Tax & Legal Briefs

June 2000
Tax & Legal Briefs

www.Benckendorf.com

We're now online at www.Benckendorf.com. We've tried to make our site interactive with resources that can be of aid to our clients. Our Forms page provides several real estate and court forms, as well as intake sheets for new clients and an order form for our title work services. These forms are all available in PDF format and are easily accessible through Adobe Acrobat or Adobe Reader © for printing or downloading.

Our Practice Areas page details many of our areas of concentration, and the attorneys and staff can be reached via the email addresses listed in the site to answer your questions or respond to your comments.

We appreciate any suggestions you may have to improve our site and invite you to complete a brief site survey located on our home page.

Health Care Power of Attorney Act Amended

The Illinois General Assembly recently amended the statutory power of attorney for health care to facilitate organ donation. Effective January 1, 2000, the statute now provides that the principal may give the agent the authority to make an anatomical gift of any organs or specific organs outlined in the power of attorney.

New Obligations for Home Repair and Remodeling

Those of you who plan on remodeling or repairing your homes should be aware that the new Home Repair and Remodeling Act places certain obligations on contractors. Persons in the home repair and remodeling business must now provide you a written contract or work order when performing work in excess of $1,000.00. They must also provide you with a copy of the pamphlet entitled: "Home Repair: Know Your Consumer Rights" prior to executing a contract. The new Act also requires contractors to have certain levels of public liability and property damage insurance.

Child Support Update

Effective January 1, 2000, parents who owe past due child support will also owe interest on the principal amount due. The new amendment imposes a nine percent per annum interest rate on any support obligation that remains unpaid after 30 days. The addition of interest can result in substantial additional amounts owed in cases of serious delinquency and provides more adequate compensation for the custodial parent.

Grand Tour of Homes

We are proud to have had our office showcased as one of the eight homes included in this year's West Bluff Grand Tour of Homes in May. The Grand Tour has been a yearly tradition in the West Bluff for the past 19 years, making it the oldest tour of homes in Peoria. The funds raised are dispersed through 13 active neighborhood associations and are used to promote and beautify the West Bluff of Peoria.

We showcased our two floors of office space (except those rooms where we stored our client information for the weekend), as well as the private residence located on the third floor of our building.

Senior Citizens' Freedom to Work Act of 2000

On April 7, 2000, the Senior Citizens' Freedom to Work Act was signed into law, repealing retroactive to January 1, 2000, the earnings test previously applied to the earnings of Social Security recipients between the ages of 65 and 70.

Prior to this new law, beneficiaries aged 70 and older were exempt from the earnings test, but those beneficiaries ages 65 to 70 were subject to the earnings test and risked a reduction in their Social Security benefits. Because beneficiaries will no longer be penalized under the earnings test, the new law also repeals the delayed retirement credit for this age bracket. The new law does not affect the separate earnings test for beneficiaries aged 62 to full retirement age who elect to receive early retirement benefits. Those beneficiaries will still be penalized $1 for ever $2 earned over the annual exemption (currently $10,080).

Those recipients who wish to receive retroactive benefits to January 1, 2000, should file an application by June 30, 2000, as only six months of benefits may be paid out retroactively.

Year of attainment of age 62

2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005 through 2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021
2022 and beyond
Retirement age

65 + 2 mos.
65 + 4 mos.
65 + 6 mos.
65 + 8 mos.
65 + 10 mos.
66
66 + 2 mos.
66 + 4 mos.
66 + 6 mos.
66 + 8 mos.
66 + 10 mos.
67