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Law Offices of Ronald W. Rutz
Senior Voice Archives

April 7, 2000: Qualifying for Medicare; a "Short and Sweet" Will?

Q: I am 63 years old and have only 36 quarters in Social Security. Since I am short the required time, what should I do in order to qualify for Medicare A & B?

A: You need four more credits for a total of 40 so just do enough work in four more quarters to qualify and earn at least $3120 this year.

Once qualified, then you would be eligible for Parts A and B. Part A is the hospital part where you would be responsible for $309 of the monthly out of pocket expenses. Part B is the coverage, if you should choose to have it, that will cost you $45.50 a month.

If you have any further questions, just contact the folks at Social Security. Yes, I too have been forced to talk to a number of "bad apples," but most of the people there are very helpful and caring. If you get an arrogant grouch, just hang up and call again or call an office in another county.

Q: Why can't I have a one page Will and/or Trust? My dad did.

A: Of course you can. But there is only so much space on a page to cover the essential will provisions and legally required elements that must be in the documents for both legal and tax reasons. Additionally, clauses are added to accomplish your particular desires. Then there are articles that make the job of the personal representative or trustee easier to do. Next there are provisions "heading off at the pass" problems that most often arise and should be covered. (An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure). Finally, there are "style" elements that help all of the provisions blend together.

So if you "need" a trust will, for example, expect maybe a ten page document and do not expect to understand everything. Brilliant and talented professors and engineers often do not have "legal" aptitudes whereas some farmers and janitors should have gone to law school because of intuitive understanding. Thus, if you are having trouble understanding everything, be honest with yourself. Maybe this area of law and taxes is not one of your strengths in your personal bundle of talents. Just pick a lawyer who you have confidence in and rely on that individual.

Maybe saying the foregoing a bit differently, I have seen too many times when talented, caring, and well-meaning attorneys have not gotten all the pieces pulled together. If they had trouble, do you honestly think that you could do better?

Finally, just because your Dad had a one page Will and held everything in joint tenancy does not mean that your situation decades later matches his situation. Remember, if your Dad were alive and had the kinds of assets and amounts you now possess, and faced the current gauntlet of laws, he might have wanted more than a one page Will.

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