Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Projected Life Expectancy Shocks Clients

'Yes, this is an intervention. It's your curiosity...it's going to kill you if you don't stop.'Carolyn McClanahan, physician, financial advisor, and co-founder of Wealthcare Planning LLC, has received interesting feedback from those who have adopted her software into their practices. The health and eldercare financial planning software asks clients about weight, height, current health, diet, exercise regimen, alcohol consumption, social interactions, time spent sitting, and smoking habits. The program then generate a projected life expectancy based on the data. For some, the ensuring result can be incredibly surprising. McClanahan was with one of these clients when he received the results. She said that she knew “he had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and was overweight, but I didn’t know he was a closet alcoholic.” McClanahan took this opportunity to speak with the client about his alcohol consumption and turned the negative result into a positive outcome.

See Jerilyn Klein Bier, Projected Life Expectancy Shocks Clients, Financial Advisor, September 14, 2017.

December 7, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

CLE on Planning for Incapacity: Financial Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, and Ethical Challenges

0000000 CLEThe American Law Institute is holding a conference entitled, Planning for Incapacity: Financial Powers of Attorney, Health Care Directives, and Ethical Challenges, which will take place on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, via telephone seminar and audio webcast. Provided below is a description of the event:

Why You Should Attend

Do you find yourself going to standard forms to draft durable powers of attorney and health care directives—after carefully constructing a customized will and/or trust to meet your client’s planning objectives? Are you aware of ethical obligations in connection with representing clients with diminishing capacity?

Protecting your client in life is just as important as easing the orderly disposition of property after death. Powers of attorney and health care directives are significant tools that ensure that the clients’ wishes are honored and financial assets are protected while they are incapacitated.

Join experienced estate planners for an in-depth exploration of how to effectively draft and use durable powers of attorney and health care directives. Faculty will also address ethical obligations of attorneys to protect clients’ financial interests and minimize their financial exploitation if clients become unable to conduct their own affairs.

What You Will Learn

Topics of discussion will include:
Financial Powers of Attorney
Health Care Directives
Ethical considerations, including interaction of Model Rules 1.6 and 1.14

Who Should Attend

Estate Planners who represent disabled and elderly clients will benefit from this focus on preserving and managing assets and preserving estate planning goals in the event of disability or other incapacity.

Tuition for the telephone seminar includes a set of electronic course materials and access to the telephone seminar.

Tuition for the webcast includes a set of electronic course materials and access to the webcast.

November 29, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Under ‘Observation,’ Some Hospital Patients Face Big Bills

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2017-11-29/73bdca46-118c-4fbf-976d-6be1324c9b52.pngUnder the current Medicare regime, those requiring inpatient care are covered under Medicare Part A, and those only needing outpatient care are covered under Part B. This difference in classification is important as outpatients can face higher coinsurance, drug, and nursing home costs. For inpatients, after a consecutive three-day stint in a hospital, Medicare covers 100% of skilled nursing costs for 20 days and the majority of total costs for up to 100 days. Medical will not cover these costs for outpatients or inpatients with a stay shorter than the three-day threshold. This has become increasingly problematic as hospitals have started classifying a growing number of patients as outpatients, even when they provide medical services for extended periods of time. These patients are then forced to pay for the entirety of their nursing care expenses. This status classification has previously not been an appealable issue, but this may change with a recent ruling by a federal judge in Connecticut.

See Paula Span, Under ‘Observation,’ Some Hospital Patients Face Big Bills, The New York Times, September 1, 2017.

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

November 29, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 20, 2017

What If You Knew Alzheimer’s Was Coming for You?

Alzheimer_brainLast week, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates used his blog to share with his readers that some of the men in his “family have suffered from Alzheimer’s.” This means that Gates may have an increased risk of suffering from dementia. In the post, Gates voiced his desire to help develop “a more reliable, affordable and accessible diagnostic — such as a blood test.” To encourage new research, he also announced that he would be donating $100 million to help find a cure for Alzheimer’s.

See Pagan Kennedy What If You Knew Alzheimer’s Was Coming for You?, The New York Times, November 17, 2017.

