Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Monday, March 18, 2019

Baby Boomers More Prepared For Dying Than Living

RetirementAccording to a recent report from the Bankers Life Center for a Secure Retirement, baby boomers have become ready for death but have missed preparing for the years before it. The survey questioned 1,500 baby boomers (between the ages of 54 and 72) with incomes between $30,000 and $100,000, and the answers were surprising.

Only 18% had placed a high priority on receiving long-term healthcare or residing in a nursing home during their retirement, even though a much higher number of individuals said they expected to receive such care (45%). However, the Department of Health and Human Services said this number is still too low, predicting that a person that turns 65 this year will have a 70% of needing long-term care in their lifetime. Many people are placing their priorities in the after life, as 81% of those surveyed had made at least one formal preparation for what will happen when they die.

It is hard to determine if it is false confidence or denial when faced with these numbers: 79% of the boomers surveyed admitted that they had not set aside any money for long-term care yet 74% felt confident in their ability to manage their household’s health-care needs as they age.

See Christopher Robbins, Baby Boomers More Prepared For Dying Than Living, Financial Advisor, March 15, 2019.

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

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.

March 18, 2019 in Current Affairs, Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 15, 2019

Article on Retirement Account Freebies: Taking Penalty-Free Withdrawals

IRABrent W. Nelson recently published an Article entitled, Retirement Account Freebies: Taking Penalty-Free Withdrawals, Probate and Property Magazine, Vol. 33 No. 2, March/April 2019. Provided below is the introduction to the Article.

Americans across the political spectrum seem to agree that retirement is a worthwhile venture. The recent economic recovery caused historic gains in the United States markets, erasing recession-caused losses, though perhaps not recession caused pain. Under the current bull market environment, taxpayers may be more motivated and able to tap into retirement accounts to fund early retirements. Market volatility means that some taxpayers may find themselves in difficult financial circumstances in the future that might necessitate dipping into retirement accounts. In either case, the well-advised taxpayer may be able to withdraw money from his qualified retirement plan before age 59 1/2 and avoid paying the 10% tax on early withdrawal by qualifying for one of the many exceptions. Keeping those exceptions in mind is essential for the advisor to properly guide taxpayers contemplating an early withdrawal to a penalty-free goal. This article will guide the reader through those many rule, not all of which are widely understood among professional ranks.

March 15, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Article on Sweeping Changes to the VA Pension Eligibility Rules

NaelaValerie L. Peterson, Esq. recently published an Article entitled, Sweeping Changes to the VA Pension Eligibility Rules, NAELA News Journal, October 2018. Provided below is the introduction of the Article.

On September 18, 2018, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amended the rules regarding eligibility for VA pension. The new rules are quite comprehensive and, in some ways, more restrictive. However, they also provide much needed clarity as well as new opportunities for attorneys practicing in this area.

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

March 13, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 11, 2019

Opinion: The 10 Commandments of Retirement

RetirementEveryone's personal level of comfort during their retirement may be different. When it comes to saving an adequate amount, you need to focus on what you want. Here are 10 "commandments" to get to a sufficiently comfortable retirement.

  1. Acknowledge if your preretirement lifestyle is easy to maintain or not, because if you are not ready, it could take a sharp decline.
  2. Remember that Social Security is designed to replace no more than 40% of preretirement income - thus, do not depend on it more than it was meant to be.
  3. Create a financial and estate plan for your dependent loved ones that are likely to outlive you.
  4. Think about the nonfinancial aspects of retirement, such as hobbies, relocation, and those fun vacations you constantly put off. They all take money!
  5. Pay attention to communications and deadlines from your employer, Social Security, Medicare, personal advisers and others, as what you do not know can definitely hurt you.
  6. Put retirement goals FIRST, in front of other short or semi-long term goals.
  7. Save as much as possible as soon as possible now because you can always reduce your savings rate later.
  8. Be ahead of the game with taxes - invest in Roth accounts and municipal bond mutual funds.
  9. Health care should be a primary focus for retirement savings, even if you are fortunate enough to not have any expenditures beyond prescriptions.
  10. Invest in ways that will provide a steady income stream in retirement, as a stable flow will relieve excess stress in your twilight years.

See Richard Quinn, Opinion: The 10 Commandments of Retirement, Market Watch, March 9, 2019.

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

March 11, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Income Tax, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 3, 2019

CLE on Planning for Persons with Disabilities: Recent Development and Continued Challenges

CLEThe American Law Institute is holding a webcast entitled, Planning for Persons with Disabilities: Recent Development and Continued Challenges, on Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 12:00 - 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Provided below is a description of the event.

Why You Should Attend
Planning for persons with disabilities presents myriad challenges. To add to those complications, the Program Operations Manual System (POMS) – the Social Security Administration’s policy manual for evaluating special needs trusts (SNTs) -- underwent a rewrite in 2018, substantially changing the rules for SNT administration.

In this 90 minute webcast, our faculty will explain the changes made and how they affect the way planners draft their documents, the ways a SNT Trustee will be performing their duties in the future, and the practical applications of these new rules to different factual scenarios.

What You Will Learn
The presenters, both highly experienced estate planning practitioners and Fellows of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC), will review:

    • the critical distinctions between “first-party” and “third-party” SNTs
    • the 2018 updates to the rules of the Social Security Administration regarding the establishment and administration of compliant SNTs
    • the ABLE Account -- the newest tool in the planner’s arsenal that supplements (but does not replace) SNTs
    • the “network” of SNTs that comprise a comprehensive Special Needs Plan and the team of “allied professionals” that work together to implement the Plan
    • additional advanced planning challenges

Who Should Attend
All estate planners with disabled clients or clients with a family member that has special needs should attend this webcast from ALI CLE and ACTEC.

