Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, December 9, 2016

The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Has Passed

Special needs trustFirst Party Special Needs Trusts are established under 42 U.S.C. § 1396p(d)(4)(A). The prior federal statute only allowed the trusts to be set up by a disabled individual’s family member, not the person with the disability. The law presumed that individuals with disabilities lacked the mental capacity to establish a trust. The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act has now passed the House and Senate. This Act will allow a disabled individual to establish his or her own special needs trust. The President is expected to sign the bill soon.

See It Passed!: The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Has Passed Both the House and the Senate and Is on Its Way to the President for Signature, The Interactive Legal Team, December 7, 2016.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

December 9, 2016 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 28, 2016

A United Family at Time of Death

Family end of lifeParticipation in the end of life for an aging parent comes with obligations. Teamwork, coordination, and cooperation can all help smooth the emotional journey, especially when family disagreement seems imminent. Families who cannot agree on the care to provide for their loved ones can end up causing more pain for the person they are trying to comfort and protect. The most common disagreement stems from a family member who competes to prove who cares the most, which can often lead to the suggestion of overly aggressive treatments. The squabble over the decision-making can result in issues that prolong some aspect of the dying process to the detriment of the dying. Aids like Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLSTs) can help families come to an agreement in the implementation for care of their loved ones.

See Samuel Harrington, A United Family Can Make All the Difference When Someone Is Dying, Washington Post, November 20, 2016.

November 28, 2016 in Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why Are Corporate Fiduciaries Distancing Themselves from Special Needs Trusts?

Special needs trustSpecial needs trusts have been a way for disabled individuals to remain eligible for means-tested federal benefits. More institutional support is necessary to manage these funds; however, corporate fiduciaries are distancing themselves from this specialty. Four reasons for this move include increased litigation and regulatory issues; profitability concerns; lack of experience; and lack of time and resources. In order to alleviate these concerns, fiduciaries should start expanding their education through conferences and CLEs. Further, attorneys should ensure that their fiduciary referrals are informed, looking for expertise to navigate legal and regulatory issues.

See Peter J. Johnson, Corporate Fiduciaries Are Shying Away from Special Needs Trusts, Wealth Management, November 15, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 18, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Emphasis on Trusts

Trust and estate planOne mistake in estate planning is not using trusts to the maximum extent the law permits, especially with being one of the most important developments of English common law. Some would say that trusts are the most powerful tool in estate and financial planning. However, trusts are not used at the frequency they should be. A few trust benefits include protection from claims and support for disabled beneficiaries. Ultimately, the structure and administration of a trust are important factors to make sure that the benefits and goals of the settlor will progress for however long they wish. The Article discusses many of the reasons that trusts should be considered more often in estate plans.

See Jonathan Blattmachr, Even Without Estate Tax the Right Answer Is Still the Same: Put It All in Trust, Trust Advisor, November 17, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 18, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Retirement Planning for Special-Needs Families

Special needs planningKey challenges for special-needs families planning for retirement include projecting cash flow needs, making decisions about investment allocations, and planning for family member care. These families must take a more conservative approach for the allocation of their retirement portfolio, incorporating a higher level of cash. The cash will meet any immediate needs if there is a sudden decline in the market. Additionally, it is worth considering a Special Needs Trust or an ABLE account, which allows for tax-advantaged savings. 

See Mark Miller, Special-Needs Families Face Complex Retirement Planning, Financial Advisor, November 3, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 15, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 11, 2016

End-of-Life Estate Plan Lessons

Estate plan lessonsIt can be hard to think about the time you might be incapable of making basic decisions, but it is an absolute must for someone with estate plans. There are a few lessons to learn when making the right decisions for your future. First, make your location wishes known and explain your thought process, so that the decision-maker has all the necessary information when the time comes. Second, pick strong surrogates who are capable of standing in your place and managing your sophisticated finances. Finally, do not leave a child who is easily heartbroken to make hard decisions about your end-of-life needs. The emotional challenge is huge, so the person needs to be able to communicate your wishes even at the most painful times. 

See Sonia Talati, Three End-of-Life Estate Plan Lessons, Barron’s, November 8, 2016.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

November 11, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Articles on Legal & Religious Perspectives on Elder Care

Religion elder careAmy Ziettlow & Naomi Cahn recently published an Article entitled, Symposium: Global Legal and Religious Perspectives on Elder Care, 31 J. L. & Religion (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

What role does the honor commandment play in contemporary law and culture? Answering this question is especially pertinent in the early twenty-first century. With advances in longevity and declining birth rates, a growing percentage of the population is graying. In 2015, there were 901 million people aged sixty or over worldwide; a number projected to rise to 1.4 billion in 2030. By 2050, there will be more persons over the age of sixty than children under the age of fifteen. As the number of our global elders grows, so too will the number of those needing and providing physical and financial care.

November 6, 2016 in Articles, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 31, 2016

The Financial Reality of Dementia

Financial dementiaApproximately 5.4 million people in the United States are living with Alzheimer’s, an incurable disease that will soar to record heights within the upcoming years. With this disease, there can be a number of financial problems, including unpaid bills and giving away money to Internet scams. Dementia can knock a dedicated worker out of the workforce early, losing any extra income for retirement. The best way to avoid these problems is to take the proper steps when your mental ability is sound, so that you are able to protect yourself in the future. Accordingly, it is best to have a health-care power of attorney that names someone you trust to make your financial decisions. Because the costs of caring for a family member with dementia can often outlive the patient, it is best to plan ahead to avoid additional family hardship.

 See Martha M. Hamilton, Facing Financial Reality When Early Dementia Is Diagnosed, Washington Post, October 28, 2016.

October 31, 2016 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Changing the Property Ownership of Assets Inside a Revocable Trust

Trust coownerA living trust serves to to transfer ownership of property at the time of the owner’s death. When leaving a piece of property in this type of trust for a beneficiary, the item will not need to go through probate, passing straight to the beneficiary. As far as income and estate taxes on the property within the trust, if the property is to be sold at the time of death or up to one year after, there is no federal income taxes. Additionally, if the estate is under $5 million, there will be no estate taxes to pay. As the trustee (oftentimes the creator of the trust) gets older, they can have a successor trustee in place to serve the trust if the creator becomes incapatictated. 

See Lacey Kessler, Think Twiece About Changing a Revocable Trust to List Your Child as Co-Owner of a Home, Trust Advisor, October 28, 2016. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

 

October 29, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 28, 2016

How Couples Can Communicate Financially

Couples communicationIn marriage, most couples recognize that communication and shared goals are the keys to a happy marriage. Oftentimes, however, money and financial goals are not discussed, leading to financial unease. In order to meet their invsting and retirement goals, couples need to refine their planning. First, couples must communicate about their goals and disucss priotities. Additionally, each spouse should voice the goals that they find most imorptant. Asking questions always helps to identify differences and concerns, so that there is room for compromise. On the other hand, it is important to plan for the worst-case scenario to assure yourselves that you have the financial means to cope. While keeping these tips in mind, couples should consider future care needs and estate planning in their goals as well.

See Robert Warner, Are Couples on the Same Financial Planning Page?, Wealth Management, October 26, 2016. 

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.

 

October 28, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)