at the annual event.</p> <p>Grasford Smith is the former First-Vice President of NYU LACA. He is actively involved in various industry and community organizations and is consistently recognized among his peers by prestigious industry publications. Grasford concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation, intellectual property litigation, and transactional matters. He has represented a diverse clientele, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, athletic leagues, technology companies, and a United States Congressman, in addition to a variety of small and medium-sized businesses.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>Firm News09 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Reform Update | Volume 33, Issue 1<h3 style="text-align: center;">Tax Reform Update</h3> <h4 style="text-align: center;"><em>Volume 33, Issue 1</em></h4> <h4 style="text-align: center;">&nbsp;</h4> <h4>Estate Tax Formula Clauses May Require Immediate Attention</h4> <p>The vast majority of estate plans drafted to take advantage of the estate tax exempt amount over the years have utilized a formula that directs the estate tax exempt amount to be funded into a Family Trust or Credit Shelter Trust with the balance passing outright to the surviving spouse and/or into a Marital Trust. As the exempt amount increased year by year, the estate assets in most instances also increased, which led to few adverse effects. However, now that the estate tax exempt amount in 2018 has doubled to $11,180,000 per person, almost all clients need to address the effects of the formula clause on their estates. The following is an example of a $9 million decedent's estate based on the exempt amounts in effect in 2006, 2011 and now in 2018.<br /> <br /> Estate of $9,000,000:<br /> <img src="" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="absmiddle" alt="" border="0" width="558" height="248" /><br /> <br /> <br /> In 2006, the surviving spouse would inherit the majority of the estate outright or in a Marital Trust, whereas now the surviving spouse and/or the Marital Trust would get ZERO. This example is further exacerbated if, in fact, the Family Trust was designed to benefit the children and further generations only, but could also cause family conflict if the Family Trust were drafted as a &quot;spray trust&quot; to distribute income and principal amongst the surviving spouse, children, grandchildren etc. based on &quot;need.&quot;<br /> <br /> In past newsletters, we have commented upon the advisability of having the exempt amount and the residuary estate pass into both the Family Trust and the Marital Trust with the surviving spouse as sole beneficiary, provided that the family's intent is that the husband and wife are to continue to receive all of the income and have access to discretionary principal distributions until the survivor dies. We have also recommended in many instances that the entire estate be held in a trust for the benefit of the surviving spouse with the personal representative or trustee having the discretion to elect to treat part or all of the trust as a Marital Trust under the Qualified Terminable Interest Property Rules (QTIPable Trust).<br /> <br /> Please note that the intent here is only to highlight some of the very serious adverse affects that the formula clauses may cause without further timely attention.</p> <h4>The Estate Tax Exempt Amount <br /> <em>Use It or Lose It</em></h4> <p>The increase in the exempt amount for gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer tax purposes to $11,180,000 per person has a built-in cancellation clause effective January 1, 2026, unless the currently indexed increases are further extended. As a result of current political uncertainty, many advisors have opined that the odds are better than 50/50 that the exempt amount will regress to the 2017 indexed amount in 2026. Therefore, clients are advised to seriously consider using some or all of the increased exempt amounts via the various tried and true estate planning vehicles used in the past. These include family limited partnerships and/or limited liability companies, qualified personal residence trusts, grantor and non-grantor irrevocable trusts, spousal lifetime access trusts (SLATs) and other vehicles.<br /> <br /> </p> <h4>Charitable Planning</h4> <p>The standard income tax deduction per couple has increased to $24,000 in 2018. If your state tax deductions are capped at $10,000, then you would need to generate in excess of $14,000 of charitable contributions in order to take advantage of a deduction for those expenditures. If they do not, then you would simply rely on the standard deduction. However, if you could make charitable contributions in 2018 for the expenditures anticipated to be made over the next 5-10 years, you would then be able to deduct not only your state tax amounts, but also your total charitable gift deductions. In future years you could rely on your annual standard deductions. For example, if you typically contribute $10,000 a year but contributed $100,000 this year, then you could deduct not only that total amount, but also the $10,000 state tax deductible amounts. <br /> <br /> This year, those deductions would not need to be contributed outright to 501(c)(3) charitable organizations, but instead could be contributed to a donor advised fund (DAF) from which you could expend amounts over the next several years directly to charities. Keep in mind that if you have a IRA and you are over age 72 &frac12;, you can contribute amounts directly from your IRA to the charity to satisfy your annual minimum required distributions, and still take your standard deductions. <br /> <br /> The rules governing charitable remainder trusts have not changed. If you wish to benefit charities primarily upon your demise, you could create a charitable remainder unitrust paying you a set percentage of at least 5% per year and generate a significant income tax deduction this year. If the payout is 5%, a 70 year old's deduction would be 52.487% of the amount funded into the trust. A couple aged 70 would generate a deduction of 41.255%. If instead you opted for a Charitable Remainder Annuity Trust, those same contributions' deductions would be 45.484% or 31.09% respectively.