Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Court Orders Adult Son To Pay For Mother's Care-giving Expenses Despite Claims Of Childhood Abuse

Business_expenseA Pennsylvania Appeals Court has held that under the State's filial responsibility law an adult son is obligated to pay for his mother's health care expenses even though he claimed that he had an abusive childhood. There are a handful of States that have filial responsibility laws that obligate adult children to care for indigent parents. The Pennsylvania Court held in Eori v. Eori that there was no evidence Joshua Ryan was abandoned by his mother for a 10-year period. The full text of the Pennsylvania Appeals Court decision can be read here.

See Son Must Pay for Mother's Care Under Filial Responsibility Law Despite Abusive Childhood, Elder Law Answers, November 24, 2015.

November 24, 2015 in Current Affairs, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 23, 2015

Ways To Avoid Being Disinherited

Pass it onThere are many things that a person can do that can reduce the chance that they might be disinherited. Neglecting to call or visit a loved one can be one of the main factors that could cause a person to be written out of a will. People should avoid arguing with relatives about minor things or pressuring a loved one about their estate plan. Rushing to file a guardianship and conservatorship action against a relative could also lead to bitter feelings that might cause a disinheritance. Following these basics steps will help a person maintain good feelings and keep the inheritance that they are expecting.

See Will Sleeth, Ten Tips To Avoid Losing An Inheritance, Financial Advisor, November 19, 2015.

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

November 23, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Unique Program For Families With Special Needs Children

Special needs trustIn Austin, Texas, there is a unique program that assists families that have special needs children with a more strategic approach to financial planning. This new program is referred to as the Sustainable Special Needs Advisory Plan (SSNAP). Financial adviser Gus Marwieh initially created the idea for his own autistic son but has since expanded the program to include other families that are caring for loved ones with special needs. There is a multi-state planning process used to determine which clients SSNAP will take. The process includes “determining a direction and goal, creating a strategic road map, and resource allocation.” This plan is intended to give families more financial freedom and the ability to strategically plan ahead for their disabled loved one's needs.

See A Financial Plan for Families of Special Needs Children, Wealth Management, November 16, 2015.

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

November 16, 2015 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Concerns About California's New Assisted Suicide Law

California capitalThe State of California has recently passed the End of Life Option Act, which is set to go into effect in 2016. The new law will legalize physician assisted suicide for people with terminal illnesses. Not everyone is supportive of the new legislation and there have been some that have voiced concerns. This column expresses some of the concerns that critics have over the new law. There are concerns that this new assisted suicide legislation could lead to more elder abuse. Concerns about the level of oversight are also expressed in this column. People that witness a physician assisted suicide could also experience trauma. As this debate over physician assisted suicide continues people on both sides are going present their arguments for and against the new proposals.

See Margaret Dore, California's New Assisted Suicide Law: Whose Choice Will It Be?, Jurist, October 24, 2015.

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

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

How To Resolve Dispute Over Power Of Attorney

Power of attorneyThere are some circumstances where a conflict between a medical power of attorney (POA) and a financial POA might occur. This column discusses a situation where an elderly parent's two children, one the medical POA and the other the financial POA, had a disagreement. The medical POA wanted medical care for their elderly parent but the financial POA would not release the assets needed to pay for that care. It is important to first look at the POA documents themselves to see if they spell out a system for resolving these types of disputes. If the documents do not provide the answer then the disputing parties could try to solve their issue themselves or attempt to settle it through mediation. The final step would be to have the probate court resolve the issue, but considering the court costs and time that would be involved relying on probate to resolve such a dispute should be a last resort.

See How Do I Resolve a Conflict Between a Financial POA and a Medical POA?, Elder Law Answers, November 11, 2015.

