Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Biggest Retirement Mistakes

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Mistakes are very common when it comes to retirement, and most of them have to do with not planning.  Here are seven big mistakes couples tend to make:

  1. Not talking about expectations in retirement.
  2. Not knowing how to deal with adult children needing money, especially in blended families.
  3. Failing to properly calculate the amount of money they need for retirement.
  4. Not planning for emergencies.
  5. Not considering the costs of long-term care.
  6. Allowing only one partner to handle finances.
  7. Assuming you will have power of attorney just because you’re married.

See Rodney Brooks, Seven Big Mistakes Couples Make in Retirement, USA Today, Apr. 8, 2014.

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

April 12, 2014 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Elderly Investors Financially Vulnerable

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New findings in psychological and neuroscientific research are explaining why elderly investors can end up as victims of financial predators.  As people age, they become focused on maximizing positive emoticons and social interactions, and thus pay more attention to those who make them feel comfortable.  At the same time, this leads older people to neglect warning signs that may expose them to theft and fraud. 

Even highly intelligent retirees find it more difficult to distinguish safe investments from risky ones.  Some research indicates that compared with younger investors, those over the age of 65 “showed striking and costly inconsistencies in their financial behavior.”  For example, elderly individuals tend to make simple errors that younger investors avoid, and these problems only worsen with dementia.

It becomes important to monitor the financial health of aging parents as closely as their physical health.  For younger investors, experts recommend consulting with trustworthy people such as a spouse, wealth adviser, or accountant before making any changes to a financial plan. “Train yourself not to make a lot of fast decisions. . . Set up a simple plan and stick to it.” 

See Jason Zweig, Finances and the Aging Brain, Wall Street Journal, March 28, 2014. 

April 10, 2014 in Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, April 7, 2014

3 Nontax Items You Need to Review

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Tax time is also an effective time for an annual financial checkup.  Here are three essential nontax items retirees should be reviewing at tax time:

  1. Core Holdings.  These investments are your survival insurance, assets you never plan to sell unless it really hits the fan.  They should make up about 10% of your net worth and include precious metals, farmland, or other investments that historically hold their value against inflation.
  2. Long-term care coverage.  Whether it’s nursing home insurance, self-insurance, or something else, you need to have a way to pay for the likelihood of needing long-term care.  And if you think you will be able to rely on Medicaid as your backup plan, consult an elder-law attorney to be certain.
  3. Estate Plan.  Make your intentions clear in an up-to-date and properly executed will.  And make sure people know where to find it.  Consider a pour-over will to save your family from the headaches of probate.  And consider a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust or a Crummey trust if you’re worried about the estate tax.

See Dennis Miller, 3 Essential Nontax Items to Review at Tax Time, Market Watch, Apr. 2, 2014.

April 7, 2014 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Could New Alzheimer's Test Kill Long-Term Care Insurance?

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Researchers have developed a simple blood test that is supposed to determine with 90% accuracy whether an individual will develop Alzheimer’s within 2-3 years.

If this test works, it could make early intervention possible and dramatically reduce long-term care costs.  However, this test could have the powerful unintended consequence of making voluntary long-term care insurance almost impossible.  If insurers see positive results from the test, they would either deny coverage or charge much higher premiums.  Even if they are not allowed to see the results, they may still assume buyers know they are likely to contract the disease and raise premiums sharply to account for that, resulting in “the classic insurance death spiral." 

See Howard Gleckman, How a New Alzheimer’s Test Could Kill Long-Term Care Insurance—Or Make It Cheaper, Forbes, March 26, 2014.

March 27, 2014 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Book on Elder Law Ethics

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Roberta K. Flowers & Rebecca C. Morgan recently published an article entitled, Ethics in the Practice of Elder Law, sponsored by the Section of Real Property, Trust and Estate Law.  Provided below is a synopsis of the book:

In an elder law practice, ethical issues can occur at any point in the representation, and in some cases these unexpected situations can take the attorney by surprise. Ethics in the Practice of Elder Law provides an informed overview of the most common issues that can occur, explains the issues that can arise and how to be alert for them, and suggest ways to work through these issues effectively and ethically.

