Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Friday, February 5, 2016

Avoiding Financial Mismanagement When Caring For An Aging Parent

AgingThis column discusses a common problem involving adult children with no financial management skills taking over the responsibility of caring for an aging parent with dementia. It is very important to make sure that the person who is named to have power of attorney over financial matters is competent and prepared to handle the complex responsibilities. The person who is named to be a guardian or to have a medical power of attorney also needs to be prepared. There can be terrible consequences for not making sure that the person who is named to handle these responsibilities is competent for the task. This article presents a situation where a person terribly mismanaged the financial affairs of a mother who had dementia. It is extremely important to plan ahead with a competent adviser.

See Carolyn Rosenblatt, Aging Parents And Loss Of Wealth In Widowhood, Forbes, February 5, 2016.

February 5, 2016 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Florida Might Be One Step Closer To Guardianship Reform With Senate Vote

FloridaGuardianship reform has been an issue growing in prominence due to the many abuses found in systems across the nation. Now Florida looks to join the reform movement and take a step in the right direction as the state Senate is set to have a final vote on a bill that would create a team to oversee the state guardianship system. Scandals have rocked Florida in recent years including one case where a judge was appointing his wife who would then initiate lawsuits on behalf of the ward which family members saw as unnecessary and intended as a vehicle to increase the fees paid to the supposed protector. However, this is not the first attempt at reformation after a bill was passed in recent years which supposedly ended judicial favoritism towards specific guardians although advocacy groups argue that it did little to deter judges. Let us hope this new bill does the trick since guardianship abuse undermines public confidence in the legal system and harms the most vulnerable members of our society.

See John Pacenti, Vote on Florida guardianship reform expected next week, The Palm Beach Post, February 2, 2016.

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

February 3, 2016 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Impact Aging Has On Financial Decision-Making

AgingAs people age their ability to manage financial decisions might decline. The likelihood and severity of that decline is different for each person and could depend on a large number of different variables. This article discusses the scientific research that has been done on the impact that the aging process has on people’s cognitive ability to make financial decisions. It is important to be able to anticipate any potential health problems that might come up in the future and carefully plan ahead. People need to think about the unpleasant possibility that they might one day face cognitive decline when putting together their own estate plan. It is also crucial to get the assistance of an estate planner who has experience with helping clients plan for the possibility of a future decline in cognitive abilities.

See Ted Beck, How Aging Affects Financial Decision-Making, Forbes, February 2, 2016.

February 2, 2016 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 29, 2016

CLE On Restoring Rights To Adult Wards After Guardianship

CLEThe American Bar Association is presenting a CLE entitled, Ending Guardianship: Handling Termination of Adult Guardianship Orders and Restoration Rights, which will take place on March, 2016, from 1:00-2:30PM Eastern. Provided below are some details about the event:

Adult guardianship generally continues until death, but it may be modified or terminated by the court upon a finding that the person has regained capacity or has sufficient decision-making supports. Upon termination of the order, the person is "restored" to capacity and to the exercise of decision-making and fundamental rights. However, once a court appoints a guardian, it can be challenging to terminate or modify the order. Many orders continue unnecessarily, depriving adults of self-determination and liberty, even when they may have the support to make their own choices. This webinar will feature results from a pioneering 2014 ABA Commission on Law and Aging study of termination and restoration, including statutory and case law, as well as input from judges and attorneys. Building on this foundation, two experienced disability law attorneys will discuss their experiences and highlight useful practices in winning a case to modify or terminate a guardianship order and restore the rights of adults with disabilities, including older adults.

January 29, 2016 in Conferences & CLE, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

What To Do When An Aging Parent Has Memory Problems

Check writingHaving a parent that suffers with dementia can be both a tragic and difficult situation. This article discusses why it is important to be proactive about getting a Power of Attorney for an aging parent with memory problems. Getting a Durable Power of Attorney (DPOA) document can give a child the ability to manage their parent’s finances if that parent is not able to manage their own money. Every aging parent should have a DPOA because unexpected circumstances can always come up and it is important to be prepared. The consequences of not having a DPOA can involve an expensive legal battle like the one discussed in this column. It is a good idea to speak with an estate planning attorney about drafting these crucial documents.

