Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Sunday, August 12, 2018

CLE on Planning for Individuals with Chronic Illnesses

CLEThe Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law of the American Bar Association is holding a webinar entitled, Planning for Individuals with Chronic Illnesses, on August 21, 2018 at 12:00 PM - 1:30 PM CT. Provided below is a description of the event:

Many clients are affected by chronic illnesses and a large number of those are under 64. This program will hopefully help you identify clients affected by chronic illness, understand more planning opportunities, and advise them and their families accordingly.
 
This program will cover:
 - Income tax planning
 - Investment and financial planning
 - Insurance planning
 - Disability planning
 - Competency and cognitive issues
 - Estate planning

August 12, 2018 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Adulting: Planning for Life When You are Least Expected to Live

Estate-planning-thinkstock-780x520Many clients that create an estate plan only plan on their inevitable death rather than a "worst case scenario." Catastrophes such as plane crashes, car wrecks, or other sudden life-ending events should be planned for, as well as catastrophes that do not end in death but rather incapacity or the inability to work.

Every individual over the age of 18 should have a power of attorney. A power of attorney grants your agent significant authority to act on your behalf. Obviously, you should choose an agent whom you implicitly trust. A health care proxy similarly appoints an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to express your wishes.

"Marriage to a person does not give you automatic authority to access their individual financial accounts. Living with your parents does not give you the right to access their accounts, nor can they access yours. In the event you do not have a power of attorney, your spouse and children are barred access to your individual assets, which they may need to survive. In the event an agent is not appointed, your family may be forced to request court intervention for the appointment of a guardian or conservator, which is an emotionally difficult and expensive process."

See Cori A. Robinson, Adulting: Planning for Life When You are Least Expected to Live, Above the Law, July 31, 2018.

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

August 11, 2018 in Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

CLE on 29th Annual Estate Planning and Probate Drafting

CLEThe Texas Bar Association is holding a conference entitled, 29th Annual Estate Planning and Probate Drafting, on October 4, 2018 - October 5, 2018, at the Westin Galleria Dallas in Dallas, Texas. Provided below is a description of the event:

This program will identify, analyze, and discuss issues that arise in drafting documents in the areas of estate planning, probate, and fiduciary litigation, and will provide drafting examples and forms for the practitioner to utilize to adequately and comprehensively address these issues. Although many seasoned estate planners and probate practitioners will find much to interest and challenge them in this course, the program’s goal is to deliver papers and presentations that are relevant, thoughtful, and creative for attorneys at all levels of practice in these fields, and to include updates and a discussion of trends in the changing areas of the law. Overall, the course is designed to help attendees recognize and address issues that continue to arise and evolve in their practices, with helpful tools to take back to their offices and utilize immediately.

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

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Estate Planning 101: 5 Lessons for New Parents

BabyhandA new parent has a plethora of new tasks when it comes to that new baby or child: feeding, cleaning, bathing, and the all-consuming daily tasks that now take over one's life.  It is important, however, to have the wherewithal to make a plan for that precious child's future.

  • Set up "Living Documents
    • By naming a proper health care proxy and executing a power of attorney, a parent who becomes incapacitated can ensure someone else can access their funds for their child’s needs and make proper health care decisions for the parent in the interim.
  • Decide on a Guardian or a Trustee
    • Both have different responsibilities, but depending on the circumstances, having one or both can be necessary for your plans for your child.
  • Establish Post-Mortem Documents
    • Creating a will and possibly a separate trust document early in the child's life can alleviate a large amount of stress. If creating both seems too complex, you can create a “testamentary trust” in your last will and testament that is simpler, yet still effective if funded properly.
  • Review your Life Insurance Requirements
    • Many people don’t have much money when they are young, so life insurance becomes critical to ensuring your child has adequate funds available if you pass away at a young age.
  • Update Account Ownership and Beneficiary Designations
    • Properly titling accounts and naming the right beneficiaries to your investment accounts and life insurance policies is essential to finalizing your affairs.

See Daniel A. Timins, Estate Planning 101: 5 Lessons for New Parents, Kilpinger, August 6, 2018.

August 7, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 6, 2018

Article on Postmortem Austerity and Entitlement Reform

SSReid K. Weisbord recently published an Article entitled, Postmortem Austerity and Entitlement Reform, Wills, Trusts & Estates Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This Essay proposes a novel policy of "postmortem austerity" to address the unsustainable, rapidly escalating cost of federal entitlement programs following the 2017 tax reforms. If Social Security and Medicare continue on their current path to insolvency, then they will eventually require austerity reforms absent a politically unpopular tax increase. This Essay argues that, if austerity becomes necessary, federal entitlement reforms should be implemented progressively in a manner that minimizes displacement of benefits on which individuals relied when saving for old age. A policy of postmortem austerity would establish new eligibility criteria for Social Security and Medicare that postpone the effective date and economic consequences of benefit ineligibility until after death. All individuals would continue to collect federal entitlements during life, but at death, wealthy decedents would be deemed retroactively disqualified from part or all of Social Security and Medicare benefits received during life. The estates of such decedents would then be liable for repayment of disqualified benefits.

