COVID May Be On The Run But Long Hauler Symptoms Are Not

May 26

Anxiety-Depression-COVID-19Seemingly overnight, optimism has replaced fear.  The mood has shifted.  America is back. Vaccination has succeeded where hydroxychloroquine has failed.

Those of us who weathered the past 12 months without contracting COVID-19 and have been vaccinated can breath easy again. But, please let the lesson of Andy Slavitt’s son sink in for those of us who remain hesitant about being vaccinated,

Slavitt is President Joe Biden’s senior adviser for the coronavirus. One of his sons contracted the Covid-19 virus late last year. His youthful age, in his late teens, did not protect him from the lingering effects of this disease.

Six months after surviving the illness “he still suffers from tachycardia, shortness of breath, and ongoing and frequent flu-like symptoms. His hands are cold to the touch.”

Tachycardia, or abnormally high heart rate is described as:

“Atrial or supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) is a fast heart rate that starts in the upper chambers of the heart. Some forms of this particular tachycardia are paroxysmal atrial tachycardia (PAT) or paroxysmal supraventricular tachycardia (PSVT).”

“With atrial or supraventricular tachycardia, electrical signals in the heart’s upper chambers fire abnormally. This interferes with electrical impulses coming from the sinoatrial (SA) node, the heart’s natural pacemaker.”

“The disruption results in a faster than normal heart rate. This rapid heartbeat keeps the heart’s chambers from filling completely between contractions, which compromises blood flow to the rest of the body.”

Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has left many young people with “Long Hauler” symptoms associated with a variety of these and other lingering cardiac and pulmonary conditions.  Please see my previous article related to POTS – “POTS Or Dysautonomia Symptoms Can Be The Result Of COVID-19”.

According to the White House, Slavitt’s story demonstrates the importance of getting everyone who qualifies, including young folks, vaccinated as soon as possible.

We are coming back and this wonderful country will overcome the hardships we endured during the last year. But to be sure we need to take advantage of the fact that the COVID virus does not like warm weather and make sure that at least 70% of us get vaccinated before winter sets in again.

Have you have experienced Long Haul COVID symptoms?

Were you an essential worker in New Jersey?

Do you know someone who has been so impacted by the COVID-19 virus?

If so, please call Taenzer, Ettenson & Aberant, p.c. at 856-235-1234 and see if you qualify for workers’ compensation benefits in New Jersey. Or click here to use our contact form.


Update on Step Up In Basis for Estate Plans in New Jersey

May 19

NJ Inheritance TaxPresident Joe Biden was less than candid when he promised not to raise taxes on the middle-class during his campaign. This is contrary to my previous general impression.

There is an obscure provision in his American Families Plan. It proposes to not only increase the rate of taxes on capital gains but also to eliminate the “step up in basis” rule. A significant increase in government revenue will result if both of these provisions are adopted.

I explained in a prior blog that the increase in the value of assets held prior to death escapes taxation upon the death of the decedent. Only those capital gains which occur between the decedent’s date of death and the date when the asset is eventually sold by the beneficiary are taxable.

This “step up in basis” rule has been in existence for about 100 years. The law appears in Section 1014 of the Internal Revenue Code. It states there that the “basis” of inherited assets rises to “the fair market value of the property at the date of the decedent’s death.”

There are two key elements of the president’s proposed tax revision. One includes increasing the highest rate of capital gains to 39.6%. The second totally eliminates the step up in basis provision. Not surprisingly, both proposals should generate over $110 billion over 10 years.

The drafters included a sweetener as presently proposed. Namely, the bill includes an exemption of $1 million for individuals and $2 million for married couples.

I suspect many middle-class families might not agree this is a sweetener. For them, it might not be so unusual for grandpa and grandma to have enjoyed appreciation in excess of $2 million on investments retained over a long lifetime.

Interestingly, the Biden proposed revisions do not include a reduction in the $11.7 million per-person estate tax exemption as of yet.

I do know that one thing is certain. The Senate and House Republicans will vigorously oppose the elimination of the “step up in basis” rule.

Then again, the American Families Plan or a stand-alone tax bill may still yet pass. Democrats in the House of Representatives do hold a minute margin. It could pass in the Senate via the Reconciliation process with the Vice President breaking a tie.

The first in this series began with “Estate Planning | NJ Inheritance Taxes | Stock Appreciation” earlier this month

And for more information see our Wills and Estate Planning page. Feel free to call us today at 856.235.1234 for assistance with your questions on inheritance issues and estate planning. You may also use our Contact form.


Risk Of Developing Diabetes Increases For COVID 19 Survivors

May 13

COVID-19 Medical RecordsResearchers who follow COVID-19 survivors have recently published a most disheartening finding. They discovered that survivors are 39% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes than those who have not contracted the illness. This happened within the six months following infection. Moreover, those victims hospitalized due to contracting the illness had an even higher probability of coming down with diabetes.   

COVID-19 was thought to primarily impact the lungs. Ziyad Al-Aly headed members of a research team that sifted through millions of patient records. The team was in disbelief that it found the disease could also disrupt the endocrine system. This caused metabolic disease in folks who were not previously prone to disorders of the pancreas, liver and heart. Al-Aly’s data was published last month in the Journal “Nature”.

Three weeks earlier a study of almost 50,000 hospitalized COVID-19 patients in England was published. It found that they were 50% more likely to have diabetes some 20 weeks after discharge than similarly situated controls.   

