COVID-19 & Your College Age Student

Has your child turned 18? Have they started college, are they studying abroad or taking a gap year?

If the answer is YES, there are two important documents that your child should have in place that are vital in helping your child, and you, in the event of an emergency. The importance of these documents, especially in the current COVID-19 crisis, cannot be understated.

What are these documents?

  • A durable power of attorney for health care
  • A durable power of attorney for property

Many parents may not realize that in most states your child is an adult once they turn 18. Further, certain federal laws such as the privacy laws under the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) can prevent parents of children who have reached 18 years of age from accessing their children’s grades, bank accounts, disciplinary records, or even information about their healthcare. As such, a parent’s ability to discuss these matters with your child’s doctors, health care institutions, or school, in the event your child has a medical emergency may be limited or restricted, even if you are “paying the bills” or providing the health insurance for your child.

The durable power of attorney for healthcare allows your child to appoint someone, typically a parent, as the child’s health care agent to make medical decisions on their behalf if they are or become unable to make those decisions on their own. The durable power of attorney should include a HIPAA release to comply with the HIPAA privacy laws, and can also include “living will” provisions that would address end of life decisions. No-one likes to think about such matters for a young adult, but properly addressing these issues now can provide relief that can minimize the emotional issues that arise if a young adult faces a health crisis.

The durable power of attorney for property allows your child to appoint someone, again typically a parent, as the child’s agent to handle financial matters on their behalf. This may be important if your child is away at school, allowing their agent to deal with the child’s bank accounts, student loans, other bills, and even grades. You or your child can also check with their educational institution to see if they have any requirements in this regard, as many colleges and universities have their own suggested forms that they may require in addition to these documents.

These documents are not complicated and easy to prepare and can provide you and your child the peace of mind in knowing that you are there to support them when needed in a way that complies with the law. Please feel free to reach out to our Director of Estate Planning, Tom Shea, Esquire, to discuss. 

Congratulations Steven K. Eisenberg, Esquire, MBA

Steven K. Eisenberg, Esquire, MBA

Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Stern & Eisenberg

At Stern & Eisenberg, we are always looking for ways to grow and enhance our ability to support all of our clients’ needs through our existing footprint. Part of our effort includes supporting our attorneys’ efforts to develop their abilities and knowledge in additional jurisdictions.

It is with great pleasure to announce that Steven K. Eisenberg has recently been sworn into the practice of law in the additional states of West Virginia and Maryland. He looks forward to working with the other Stern & Eisenberg attorneys licensed in those states. With the help of our Stern & Eisenberg attorneys, Steven soon will join the Federal Bars (District Courts and Bankruptcy Courts) in both states. Steven is also finalizing his admission to the New York State Bar.

The S&E family is dedicated to professional advocacy, creative solutions and legal services for our clients, partners, and community with determined integrity and intensity serving the State of Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and (Maryland).

Steven K. Eisenberg, Chief Executive Office and Founder of Stern & Eisenberg has an extensive background in real estate and corporate matters including acquisition and sale of businesses and assets.  His practice also focuses on the representation of lenders and servicers in the enforcement and protection of their interests in the legal process, including foreclosure, bankruptcy, evictions, title claims, loan modifications, and litigation.  Having experience previously representing borrowers, Steven brings his unique perspective to the representation of his servicer, lender and business clients.  Steven is now licensed to practice law in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. He is Martindale-Hubbell AV rated.  

Congratulations Steven!

Estate Planning, Retirement Plans & The CARES Act (Part 2): COVID-19 Related Planning Opportunities

In addition to the suspension of required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020 available to retirement account owners as a result of the federal CARES Act that we discussed in our last post, this COVID-19 relief legislation also provided some additional relief efforts to help retirement account owners. First, retirement plan owners who were directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic may take an IRA distribution this year of up to $100,000 and spread the income tax on that distribution out over 3 years (2020, 2021 and 2022). Also, if you are under 59.5 years of age and impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, you can avoid the 10% penalty on early withdrawals. These relief provisions have created some interesting, albeit aggressive tax planning opportunities with IRAs. One possible, but aggressive strategy, is for an IRA owner to do a Roth IRA conversion and spread the income tax cost of the converted amount (up to $100,000) over 3 years. Another aggressive strategy is for an IRA owner directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic to make a deductible IRA contribution in 2020, then take a taxable distribution from the IRA this year. The deduction for the contribution is taken in 2020, but the taxes on the distribution can be spread out over 3 years. Although these strategies appear to comply with the CARES Act provisions, whether or not Congress intended to allow such strategies as part of this COVID-19 relief legislation has been a matter of some debate, and future IRS guidance on these strategies may be forthcoming. To learn more on how the CARES Act may impact your estate and retirement plan planning, please contact us today.

ESTATE PLANNING IN THE AGE OF COVID-19: An Introduction To Estate Planning

Join our Director of Estate Planning, Thomas E. Shea, Esquire, and Delaware Attorney, Darlene Blythe, Esquire, for an introduction to Estate Planning, and why COVID-19 has brought the importance of estate planning to the forefront.

  • What is an Estate Plan, what is the purpose, and who needs one?
  • The basic elements of an Estate Plan
  • What you need to do to get the process started
  • Advanced Estate Planning

Darlene Blythe & Thomas Shea - Webinar on ESTATE PLANNING IN THE AGE OF COVID-19: An Introduction To Estate Planning

Estate Planning, Retirement Plans & The CARES Act (Part 1): Elimination of RMDs

Did you know that the federal CARES Act that became law earlier this year as part of the federal government’s COVID-19 relief efforts included a number of short-term changes designed to enhance the durability of retirement plan savings as well as emergency provisions to ease COVID-19 related hardships. Specifically, the CARES Act suspended all required minimum distributions (RMDs) for 2020 (you can still take them if you want to or need to but are not required to take your RMD in 2020). As RMDs are based on retirement account values as of the end of the prior year, this relief provision may be helpful to those with retirement plans who have other sufficient sources of income and do not need to take RMDs and who may want to give their retirement plan funds time to recover from the current market volatility. This suspension of RMDs for 2020 may also create opportunities for those considering converting their traditional IRA to a Roth IRA. If you already took out an RMD for 2020, you may be able to return the RMD to your plan or other retirement plan, but under current IRS guidance you must act by August 31, 2020. We will cover additional CARES Act provisions impacting retirement plans in future posts. To learn more on how the CARES ACT may impact your estate and retirement plan planning, please contact us today.

IRA Rollover Relief – Deadline Extended

On June 23, 2020, the IRS released Notice 2020-51, which provides guidance relating to the waiver of 2020 required minimum distributions (RMDs) enacted as part of the federal CARES Act COVID-19 relief legislation.

Specifically, Notice 2020-51, allows for a rollover or repayment of an RMD taken in 2020 until August 31, 2020, effectively extending the traditional 60-day rollover rule for RMDs taken earlier in the year. Those plan owners who took RMDs this year thinking they were required to, but do not need the funds, have the opportunity to return those funds to their IRA or a rollover IRA. Consult with your plan custodian or financial advisor for more information. To learn more on the importance of estate planning in the age of COVID-19, please contact us today.