Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Staying Ahead Of Alzheimer’s Disease

AlzheimersAlzheimer’s is a terrible disease that impacts the lives of millions of people.  Many people who have a genetic disposition to getting Alzheimer’s are making major changes to their lifestyles in order to try to stay ahead of the disease.  This article discusses some of the things people are doing to cope with Alzheimer’s and to try to live a productive and wholesome life.  It examines many of the changes people are making on things like diet, exercise, and mental health.  Research is being conducted on this disease and better treatments are being developed each year.  Alzheimer’s is still a horrific destructive disease, but there is hope that as more knowledge is gained then improved treatments will come about. 

See Fredrick Kunkle, Alzheimer’s spurs the fearful to change their lives to delay it, The Washington Post, July 4, 2015.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret for bringing this article to my attention. 

July 5, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 4, 2015

New Laws Seek To Protect Dementia Sufferers

DementiaDementia has become increasingly common among the elderly with a staggering five million Americans having the disease. Unfortunately, many people seek to take advantage of a dementia patient's diminished capacity. Family members, or anyone else who is familiar with the dying person, are usually the perpetrator of any fraud but telemarketers and the like are also a threat. A few states have passed laws that require financial advisers and institutions to report suspicious activity around the account of vulnerable clients. This reporting requirement is not yet expected to be widely adopted but it is a good step to protect the finances of the impaired.

See Suzanne Barlyn, Protecting dementia sufferers from scammers gains ground in U.S., Reuters, July 1, 2015.

July 4, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, July 2, 2015

The Difficulties Of Talking About Death

SuitcaseDiscussing death with loved ones can be both a sad and morbid topic, though it is important because far too many people are not prepared for the process of dying.  In this column, Ellen Goodman discusses her own experiences dealing with the death of her father and then her mother decades later.  She pointed out how she was unprepared for the stress of being bombarded with decisions that she had to make for her mother who had diminished capacity.  Goodman started the ‘Conversation Project’ with a small group of people in order to help improve end-of-life care and get people comfortable about discussing these difficult issues.  Her hope is to transform the cultural norm about not wanting to talk about the end of life issues that loved ones will face. 

See Ellen Goodman, How to Talk About Dying, The New York Times, July 1, 2015.

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

July 2, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Long-Term Care In The Digital Age

Old WomenSenior citizens are the fastest growing age group in the United States and will place a tremendous burden on the long-term care sector as the Baby Boomers reach retirement age. The problems that will be encountered cannot fully be appreciated yet, but digital technology will be of great help as it offers the chance to keep the elderly in touch with the rest of society, even if bedridden. Digital visits with distant family members will allow the elderly to have a presence in the life of the younger generation and greatly help with the loneliness epidemic found in many senior living centers. In addition, digital communication will allow seniors to visit with medical professionals for consultations without having to wait for local physicians to visit. All and all, the future appears bright for the beneficial integration of electronics into senior care.

See Marc Agronin, How Technology Will Revolutionize Long-Term Care, Wall Street Journal, June 30, 2015.

July 1, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The IRS Has Released Proposed ABLE Account Regulations

ABLE1The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has released proposed regulations that will serve the purpose of implementing a new law that authorizes states to offer ABLE accounts.  Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts are designed to help people with disabilities and their family save money while reducing or eliminating the tax burden.  This column explains some of the features of ABLE accounts and how they can be a benefit to people who are disabled.  The IRS regulations can be read here.  

See Lewis J. Saret, Guidance Under Section 529A: Qualified ABLE Programs, Wealth Strategies Journal, June 26, 2015.

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

June 30, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 15, 2015

CLE On Medicaid Asset Protection

CLEThe American Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled, Medicaid Self Defense: Asset Protection for Your Clients, Tuesday, June 16, 2015, 1:00-2:30pm Eastern, online.  Here is why you should attend:

Senior citizens and persons with disabilities are often faced with difficult decisions and life-altering choices when qualifying for Medicaid coverage. Often times they are forced to sell their homes or deplete assets they worked years to acquire.

Seasoned attorneys can assist with proactive measures such as healthcare planning, reallocation of assets, and the purchase of annuities. Topics of discussion will include:

  • Qualifying the client for Medicaid, while preserving an income stream for the well spouse
  • Selecting the right annuity for your client
  • Setting up a Medicaid Asset Protection Trust

June 15, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Most Americans Have Little Emergency Savings And How To Fix It

Piggy BankThe sad truth is that most Americans do not have money saved to cover any emergency that might arise be it minor or major. While most people feel they are safe from serious injury or job loss, little consideration is given to the smaller problems that might crop up such as car repairs or a minor, but expensive, hurt. One tip for everyone is to keep savings in a money market account or similar instrument that pays a reliable interest rate and offers easy liquidity. Planners should also look at what liabilities exist, such as a car or house payment, and make sure those obligations are taken into account. In the end, the general rule of thumb is six months of savings enough to cover almost all household expenses.

See Jennifer Waters, Emergency Savings — Here’s What You Really Need, Market Watch, May 28, 2015.

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

June 5, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 1, 2015

Utah Lawmaker Introduces Bill Protecting Adult Children’s Parental Visitation Rights

T_WeilerA Utah lawmaker is sponsoring a bill that will protect the right of adult children to visit ailing parents.  Republican State Senator Todd Weiler sponsored the legislation after discussing the issue with the daughter of late actor Peter Falk.  Catherine Falk has been pushing for similar legislation across the country. 

The dispute between B.B. King’s daughters and his guardian has brought renewed attention to the issue of adult children being denied the right to visit an ill parent with diminished capacity by someone else who has power of attorney.  This legislation aims to give adult children the ability to secure visitation rights without having to go through a difficult court battle.  Sen. Tom Weiler hopes that Utah lawmakers will pass the bill during the 2016 legislative session.

See Michelle L. Price, Utah bill would protect the right to visit ailing parents, Deseret News, May 31, 2015. 

June 1, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Three Documents Every 18 Year Old Should Have

Alicecooper18It is always a good idea to plan ahead for not only your client, but also your client’s children.  When a client’s child turns 18 they should have a will, healthcare power of attorney, and property power of attorney.  It makes good business sense for an estate planner to build a working relationship with not only his or her client but also the client’s children since they will be inheriting many of the assets that you helped make plans for.  It is true that 18 year old individuals do not often have a lot of property or assets, but it is still important to plan for unexpected medical emergencies by having a will and naming a person who would have power of attorney.

See David H. Lenok, What Documents Do Your Clients 18-Year-Old-Children Need?, Trusts & Estates, May 26, 2015.

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

May 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

How To Avoid Retirement Pain After A Sudden Disability

Wheel ChairThe risk of disability from an unexpected injury is a sad but ever-present fact of life; when it strikes near retirement it can lead to stark financial decisions. Many people opt to dip into savings to cover the unexpected expenses from the injury or illness in addition to maintaining their standard of living. Then, the remaining investments tend to be moved into low risk, and low yield, retirement plans which further pressures the health of the savings. Instead, keep retirement funds in plans that outpace inflation and slash expenses with anticipatory cuts if it is clear that a standard of living downgrade is inevitable. This strategy will help prevent the loss of retirement money down the line and put the individual in control of the new circumstances.

See Kyle Krull, When a Disability Derails Your Retirement Plans, Wealth Managements, May , 2015.

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

May 26, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)