</p>Firm News02 Apr 2018 00:00:00 -0800 W. Wilkins Speaks at 2018 UF Law E-Discovery Conference<p><a href=";A=3462&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4295">Robert Wilkins</a> presented at the <a href="">2018 UF Law E-Discovery Conference</a> in Gainesville, Florida on March 29. His panel addressed the topic of E-Discovery Security and Data Protection, discussing vulnerability points and how teams are protecting e-discovery files from being altered using data security and chain of custody protocols.</p> <p>The <a href="">University of Florida E-Discovery Project</a> hosts its annual full-day conference to address the everyday practice problems and the critical steps for a successful e-discovery project. Over the last five years the conference has been touted by the industry as a must attend event due to its <a href="">diverse speakers and agenda</a>.</p> <p>Robert Wilkins is the Chair of the <a href=";LPA=1688&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4248">Litigation Department</a> at Jones Foster and a Florida Bar Board Certified Attorney in Business Litigation and Civil Trial Law. Robert has over 30 years of experience as a trial lawyer in both federal and state courts, representing a broad spectrum of clients from individuals to multi-national corporations. He has extensive experienced in e-Discovery and data privacy law, including the ethical responsibilities of lawyers as it relates to the use of technology.</p>Firm News30 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 M. Henry Speaks to the Professional Endowment Committee at the RCCA<p><a href=";A=3441&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4295">Tim Henry</a> presented on the topic of &ldquo;Estate and Income Tax Planning&rdquo; to the Professional Endowment Committee at the <a href="">Rehabilitation Center for Children &amp; Adults</a> (RCCA) on March 28, 2018. Tim discussed in detail the need to amend wills and living trusts that contain formula clauses for estate tax planning purposes.</p> <p>The RCCA is an outpatient physical, occupational, and speech therapy facility located in Palm Beach. The Professional Endowment Committee introduces the Rehabilitation Center&rsquo;s mission and needs to the community. Tim serves as the Chairman of the Professional Endowment Committee and conducts quarterly committee meetings where members review the latest relevant estate tax information. Additionally, the committee sponsors an annual Estate Planners Reception where guests learn how to help RCCA through planned gifts such as wills and charitable trust agreements.</p> <p>Tim Henry is Chair of the <a href=";LPA=1694&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4248">Trusts &amp; Estates Practice Group</a> at Jones Foster. He is Florida Bar Board Certified in Taxation and focuses his practice in the areas of charitable giving, taxation, estate planning, and trust and estate administration.</p>Firm News28 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Series: Elder Law<h3>Q&amp;A Series: Elder Law</h3> <p><i><a href=";LPA=7371&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4248">Elder Law</a></i><em> is a complex and highly specialized area of practice that requires a comprehensive understanding of both State and Federal Laws in addition to the ability to tailor legal strategies to each client&rsquo;s unique needs. Senior Counsel&nbsp;</em><a href=";A=14040&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4295"><em>Genny Bernstein</em></a><em>, a Board Certified Specialist in Elder Law, has answered some of our client&rsquo;s most commonly asked questions.</em></p> <p><strong>What is Elder Law?</strong></p> <p>As individuals grow older and life expectancy increases, their physical capabilities, healthcare needs, and other concerns change. Elder law focuses on estate planning, health care needs, living environments and the avenues to help pay for care costs. Every family&rsquo;s circumstance varies and objectives must be specific to each. We are here to address, analyze and help navigate the needs of our Florida clients with complex and sometimes overwhelming issues. Additionally, many of the same issues that affect our seniors can also affect those with disabilities. Counseling families as to proper legal documents and processes can be crucial to support and protect loved ones with special needs.</p> <p>How do I pay for the cost of long-term care?</p> <p>As clients age, the need for assistance with everyday activities is a commonplace. While many seniors would like to stay in their home, it is not always a viable option. Oftentimes, additional support in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility is required. Notwithstanding where the care is occurring, the costs can be expensive.</p> <p>The question remains: how can the cost of such care be paid?</p> <p>There are generally three ways to answer this question. The first is to pay out of pocket. This reduces and can even exhaust an estate, thereby creating the concerns of outliving one&rsquo;s money. The second is through long-term insurance, if affordable and if one is insurable. The third is through government benefits, if eligible, through programs such as Medicaid and/or Veteran Benefits.