Archive for the 'Retirement' Category

Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri Scores Another Win for Medicaid Clients

Mar. 13th 2018


Last month the Connecticut Supreme Court handed down a favorable decision in a case argued by attorney Carmine Perri of Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri.

Why this matters

For married couples who intend to apply for Medicaid for one of the spouses, it is now possible to protect as much of the ill spouse’s income as is necessary for the healthy spouse to remain safely in the community , even if it exceeds the Medicaid cap.

What was the situation up until now?

Due to another case brought by Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri in 2010 and decided by the Federal Court of Appeals in 2012, it became possible, in married couple situations, for substantial assets to be protected and made available to the healthy spouse by purchasing an irrevocable annuity that paid income to the healthy spouse for a fixed period of time. But the state took the position that there were severe limitations on the amount of the ill spouse’s income that could be protected for the healthy spouse.

General Medicaid rules for married couples

For married couples, there are 3 basic protections for the healthy spouse:

  1. The principal residence is an exempt asset and protected for the healthy spouse.
  2. Of all of the combined assets of the married couple, the healthy spouse is allowed to keep approximately $123,000. Assets above that are at risk but can, in certain situations, be protected by use of the annuity strategy pioneered by Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri or, if modest in amount, spent down for the benefit of the healthy spouse.
  3. The healthy spouse is allowed to keep all of his or her own income, regardless of amount, but if the healthy spouse’s income is modest, the state will allow the healthy spouse to get as much of the ill spouse’s income as is necessary to bring the healthy spouse’s income up to a certain amount, but not to more than $3,000/month in total combined income.

An example of what this all means.

For a married couple with significant assets, the main goal is to protect those significant assets that are at risk over the $123,000 maximum that the state allows. The 2012 Federal Court case and annuity strategy pioneered by Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri largely solved this problem.

But what of the couple with modest assets where one of the spouses has significant fixed income and goes to a nursing home?

Say, for example, the husband has pension and social security income of $5,000/month combined, the wife has social security of $1,200/month, and their combined assets, exclusive of the personal residence, are $200,000.

The couple’s standard of living is reliant upon husband’s fixed income, so the goal is to protect the ill spouse’s income. Prior to Czepiga Daly Pope and Perri’s favorable Connecticut Supreme Court decision last month, the state would, at most, allow the wife to keep $1,800 of the husband’s income to give her the maximum monthly income amount the state would allow of $3,000. The wife’s income plummets from $6,200/month to the $3,000/month cap and she may very well not be able to afford to stay in her home any longer.

As a result of the Connecticut Supreme Court decision, for married couples who intend to apply for Medicaid benefits, it is now possible for the healthy spouse to keep as much income as is needed to remain safely in the community, even if means keeping more than the State’s $3,000/month cap or even keeping the entire $6,200/month of income.

It’s all about timing

To take advantage of this income protection strategy for the healthy spouse, timing is of utmost importance. And it is necessary to establish a conservatorship (even a voluntary one) over the ill spouse ahead of time. Embarking on this strategy is something that should only be done with the assistance of a qualified attorney.

If  you are a professional and would like an in-service on this income protection strategy, give Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri a call. If you or a loved will be needing to apply for Medicaid benefits now or at some point in the future,Czepiga Daly Pope & Perri today. They’ll work hard to protect what you’ve work hard for.

5 Year Annuity Rate Has Increased from 3.1% to 3.25%

Jan. 10th 2018
Do you have a CD coming due? 
If so, we have a 5 year CD alternative offering 3.25% guaranteed interest growing tax deferred!
What is tax deferred?
Because annuities are classified as non-qualified retirement instruments, they receive a tax benefit in the form of tax deferral on earnings. Earnings are taxed as ordinary income upon withdrawal or annuitization.
With the income limits changing on the Medicare Savings Plan & Extra Help Programs, this may help you keep your income under the limits.   
You also have access to a portion of the money without a penalty!
Contact us today to get more information or sign-up for a CD alternative plan today!
Roberson Tierney and Associatiates
Phone: 860-379-6700

Northwest Community Bank: Listen, Learn, Leave

Oct. 3rd 2017

Northwest Community Bank: Listen, Learn, Leave on Wed, Oct 18, 2017 is presenting topics on Social Security Planning, Medicare and Retirement Planning. They are offering two different sessions. Seating is limited. Please RSVP by Fri, Oct 13, 2017 by calling Susan Tycienski at Northwest Community Bank at 860-379-7561.

SENIOR SIGNALS: Is trying to make yourself poor for Medicaid ethical?

