Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Battle Over Sam Huff's Medical & Financial Decisions

Sam huffOn March 31, Catherine Huff visited her father, Sam Huff—legendary linebacker for the Washington Redskins, to take him to a dentist appointment. Sam currently suffers from dementia, and his daughter capitalized on his disease by never returning him to the home. The Huff family is now in a dispute over who should be making his medical and financial decisions. His live-in domestic and business partner petitioned the court for Sam to be returned to her care at their home and appointment of her as Sam’s guardian. In 2011, Catherine was named his durable power of attorney, giving her control over his finances, and his partner was named in an Advance Medical Directive to be responsible for his health-care decisions. Upon his kidnapping, Sam signed another AMD, appointing his daughter to be in charge of his medical decisions.

See Rick Maese & Julie Tate, Sam Huff Needs Help Making Life Decisions; There Is a Fight Over Who Should Do It, Washington Post, September 2, 2016.

Special thanks to Jay Brinker (Attorney, Cincinnati, Ohio) for bringing this article to my attention.  

September 8, 2016 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Sports | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 1, 2016

All the Tips Estate Planners Want You to Know

Estae plannersYou must plan ahead for your belongings to be allocated appropriately postmortem. Before you start this process, there are several concepts and issues that your estate planners hope you grasp. Estate planners are there to help you think about tough stages like dying, encouraging you to plan ahead and alleviating any stress from family members. Additionally, they want you to benefit from creating a will and inventory for your assets. Understanding the property tax exemptions is important knowledge for your executor, so make it a goal to simplify any complicated rules. Estate planners should also present long-term care options that will provide comfort while securing your estate.

See Tanya Tucker, 7 Things Your Estate Planner Wants You to Know Before You Die, Trust Advisor, August 31, 2016.

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

September 1, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Estate Tax, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

How Financial Advisors Add Value for Aging Clients

Elder managementFinancial advisors are slowly being viewed as the orchestrators of all the various financial planning components of a client’s life, such as asset management, estate planning, legacy building, long-term care planning, and insurance. There are two main principals driving this change—advisors wishing to differentiate themselves and retirees entering the distribution phase of their financial life cycle. Accordingly, there are four ways that advisors can be of value to their aging clients.

First, advisors can provide a holistic view of insurance, helping clients plan for every stage of their insurance needs, especially long-term care and health insurance. Second, estate planning is an essential aspect of post-retirement; therefore, advisors should be able to provide robust estate planning capabilities. Third, clients at this stage will need to prepare for any possible disability care, which will give clients a sense of empowerment over their inevitable futures. Finally, advisors should help wealthy clients apply tax-advantageous strategies to reach their charitable goals and legacy aspirations.

See Richard Whitworth, Looking Beyond Asset Management: Top Four Ways Financial Advisors Add Value for Aging Clients, Wealth Management, August 31, 2016.

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

September 1, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

For-Profits Join PACE Program

InnovageInnovAge is a company that uses private equity money to aggressively expand a Medicare program, Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), that keeps older and disabled people out of nursing homes. Before, only nonprofits were allowed to run this type of program, but the gates have opened to for-profit companies with the hope of expanding the services faster. In exchange for monthly payments from Medicare and Medicaid, PACE programs pay for all doctor’s visits, medications, rehabilitation, daily needs, and hospitalization. This capped monthly payment forces organizations to invest in maintaining a patient’s health to avoid large hospital bills. Critics, however, note that caring for elders is full of abuse, something that is correlated with increased commercialization of the industry.

See Sarah Varney, Private Equity Pursues Profits in Keeping the Elderly at Home, NY Times, August 20, 2016.

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

August 24, 2016 in Current Events, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Avoiding These Eight Red Flags in an Estate Plan

RED-FLAG-1A true estate planner is able to foster trustworthy relationships with their clients while serving them in the fullest capacity. If you notice a gap in an estate-planning document, realize this red flag and know how to solve it.