</p> <p><strong>Long-term Care Medicaid in a Nursing Home</strong></p> <p><strong><i>Do I Qualify?</i></strong></p> <p>Long-term care in a skilled nursing home can be very expensive, costing an average of $80,000-$100,000 dollars per year. A Government benefit program such as Medicaid and the qualifications required to obtain these benefits can be confusing. For simplicity, to qualify an applicant must meet a medical, asset, and income component. The medical criteria is determined by the level of assistance an applicant requires with their activities of daily living, such as dressing, bathing, and medication management, to name a few. Concerning the assets, the maximum countable limit is $2,000 for the applicant. Notwithstanding this asset limit, there are exempt assets that are not countable including a car at any value, personal effects and furnishings, a burial account with a cash value up to $2,500, and prepaid burial plans/plots and irrevocable funeral plans. Lastly, there is a gross monthly income limit that applicants must have in order to meet the criteria. This is referred to as an &ldquo;Income Cap.&rdquo; The current gross monthly figure for 2018 is $2,250.00. However, do not assume that you are ineligible and benefits cannot be obtained if your income is too high. In these situations, the creation of a Qualified Income Trust (QIT) can be used to hold the excess income, thereby meeting income qualifications. Additionally, if an applicant is married, we must also address the income and assets of the spouse.</p> <p>Preserving one&rsquo;s assets for long-term care nursing and having Medicaid assist with the costs can make a significant difference in the quality of life for those that require a nursing facility or similar types of care. An experienced Elder Law attorney will assess a client&rsquo;s current state of affairs, strategize various options, and determine if and how a client can qualify for Medicaid benefits.</p> <p><strong>VA Benefits for Aid and Attendance</strong></p> <p><strong><i>Do all Veterans qualify?</i></strong></p> <p>The US Department of Veteran Affairs (the VA) offers a variety of benefits to Veterans and their loved ones from health care to financial benefit programs. Pension with Aid and Attendance is a benefit for non-service connected Veterans, meaning Veterans that did not sustain an injury or aggravation to an injury during wartime service. This program is &ldquo;Needs- Based.&rdquo; There is often the misconception that every Veteran is automatically eligible for such benefits due to being in the service.&nbsp;However, this is not always the case. The questions then become; does a Veteran qualify for Pension with Aid and Attendance and what are the requirements?</p> <p>Although a Veteran must first be eligible for the pension portion of the benefit prior to receiving Aid and Attendance, the process can often be complicated and become a waiting game. The criteria contains a service component in addition to a medical need, as well as an asset and an income limitation. A Veteran must meet all of the criteria to obtain benefits. In addition, a spouse and certain dependents of a Veteran may also be entitled to benefits. However, they must also meet certain requirements to obtain the benefit.</p> <p>To qualify, the Veteran must have served on active duty for a period of ninety (90) days with at least one day being during a wartime period. The wartime periods are outlined by the Veteran Administration, and include World War II, the Korean Conflict, the Vietnam Era, and the Persian Gulf War, to name a few. The Veteran must have been discharged under conditions other than dishonorable. In addition, a Veteran must be either 65 years or older or permanently and completely disabled.</p> <p>Since this type of VA program is for those with limited financial means, there is a net worth determination. While the VA has stated that there is no specific asset limit defined by law, $80,000 is often used as a measuring scale at the high end for the net worth limitation. However, the age and asset amount of the applicant should be analyzed prior to submitting an application.</p> <p>Lastly, eligibility is contingent on Gross Countable Income. This is determined by combining the gross monthly income for all sources (i.e. social security, pension, etc.) from the Veteran and/or spouse and reducing it by the out of pocket monthly recurring medical expenses. This math equation will assist in determining the amount of the benefit, if any. The higher the unreimbursed medical expenses, the better chance of benefits. If the unreimbursed medical expenses exceed the gross income amount, the applicant may receive the full benefit. This type of benefit will be helpful to pay for the costs of home care and assisted living. For some, it may even assist with the costs of a skilled nursing facility.