Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

8 Estate Planning Moves If You Are Getting Divorced

DivorceDivorces can be messy They can be emotionally tiring with numerous decisions to be made. Before the divorce is finalized, your spouse still has several legal rights, but you would like to maintain as much control over your assets as possible. Also, if you happen to pass away or become incapicitated before that finalization, there are things that you can do to upold that command. Here are 8 estate planning suggestions to add to your divorce to-do list

  • Update your healthcare proxy.
  • Change your power of attorney.
  • Find out what you can and cannot alter.
    • Such as 401(k), pensions, or life insurance policies.
  • Update your will.
  • Decide what to leave your spouse.
    • After it is all said and done, you may decide not to completely disinherit your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
  • Look at your prenuptial (or postnuptial) agreement
  • Amend your trust.
  • Revisit the plan after your divorce is finalized.

See Christine Fletcher, 8 Estate Planning Moves If You Are Getting Divorced, Forbes Magazine, June 19, 2018

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

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

June 20, 2018 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain And Estate Planning When You Are Separated

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-06-13/4db6e2e5-132d-47ab-a193-800f763628d8.pngKate Spade and Anthony Bourdain had more in common than their unfortunate, untimely ends. They were both amicably separated from their spouses, though Bourdain's was more readily known. Because neither were legally divorced their estranged spouses will retain the rights given to them under their marriage, which could include handling their estates and funerals.

Gladys Bourdain, Anthony's mother, told the media that she was unsure of funeral plans yet as his estranged spouse is still legally his next of kin. She was quoted as saying, “Although they are separated, she’ll be in charge of whatever happens."

Though many rights of a spouse cannot be permanently extinguished until a divorce is granted, one thing a person may choose to do after permanently separating from their spouse is to create a new Health Care Directive. It is not required that a spouse be on the document and you may lay out your desired funeral arrangements as well. This document is also state specific.

See Megan Gorman, Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain and Estate Planning When You Are Seperated, Forbes, June 12, 2018.

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

June 13, 2018 in Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, June 9, 2018

CLE on Step-by-Step Guide to Drafting Wills and Trusts

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Step-by-Step Guide to Drafting Wills and Trusts, which will be hold on Thursday, September 13, 2018, at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Southfield - Detroit in Southfield, MI. Provided below is a description of the event:

Program Description

Draft Enforceable Estate Planning Documents With These Practical Techniques

Do you have all the information you need to draft customized testamentary documents for each of your clients? Don't spend years gathering precious bits of legal practice wisdom - our experienced attorney faculty are here to share their time-tested methods of identifying clients' needs and creating custom-tailored wills and trusts to fit each specific situation. This legal primer offers all the tools and sample forms to get you started. Get the fundamental skills you need to build your estate planning practice - register today!

  • Get practical will and trust drafting skills to speed up the process and give the testator's last wishes power.
  • Stave off conflicts of interest with a clear determination of who your client is from the start.
  • Learn how to deal with interested relatives who want to be present at all the planning meetings.
  • Explore the pros and cons of using a revocable living trust in the will's stead and find out when it's a better option.
  • Explore the functions and mechanics of major trust structures - and make certain you choose the right tool for each job.
  • Give each provision full power with precise word choices - get sample forms to speed up the process.
  • Make sure your remarried and unmarried clients know the default inheritance laws and help them make sure the right beneficiaries are assigned.
  • Anticipate key tax issues, including individual income tax planning and trust taxation.
  • Phrase the fiduciary and beneficiary designations to leave no room for interpretation.
  • Help your clients make the tough medical decisions regarding long-term care, end-of-life and organ donation.
  • Learn how to verify and document the testator's competency to close the door on any potential will contests.