November 11, 2015 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Issues With Long-Term Care Insurance Policies

Long-term care insurancePeople often purchase long-term care insurance policies to protect themselves from the exorbitant out-of-pocket cost of long-term health care.  One major issue with long-term care is that a third of the people with these policies at the age of 65 will lapse in their coverage before they die according to a new Center for Retirement Research (CRR) at Boston College analysis.  When a person's policy lapses they forfeit all benefits at a time when many people will need them most.  Lapses can be common among people with cognitive impairments, this article describes them as "forgetful lapsers."  People that suffer from cognitive impairments might have trouble remembering to pay certain bills, and if they forget to pay the premiums on their long-term care they could lose coverage at a time they really need it. 

See Richard Eisenberg, How Long-Term Care Insurance Policies Backfire, Next Avenue, November 6, 2015.

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

November 7, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Many Wealthy Investors Fear Becoming A Burden To Their Children

MedicaidAccording to a recent UBS survey of 1,849 investors one of the most common fears is that they will one day become a burden to their children.  About 47 percent of the investor’s surveyed described caring for their own parents as a “heavy burden” and expressed fears that their own children might one day have to take on that same task.  According to UBS some of the causes of the difficulties in caring for elderly parents include longer lifespans, more costly healthcare options, and geographic diaspora of families.  Another alarming bit of information gathered from the survey is that many investors are failing to adequately plan for their own long-term care.  If these trends continue many families could be faced with the future struggles of having to help provide for the long-term care of an elderly parent.

See Christopher Robbins, Wealthy Investors Fear Becoming Children’s Burden, Survey Says, Financial Advisor, October 27, 2015.

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

November 5, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Creating A Special Needs Trust For A Child With Disabilities

Special needs trustAny person that is a parent or guardian of a child with a disability is going to want to take steps to plan for that child’s future.  One common vehicle used to plan ahead for a child with a mental or physical disability is a special needs trust.  This instrument can be created by the child’s parents or guardians while they are still alive or there could be a provision in a person’s will that creates a special needs trust.  The purpose of these trusts is to provide for a person with disabilities without putting at risk their eligibility for certain government benefits like SSI, Medicaid, or food stamps.  This article discusses the things that parents need to know about creating a special needs trust. 

See Teresa Mears, How to Draw Up a Special Needs Trust for a Child With Disabilities, U.S. News & World Report, November 4, 2015.

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

November 5, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Concerns Grow Over Guardianship Abuse In America

GavelThe appointment of  guardian is supposed to be a mechanism to protect the vulnerable who can no longer manage their person and estate. However, a growing chorus of critics is now calling for reform of the various states systems due to abuse by court appointed guardians who have little oversight and much opportunity to fleece an estate. The problem, so critics allege, is the growing number of professional guardians who have incentive to drive up billing cost even if their actions are not in the best interest of the ward. An extreme example is a Washington women whose guardian almost tripled her yearly expenditures and ultimately ran through much of the trust corpus she relied on for living expenses. However, defenders of the system point out that the bad guardian is in the minority and the vast majority of wards have been well served by the court appointment system. In any event, the fragmented nature of state laws means little national reform is likely although individual states may take the initiative to reform.

See Ashby Jones, Abuses Plague Guardianship Systems Across the Country, Wall Street Journal, October 30, 2015.

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

November 2, 2015 in Current Affairs, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Clients Should Not Overlook Power Of Attorney

AlzheimersCreating an estate plan can be a daunting task for many clients and it is common for people to overlook certain details.  One document that a client should not overlook is called a Power of Attorney (POA).  The three fashions that a POA typically come in are: a General Power of Attorney, Specific Power of Attorney, and a Durable Power of Attorney.  Distinctions between these three types of POAs are subtle but still very important.  Not having documentation of a Power of Attorney or Durable Power of Attorney can lead to many complicated issues for the client in later years.  It is a good idea to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney to draft a Power of Attorney document that can accommodate the clients individual needs.  

See Ettinger Law Firm, Power of Attorney Should Complement Your Will, October 23, 2015. 

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

October 27, 2015 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Non-Probate Assets, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)