Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, December 9, 2016

A New App That Ages Your Face

AgingboothDo you want to see how you will look when you are old? AgingBooth is a new app that uses your pictures and instantly ages your face. This face aging machine can be downloaded to your iPhone or iPod Touch and used on your family, friends, or colleagues. Are you ready to face your future?

See AgingBooth, Pivi & Co.

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

December 9, 2016 in Current Events, Elder Law, Humor, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Call for Stricter State Action on Elder Abuse by Guardians

Guardian abuseOn Wednesday, a Senate committee called for stricter state action to cut down on elder financial abuse by guardians. The General Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, also noted a lack of state monitoring on elder abuse. To curb this abuse, the GAO insists on courts ensuring that a guardian is necessary before appointing one. The agency also suggests that the court continue to monitor the guardianship to ensure its effectiveness. In addition, courts should consider less restrictive means outside of guardianship, such as caregiving. With these efforts, the GAO notes, elder abuse by guardians should be sufficiently reduced.

See Ted Knutson, Senators, GAO, Decry Elder Financial Abuse by Guardians, Complicit Courts, Financial Advisor, December 1, 2016.

Special thanks to Joel Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) & Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.  

December 3, 2016 in Current Events, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 28, 2016

Article on Life Insurance Valuation for Seniors

Life insurance valuationJon B. Mendelsohn recently published an Article entitled, Rethinking Life Insurance Valuation for Seniors, Trusts & Estates (Nov. 2016). Provided below is a summary of the Article:

Life insurance has long been considered a hard to value asset. Practitioners and planners have dealt with a variety of definitions of fair market value (FMV), depending on the particular application that’s being addressed. Historically, standard valuation practices come with their own set of challenges. Similar to other asset classes, this topic is evolving, and there are current valuation methodologies that provide an independent market-based value for life insurance that accurately conforms to the Internal Revenue Service definition of FMV. This level of precision can influence planning scenarios and open up new options when dealing with complicated life insurance decisions involving senior clients.

November 28, 2016 in Articles, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Missing Elder Abuse in the ER

Elder abuse emergencyA recent study finds that approximately 10% of American seniors suffer elder abuse, but this problem is often missed in hospital emergency departments. Emergency doctors only make a formal diagnosis in one out of every 7,700 visits by seniors. American seniors often rely on emergency care doctors over primary care doctors for their routine care, making over 23 million emergency department visits per year. This represents an opportunity for emergency departments to identify elder abuse and ensure the safety of these seniors.

See Robert Preidt, Elder Abuse Often Missed in the ER, CBS News, November 25, 2016.

November 27, 2016 in Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 25, 2016

How to Prevent or Slow Alzheimer's

Exercise Currently, 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. This number will continue to grow as the baby boomers age. However, recent research suggests that Americans can do things to prevent or slow the onset of the disease. Exercise and diet are the two main things that can help prevent Alzheimer’s. More specifically, 2.5 hours of moderate exercise per week should do the trick with a variety of activities that promote healthy cognitive aging. Over the years, our society has become more and more sedentary, so it is a good idea to increase your movement whenever possible. These simple steps can help improve brain function as we age and prevent or slow the onset of Alzheimer’s.

See Kim Gerecke, These Simple Lifestyle Changes Can Prevent or Slow Alzheimer’s, Market Watch, November 23, 2016.

November 25, 2016 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Article on ABLE Accounts & Their Role in Estate Planning

Able accounts2David A. Rephan & Joelle Groshek recently published an Article entitled, ABLE Act Accounts: Achieving a Better Life Experience for Individuals with Disabilities with Tax-Preferred Savings (and the Old Reliable Special and Supplemental Needs Trusts), 42 Mitchell Hamline L. Rev. 963 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

This article provides a very basic overview of the new ABLE accounts and the role they play in assisting elderly clients in planning for their own disabilities or for the disability of a family member. Part II provides a brief background on the requirements of traditional disability planning devices, including individual special needs trusts, pooled special needs trusts, and third-party supplemental needs trusts. Part III provides an overview of the ABLE Act in terms of its general restrictions and parameters; its tax provisions, including monitoring; its Medicaid payback provision and its limits; and when Minnesota residents can expect to start using ABLE accounts. Part IV finishes with an analysis of the new ABLE Act accounts, how the Act compares with the traditional disability planning tools such as special and supplemental needs trusts, and what spot the Act occupies in the estate planning toolbox, ultimately concluding that the structure of the new ABLE accounts is restrictive enough that ABLE accounts do not serve as replacements for the traditional disability planning tools, but that ABLE accounts' tax savings may be worth taking advantage of in certain circumstances.

November 22, 2016 in Articles, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. Dementia Rates Are on the Decline

DementiaDespite fears that dementia rates would rise as the population began to age, a recent survey published by JAMA Internal Medicine suggests the opposite. Those that do get dementia, however, are getting it at older and older ages. The survey reports that dementia rates in Americans sixty-five and older fell by over 24% over twelve years. This particular survey was far more encompassing of the general population, surveying all races, education levels, and income levels. Surprisingly, the years of education an individual had was correlated with decreased dementia risk. The decline found in the survey is consistent with a long-term trend, but over the next few decades, the total number of people with dementia should rise but not as much as had been estimated.

See Gina Kolata, U.S. Dementia Rates Are Dropping Even as Population Ages, N.Y. Times, November 21, 2016.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) & Naomi Cahn (Harold H. Greene Professor of Law, George Washington University School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.  

November 22, 2016 in Current Events, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why Are Corporate Fiduciaries Distancing Themselves from Special Needs Trusts?

Special needs trustSpecial needs trusts have been a way for disabled individuals to remain eligible for means-tested federal benefits. More institutional support is necessary to manage these funds; however, corporate fiduciaries are distancing themselves from this specialty. Four reasons for this move include increased litigation and regulatory issues; profitability concerns; lack of experience; and lack of time and resources. In order to alleviate these concerns, fiduciaries should start expanding their education through conferences and CLEs. Further, attorneys should ensure that their fiduciary referrals are informed, looking for expertise to navigate legal and regulatory issues.

See Peter J. Johnson, Corporate Fiduciaries Are Shying Away from Special Needs Trusts, Wealth Management, November 15, 2016.

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

November 18, 2016 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Elder Financial Abuse Is Costing Americans

Elder abuseAccording to a recent study, financial abuse and exploitation of American seniors is costing them 20% more than it did two years ago—from $30,000 to $36,000. In fact, 37% of active caregivers said that the elder they are caring for experienced financial abuse or exploitation with a loss. Additionally, caregivers for elders with cognitive decline reported witnessing a higher level of financial abuse. Consequently, this abuse has caused elders anger, depression, anxiety, and/or guilt.

See Christopher Robbins, Costs of Senior Financial Abuse on the Rise in U.S., Financial Advisor, November 14, 2016.

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

November 16, 2016 in Current Events, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Articles on Legal & Religious Perspectives on Elder Care

Religion elder careAmy Ziettlow & Naomi Cahn recently published an Article entitled, Symposium: Global Legal and Religious Perspectives on Elder Care, 31 J. L. & Religion (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:

What role does the honor commandment play in contemporary law and culture? Answering this question is especially pertinent in the early twenty-first century. With advances in longevity and declining birth rates, a growing percentage of the population is graying. In 2015, there were 901 million people aged sixty or over worldwide; a number projected to rise to 1.4 billion in 2030. By 2050, there will be more persons over the age of sixty than children under the age of fifteen. As the number of our global elders grows, so too will the number of those needing and providing physical and financial care.

November 6, 2016 in Articles, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Religion | Permalink | Comments (0)