Jul. 28th 2017

Medicare, long-term care, and money for retirement are some of the most common topics we at Roberson Tierney and Associates discuss with their clients and often go hand-in-hand. Below is a recent article from Attorney Daniel O. Tully of Kilboume & Tully, P.C. We work closely with Dan Tully and other Elder Law Attorneys to assist you in creating your protection plan. Call us at 860-379-6700 for advice and guidance you can trust!

Published: Sunday 23 July 2011 21256
Click here for PDF article.

Medicaid is a welfare program originally created to provide health care to our nation’s poor. Due to the lack of any other program, Medicaid has by default become the long-term care insurance of the middle class. Some say in order to qualify and preserve their savings, either for their healthy spouse or their children, those needing long-term care artificially impoverish themselves in order to qualify for Medicaid. Is this practice ethical?

Ron Lieber of ttre New York Times, in his article entitled “The Ethics of Adjusting Your Assets to Qualify for Medicaid” noted, “At any given moment, there is a large group of citizens who want nothing more than to make absolutely certain that they are impoverished enough to qualify, for Medicaid, sooner rather than later. Someday, you might be one of them. Whatever twists and tums the health insurance debates in Washington take, Medicaid will be at the center, and the program will probably affect you and your family more than you know. After all, if you run out of money in retirement, it is Medicaid that pays for most of your nursing home or home-based care.”

On the other hand, Randy Cohen, the former ethics columnist for The New York Times Sunday Magazine, wrote that Medicaid planning is ethical if you play within the rules. Speaking to a woman considering divorcing her second husband who has Alzheimer’s disease, he says: “What you are contemplating is not the exploitation of a legal loophole, but adherence to the regulations governing Medicaid. But you should seek legal and financial advice: besides divorce, there are other options to consider, including, for instance, transferring some assets to your children (if you have any) or protecting your assets through annuities or trusts. Done with respect for the law and compassion for your husband, such actions, divorce included, are prudent and ethical courses of action.”

It will be no surprise that I agree v/ith Mr. Cohen and not Mr. Lieber. Unfortunately, neither Congress nor the state legislatures have resolved the public policy question of how we, as a society, should pay for the long-term care of our seniors.

The result is a confusing, makeshift system of Medicare, private insurance, out-of-pocket payments, family caregivers and Medicaid, as a last resort. Medicaid has become recognized as the long-term care insurance of the middle class. Congress implicitly accepts this result through rules that protect spouses of nursing home residents and permit others to quali$r after spending down and  transferring some of their savings. To plan ahead and accelerate qualification for Medicaid is no more unethical than planning to avoid taxes. It’s just different populations doing the planning.

Some argue that Medicaid planning is unfair because Medicaid is a zero-sum game. More money spent on long-term care for middle-class seniors means less for poor children who need medical care. There’s some truth to that argument at the state level, but not at the federal level. The federal and state governments share Medicaid expenses. At the federal level, anyone who qualifies for Medicaid gets covered. At the state level, the same is true, but the states have discretion on how far they expand Medicaid to serve underinsured  populations. Lack of resources could mean narrower coverage on a state-by-state basis.

I agree wholeheartedly with Mr. Cohen’s final point: Both major parties must make changes, embracing measures to protect the assets of middle-class seniors and taxing the assets of the rich (including through the estate tax) to provide all Americans with catastrophic medical care.

Attorney Daniel O. Tully is a partner in the law firm of Kilboume & Tully, P.C., members of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys Inc., with offices at 120 Laurel St., Bristol (860) 583-1341.

3.1% Fixed Interest 5-Year Annuity | Limited of Time Offer

Feb. 6th 2017
Do you have a CD or annuity coming due soon or need to invest money but frustrated by the return on investment or level of risk offered to you?  Roberson Tierney has a safe investment tool that will yield 3.1% fixed interest.  For a limited of time only, you can invest in this 5-Year Annuity alternative and enjoy peace of mind as your money works for you.
Call Roberson Tierney today at 860-379-6700 for more information.

Planning for your Future

Sep. 15th 2016

While many of us make our own retirement plans, no one is able to prepare for all of the complexities of the future without professional help.

Take the case of Mary Smith, who recently lost her best friend and neighbor of almost 40 years to Alzheimer’s. Nancy had been an active, energetic person, always helping Mary with gardening and Mary found it painful to see such a vibrant person slip away.

Now, Nancy’s two sons were fighting over the little money left after selling Nancy’s house to pay her medical bills. It broke Mary’s heart to remember how many times Nancy had proudly declared that she intended to pay for her grandson’s college education.