August 6, 2018 in Articles, Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 30, 2018

New Alzheimer’s Drug Slows Memory Loss in Early Trial Results

TreeFor the first time in a large clinical trial, a drug was able to both reduce the plaques in the brains of patients and slow the progression of dementia. The trial involved 856 patients from the United States, Europe and Japan with early symptoms of cognitive decline. They were diagnosed with either mild cognitive impairment or mild Alzheimer’s dementia, and all had significant accumulations of the amyloid protein that clumps into plaques in people with the disease, said Dr. Lynn Kramer, chief medical officer of Eisai, a Japan-based company that developed the drug.

Many other drugs have managed to reduce amyloid levels but they did not ease memory decline or other cognitive difficulties. In the data presented Wednesday, the highest of the five doses of the new drug — an injection every two weeks of 10 milligrams per kilogram of a patient’s weight — both reduced amyloid levels and slowed cognitive decline when compared to patients who received placebo.

See Pam Belluck, New Alzheimer’s Drug Slows Memory Loss in Early Trial Results, New York Times, July 25, 2018.

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

July 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Medicare Advantage is About to Change. Here’s What You Should Know.

image from https://s3.amazonaws.com/feather-client-files-aviary-prod-us-east-1/2018-07-30/1bfea7a4-fea6-4c75-85ed-b429c099a643.pngFor decades, family members and doctors of individuals on medicare have lamented the narrow coverage the non-medicinal aspect of preventable issues, such as grab bars in showers for the elderly woman that may slip or an air conditioner for the aging gentleman with asthma. Medicare would easily pay for the expensive emergency room trips, services, and medications, but would not have assisted with the less costly preventative measures.

This appears to be changing. Those enrolled in Medicare Advantage will have their "supplemental benefits" definition reinterpreted according to Medicare officials. Private insurers that underwrite Advantage plans will have the ability to tack on a longer list services if they are deemed in any way health-related, such as: "Adult day care programs. Home aides to help with activities of daily living, like bathing and dressing. Palliative care at home for some patients. Home safety devices and modifications like grab bars and wheelchair ramps. Transportation to medical appointments. "

“What I find most fundamental is the recognition, . . . that this bright line between ‘medically necessary’ and things necessary to maintain health — like proper nutrition and transportation to a doctor’s office — is an illusion,” says Dr. Diane Meier, a geriatrician who directs the Center to Advance Palliative Care at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York.

See Paul Span, Medicare Advantage is About to Change. Here’s What You Should Know, New York Times, July 20, 2018.

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

July 30, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Article on Patient-Centred Dying: The Role of Law [Ireland]

IrelandMary Donnelly published an Article entitled, Patient-Centred Dying: The Role of Law, Elder Law eJournal (2014). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This chapter examines the legal context within which decisions about the end of life are made in Ireland. It argues that an ethical approach to end-of-life care must be centred on the dying person and that finding ways to ensure that this person’s voice is heard must be core to the development of legal frameworks. In this respect, the law has, to date, been inadequate. While the law has been effective at hearing (and enabling to be heard) voices which are loud and clear, such as capable adults refusing treatment for religious reasons, where voices are less audible or less distinct, the law has offered less. For the vulnerable person; the person with capacity difficulties; the person who is confused or distressed or disturbed, the law has offered little scope for expression or involvement. This chapter is concerned primarily with this group of people and with exploring how legal frameworks can best ensure that their voices are heard in making decisions about their care at the end of their lives.

 

July 26, 2018 in Articles, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Augmented Reality Assists With "Freezing" Symptom

ParkinsonBioengineering students at Rice have designed an augmented reality app to help patients with Parkinson’s overcome a symptom known as “freezing”, in which the legs temporarily refuse to follow the brain’s command to lift and move forward.

https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6425337705885954048

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

July 25, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Science, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Why Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Today is so Difficult—and How we can do Better

TreeBill Gates announced seven months ago that he would begin investing in Alzheimer's research and the response has been overwhelming. He has learned that the diagnosis process is "less than ideal," invasive, and experience - an initial cognitive test, then a determination if there are any other possible causes for memory loss, such as a stroke or a nutritional deficiency. If those are ruled out, a spinal tap or PET scan can be relied upon. Unfortunately many insurance policies will not reimburse for Alzheimer's exams.

The harsh truth is that currently a 100% confirmation of Alzheimer's is not currently possible until an autopsy is performed.

A point of contention is that patients are not tested for the disease until they are already starting to show signs of cognitive decline. Research suggests Alzheimer’s starts damaging the brain more than a decade before symptoms start showing. That’s probably when we need to start treating people to have the best shot at an effective drug.

See Bill Gates, Why Diagnosing Alzheimer’s Today is so Difficult—and How we can do Better, Bill Gates, July 17, 2018.

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

July 18, 2018 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Science | Permalink | Comments (0)