Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Friday, August 28, 2015

Things That People Should Do Before Retiring

TravelGetting emotionally and financially prepared for retirement can be a difficult task.  This article discusses some of the ways people can plan ahead for the life adjustments they will need to make when entering retirement.  It is important to create a list of goals and to try and stick to them.  People should make a budget and try to live on it as a way of getting prepared for the possible reduction in income that will come about because of retirement.  Getting plenty of exercise is also important for health and longevity.  This article also recommends traveling while the client is still young because the longer a person waits the more expensive traveling will become. 

See Rosie Wolf Williams, 5 things you should do before you retire, Market Watch, August 21, 2015.

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

August 28, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Estate Planners Should Avoid Making Titling Mistakes

Estate planOne very common way estate planners can mess up an estate plan is by incorrectly titling assets.  There is sometimes confusion about whether an account should be titled as a joint tenancy with right of survivorship (JTWROS), or be classified as a mere “convenience account” giving a person access to the funds in the account.  Difficulties can also arise when an estate planner is creating a JTWROS for an elderly client.  Families should be encouraged to utilize a power of attorney when making an estate plan for a client.  This article discusses some of the benefits and risks associated with these different estate planning options.

See Donald Jay Korn, Titling Mistakes Can Disrupt Estate Plans, Financial Planning, August 27, 2015.

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

August 27, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Huguette Clark’s Estate Loses Court Battle Against Hospital

ClarkI have previously discussed the legal battle between the estate of Huguette Clark and the Beth Israel Medical Center over allegations that the hospital billed Clark for unnecessary treatment and applied undue influence to obtain millions in donations.  Last week the case was dismissed by Manhattan Surrogate Judge Nora S. Anderson because the statute of limitations on the claim had run.  The lawsuit was initially brought by a New York City public administrator who has control over the estate because the decedent has no close relatives.  Judge Anderson has stated that a separate lawsuit might be able to be brought against two physicians and a nurse who received about $3.6 million in gifts from Ms. Clark while taking care of her. 

See James C. McKinley Jr., Estate of Heiress Loses Fight to Recover Millions in Donations From Hospital, The New York Times, August 25, 2015.

August 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Same-Sex Couples Will Now Be Eligible For Spousal Related Social Security Benefits

Social security 2Thanks to this year’s Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage same-sex couples across the country will now be eligible for Social Security spousal or survival benefits.  Under the old regulations people were not deemed eligible for spousal-related Social Security benefits unless their marriage was recognized by their state.  There were 11 States that did not recognize same-sex marriage before Obergefell v. Hodges changed everything.  The Justice Department put out a statement that the Supreme Court’s ruling will be applied retroactively, which means that if couples previously filed claims for Social Security benefits that they will now be able to collect on those claims. 

See Toi Williams, Same Sex Couples Now Eligible For Social Security Benefits, IRA Market Report, August 24, 2015.

August 26, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Information About Retirement Account Rollovers

Roth_IRAWhen a person retires from employment and moves a 401K account balance into an IRA account they are engaging in what is called a “rollover.”  This article summary describes some of the different types of account transfers that the term “rollover” applies to.  A rollover by an account owner involves the direct account-to-account transfer by the custodian.  In a spousal rollover a surviving spouse can take maximum advantage of income tax deferral rules by moving untaxed account proceeds into his or her own IRA retirement account.  The account balance can also be transferred to a designated beneficiary in an inherited account rollover.  Finally, Section 402(c)(11) was recently added to The Pension Protection Act to make it easier for a non-spouse beneficiary to rollover a 401K or other retirement plan into an IRA account. 

See Thomas W. Abendroth, Retirement Account Rollovers, The National Law Review, August 15, 2015.

Special thanks to Brian Cohan (Attorney at Law, Law Offices of Brian J. Cohan, P.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

August 16, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 15, 2015

What Caregivers Should Know About Financial Planning

End of lifeThe focus of care-giving is usually on managing a person’s medical needs, but there is also a financial planning component of care-giving that people should be aware about.  It is important to have a plan in place that will make it possible to fund needed medical care.  There are also legal traps that individuals need to be aware of when serving as a caregiver.  This column recommends seeking out the advice of an estate planning attorney to discuss retirement planning options.  Make sure to have the necessary knowledge about Medicare and Social Security benefits.  It is also extremely important to have a durable power of attorney and advanced health directive in place. 

See Kyle E. Krull, What Should I Know About “Financial Caregiving”?, Wealth Management, August 13, 2015. 

August 15, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

New Book On Working With Aging Clients

ArticleThe first edition of Working with Aging Clients: A Guide for Legal, Business, and Financial Professionals by Carolyn L Rosenblatt has recently been published and is available through ABA Book Publishing. Provided below is a description of the book:

Working with Aging Clients places a special focus on financial elder abuse as well as the capacity of financial decision making for seniors.  The author provides shrewd techniques to guide professionals in identifying, preventing or simply stopping financial elder abuse.

This book is an essential aging and financial resource, providing:

  • A look at aging clients from their point of view.
  • Insights from a seasoned geriatric nurse’s perspective that has expertly cared for seniors augmented by a litigator’s experience in representing elder clients and their best interests.
  • Principles with illustrations from actual cases, particularly diminished capacity.
  • Heightened consciousness surrounding age-related biases, myths, and stereotypes.
  • Proven strategies to resolve conflicts and valuable tips for successful elder-related mediation.
  • An easy roadmap for both legal and non-legal professionals who share an interest in better serving their aging clientele.

August 15, 2015 in Books, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 14, 2015

New NOTICE Act Provisions Require Hospitals To Warn Of Medicare Loopholes

ObamaPresident Obama has recently signed the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility (NOTICE) Act into law.  The new statute is intended to prevent patients from having to pick up the tab for a nursing home stay because due to being classified as hospital outpatients the whole time.  It will “prevent Medicare beneficiaries from spending days in a hospital only to find that they hadn’t been admitted to the hospital at all.”  Hospitals will now be required to give patients notice of their outpatient status within 36 hours if they are under observation for more than 24 hours.  The complete text of this new statute can be read here

See Obama Signs Law Requiring Hospitals to Warn of Costly Medicare Loophole, Elder Law Answers, August 14, 2015.

August 14, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Social Security Acts 80th Anniversary Is Today

FdrOn August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law creating a source of income for senior citizens going into retirement.  Today, there are more than 59 million Americans receiving benefits from Social Security.  The Social Security system is constantly the subject of intense political debate as law makers look for ways to maintain the social safety net while being able to fund it.  There are currently questions about whether Social Security will always be there for younger generations and what sort of reforms will be needed to keep the system working. 

See Emily Gersema, As Social Security turns 80, what does its future hold?, USC News, August 14, 2015.

August 14, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

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)