Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, August 31, 2015

Florida Has Made Reforms To Its Health Care Surrogate Act

FloridaIn the State of Florida there is a written document called a “Designation of Health Care Surrogate” that can name a person to make health care decisions for an individual or receive health information on the individual’s behalf.  Since the enactment of the Florida Health Care Surrogate Act of 1992 an individual had the recognized right to designate a health care surrogate. 

Two key changes to the act are set to go into effect on October 1, 2015.  The first change will give a surrogate the ability to act immediately, and the second change will let parents name a health care surrogate for a minor child in the event that they cannot act.  It is important to keep in mind that there is a difference between a designation of surrogate and a “living will.”  This article provides some of the important details about the new statutory reforms. 

See Seth Kaplan, Recent Improvements to the Florida Health Care Surrogate Act, Berger Singerman, Offices, August 26, 2015.

August 31, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Huguette Clark’s Estate Loses Court Battle Against Hospital

ClarkI have previously discussed the legal battle between the estate of Huguette Clark and the Beth Israel Medical Center over allegations that the hospital billed Clark for unnecessary treatment and applied undue influence to obtain millions in donations.  Last week the case was dismissed by Manhattan Surrogate Judge Nora S. Anderson because the statute of limitations on the claim had run.  The lawsuit was initially brought by a New York City public administrator who has control over the estate because the decedent has no close relatives.  Judge Anderson has stated that a separate lawsuit might be able to be brought against two physicians and a nurse who received about $3.6 million in gifts from Ms. Clark while taking care of her. 

See James C. McKinley Jr., Estate of Heiress Loses Fight to Recover Millions in Donations From Hospital, The New York Times, August 25, 2015.

August 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Article On Employee Life And Health Trusts In Canada

Trust AltS.B. Archer (York University - Osgoode Hall Law School) recently published an article entitled, Origins and Prospects for Employee Life and Health Trusts in Canada, 45 Estates, Trusts & Pensions Journal 419 (2015). Provided below is an abstract of the article:

A discussion of the events and factors behind the establishment of pre-funded health benefit plans in Canada with reference to the experience of voluntary employee benefit associations in the United States and the auto sector restructuring in North America during 2008-2009. It is argued that "employee life and health trusts" are used in effect to defease legacy cost liabilities of employers and only likely to be used in the context of restructuring of a workplace or industry. their structure is compared to other target benefit programs currently being proposed in Canada and elsewhere. The key issues in their negotiation and administration are summarized.

August 25, 2015 in Articles, Disability Planning - Health Care, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 20, 2015

CLE On Long-Term Care Fundamentals

CLE PictureThe American Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled, Long-Term Care Fundamentals, Thursday August 20, 2015, 12:00-1:30pm Eastern, online.  Here are some details about the event:

Panelists will explain the various types of providers across the continuum of care, including housing, assisted living, nursing and skilled nursing facilities, home health, home- and community-based services, hospice, and continuing care retirement communities.

The panel will also explore the demographics of our aging population and evolution of health care delivery and reimbursement and how these may influence public policy and regulatory schemes in the future.

Panelists will also discuss:

  • Payment sources
  • Regulatory schemes for providers of long-term-care across the continuum of services and supports
  • The demographics of our aging population and how the changing health care arena influences the landscape of long-term care
  • The most recent regulatory and legal issues facing long-term care providers

August 20, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 14, 2015

Social Security Acts 80th Anniversary Is Today

FdrOn August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law creating a source of income for senior citizens going into retirement.  Today, there are more than 59 million Americans receiving benefits from Social Security.  The Social Security system is constantly the subject of intense political debate as law makers look for ways to maintain the social safety net while being able to fund it.  There are currently questions about whether Social Security will always be there for younger generations and what sort of reforms will be needed to keep the system working. 

See Emily Gersema, As Social Security turns 80, what does its future hold?, USC News, August 14, 2015.

August 14, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Facing The Financial Realities Of Cognitive Decline

Cognitive declineThe White House Conference On Aging (WHCOA) recently met to discuss many of the issues senior citizens will face as they plan for retirement.  At the WHCOA event Bank of America partnered with the University Of Southern California Leonard Davis School Of Gerontology to release resources that can assist Americans with preparing for issues of cognitive decline.  A white paper titled Addressing Memory & Your Family was released to provide readers with a step-by-step approach to building a plan that would focus on a wide range of issues dealing with both the practical and emotional aspects of cognitive impairment.  In this column experts on these issues answered a series of important questions about the sort of symptoms family members need to look for and the best way to go about making a plan. 