Al-Aly is the director of the Clinical Epidemiology Center at Missouri’s Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System.  The team measured evidence obtained from the National Health Care databases of the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The pancreas is the gland that makes insulin needed to convert blood sugar into energy. Suspicion posits that the SARS-CoV-2 virus may damage the pancreas due to sedentary lifestyles brought on by lockdowns.   

Another rationale for the late diagnoses may be due to patients failing to visit doctors’ offices during the height of the pandemic.    Still, some children who suffered mild coronavirus cases developed the swift onset of diabetes, scientists found. There is likely little or no correlation in these cases to lifestyle disruption.

Already some 460 million people are thought to be affected by diabetes. The cost of treating these and so many more patients, including children who, as indicated above, are no less likely to be exposed to Covid-19, is thought to be staggering.

Diabetes is the curtailment or inability of the body to produce insulin. It is generally and most unfortunately, a serious permanent condition for which one is entitled to significant compensation under the laws of the State of New Jersey.

Have you recently been diagnosed with any metabolic condition including diabetes, after contracting Covid-19 as a front-line worker? If so and you live in New Jersey or if you or someone you know is, then please consider engaging Taenzer, Ettenson & Aberant, p.c. Our firm will investigate your right to recover workers’ compensation benefits from your employer’s insurance carrier.   

Learn more about Workers’ Compensation in New Jersey and please call us today at 856.235.123. Or use our Contact form.


Estate Planning | Closing Federal Loophole Can Ease Deficit

May 11

NJ Inheritance Tax 03

Last week I published two articles reflecting on Estate Planning in New Jersey. I discussed Inheritance Taxes and the Step-Up In Basis Rule. I would like to next comment on the status at the federal level.

On April 28th I watched President Joe Biden speak to Congress. I observed that he carefully tiptoed around a much-needed tax increase on corporations and those earning over $400,000.00. These tax increases would help pay for his costly programs and reduce the huge budget deficit.

Not much pain and still a lot of gain from doing nothing.

I couldn’t help but wonder why no one is suggesting the elimination of the step-up in basis rule. This would be a way for the government to painlessly raise billions of extra dollars. This move would tax the appreciation of inherited assets at such time as a beneficiary liquidates (i.e. cashes them in).

Mind you, the step-up in basis occurs with regard to all assets. That including those owned by billionaires such as Warren Buffett when he passes. Buffett and his spouse’s assets surely will exceed the exemption amounts and the assets will most likely be liable for an estate tax.

In all fairness, that is why perhaps his estate and his beneficiaries should not be subject to capital gains taxes on pre-death appreciation of his assets. That discrepancy can easily be adjusted by legislation.

In any case, the excuse which originally gave rise to the step-up-in-basis rule no longer applies. We can now track the price of all securities by the day, if not by the minute. These records are available on-line for all to see.

Capital gains taxes are simple to calculate regardless how long assets were held before someone passed away. Our brokerage statements reflect the date and amount for each purchase of every share. Any beneficiary can easily have access to a decedent’s financial account records by virtue of his or her appointment as executor or as estate administrator or even as a beneficiary of an estate.

The same can be said for other assets as records of real estate sales are available from recorded deeds, etc.

So why is it that this all-too-obvious “loophole” in our tax laws is allowed to persist so quietly? Does it remain under the radar to the detriment of our country’s fiscal security?

I am just a bit puzzled about it today, as I am about other anomalies.

If you need assistance in reviewing your existing wills or estate plan, or if you need to write new documents, please call us today at 856.235.123. Or use our Contact form.


Estate Planning | Appreciation | Step Up In Basis Rule

May 06

NJ Inheritance Tax 02Earlier this week I asked a question on tax liability on capital gains on accumulated appreciation left to a beneficiary. In that example a lucky grandson inherited $1 million of appreciated shares of stock from his grandfather.

No capital gains taxes were due from the grandson (or a son or any other beneficiary) at that time due to the ‘step up in basis’ rule. Taxes will be due only when the shares appreciate from their value on the date grandfather died and the date they are later sold.

All those millions and billions of dollars of accumulated appreciation which occur after securities are purchased and the date of people’s death escape income taxation.

Grandpa would have owed the U.S. government at least 20% of the difference between the purchase and sales prices had he sold his shares at any time prior to his death. Thus when someone dies the effective value of his or her taxable estate rises by at least 20% when it passes to any other person.

And New Jersey will not impose an inheritance tax either as long as the beneficiary is a descendant, a parent or a spouse.

As I understand it, the “step up in basis” rule came about when the federal government decided to impose an estate tax. It was thought to make sense to suspend the capital gains tax on the appreciation during one’s lifetime. That would justify the steep tax rates which run around 40% on assets which exceed the exempt amount.

Mind you this “appreciation” I’m talking about applies to ALL assets including real estate – not just securities. It was also thought that figuring out how much a security appreciated after someone died could be difficult. This is given the fact that folks held these shares over decades and paper records were of course easily fungible.

When I started in the practice, the exemption amount before a federal estate tax was imposed was only $60,000.00.  It gradually was increased over the years to its current $11.58 million per person.

These gradual increases followed by the enormous doubling of the exemption during the Trump administration did not include a repeal of the “step up in basis” rule as might be expected.

In the final segment in this series I will discuss what possibilities might lie ahead.

Read more on our Wills and Estate Planning page.

Please feel free to call Taenzer, Ettenson & Aberant, P.C. at 856.235.1234  for assistance with reviewing existing or writing new wills or your estate planning. Or use our Contact form.