During a regular visit to her insurance agent, Mary shared this story and said, “It all makes me feel so helpless!”

For a good insurance agent, there are many tools available to deal with almost any situation. For example, Mary learned more about how to protect her assets from with Long Term Care insurance and the insurance products that can ensure she has access to the best possible healthcare without risking her financial security.

We developed a detailed description of her current financial situation, her desires for the future, including how she wants to provide for her family after she’s gone, and establish the best possible coverage for her. At the same time, we shared this information with a highly qualified attorney who can write a will and associated legal documentation—including powers of attorney and a living will—to make sure that Mary’s wishes are carried forth even if she cannot speak for herself.

She doesn’t need to learn the complexities of the insurance industry or the subtleties of law. She just needs to describe her dreams for the future once and her insurance agent and attorney can coordinate the information to create a comprehensive and complete package that will protect her future.

That’s the benefit of an insurance agent who has a strong professional relationship with a good lawyer. Each offers the expertise that you need and can clearly outline what you need, when you need it, with you and each other to ensure there are no gaps in your plan for the future.

Don’t waste your time or risk your future by running back and forth between offices, trying to repeat what you remember and guess at the questions that require answers. Relax and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from having a team working for you.

Call Roberson Tierney today to learn more about our professional relationships and ability to provide you with comprehensive life planning services.

One Stop Shop Resource for Insurance and Finance

Aug. 9th 2016

roberson tierney officeInsurance, as we all know, is not an easy-to-grasp facet of life. With many confounding terms and exasperating steps, the onset of confusion can be like nails on a chalkboard to your brain.

When purchasing insurance for yourself or for your loved ones, you have two options: buying direct or using an agent. While both have their benefits, hiring an agent can save you much time and stress. Contrary to popular belief, keeping the middle man in the loop, whilst planning out your estate, is never a bad idea.

Below are three benefits when going with an insurance agent like Roberson Tierney and Associates:


Consumer belief would have it that paying an agent would cost more than purchasing insurance direct. This is false. Due to the fact that agencies are at lower risk, insurers provide lower rates to them, thus allowing lower premiums for the consumer.


When purchasing through an agent, you are able to develop a professional, friendly and ongoing relationship with that agent. Because many agents run locally, it’s no surprise you’ll be able to find reliable reviews on given companies by word of mouth. You may even end up acquiring services from someone you know.

            Peace of Mind

Agents contain an extensive amount of knowledge in their field. While they are skilled in educating their customers, they are also more efficient in regard to cross checking policies. They will fight rigorously for you to ensure you receive the money you need from your insurance company.

Also, while technology has it’s definite ups, the downside is the lack of human-to-human interaction. Having an actual person at your side when things go south is far more comforting to the mind when dealing with an issue.

Conclusion: The world of insurance is far too complex for the average consumer to do-it-yourself. Let an agent shop around for you and be your support.

Roberson Tierney is a one-stop resource for insurance & finance, including health, dental, vision, hearing, life, auto, boat, estate planning, long-term care, outliving ones retirement, annuity products, final expenses and wills. Contact her office today to discuss further.

Should You Use an Insurance Agent to Help Write a Will?

Jul. 7th 2016

willThe ability to make our own choices is very important and few of us would willingly give up that right.  However, many of us unwittingly do just that when we don’t bother to create a will that describes how we want our estates to be handled after we pass away.

People who die without a will in place are leaving the disposition of their valuables to the discretion of the state.  You may want your favorite niece to inherit a cherished family heirloom but, unless you create a valid legal document giving her that asset, you will have no say in who will have that item.

There are two main reasons why people don’t make the effort to create a will—they believe it’s a complicated, unpleasant process and they don’t want to think about their own mortality.

Both reasons can disappear when you can create a will with someone who is familiar to you and qualified, such as a trusted insurance agent who has a vital working relationship with a highly regarded law firm.  A respected insurance agency that has a solid client base can command a negotiated rate with a good law firm; clients can create a legally binding will at a reasonable price, while taking advantage of an established, trusting relationship that already exists with the agent.

How to Create a Will

There are just a few things you’ll need to gather in order to create a will.  In addition to basic information describing your situation, you’ll need to list life insurance policies, investments or IRA accounts, and the beneficiaries you want to include.  Of course, you’ll also need to pay for the time of a professional agent to create your will; don’t be afraid to ask about costs.  An honest insurance agent will always be happy to share the numbers with you, demonstrating the value of an agent/attorney affiliation.

