Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Steps Clients Should Take Before Retirement

4 things retirementThe decisions that a person makes in the critical years leading up to retirement can have a tremendous impact on the level of comfort that person enjoys in retirement.  This column discusses some of the biggest financial-planning issues that clients will face when preparing for retirement.  Clients need to understand the difference between revocable and irrevocable choices.  They will need to consider which assets they want to spend and when they would want to spend them. 

It is very important to think about ways of diversifying investments to gain tax benefits.  Clients need to be aware of how their benefits will affect the heirs and beneficiaries that will inherit them.  It is a good idea to speak with an estate planning professional to come up with an individualized retirement plan that fits with the clients unique circumstances.

See Jane Hodges, The 4 Things to Do Before Retirement, The Wall Street Journal, October 4, 2015.

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

October 8, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Being A Caregiver Can Impact Career

CaregivingA recent study conducted by Genworth shows that being a caregiver can have a significant toll on career prospects. In a survey of 1,200 caregivers more than half said that providing care for a loved one has negatively impacted their career and about 11 percent claim to have lost a job.  One of the biggest problems is that people are not doing enough to plan ahead for the possibility of needing long term care.  Many people don't want to discuss these sensitive and difficult topics with their family, but it is extremely important to come up with a plan ahead of time to avoid a crises down the road.  People need to be prepared for the financial and emotional challenges that long term caregivers experience.  

See The Career Cost of Caregiving, Wealth Management, October 5, 2015. 

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

October 7, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Kentucky Supreme Court Rules Against Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement

GavelMandatory arbitration agreements are a hot topic in all areas of contract law but few areas excite as much vitriol as agreements signed as part of admittance to a nursing home. In three Kentucky cases, nursing homes were seeking to compel arbitration over tort actions by family members of residents. However, the families fought back ultimately asking the Kentucky Supreme Court to invalidate the agreements.

In Extendicare Homes, Inc. v. Whisman, the court held that a constitutional right to a jury trial cannot be waived by a holder of a general power of attorney. The court recognized that there was language in the power of attorney forms which could have authorized the agents to agree to arbitration but that express and unambiguous language must be used to grant the power. Going forward, this could be a big win for nursing home residents who will have somewhat easier access to juries in order to recover from negligence.

See Liz Kramer, Kentucky Supreme Court compares giving up jury trial to giving up parental rights; refuses to enforce arbitration, Lexology, September 28, 2015.

October 6, 2015 in Elder Law, New Cases | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 5, 2015

The 2015 National Aging And Law Conference

CLEThe American Bar Association is presenting ,The National Aging and Law Conference 2015, October 28-29, 2015 at the Hilton Arlington in St Arlington, VA.  Here are some details about the event:

The 2015 National Aging and Law Conference (NALC) will bring together substantive law, policy, and legal service development and delivery practitioners from across the country.  The program will include sessions on Medicare, Medicaid, guardianship, elder abuse, legal ethics, legal service program development and delivery, consumer law, income security, and other issues.

The 2015 National Aging and Law Conference marks the second year that this conference has been hosted by the American Bar Association. This year’s agenda will include 24 workshops and 4 plenary sessions on key topics in health care, income security, elder abuse, alternatives to guardianship, consumer law, and  legal service development and delivery.  The focus of the agenda is on issues impacting law to moderate income Americans age 60 and over and the front line advocates that serve them. 


October 5, 2015 in Conferences & CLE, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

There Will Be No Premium Increases For Medicare Advantage Plans

MedicareThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services have put out a statement on Monday that people with Medicare Advantage plans will not see an increase in their premiums next year.  The statement also claims that some people will have a slight drop in the premiums that they have to pay.  Many of the Medicare beneficiaries will have to wait until October 1 to learn about the specific nuances of their health insurance plans.  Out of the 55 million American Medicare beneficiaries about 1/3 of them use the Advantage programs.  These programs let commercial health insurance providers craft plans that are supported by the government.  Even though federal rules currently prevent insurance providers from publicly discussing their advantage plans until October, there is currently a Medicare website offering a limited preview. 