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

November 20, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 3, 2017

CLE on Protecting Assets While Qualifying for MaineCare

0000000 CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Protecting Assets While Qualifying for MaineCare, which will take place on Tuesday, November 07, 2017, at the Fireside Inn & Suites in Portland, ME. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Get the Latest on MaineCare Application and Asset Planning Tactics

Middle class Americans seeking asset protection cannot afford to ignore the potentially devastating costs of nursing home and other long-term care. Nursing homes are among the most common and largest creditors an average American is likely to face in his or her lifetime, but only about 10% of the population has long-term care insurance. For the other 90%, MaineCare is the primary source of payment, so a basic understanding of the MaineCare asset protection process is vital for all professionals who work with seniors and their families. This course will provide an overview of asset protection concepts and strategies that elder law attorneys can use to legally and ethically protect assets while facilitating earlier MaineCare eligibility; and a set of crisis-management tools to prevent and correct inadvertent loss of benefits. Register today!

  • Learn what the income eligibility requirements are when applying for MaineCare.
  • Protect your clients' interests by knowing what's exempt and what's not.
  • Employ the most practical and effective asset transfer methods to comply with the spend-down requirement.
  • Explore crisis planning methods to restore MaineCare benefits as quickly as possible.
  • Guide clients through the Medicaid qualification process by knowing what's involved.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level seminar is designed for:

  • Attorneys
  • Nursing Home Administrators
  • Social Workers
  • Geriatric Care Managers
  • Trust Officers
  • Accountants and CPAs
  • Estate and Financial Planners
  • Paralegals

Course Content

  1. Applying for MaineCare - The Four Eligibility Requirements
  2. Pre-Need Asset Planning
  3. Crisis Planning and Assistance
  4. Trust-Based Medicaid Planning in Detail
  5. Using Special Needs Trusts - Sample Trust Review
  6. Applied Legal Ethics

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.00 *

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 7.00

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 7.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

November 3, 2017 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Book on How to Get the Death You Want: A Practical and Moral Guide

41dHHMq1r+L._SX331_BO1 204 203 200_John Abraham Rev., published a book entitled, How to Get the Death You Want: A Practical and Moral Guide (2017). Provided below is a summary of the book:

This is a comprehensive manual for anybody reaching the end of life, and for their caring friends, relatives, advocates, and caretakers. The author, an Episcopal priest, describes in detail the formidable challenges faced by those who wish to avoid months or years of painful treatment after they no longer have any hope of recovering any reasonable quality of life. Specific subjects include:

the nature of physical death;
legal documents to clarify one's wishes;
the need for a strong advocate to have the patient's wishes honored
moral questions that must be considered;
means of dying painlessly once the decision is made;
and much more, including how to respond to reluctant doctors, and the value of humor in communicating with a dying patient.

Abraham emphasizes that despite is position as a priest, this is not a religious book. It is intended for people of all faiths or no faith. People develop their own views on end-of-life issues, and for those who have not yet given it much thought, he offers facts and insights that are useful in forming one's moral beliefs. The decision, of course, must always be made by the patient, usually well ahead of time while he or she is able to make a sound judgment. If the patient desires continued medical treatment despite suffering and no means of recovery, that person's wishes must be honored. However, he argues strongly that those who hope to avoid the terrible suffering that comes so often at the end of life should also have their wishes honored.

The book carries strong endorsements from a number of well-known authorities on death, dying, grief, and mourning, including Rabbi Earl A. Grollman, the author of numerous best-selling books on death and grieving, and Derek Humphry, founder of the Hemlock Society and author of Final Exit.

October 22, 2017 in Books, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Is Cruise Ship Living a Cheaper Option for Seniors Than Assisted Living?

0aafd601fa004987cc888165eb5ee545For many seniors, there may come a time when the daily burdens of maintaining a household become too much to handle. For those seniors who are still in fair health, the traditional option is to pick up and  move to an assisted-living facility. These institutions allow seniors to remain mostly independent, but provide help with medications, transportation, housekeeping, entertainment, and meals. The greatest drawback to this option is the exorbitant cost.

For 2017, the average cost for one of these facilities exceeded $45,000 per year. This can be difficult for seniors, many of whom exist on a fixed budget, to afford. An unorthodox alternative that few consider is the fabulous life offered aboard a cruise ship. An individual can stay on a ship for fewer than $100 per night. For couples, the price is more, but there are many additional discounts available for those travelling in pairs. In total, such a stay is almost $10,000 less than an assisted-living facility. In addition, cruise ships offer amenities very similar to those found in an assisted-care home. So, for seniors who are unable to live independently but are not in need of the intensive services of a nursing-home, life on a cruise ship may be a viable and more enjoyable alternative.

See Christy Bieber, Is Cruise Ship Living a Cheaper Option for Seniors Than Assisted Living?, The Motley Fool, October 3, 2017.