Who Should Attend

This basic-to-intermediate level seminar offers foundational will and trust drafting skills that will benefit:

  • Attorneys
  • Paralegals
  • Trust Officers and Personal Representatives
  • Estate and Financial Planners
  • Accountants and CPAs
  • Tax Professionals

Course Content

  1. Key Elements of Effective Wills
  2. Trusts as Alternatives to Wills
  3. Basic Tax Concerns
  4. Documenting Long-Term Care, Incapacity and End-of-Life Decisions
  5. Ethics
  6. Planning for Unmarried and Remarried Couples

Continuing Education Credit

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 7.00

International Association for Continuing Education Training – IACET: 0.60

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

* denotes specialty credits

June 9, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Gift Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 8, 2018

ABLE Accounts Give Disabled More Financial Freedom

1878136 States and the District of Columbia have joined behind the federal government after Congress passed the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. ABLE accounts allow those individuals that have developed a qualifying disability prior to reaching the age of 26 (or their parents, relatives, or friends) to invest up to $15,000 per year and still be able to tap into it tax-free.

These accounts allow people with disabilities to save and invest money without fearing that they will lose their government benefits. Before the passing of the Act individuals would lose their Supplemental Security Income (monthly stripend) and their Medicaid (medical insurance) from the government if they held more than $2,000 in their own name. With the new ABLE accounts, individuals can have up to $100,000 without it affecting their SSI and there's no maximum balances for Medicaid benefits. And under the new tax law, you can also roll over money from a 529 college-savings account to an ABLE, up to the $15,000 total annual contribution limit.

10 states also give a tax deductions for contributing to an ABLE account. This biggest appeal, of course, is that it gives people with disabilities a sense of self-worth and pride because they can save money in their own name without jeopardizing their much-needed government benefits.

See Kimberly Lankford, ABLE Accounts Give Disabled More Financial Freedom, Kilpinger, June 7, 2018.

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

June 8, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

CLE on Protecting Assets While Qualifying for Medicaid

The National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Protecting Assets While Qualifying for Medicaid, which will be hold on Monday, July 30, 2018, at the Sheraton Erie Bayfront Hotel in Erie, Pennsylvania. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Get the Latest on Medicaid 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%, Medicaid is the primary source of payment, so a basic understanding of the Medicaid 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 Medicaid 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 Medicaid.
  • 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 Medicaid 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 Medicaid - The Four Eligibility Requirements
  2. Pre-Need Asset Planning
  3. Trust-Based Medicaid Planning in Detail
  4. Crisis Planning and Assistance
  5. Using Special Needs Trusts - Sample Trust Review
  6. Applied Legal Ethics

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education

Credit Hrs State
CLE 7.20 -  NJ*
CLE 7.00 -  NY*
CLE 6.00 -  PA*

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 7.00

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

* denotes specialty credits

 

June 7, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 4, 2018

CLE on Using Trusts in Medicaid and Disability Planning

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a conference entitled, Using Trusts in Medicaid and Disability Planning, which will be held on Wednesday, June 13, 2018 at the Ramada Plaza Portland in Portland, Maine. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Trust-Based Medicaid Planning Simplified

Most Americans will need nursing home care at some point in their lives. With the prohibitive cost of care and lack of financing options, preserving Medicaid eligibility has become a planning imperative. This incisive legal guide will give you all the tools to protect your clients' family assets while keeping their nursing home care funding options open. Register today!

  • Determine when a trust is needed and which trust structure best suits the situation.
  • Prevent unforeseen consequences with sample trust language and its detailed analysis.
  • Offer your clients more effective options when it comes to planning ahead for disability and nursing home care.
  • Review tax planning and reporting aspects of using income-only trusts.

Who Should Attend

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

  • Attorneys
  • Accountants
  • Financial Planners
  • Trust Officers
  • Geriatric Care Managers
  • Investment Advisers
  • Paralegals

Course Content

  1. Trusts Overview: Key Terms, Concepts, Parties, Governing Law
  2. Medicaid and Other Benefit Requirements the Trusts Need to Meet
  3. Using Third-Party Special Needs Trusts
  4. Trust Funding Techniques
  5. Income-Only Trusts (IOTs): When and How to Use Them
  6. Taxes and Medicaid Trusts

Continuing Education Credit

Continuing Legal Education – CLE: 6.50

Financial Planners – Financial Planners: 8.00

National Association of State Boards of Accountancy – CPE for Accountants/NASBA: 8.00 *

* denotes specialty credits

June 4, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 1, 2018

Long-Term Planning for Long-Term Care

IvMedicaid and Medicare are insurance programs that were both created by federal law but that is where the similarities generally stop. Medicare is an insurance program from those over 65 and will pay for some rehabilitative services, while Medicaid is an insurance program for those that meet certain income and assets requirements and will pay for long-term care. For those that do not qualify for Medicaid but need long-term care such as a nursing home, there are other options.

