Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

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

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Fears About Parents' Finances Causing Some U.S. Adults to Cut Spending

TiaaAccording to an online survey conducted by TIAA consisting of 1,003 American adults, 27% of adult children lack confidence in their parents’ financial security, and are twice as likely to lack confidence in their own retirement. The older the generation, the more concerned they are about their parent’s financial security, according to the results of those surveyed: 35% of Generation Xers and 26% of baby boomers believed their parents were in good or excellent financial circumstances, compared to 52% of millennials.

Many of the next generations also believe that they will be handling their own personal finances better than their parents did. 39% of Generation Xers and 35% of baby boomers disagreed that their parents’ approach to saving and investing is admirable and one to emulate, while only 25% of millennials felt the same.

Dan Keady, chief financial planning strategist at TIAA, noted that people’s financial habits and retirement planning are shaped by the experiences of their parents. “The confidence that millennials have about their parents’ finances may actually create a false sense of security, especially when individuals mistakenly believe they will receive an inheritance when their parents don’t have the same plans or intention.”

See Jacqueline Sergeant, Fears About Parents' Finances Causing Some U.S. Adults to Cut Spending, Financial Advisor, May 20, 2019.

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

May 22, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Legal-Ease: What to do When Facing a Nursing Home Decision

NursinghomeThe decision whether to place an aging parent in a nursing home, provide in-home care, or move them in with their adult children can be an extremely difficult one. This decision can be prompted by illness, injury, or a series of absentmindedness. The tight-knit nature of the families in the Midwest can motivate people to try to care for their loved ones themselves. But even for a medical professional, the toll of being a caretaker for a loved one usually becomes too mentally and physically overwhelming.

There are three steps that should be undertaken as soon as possible to determine if the correct path should be a nursing home, assisted living or professional in-home healthcare.

  • First, ensure that the loved one has updated his or her powers of attorney and living will (advanced directives). These legal documents are necessary for another person to make financial and/or medical decision for another individual.
  • Second, develop a financial plan under the advice of an attorney. This should include an analysis of all assets, liabilities, monthly income and monthly expenses. Investigate Medicaid's five-year lookback rule to determine eligibility for the program.
  • Third, work closely with the attorney so that the agent does not become personally liable for the long-term care bills of the aging individual and asset transfers can be accommodated at the proper times. This can ensure that applications for Medicaid and other programs are not done too soon nor too late.

See Lee R. Schroeder, Legal-Ease: What to do When Facing a Nursing Home Decision, Lima Ohio, May 11, 2019.

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

May 19, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

What Should I Do With My Inheritance?

CypresThe coming $30 trillion wealth transfer from baby boomers to the next generation has been presented in many pieces, and has a number of people thinking about their potential inheritance. As a prudent planner, an individual should have already planned for certain aspects of their retirement without the expectation of an inheritance. But how can you adjust your plan if you are almost positive that you will be getting a good to decent sized inheritance?

There are certain variables that make it difficult to account for an inheritance, such as families being against talking about it, investments may change, and people are living longer than before. The morbid truth is that with people living longer they tend to use up what would be the next generation's inheritance on living costs and long term care for themselves. Have an in-depth conversation with grandparents about possibly helping out now with the youngest generation - the grandkids - rather than waiting to pass on their estate in bulk on their deathbed.

See Ben Carlson, What Should I Do With My Inheritance?, A Wealth of Common Sense, May 14, 2019.

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

May 15, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Many Americans Will Need Long-Term Care. Most Won’t be Able to Afford It.

LtcIn an annual survey conducted by Genworth, the average cost of a 1-bedroom apartment in an assisted living facility in Oklahoma is $3,425 per month, and is expected to increase to $4,600 in the next decade. For Gretchen Harris, 72 of Norman, Oklahoma, this may not be feasible. She currently makes $4,600 on her pension and Social Security, and even if she sells her beloved home, the cost of getting older may be too much for her.

This is the fear of many in middle America. They make too much to qualify for Medicaid but do not make enough to pay the extravagant costs of long-term care, an industry that often caters to well-off individuals. A recent analysis in Health Affairs, pointedly titled “The Forgotten Middle,” defined middle-income Americans from the 41st to the 80th percentile in terms of financial resources and investigated home many of these American seniors will be caught in that terror.

By 2029, approximately 14.4 million people will fall into the middle-income category, almost double the current number. 60% of these individuals will need canes, walkers or wheelchairs to remain mobile, the analysis estimated, and 20% will need extensive help with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing. These are better educated Americans that are not subject to poverty, but still may not be able to afford the care that they will depend on.

See Paula Span, Many Americans Will Need Long-Term Care. Most Won’t be Able to Afford It, New York Times, May 10, 2019.

Special thanks to Lewis Saret (Attorney, Washington, D.C.) for bringing this article to my attention.

May 12, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, May 9, 2019

How Social Security Woes Change Retirement Planning

SsiThere is a fact that the majority of financial advisors agree on: Social Security will not be going away, but it definitely will have some changes. The program has been running in the red since the 80s, and in 15 years it will no longer be fully funded. The most likely kind of change to Social Security will be more cuts.