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

October 13, 2017 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

How the Elderly Lose Their Rights

Senior-financial-abuseRudy North once began his days in the relative comfort of his own home, reading newspapers and novels at his leisure. His wife of fifty-seven years, Rennie, recovering from lymphoma and suffering with neuropathy, was a bit slower but just as pleased to greet the day. Both were living happily together with daily assistance from a nurse who provided Rennie aid with bathing and dressing. This delightful routine ended abruptly and without warning upon the unexpected entrance of April Parks into their once-tranquil lives.

Parks was the owner of A Private Professional Guardian, a company specializing in gaming the legal and medical systems, with the help of complacent judges and crooked medical staff, in order to obtain guardianship over elderly individuals in order to siphon away their assets through fees and expenses. Unbeknownst to the Norths, Parks had attained a letter from a physician’s assistant indicating the Norths posed a substantial risk for mismanagement of their own medications. Jon Norheim, the Clark County guardianship commissioner at the time, granted Parks’s request to become guardian for the Norths. This had essentially become routine, as Norheim granted Parks a guardianship about once per week. Neither Rudy nor Rennie were subject to any formal testing or psychological evaluation prior to the complete and total stripping of their civil liberties.

After a long and arduous struggle and substantial intervention by third parties, the Norths are now living with their daughter in a converted office. They have few assets, as Parks gorged her seemingly insatiable appetite on their life savings. Despite a substantial amount of blame that can laid at the feet of the Nevada legal system, it appears as though the victims of this schema have little recourse for remedy.

See Rachel Aviv, How the Elderly Lose Their Rights, The New Yorker, October 9, 2017.

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

October 10, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Article on Losing Loved Ones and Your Livelihood: Re-Evaluating Filial Responsibility Laws

BF-AD001_23fami_DV_20120622181243Kara Wenzl recently published an Article entitled, Losing Loved Ones and Your Livelihood: Re-Evaluating Filial Responsibility Laws, 29 Loy. Consumer L. Rev. 391-409 (2017). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

Imagine that you just received news that your mother, who had been living in a nursing home nearby for the past year, passed away. While she was in the nursing home, you visited her a few times a week and bought her new clothes and toiletry items whenever she needed them. You work full-time and are raising two children of your own. Shortly after your mother's funeral, the nursing home where she lived serves you with a lawsuit. The nursing home is suing you for your mother's outstanding bill totaling $ 90,000.00.

This hypothetical may seem unrealistic and unbelievable, but it is unfortunately a very real situation that more and more people face every day as states begin, with increasing regularity, to enforce filial responsibility statutes. For the reasons addressed in this hypothetical, along with several others I will discuss later in this article, filial responsibility laws should be eliminated across the United States. Filial responsibility statutes contradict the most basic and important policy goals of the judicial system, including efforts to promote familial relations, limit litigation, and uphold uniform laws across the nation. Further, filial responsibility laws implicate important gender issues and discrimination.

This article will be divided into eight parts. Part II will explain filial responsibility, at what point the filial responsibility arises, and how the laws are implemented. Part III will discuss the history of filial responsibility, including its origin, its application in America, and the recent resurgence of filial laws in United States courts. Part IV will offer an explanation for the recent resurfacing of filial responsibility laws, and will include a discussion on increased long-term care costs and decreased income to elderly individuals. Part V will address the burden that women, specifically, face when filial responsibility arises. Part VI will address the negative effects of enforcing filial responsibility laws in the United States, and how that enforcement contradicts important policy goals. Part VII will propose solutions to problems that filial responsibility laws attempt to address. Lastly, part VIII will conclude with a synopsis of where current filial responsibility laws leave consumers, and how eliminating filial responsibility laws will benefit society at large as well as improve familial relations and individual welfare.

October 4, 2017 in Articles, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Death of World's Richest Woman Shakes Cosmetics Giant

573222fa26ee547d75fb7c1da6ffbbabBillionaire Liliane Bettencourt, heiress to the L’Oreal empire, died last Thursday at the age of 94. Her passing signals a possible shift in L’Oreal ownership as a 43-year-old agreement between Nestlé, the company’s second-largest shareholder behind the Bettencourt family, is set to expire in the next six months. At the end of this term, either party may increase their current holdings in the company. L’Oreal is currently viewed as a willing and able buyer of Nestlé’s shares and may choose to use a 9% holding in Sanofi, a drug maker, to fund the purchase. Such a move has the potential to force L’Oreal to make a takeover bid under French law.

See Sarah White & Sudip Kar-Gupta, Death of World's Richest Woman Shakes Cosmetics Giant, Financial Advisor, September 22, 2017.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

September 30, 2017 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)