Long-term care (LTC) insurance is expensive and fewer insurance companies carry it, but there are other products that have emerged that offer the same features outside of an LTC setting. There are also Medicare Supplement insurance which covers the "gap" between what Medicare will pay out and what a person's medical expenses are. Advantage Plans are also referred to as "Part C" plans because you will still retain your Medicare benefits but are offered through a private company. The private company may require you to pay extra out-of-pockets costs, though.

See Rebekah Jones, Long-Term Planning for Long-Term Care, Brentwood Home Page, May 28, 2018.

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

June 1, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Planning During Terminal Illness

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-05-29/92cdc67f-ceae-440b-b406-5fc930480e84.pngDiagnosis of a terminal illness is never an easy situation. There are physical implications, emotional implications of the affected spouse and family, and the financial burdens that can tag along. Financial planning during these types of circumstances falls into two different categories: during the illness when cash flow is maximized to cover the medical care and expenses that arise, and estate planning when death is closer or imminent.

If a terminally ill person is working has a large effect on their cash flow and their disability insurance through their employer. If the person has retired, depending on their age they may be able to tap into their IRAs, 401(k)s, Social Security, and other retirement accounts usually may be tapped without incurring the 10% early withdrawal penalty. Some life insurance policies have riders that stipulate pay out before death if the holder is expected to pass away within 24 months, as certified by a physician.  Sales of a life insurance policy could also be used to increase cash flow, but these transactions are taxable.

See James R. Grimaldi, James A.J. Revels, and Sidney Kess, Planning During Terminal Illness, CPA Journal, May 2018.

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

 

May 29, 2018 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Elder Law Attorney

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-05-27/a19a5750-ae3d-4055-9883-3aa3239c9016.pngWhether it be during retirement, immediately before retirement, or early in their career, it is important to see an elder law attorney to assemble one's plan's in case they are no longer in control of certain aspects of their lives. Here is a list of 10 questions to ask an elder law attorney.

  1. What is your experience in elder law?
  2. Does you practice focus on an elder law niche?
  3. What is the most important aspect of elder law?
  4. What is my biggest concern as a retiree?
  5. Who should have my power of attorney should dementia or illness become a problem?
  6. Are there any risks inherent in my current retirement plan?
  7. How should I approach insurance and long-term care?
  8. How can I make provisions for my spouse if they survive me?
  9. What documents do I need to have prepared for my heirs?
  10. How often do I need to update my documents during retirement?

See Dungan Lefevre, Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Elder Law Attorney, Tipp News Daily, May 26, 2018.

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

May 27, 2018 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Talking To Your Kids About Your Dying Wishes

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-05-22/bdd2ad74-8c2b-4a75-8d13-e5f82653cdb0.pngDeath is a frightening event, and putting the event into words more so. Some people do not mention death until they are diagnosed with a serious illness or when they suddenly find themselves in a hospital bed. If at all possible the conversation about your inevitable demise should be conducted before those two events. Even if that dialogue simply puts forth the idea that you do not want to linger on life support, your intentions should be known to your children at a reasonable stage of their lives.

Different states have options of expressing your intentions in writing depending on the state where you live.  It could consist of a health care directive, a living will, or a HIPAA waiver.

But remember - life support is not the only subject to discuss with your children. These topics may also include funeral arrangements, where to place your remains, etc. This exchange could be formal and take place at your lawer's office with your children in attendance.  It could also be a family meeting in your own living room.

See Christine Fletcher, Talking To Your Kids About Your Dying Wishes, Forbes, May 15, 2018.

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

May 22, 2018 in Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)