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New developments in capital gain, property taxes and other benefits

It's the Law

Posted: June 13, 2008 3:02 a.m.
Updated: August 14, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Editor's Note: The Friday business columns known as Business Law will now be known as It's the Law.

Capital gain relief for widows and widowers
Many widows and widowers will have more time to sell the family home and still qualify for the maximum amount of gain that may be excluded under federal income tax. A recently enacted law will offer relief. In essence, it gives the surviving spouse more time to sell the home and still qualify for the maximum exclusion amount of $500,000.

Here's how it works: lf you sell your primary residence, you typically can exclude as much as $500,000 of the gain if you're filing jointly in the year of sale and $250,000 if you're single.

To be eligible for the full exclusion, you must have owned the home - and lived in it as your primary residence - for at least two of the five years prior to the sale.

Under the new law, a surviving spouse may still qualify for the $500,000 joint-filer exclusion if the sale occurs "not later than two years after the spouse's death, as long as the requirements for the $500,000 exclusion were met immediately before the spouse's death and the survivor has not remarried as of the date of the sale."

Property tax reassessment for registered domestic partners
As of Jan. 1, any transfer of real property made from Jan. 1, 2001, through Jan. 1, 2006, between registered domestic partners is retroactively exempt from property tax reassessment. The recipient of the real property transfer must submit an application by June 30 to reverse the reassessment.

New notarization requirements
AB 886, Chapter 399 (Runner) now requires notaries to use new language in notarizing documents and also requires identification and thumb print requirements:
- Under this new law, no acknowledgment may be taken or jurat executed on the basis of personal knowledge alone.
- The certificate of acknowledgment must be executed under penalty of perjury.
- The notary public journal must contain a notation that the identity of the person making an acknowledgment, or taking an oath or affirmation, must be based on satisfactory evidence" and not "personal knowledge."
- A power of attorney document is added to the list of documents that requires a thumb print in the notary journal.

So don't be surprised when the notary has to add an additional sheet to the documents being notarized. If the notary language is incorrect, the document will not be validly notarized by the notary and could cause problems for the consumer in the future.

New Medicare changes
The new Medicare premiums, deductibles and co-insurances changes are as follows:
- The standard Medicare Part B premium is increasing by 3.1 percent to $96.40 a month, the smallest increase since 2001.
- Part B premium: $96.40/month (was $93.50)
- Part B deductible: $135 (was $131)
- Part A deductible: $1,024 (was $992)
- Co-payment for hospital stay days 61-90: $256/day (was $248);
- Co-payment for hospital stay days • 91 and beyond: $512/day (was $496)
- Skilled nursing facility co-payment, days 21-100: $128/day (was $124). The Part A Premium for the first time will affect higher income beneficiaries.
- Individuals with annual incomes between $82,000 and $102,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $164,000 and $204,000 in
2008 will pay a monthly premium of $122.20.
- Individuals with annual incomes between $102,000 and $153,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $204,000 and $306,000 in
2008 will pay a monthly premium of $160.90.
- Individuals with annual incomes between $153,000 and $205,000 and married couples with annual incomes between $306,000 and $410,000 in
2008 will pay a monthly premium of $199.70.
- Individuals with annual incomes of $205;000 or more and married couples with annual incomes of $410,000 or more in 2008 will pay a monthly premium of $238.40.

Gina Macdonald's practice is limited to estate planning, probate & elder law. Her column represents her own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal. "It's the Law" appears Fridays and rotates between members of the Santa Clarita Valley Bar Association.

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