April 2020 Newsletter
Dear Clients and Friends,
The Office is closed but I am open for business:
My last newsletter to you was March 18 to announce the closing of my office to protect everyone from contracting the Covid19 virus. The Governor subsequently ordered all non-essential businesses, including all law offices, to close on March 23d. I am still working from home. In 2013, we started scanning and saving all documents to our client’s files so I am able to access most of your file information from home. If you have questions about your estate plan or other legal questions you think I could answer, please do not hesitate to call the office. I pick up messages all day long and will get back to you as soon as possible. I can prepare new documents to be emailed to you for printing and signing. Remember that the umbrella of Elder Law includes dealing with post-death trust administration or probate administration so I am able to assist those families that have lost a loved one. This is a time of high anxiety and I want to reduce any anxiety that you may have on legal matters.
I know you have heard a lot about the Cares Act, especially the part about receiving $1200 stimulus checks. That information has been publicized widely. However, there are other provisions that may impact you that have not been publicized.
Your state and federal tax returns and money for taxes due are no longer due on April 15. The new date is July 15.
If you pay estimated taxes, the first quarter payment due April 15 is also not due until July 15. However, the second quarter payment due June 15 is still due June 15.
You are not required to take a required minimum distribution from a retirement account in 2020. It is waived for 2020. You can make withdrawals from your retirement account if you want or need to and it will be taxable.
The rules for hardship distribution from a retirement account have been loosened. Previously, if you made a withdrawal prior to being age 59 ½, you were required to pay a 10% penalty on top of the tax due. The penalty is waived on distributions of $100,000 or less if you lost a job due to Covid19 or you or your spouse contracted Covid19.
DNR (Do Not Resuscitate Order)
I have received a number of calls about Healthcare Powers of Attorney (POA) and a DNR. If I prepared your POA, it is NOT a DNR. It does allow you to sign a DNR if you are competent or your Patient Advocate to sign a DNR when you are not competent AND the circumstances are such that resuscitation is not desired. However, some POAs have a flat-out refusal of resuscitation, including ventilators, under any and all circumstances. This would not be a desirable provision in a POA for someone admitted for Covid19 treatment where the use of a ventilator can be life-saving. Now would be a good time to pull out your POA if I did not prepare it and go over the language to see if it allows the use of ventilators. Feel free to call me to discuss your POA provisions if you are unsure.
Many you sent emails with your good wishes for my wife, Susan, and her battle with cancer. She has completed the chemo and radiation treatment for the lymph node cancer and continues to recuperate from the gall bladder surgery. Her lung cancer surgery scheduled for April 12th was cancelled along with most all other non-emergency surgeries. Her next appointment with the surgeon is in June. We appreciate your thoughts and prayers.