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Exchange an Old Annuity or Life Insurance for Long-Term Care Insurance

A new law makes the purchase of products that combine annuities or insurance policies with long-term care insurance more attractive. As ElderLawAnswers previously reported, these “hybrid” products are gaining in popularity due to a law that went into effect January 1, 2010, making distributions from life insurance and annuities tax-free when used to pay for long-term care. The same law also allows owners of annuities or life insurance policies to exchange their old policies for long-term care insurance or hybrid

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Investigative Report Questions Five-Star Rating System for Nursing Homes

How reliable are the ratings given nursing homes under the five-star rating system that the federal government recently instituted? Not very, according to an investigative report by the Massachusetts magazine Commonwealth. In an in-depth discussion of the rating system, the report highlights numerous instances in which facilities received above-average overall ratings despite being cited for serious deficiencies in care, some of which resulted in serious injuries of residents. The rating system, which was launched in December 2008 by the federal

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Make Sure Your Life Insurance Is Not Taxed at Your Death

Although your life insurance policy may pass to your heirs income tax-free, it can affect your estate tax. If you are the owner of the insurance policy, it will become a part of your taxable estate when you die. While the federal estate tax is currently zero, the exemption will be $1 million and the rate will increase to 55 percent on January 1, 2011, if Congress fails to act in the interim. And state estate taxes are still in

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Getting Social Security While Living Overseas

Many retirees look forward to traveling in their retirement, and more and more are actually retiring overseas, in part as a way to stretch savings. But what happens to retirees’ federal benefits while they are out of the country? The short answer is that although Social Security benefits are available to retirees in other countries, Medicare is not. In this installment we look at Social Security. (Click here for our article on overseas travel and Medicare.) As is not the

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How Risky Is Buying a Limited-Duration Long-Term Care Insurance Policy?

More consumers are buying shorter-duration policies as a way to keep the cost of long-term care insurance affordable. For example, in 2009 almost one-third of individual buyers purchased a three-year benefit period policy, according to the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance. But is that sufficient coverage or is the policyholder likely to run out of benefit dollars? According to a new consumer guide by the industry trade association, the risk of running out of benefits on a three-year policy

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