March 3, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Sandwich Generation on Wheels: Tips for Long-Distance Family Caregivers

Sandwich2Many adult caregivers are "sandwiched" in between two other generations: their aging, retiring parents who are increasing becomingly less self-dependent and their own children they care for. 68% of those retiring had a child living within 10 miles of them in 1994, but 20 years later, that number has decreased to 55%. 1 in 10 caregivers live an hour or more from those that they care for. Having a plan is essential in order to proactively prepare for what role the adult child can and should play.

Willingness and ability to care must be taken into consideration, as distance may limit both aspects. If there is a significant distance or lack of time, explain to the older generation the limitations. Explain and acknowledge that a certain distance creates an inability to be available 24/7 and figure out what are the triggering points of travel. Examples could be major surgeries and emergencies, and configure a reasonable timeframe of arriving for such by either driving or fling.

An open conversation with fellow sibling or step-siblings (the biological children of aging stepparents) is vital and can lower the likelihood of conflicts in the increasing number of blended families.

Finally, fully explain to them your other responsibilities. The aging parent needs to be aware of your employment, spouse's, and children's needs. You may not be able to leave your job numerous times at the drop of a hat. You may have other scheduled tasks as a parent or a spouse that needs to be accounted for in case of an emergency, and a contingent plan can assist in limiting the inevitable anxiety.

See Naomi Cahn & Amy Ziettlow, The Sandwich Generation on Wheels: Tips for Long-Distance Family Caregivers, Institute for Family Studies, February 21, 2019.

March 1, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

This Man Won't go into a Nursing Home. He'll Spend His 'Golden Age' at the Holiday Inn

HolidayinnTerry Robinson has done the math and figured out a unique retirement strategy: staying at the hotel chain Holiday Inn will be cheaper than a nursing home. With the benefits of complimentary toiletries, a swimming pool, workout room, free breakfast and happy hour, topped off with the long-term stay and senior discounts, Robinson said that he will be saving $128 per day compared to the average nursing home.

The chain has more than 1,100 locations, so he would still have the opportunity to travel if he so desired. While the waiting list for a nursing home could be months long, a reservation could be made today for a Holiday Inn. 

Robinson said with a $5 tip per day the employees will be treating him like a customer rather than a patient. And, the staff will "call an ambulance . . . Or the undertaker" if anything goes wrong. There also will not be an issue with family visiting and even staying for a couple days. "The grandkids can use the pool."

See Kristin Lam, This Man Won't go into a Nursing Home. He'll Spend His 'Golden Age' at the Holiday Inn, USA Today, February 26, 2019.

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 26, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Article on Death in Texas: The Documents that Control Medical Treatment and End-of-Life Decisions

TtulawKaren Telschow Johnson recently published an Article entitled, Death in Texas: The Documents that Control Medical Treatment and End-of-Life Decisions, 11 Tex. Tech Est. Plan. Com. Prop. L.J. 75-106 (2018). Provided below is an excerpt from the introduction of the Article.

In my estate planning and elder law practice people face their mortality every day. They acknowledge this by preparing for their eventual deaths, and taking responsibility to ensure their loved ones are financially cared for and the transfer of assets and payments of debts can easily be handled upon their deaths. The more humbling conversations comes when we discuss what happens when the client is alive but has trouble communicating for themselves. What if they are alive but disabled by a traumatic brain injury, stroke, heart attack, fall, Alzheimer's diagnosis, cancer or other disease that causes a slow, but eventual demise? Who has a right to speak for you when you can no longer effectively communicate for yourself?

"When my time comes, my kids will know what I want. They'll figure it out," he says. In the meantime, the adult child across the table from me is crying, "It's hard to think about." An adult child who never had a conversation with an aging parent nearing the end of life should not be having it in a hospital room.

February 23, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, February 22, 2019

Article on Whether, When, and How to Honor Advance VSED Requests for End-Stage Dementia Patients

VsedThaddeus Mason Pope recently published an Article entitled, Whether, When, and How to Honor Advance VSED Requests for End-Stage Dementia Patients, Elder Law eJournal (2019). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

The Director of Nursing at the Pleasant Valley Nursing Home has requested an ethics consultation for guidance on whether the staff should follow the directions of a resident’s health care agent. Rhea, the agent, has asked the staff to stop spoon feeding Gertrude. Gertrude has end-stage dementia. Rhea explains that Gertrude did not want any orally or artificially ingested food or fluids under those circumstances. She wanted to voluntarily stop eating and drinking (VSED).

The ethics consultant should ask (and answer) at least six questions:
1. Is the advance directive valid?
2. Who is the decision maker?
3. Has Gertrude, in fact, requested forgoing spoon feeding?
4. Does Rhea have authority to direct forgoing spoon feeding?
5. Is Rhea complying with applicable decision-making standards?
6. Does Gertrude’s opening and swallowing trump contrary instructions?

February 22, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Death Event Planning, Disability Planning - Health Care, Estate Planning - Generally, Professional Responsibility | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Just for Laughs Cartoon

LaughingSometimes, a cartoon gets down to the truth of what occurs in any group planning setting.

Cartoon link.

Special thanks to Richard E. Mattersdorff for bringing this to my attention.

February 6, 2019 in Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Humor | Permalink | Comments (1)