Why Use the Combination of an Insurance Agent and Attorney to Create Your Will

Today’s insurance agents are much more than sales representatives who offer a few policies.  Financial and insurance products are a natural fit and now governed by a complex set of regulations and opportunities.  An insurance agent who has provided you with a good life insurance policy and your healthcare insurance can make it easy for you to translate that data into the information that a qualified attorney needs to write your will.  Remember the time you put in to find a trustworthy insurance agent and reap the benefits of that relationship as you face what many consider a difficult task.  Enjoy the familiarity of an agent you trust, the wealth of information available, and a good professional relationship between your agent and attorney.

What is a Fair Price for Creating a Will

Many people would rather avoid a bill they imagine to be thousands of dollars than find out that a good will can cost only a few hundred dollars.  A working partnership between attorney and insurance agent can lower costs because the agency can refer clients and the attorney can take advantage of the way in which the agent can translate the complexity of existing policies into a set of final wishes.  When all the pieces of the puzzle are on the table, it’s easy to put them together into a clear picture and produce effective wills, powers of attorney, and other legal documents.

Roberson Tierney is such a qualified agent and we want to act as your trusted liaison with the Law Offices of Aaron W. Sarra, leveraging the valuable information we have about insurance and financial products as selected by our clients and their honestly expressed wishes to ensure the attorneys produce the most accurate and effective wills for our clients.

There is peace of mind in having a will; you can rest assured knowing that your wishes will be carried out exactly as you want them executed.  Talk to us today about getting that kind of assurance for yourself and your family.

We’ve expanding our services to include financial consulting!

Mar. 5th 2016

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Roberson Tierney knows that having enough money to enjoy retirement is important. For years, we’ve helped reduce our clients’ monthly expenses with a variety of tools and information, such as affordable insurance products that provide access to quality medical care. It’s only natural that we’ve expanded our services to include proactive, annual reviews of your:

  • Homeowners / auto / renters insurance with options from more than 20 carriers to keep your premiums low and your coverage accurate.
  • Life insurance policies because these financial assets can build cash value, which may be wisely used to reduce premiums or fund expenses such as funeral costs.
  • 401K statements to ensure your investment is at the right risk level while netting the highest yield without unwanted, hidden costs such as management fees.
  • IRA accounts to steer these investments in the right direction, such as preservation of funds vs. accumulation, depending on where you are in life.

The world is different now from when you began your working career. Basic principles such as “sell high, never low” are complicated by regulations like the Required Minimum Distribution, which might force you to lose the money you worked hard to earn just because of a down market. Roberson Tierney can introduce you to safeguards such as guaranteed accounts, which allow you to take your RMD from a fixed rather than market driven account.

Our financial consultations are free, comprehensive, and based on training and experience. These no obligation appointments benefit you as would a second opinion from a doctor by asking critical questions.

  • Do you now qualify for any extra help or prescription drug assistance due to recent changes in the income level requirements?
  • Are your premiums for homeowners, auto, and/or renter’s insurance at the right price or should you adjust your limits?
  • Do you need life insurance? If so, what is the right premium? If you have life insurance, how can it work for you now, rather than the future?
  • Are your retirement accounts performing as they should and at your preferred tolerance level?

Madison and Annmarie will be reaching out to you soon or you can call 877-589-6363 today to set your appointment. Relax in retirement with the peace of mind that comes with doing the right things with your finances!

We look forward to serving you,

Daphne Roberson

Understanding Your IRA, 401K, and Stock Market Investments

Feb. 15th 2016

If you want to feel confident about your ability to protect your money and enjoy retirement in these uncertain economic times, join us for a free educational workshop.

9 a.m. Thursday, March 3

Roberson Tierney Associates, LLC, main office

210 Redstone Hill Road, Suite 5, Bristol, CT 06010

After listening to the certified professionals leading this workshop, you’ll be in a better position to speak with your current financial advisor. Information is power and we’ll be glad to give you the answers to questions that put you in control of your investment outcomes.

Don’t worry that you might run out of money because of a downturn in the market or if you are making the right decisions about your future. Feel self-assured as you secure a retirement worth having by understanding:

  • The basics of investing
  • The state of the stock market with market updates
  • V markets/ups and downs of the stock market
  • The RMD Dilemma or how to use your Required Minimum Distribution wisely
  • The difference between a broker and a fiduciary

Join us for an interesting hour and complimentary continental breakfast.

RSVP to Madison at (860) 379-6700.