Authors Roberta K. Flowers and Rebecca C. Morgan offer a range of hypothetical situations, along with a series opening questions for each, followed by a discussion suggestions for analyzing and responding to the issue. These discussions offer a reliable framework for analyzing the ethical questions within the scope of the Model Rules and ancillary resources.

The authors give readers the knowledge to determine which questions to ask in the representaiton. They refer to and discuss the 9 "C_s" of elder law ethics: Competency, Client, Confidentiality, Conflicts of interest, Capacity, Control, Complex fiduciary representation, and Consulting.

Ethics in the Practice of Elder Law provides invaluable information as appendices, including the National Academy of Elder Law (NAELA) Aspirational Standards, relevant ABA ethics opinions, and a range of supplemental resources, checklists, and letters.

March 26, 2014 in Books, Books - For Practitioners, Elder Law, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 21, 2014

CLE on Advanced Elder Law & Advanced Guardianship Law

CLETexas Bar CLE is presenting an Advanced Elder Law & Advanced Guardianship Law Course in Dallas on April 3 – 4, 2014.  Video replays will follow in Houston and Austin.  Provided below are some of the highlights of the courses:

  • Long Term Funding Streams: Medicaid, VA, Annuities, Savings, and Long Term Care Policies

  • Medicaid Estate Planning

  • End of Life Issues

  • Interface Between Family Law and Elder Law

  • Elder Law Planning with the Difficult Family

  • Extraordinary Remedies in Guardianships

  • Criminal Aspects of Guardianship

  • Whack-a-Mole: Handling Problem Litigants and the Occasional Overzealous Ad litem 

March 21, 2014 in Articles, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Trend Towards Avoiding Nursing Home Care

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Reports show that an increasing amount of baby boomers are choosing in-home medical care over nursing home services.

The number of Americans over age 65 living in nursing homes has dropped 2% from 1990 to 2010.  In-home medical care can offer more comfort for seniors and their families, but also can cost much more than a nursing home.  A few ways seniors can manage in-home healthcare costs include Medicaid’s Community Alternatives Program, Money Follows the Person, Program for All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, and Veterans Benefits.

See Gregory Herman-Giddens, Elder Care Trend: Avoiding Nursing Home Care, North Carolina Estate Planning Blog, Feb. 14, 2014.

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

March 14, 2014 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, March 13, 2014

CLE on Advanced Elder Law & Advanced Guardianship Law

CLETexas Bar CLE is presenting an Advanced Elder Law & Advanced Guardianship Law Course in Dallas on April 3 – 4, 2014.  Video replays will follow in Houston and Austin.  Provided below are some of the highlights of the courses:

  • Long Term Funding Streams: Medicaid, VA, Annuities, Savings, and Long Term Care Policies

  • Medicaid Estate Planning

  • End of Life Issues

  • Interface Between Family Law and Elder Law

  • Elder Law Planning with the Difficult Family

  • Extraordinary Remedies in Guardianships

  • Criminal Aspects of Guardianship

  • Whack-a-Mole: Handling Problem Litigants and the Occasional Overzealous Ad litem 

March 13, 2014 in Conferences & CLE, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 3, 2014

CLE on Advanced Elder Law & Advanced Guardianship Law

CLETexas Bar CLE is presenting an Advanced Elder Law & Advanced Guardianship Law Course in Dallas on April 3 – 4, 2014.  Video replays will follow in Houston and Austin.  Provided below are some of the highlights of the courses:

  • Long Term Funding Streams: Medicaid, VA, Annuities, Savings, and Long Term Care Policies

  • Medicaid Estate Planning

  • End of Life Issues

  • Interface Between Family Law and Elder Law

  • Elder Law Planning with the Difficult Family

  • Extraordinary Remedies in Guardianships

  • Criminal Aspects of Guardianship

  • Whack-a-Mole: Handling Problem Litigants and the Occasional Overzealous Ad litem 

March 3, 2014 in Conferences & CLE, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Life in the Nineties

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Check out the article linked below for an interesting story about old age written by Roger Angell.

In this enlightening article, a 93-year-old Angell describes his various aches and pains, memory problems, devastating losses, and the various upsides of getting old.

See Roger Angell, This Old Man: Life in the Nineties, The New Yorker, Feb. 17, 2014.

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

February 27, 2014 in Elder Law, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)