When creating an estate plan, one goal many clients have is to avoid probate; on the other hand, a lot of clients draft a properly written will. Make sure that your clients goals are met and fill any gap in this estate-planning document. If a trust is in the estate plan, make sure that there is proper funding. Also, protect your client’s assets from creditors by never leaving valuable assets exposed. Similarly, do not leave inheritances in the hands of uninformed beneficiaries who can expose their gifts to creditors as well. Another good idea is to appoint trustees in a manner that gets the job done; you do not want fighting or miscommunication to burden future heirs. Furthermore, a planner should make sure that all account beneficiaries are updated along with any estate-planning documents. Accordingly, life insurance should be right for your client’s situation, determining whether too little or too much insurance can pose a problem. Finally, emphasize to your clients that they need a long-term care arrangement, helping with any unforeseen medical expenditures.

See Eight Red Flags That Your Client’s Estate Plans Are Out of Whack, Wealth Management, August 5, 2016.

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

August 11, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Intestate Succession, Professional Responsibility, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Retirement and Estate Planning for Alzheimer's

Alzheimers developA study shows that Americans fear developing Alzheimer’s more than any other life‑threatening disease. It also shows that Americans fear the inability to care for themselves if diagnosed. This fear is valid because the end-of-life care for Alzheimer’s patients is often underestimated and more expensive than cancer or heart disease. Insurance pays for a portion of these costs but not all, so it is important to appropriately plan a retirement and estate plan. Accordingly, you must identify family members to be included in financial plans and any projected costs that can be covered by government benefits.

See Art Koff, What to Know About Alzheimer’s and Retirement Planning, Market Watch, July 7, 2016.

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

August 6, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Severely Ill Patients Express Their Thoughts on What Is Worse Than Dying

Worse than dyingFor patients with severe illnesses, dying is normally not the worst thing they face. A recent study reports that a majority of those patients think that bowel and urinary incontinence and having to rely on a breathing machine are worse than a looming death. A majority, however, agreed that being in a wheelchair, being at home all day, and being in moderate pain are much better than death. Studies also show that large percentages of healthy people consider severe dementia to be worse than death. Furthermore, researchers noted that these feared states might at some point become more tolerable once they are experienced. Ultimately, we know that further research is needed to improve patient outcomes.

See Sara G. Miller, What’s Worse Than Death? Dementia and Breathing Machines, Patients Say, Fox News Health, August 2, 2016.

August 4, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

STABLE Accounts for Your Estate Plan

STABLE accountThe Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 will soon permit individuals to establish STABLE accounts in their estate plan for disabled family members. These accounts will allow family members to save money to be used throughout life concurrently with other government benefit programs for disabled family members. The earnings in these accounts will grow tax-free as long as they are utilized for qualified expenses. In order to establish a STABLE account, the individual must have been disabled before 26 years old and entitled to benefits under the SSI or SSDI programs.

See James Contini, James Contini Column: The Use of STABLE Accounts for the Estate Planning for Disabled Individuals, Times Reporter, July 3, 2016.

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

July 5, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 4, 2016

ABLE Accounts for People with Disabilities

ABLE accountsABLE accounts are now allowing people with disabilities to save money without jeopardizing their government benefits. These accounts make it possible for people to maintain their status for Social Security and other government benefits while saving money for individual expenses. Ohio is the first state to offer these accounts after the 2014 ABLE Act. In Ohio, you can establish your account through a website and deposit up to $14,000 per year. Other states will begin to follow as they pass their own legislation, making their programs unique.

See Michelle Diament, ABLE Accounts Make Debut, Disability Scoop, June 2, 2016.

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

June 4, 2016 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Survey Shows Many Have Poor Understanding Of Cost For Long-Term Care

MoneyLong-term care is one of the most expensive aspects of old age and requires special preparation in order to be ready for the expense. One of the key things to know in order to prepare is a proper understanding of the cost but a new survey shows that many Americans are way off in their estimates. For example, respondents estimated home health care to cost less than $500 per month but, in reality, has a median cost approaching $4000. One of the authors of the study speculated that the disparity between expectations and realities was the result of many people being unfamiliar with long-term care and the associated cost and impositions. In addition, many people undervalue the contributions that caregivers provide for the elderly based on their experience caring for other, younger people. However, having a good grasp on the cost realities of long-term care, be it in home or at a special facility, is imperative so that proper choices with as much relevant information as possible can made when the time comes.

See Richard Eisenberg, Americans' Estimates Of Long-Term Care Costs Are Wildly Off, Forbes, May 10, 2016.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

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