Stano Law November 2018

monthly “You are not alone.”

November 2018

FROM THE DESK OF

Paul Stano

IMPORTANT CHANGES TO VA AID AND ATTENDANCE BENEFITS

We owe a huge debt of gratitude to those men and women who defended our country and our freedoms. Yet toomany veterans and their significant others are struggling to gain access to earned benefits that will help them as they age, experience a decline in health, and require an increased level of care.

THE HISTORY BEHIND THANKSGIVING TRADITIONS T urkey , F ootball , and B lack F riday

On October 18, 2018, the ability to get access to a little-knownVA benefit got more difficult.

“There is one day that is ours. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American.” –O. Henry

Here is a summary of these changes and some guidance tomake sure that you can take advantage of these benefits. The VA raised the net worth limit to $123,600. Previously, the net worth limit was was generally around $80,000 for a married veteran. Your house is still excluded along with one car as a countable asset. Purchasing an annuity to spend-down is no longer permitted. Any asset transfers that put you below the net worth limit within three years of applying for benefits will be subject to a penalty period that can last as long as five years. • • Child caregivers are still permitted and they are not required to be licensed. (A great planning opportunity) There are creative solutions available to obtain benefits if your estate is under $200,000 • But here’s the good news: •

In our lifetimes, Thanksgiving hasn’t changed all that much. Sure, you may have modernized the menu and begun posting your family photos to Instagram, but the tried-and-true quartet of family, football, grub, and gratitude has been in place for generations. While it’s easy to take holiday traditions as a given, each one has a fascinating history all its own. Christmas trees, Valentine’s chocolate, and other de rigueur activities often have strange, unexpected origins. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the backstories behind some of the essential Thanksgiving traditions. TURKEY Unlike other items on this list, it’s likely that turkey has been a staple of Thanksgivings since the first Thanksgiving in 1621. At the time, the holiday didn’t even have a name, and it was still more than 200 years away from being officially recognized by Abraham Lincoln. There are only two primary source documents detailing the meal between the Massachusetts colonists and the Wampanoag natives, and one of them mentions the famous Thanksgiving bird explicitly. Plymouth County Governor William Bradford described the menu in his journal “Of Plymouth Plantation,”which is one of the earliest accounts of life in colonial America. “Besides waterfowl,” he wrote, “there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc.” As the colonists moved throughout the continent, they brought turkeys with them. In fact, there was even a specific role, called a “turkey drover,” for the person who would shepherd the birds from one part of the country to another.

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-Paul

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