See Adam Smeltz, No increases for Medicare Advantage plans, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, September 22, 2015. 

September 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

U.S. District Court Rules That FNHRA Does Not Create Private Rights

New gavelThe U.S. District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin has recently held that Section 1983 of the Federal Nursing Home Reform Act (FNHRA) does not create private, enforceable rights for residents.  This column discusses a case involving a plaintiff that sued Lakeview Health Center in West Salem, Wisconsin, seeking negligence and punitive damages on allegations that her brother died from injuries sustained from a fall. 

The plaintiff alleged that the nursing home violated her brother’s resident rights that are outlined in Section 1983 of FNHRA.  The Court dismissed the claim of a Section 1983 violation holding that the section in question was written to describe what a nursing home has to do to receive government funding and does not describe rights that nursing homes must provide residents.  The District Court opinion can be read here

See Emily Mongan, Court: Federal Nursing Home Act doesn’t create private rights, McKnights, September 22, 2015.

September 29, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Societies Changing View Of Retirement

New retirementAs life expectancy continues to increase and more people live longer there is a changing view of retirement.  In the past the common theme was that people would retire at 65 and then ride off into the sunset.  Now it is becoming increasingly common for people to view these years as a new life stage.  There are more senior citizens choosing to use their retirement years to pursue new careers and passions.  This article discusses how some people might choose to write books or start a small business.  Many of the traditional stereotypes about what retirement means are becoming increasingly antiquated.  Retirement is no longer being viewed as the end, but instead more people are classifying it as the start of a new beginning. 

See Maryalene, LaPonsie, What the New Normal for Retirement Looks Like, U.S. News & World Report, September 4, 2015.

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

September 23, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Barron’s Experts Provide Estate Planning Advice

Financial advisorThe market is currently experiencing some volatility and there are many people that are concerned about their financial investments.  In this article four financial advisers answered questions in an interview about ways people can protect and grow their wealth for retirement in this volatile market.  One of the most important things that these planners stress is the need for families to communicate with each other.  These experts discuss ways clients can prepare for both short-term and long-term investment needs.  The experts all agreed that clients should do more to keep better track of their regular expenses.  It is also extremely important to make plans for things like power of attorney, guardianship, and life insurance. 

See Beverly Goodman, Retirement: How to Protect Your Health and Wealth, Barron’s, September 19, 2015.

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

September 22, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, September 21, 2015

New Social Security Regulations For Same-Sex Couples

Social securityAccording to new rules the Social Security Administration is going to treat same-sex couples equally in every state and territory across the United States when it comes to eligibility for federal benefits.  On August 21, 2015, the U.S. Justice Department gave its blessing to the Social Security Administration in stating that same-sex couples would be treated equally when it comes to eligibility for social security benefits.  The Social Security Administration is still going to need to issue a new policy in the future to fully comply with the Obergefell decision.  This column discusses some of the important things that same-sex couples need to know in order to maximize their social security benefits. 

See Joan M. Burda, The New Social Security Rules For Same-Sex Couples, Next Avenue, September 14, 2015.

September 21, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Senior Citizens Face Increased Risks Of Marriage Scams

Elder abuseThis article discusses an increasingly common form of elder abuse that involves people marrying senior citizens that have diminished capacity for their money.  According to this article men and women can both be victims of this type of elder abuse.  There is currently little to no federal or state oversight when it comes to elder abuse through marriage.  This article discusses some financial tools people can use to protect the elderly like placing certain assets into trusts.  There are also calls for more state and federal oversight to try to reduce the prevalence of this type of fraud.

See Cathy Cassata, Growing Kind of Elder Abuse: Marrying Seniors for Their Money, Healthline, September 15, 2015.

September 17, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)