See Robert Powell, Families need to address the financial realities of cognitive decline, USA Today, July 20, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention. 

August 14, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Longer Life Expectancies Represent Estate Planning Paradigm Shift

Elderly caregiverAmericans are living longer and this new longevity is creating a new host of estate planning issues.  Longer life-spans can cause uncertainty about the financial needs that clients will need to make plans for.  There is no simple answer for these complex issues.  Unexpected health care expenses are a major cost that people will encounter.  The cost of long term extended health care can be astronomical and clients should be aware of the potential of these sorts of unplanned for situations.  It is important to start putting together a retirement plan as early as possible.  People should discuss these issues with a competent financial planner who can walk a client through many different retirement options. 

See Paul Hechinger, Longer Lifespans Yield New Paradigm for Estate Planning, Financial Planning, August 12, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention. 

August 13, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Article On Patient’s End Of Life Treatment Preferences

MedicalRobert B. Wolf, Marilyn J. Maag, & Keith Bradoc Gallant recently published an article entitled, The Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) Coming Soon to a Health Care Community Near You40 Am. Coll. of Trust and Estates L. J. 57-150 (2015). Provided below is an abstract of the article:

Advance health care directives, including durable health care powers of attorney and living wills, are part of the standard bill of fare for estate planners, along with durable financial powers of attorney, wills and trusts.  This article discusses an end-of-life planning tool that is less well known in the estate-planning community – a physician order designed to elicit and record a patient’s end of life treatment preferences, referred to in some jurisdictions (and in this article) as POLST. The wide acceptance and spread of the POLST has gone largely unnoticed by estate and trust and elder law practitioners, despite its purpose to implement their clients’ care wishes when the client is dying or near death, traditionally a focal point of their professional efforts.  This article is intended to remedy that lack of awareness.

August 13, 2015 in Articles, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 30, 2015

When A Loved One Has Alzheimer’s Careful Planning Is Essential

AlzheimersWhen a family member or loved one has Alzheimer’s it is important to plan ahead.  Early planning can potentially alleviate a lot of stress that might come up as a result of waiting too long.  It is important to put in place both legal and financial plans.  Another benefit of planning early is that the person who has Alzheimer’s can be involved in the process.  There are a number of costs involved with treating Alzheimer’s, planning ahead for medical care and treatments is essential.  The person suffering from Alzheimer’s should be encouraged to make decisions for his or her future while that person still has legal capacity.  Planning ahead is a good way to make sure the person with Alzheimer’s is able to get the sort of care and treatment that they need.

See Idaho Estate Planning, Helping Loved Ones Suffering From Alzheimer’s, Wealth Management, July 28, 2015.

Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse for bringing this article to my attention.   

July 30, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Ten Retirement Mistakes People Should Avoid

BlundersAs the United States population average life expectancy continues to rise more people will need to plan ahead for retirement.  Here are ten retirement mistakes that people should avoid making:

  1. Not planning ahead. Failing to have a retirement plan in place is a common mistake people often make. 
  2. Discounting inflation.  When putting together a financial plan for retirement it is important to factor in inflation.
  3. Not having enough saved up.  Make sure you have enough money saved up to last for a long time. 
  4. Dipping into retirement accounts too early.  People should avoid raiding their retirement early, keep the money in the accounts so that it can accumulate. 
  5. Making rash investment decisions.  It is important to be cautious and not overly emotional when making investment decisions. 
  6. Being too cautious with investments. Although it is true that people should not be overly rash when making investment decisions.  It is still a good idea to take some reasonable risks with investments.
  7. Forgetting about employer 401(k) match.   Avoid making the mistake of missing out on employer matching funds. 
  8. Allowing all retirement income to be taxable.   People should consider putting money into a Roth IRA to receive tax benefits. 
  9. Not preparing for health care expenses.  Plan ahead for the unexpected expenses of long term health care. 
  10. Filing for Social Security early.  While people can start getting benefits at the age of 62, it is a good idea to wait for the full retirement age to file for social security benefits. 

See Maryalene LaPonsie, 10 Big Retirement Blunders, U.S. News, July 23, 2015.

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

July 23, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)