See Carolyn Rosenblatt, One Absolute Must For Everyone Who Has An Aging Parent With Memory Problems, Forbes, January 11, 2016.

January 13, 2016 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Estate Planning For Dual-Income Childless Households

ElderlyIn the estate planning world, the abbreviation “DINK” stands for “dual income no kids.” There are a growing number of couples in America that are choosing not to have kids. There are many individuals that wrongfully believe that estate planning is only useful creating a plan to secure wealth for future generations. This column discusses the reasons why estate planning is still important for DINK households. An estate plan can make sure that a DINKs personal and charitable intentions about how they want their assets distributed are fulfilled. Without an estate plan a DINK’s assets will be distributed in accordance with the local intestacy laws. It is also important to plan for healthcare expenses and guardianship issues that might emerge. Establishing a long term plan can also help to protect people from the potential for financial exploitation in their senior years.

See Jamie A. Downes, Just the Two of Us: Estate Planning for the Childless Dual-Income Household, Varnum LLP, January 8, 2016.

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

January 10, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Income Tax, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Waiting On Creating An Estate Plan Has Many Risks

Charitable trustThis article discusses the risks involved with waiting too long to create an estate plan. Some of the most basic estate planning documents that people need include a will, a durable healthcare power of attorney as well as a financial power of attorney, and an advanced healthcare directive. A valid well executed will can make sure that assets are transferred after a person’s death with less confusion and difficulty. Even if there is a will, when property is owned jointly with two names on the title, it will pass automatically to the surviving owner. If a person dies intestate (without a will) the probate Judge will distribute the decedents property in accordance with local state intestacy laws. People should get their estate planning legal documents from an estate planning attorney who is familiar with the local requirements.

See Kyle Krull, What are the risks of waiting to create an estate plan?, Wealth Management, January 4, 2016.

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

January 6, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Texas CLE On Handling The First Guardianship Case

CLEThe State Bar of Texas is presenting a CLE entitled, Handling Your First (or Next) Guardianship Case 2015 (Satisfies the requirements for Attorney Ad Litem certification), Friday, February 26, 2016, 8:50AM-4:30M Central, online.  Here are some details about the event:

Replay Webcast!
Friday, February 26th
8:50 am to 4:30 pm CT

MCLE Credit: 6.75 hrs (includes 1.50 hrs ethics)
MCLE No: 901320077

Registration Fee: $195

Watch in the comfort of your own home or office! If you cannot watch the entire webcast at its scheduled time, register now and watch it when the recording is available after the broadcast. You will have until to November 30, 2016 complete the program at your convenience!

January 6, 2016 in Conferences & CLE, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 1, 2016

Common Estate Planning Mistakes That Should Be Avoided

Estate planning trapsWhen putting together an estate plan with clearly defined objectives there are certain common mistakes that should be avoided. It is important to focus on how that assets that a person leaves will impact the recipients. People should plan ahead for the possibility of any disability because not having a plan in place could lead to many problems. A will is important, but it is not the only estate planning document that people should have and is not a guaranteed way to avoid the probate process. This article discusses other estate planning documents that people will need to have besides a will. People should speak with an experienced estate planner to get personalized estate planning advice.

See Some Common Estate Planning Mistakes, Idaho Estate Planning, December 29, 2015.

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

January 1, 2016 in Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Reasons Why People Should Call An Estate Planning Attorney

FirmThere are many people that avoid calling an estate planning attorney because they do not want to discuss difficult subjects like illness or death. Ignoring these issues will not make them go away and it is therefore important that a plan be in place. A person will want to have a discussion with their estate planning attorney if they have a serious illness or if there is a death in their family. If they have a child that is engaged to be married they will want to discuss putting together a prenuptial agreement. If a child is experiencing difficult issues like a substance abuse or gambling problem the parent might want to speak with an attorney about making changes to the estate plan. Even minor changes should still warrant a discussion with an estate planning attorney.

See ­­Reasons to call an estate planning attorney, Dedham, December 26, 2015.

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

December 31, 2015 in Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)