</p> <p>This chart reflects the current Monthly Pension Rates/Fact Sheet for Pension with Aid and Attendance (Effective date 12-1-2017)</p> <table border="1" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="0" width="90%"> <tbody> <tr> <td width="207" valign="top">&nbsp;</td> <td width="146" valign="top"> <p>Improved Pension Maximum</p> </td> <td width="118" valign="top"> <p><span>Aid Attendance Maximum</span></p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="207" valign="top"> <p>Veteran</p> </td> <td width="146" valign="top"> <p>$1097</p> </td> <td width="118" valign="top"> <p>$1830</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="207" valign="top"> <p>Veteran with 1 Dependent</p> </td> <td width="146" valign="top"> <p>$1436</p> </td> <td width="118" valign="top"> <p>$2169</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="207" valign="top"> <p>Widow of a Veteran</p> </td> <td width="146" valign="top"> <p>$735</p> </td> <td width="118" valign="top"> <p>$1176</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="207" valign="top"> <p>Widow with 1 Dependent</p> </td> <td width="146" valign="top"> <p>$963</p> </td> <td width="118" valign="top"> <p>$1403</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="207" valign="top"> <p>Veteran Permanently Housebound</p> </td> <td width="146" valign="top"> <p>$1340</p> </td> <td width="118" valign="top"> <p>n/a</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="207" valign="top"> <p>Same as above with 1 Dependent</p> </td> <td width="146" valign="top"> <p>$1680</p> </td> <td width="118" valign="top"> <p>n/a</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="207" valign="top"> <p>Widow Permanently Housebound</p> </td> <td width="146" valign="top"> <p>$899</p> </td> <td width="118" valign="top"> <p>n/a</p> </td> </tr> <tr> <td width="207" valign="top"> <p>Same as above with 1 Dependent</p> </td> <td width="146" valign="top"> <p>$1126</p> </td> <td width="118" valign="top"> <p>n/a</p> </td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p><i>Only a VA accredited Attorney and Agent can assist with these type of applications. </i></p> <p>Medicaid and/or Veteran long-term planning, whether in a crisis or if done proactively in pre-planning, involves a comprehensive plan to protect assets within the parameters of the laws, in order to avoid a client, their spouse, and possibly their family from financial impoverishment.&nbsp;It is imperative to speak to with a specialist to customize the proper plan for each family&rsquo;s unique situation.</p> <p><strong>Medicaid &amp; VA Conflict</strong></p> <p>When the time arises that clients and their families begin dealing with the aging process and the medical needs that can accompany them, finding solutions becomes the priority. However, beware; what one program allows may be completely different from another. This is often the case when planning for Medicaid and Veteran Benefits. There is some overlap with criteria, but the strategies used often lead to problems with eligibility between the two. Hiring a specialist to assist can negate ending up in the Medicaid/VA conflict.</p>Firm News12 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Foster Expands Footprint with Addition of Elder Law Practice Group<p>Jones Foster is pleased to announce that it has added an <a href=";LPA=7371&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4248">Elder Law Practice Group</a> to the Firm, hiring Senior Counsel and <a href="">Board Certified Specialist in Elder Law</a>, <a href=";A=14040&amp;format=xml&amp;p=4295">Genny Bernstein</a>, to lead the practice area.</p> <p>This strategic move further enhances the services that Jones Foster provides to their private services clients. &ldquo;Although we have been practicing law as a firm for nearly a century, we are always looking to evolve,&rdquo; says Larry B. Alexander, Chairman of the Firm. &ldquo;Our priority is our clients and their unique needs. As such, we feel that the addition of Elder Law to the firm is a great compliment to our other practice groups.&rdquo;</p> <p>Jones Foster&rsquo;s Elder Law practice area is designed to assist senior clients with ongoing planning in addition to providing support with unique legal issues that arise with the aging process.They assist Elder Law clients with the options that are available for private and public resources as well as benefits that may be available to individuals and their families for long-term care. This type of planning includes Wills and Trusts, Advance Directives, counseling for Incapacity Planning, Guardianship, Long-Term Disability Planning, and Asset Protection for Home Care, Assisted Living and/or Skilled Nursing Homes, Medicaid, Medicaid Applications, Special Needs Planning, and Veteran Benefits.</p>Firm News09 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800 Foster Announces New Marketing Director<p><a href="">Jones Foste</a>r, one of <a href="">West Palm Beach&rsquo;s oldest law firms</a>, has appointed Lara Hillman as its Marketing Director, a new position for the Firm. This hire is a key part of Jones Foster&rsquo;s drive to increase brand awareness and position its attorneys as thought leaders in their areas of law.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m thrilled to have joined the Jones Foster team. The Firm has been practicing law in the community for nearly a century, which is a remarkable opportunity from a branding and communications perspective,&rdquo; says Mrs. Hillman. &ldquo;Jones Foster&rsquo;s attorneys are some of the most established and highly respected in Florida, yet they are open to new and innovative marketing strategies which speaks to the Firm&rsquo;s culture and mentality.&rdquo;</p> <p>Mrs.&nbsp;Hillman brings a diverse skill set to the Firm, having worked both at creative agencies and in-house at prestigious law firms in Miami. She has extensive experience with large-scale branding initiatives, strategic planning, and establishing internal marketing processes and practices, all of which align with the executive team&rsquo;s forward-thinking vision for the Firm.&nbsp;<br /> <br /> <img src="" hspace="0" vspace="0" align="left" alt="" border="0" width="250" height="312" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>Firm News08 Mar 2018 00:00:00 -0800