Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

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Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Study Shows Some Women Not Prepared For Death Of Spouse

MarriageOne fact of life is the women have, on average, a longer lifespan than men. However, a new poll suggest that they might suffer a penalty for that longevity based on women stating they would have trouble maintaining their lifestyle if their spouse died first. In addition, more women than men indicated that they did not know the details of their spouses life insurance or had low confidence in being able to find key estate documents. Greater education about the consequences of insufficient estate planning for both spouses would help to solve this gap and should always be stressed to clients seeking estate advice. It is up to both members of the couple to ensure that they are armed with the proper knowledge to manage affairs after the death of the other. In the end, a little communication about savings, insurance, and documentation could save much heartbreak and allow the years left to the survivor to be spent with as little worry as possible.

See Quentin Fottrell, Women may be less prepared for the death of their spouse, Market Watch, August 25, 2015.

August 26, 2015 in Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally | 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

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)

Friday, July 24, 2015

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Reintroduced In Congress

CapitolAfter failing to pass in the last legislature, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act was reintroduced by a bipartisan group of Congressman. Specifically, the act applies to first-party special needs trusts which are trusts that are established using the incapacitated person's own assets to provide additional financial support while they are receiving certain government benefits. Current law requires that the first-party trust be requested by guardians or the court with the new legislation seeking to allow an otherwise mentally competent individual to set up a first-party trust without the intervention of any other party. Proponents of the bill argue that forcing a person to seek a family member or court to set up this type of trust imposes an unnecessary burden without any benefit.

See David H. Lenok, Spotlight: The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2015, Wealth Management, July 22, 2015.

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

July 24, 2015 in Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, New Legislation, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Important Things To Remember When Making An Estate Plan

Estate planning 2Putting together an estate plan is a very important task that many people often neglect to do.  This column includes a 14-point checklist of important things people need to remember when making an estate plan.  One of the most important things a person should do is seek out assistance from a competent and honest financial adviser who can help put together an estate plan that can accomplish the client’s goals.  The checklist includes things people need to do to plan ahead for the distribution of their estate and to determine who will have power of attorney and guardianship in the event something happens.  Going through this checklist will help people identify the important details that they need to remember when speaking with an adviser.  This column will hopefully provide more people with the tools they need to make better financial planning decisions. 

See Art Koff, Review your estate plan against this 14-point checklist, Market Watch, July 20, 2015.

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

July 22, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Lawmakers Reintroduce Special Needs Trust Fairness Act

2capital A bi-partisan team of congress members have re-introduced the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act of 2015.  The bill would make the process of creating a first-party special needs trust easier for people with disabilities.  “The current law governing first-party special needs trusts states that a trust must be created by the beneficiary's parent, grandparent, or guardian or by a court, even if the beneficiary is mentally competent.”  Congressmen Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) and Frank Pallone Jr. (D-NJ) have proposed this new legislation that would give individuals with disabilities the same right to create a special needs trust as a “parent, grandparent, guardian, or court.”  The full bill can be read here.

See Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Reintroduced in Congress, Special Needs Answers, June 30, 2015.

July 21, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 13, 2015

What Happens When A Person Has To Stop Working?

Estate planningThere are many unexpected events that could happen in a person’s life that would make them have to stop working.  An individual might experience a sudden disability, have to care for a loved one, or they might lose employment through a lay off or downsizing.  It is important to plan ahead with budgeting, saving, and making extra payments on mortgages and automobiles.  Developing skills and maintaining networks is also essential.  A person should want to have a plan in place so that they can be secure if they unexpectedly lose their job. 

See Rodney Brooks, You may intend to keep working.  But life may say otherwise., The Washington Post, July 11, 2015.

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

July 13, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | 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)

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)