While advisors at one end of the spectrum are warning their clients that they should plan on getting nothing from a system they’ve paid into for decades, at the other end, clients with fewer resources are likely over-relying on what they will receive. Some of the advisors on the low end project that their clients will receive 5-10% of their retirement income from Social Security. This has many clients worried about their retirement; 59% of those recently surveyed by the AARP said it was only “somewhat likely” or “not at all likely” that the combination of their savings, investments and Social Security benefits would be sufficient to cover their financial needs through retirement.

Mark Friedenthal, the founder and CEO of Tolerisk, a Marlton, New Jersey-based firm that makes software for advisories, says that advisors should broach the subject of Social Security cautiously with their clients. Especially those that are well-prepared. He says that, “it may also be prudent to exclude Social Security for those [clients] with likely taxable income of $250,000 [present value] or more in retirement." This outlook is for clients with considerable defined benefit pension incomes, $10 million-plus in taxable assets or $5 million-plus in traditional IRA/401(k) assets.

See Gregory Bresiger, How Social Security Woes Change Retirement Planning, Financial Advisor, April 25, 2019.

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

May 9, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Planning - Generally, Non-Probate Assets | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

CLE on Estate Planning for Farmers and Ranchers: New Rules and Top Challenges

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a teleconference entitled, Estate Planning for Farmers and Ranchers: New Rules and Top Challenges, on Thursday, June 9, 2019, at 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

The Latest in Asset Transfer Rules and Techniques for Farms

Estate planning for farms and farm assets is unique in its own right, but new and proposed laws and regulations are making it even more complex. This timely legal course offers a focused roundup of all the latest changes affecting estate planning for farmers. Register today!

    • Get an update on the current laws and tax regulations affecting farms today.
    • Weigh the pros and cons of various transfer methods in the current regulatory environment.
    • Adopt actionable strategies to meet your clients' long-term care challenges.

Who Should Attend

This legal course is designed for attorneys. Accountants, trust officers and paralegals will also benefit.

Course Content

    • Introduction
    • Legislative Update on Status of Transfer Tax System
    • Farm Residence Forms of Ownership and Associated Risks
    • Top Transfer Methods and Their Pitfalls and Vulnerabilities
    • Third Party Business Interests in Farm Succession Plans
    • Inequities of On- and Off-the-Farm Heirs
    • Long-Term Care Challenges
    • Key Estate Administration Concerns

May 1, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Article on La protección jurídica de las personas mayores: un reto para el siglo XXI (The Legal Protection of Elder People: A Challenge for the 21st Century)

ElderlawM.C. García Garnica published an Article entitled, La protección jurídica de las personas mayores: un reto para el siglo XXI (The Legal Protection of Elder People: A Challenge for the 21st Century), Elder Law eJournal (2018). Provided below is an abstract of the Article.

The 21st century is facing a phenomenon of population aging unprecedented in the history of humanity. This is a positive phenomenon in a first approach. However, various international organizations warn us of the growing vulnerability of elder people, as a collective particularly exposed to situations of discrimination, social exclusion, poverty and abuse both personally and economically. Therefore, it is a challenge for legal systems to provide an adequate legal response to the needs of the elderly, from the perspective of safeguarding their autonomy, their dignity and their fundamental rights. In view of this, the present work aims to reflect on this reality, claiming a necessary legislative intervention in the matter.

April 30, 2019 in Articles, Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Guardianship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Hot Tech Solutions to Keep Older Adults Safe From Financial Abuse

ElderlawThe estimates of elder financial abuse losses very depending on the source, but they range from $3 to $40 billion per year. The National Adult Protective Services Association estimates that 90% of abusers are family members or trusted others. Sadly, the Association also reports that only 1 in 44 cases of financial abuse are reported to the authorities, and that 1 in 10 cases are so devastating that the victim must turn to Medicaid because their savings were annihilated.

A company called SilverBills is attempting to keep vulnerable older adults safe from financial abuse with an application assisting in paying their bills. The founder was a practicing attorney, Marci Lobel-Esrig, that witnessed first-hand the large number of elders that were taken of advantage of, especially by the Bernie Madoff scandal. The app is concierge bill pay service with a subscription model in which, after signing a contract, an older person’s bills are managed by the company. They currently have a partnership with the New York Department for the Aging, which allows them to offer their service free to those who qualify.

Another company assisting older citizens in EverSafe, which monitors bank accounts, savings and investment accounts, credit cards and credit information. It also works on a subscription basis and offers a free trial.After establishing a baseline from historical financial behavior, they can identify erratic activity, anomalies like unusual withdrawals, missing deposits, and changes in spending patterns. A third company entering this protection sphere is TrueLink, which offers prepaid Visas that can be partnered with trusted family members or even attorneys, guardians, fiduciaries, care managers, home care providers, and daily money managers.

See Sara Zeff Geber, Hot Tech Solutions to Keep Older Adults Safe From Financial Abuse, Forbes, April 23, 2019.

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

April 25, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Planning - Generally, Technology | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

CLE on Special Needs Trusts: New Rules

CLEThe National Business Institute is holding a webinar entitled, Special Needs Trusts: New Rules, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, at 12:00 PM - 3:15 PM Central. Provided below is a description of the event.

Program Description

Help Your Clients Weigh ALL Their Disability Savings Options

The recent ABLE Act and proposed federal legislation on improving special needs trusts have changed financial planning for disabled clients, with new options potentially offering clients better outcomes with less complexity. Can you determine how ABLE accounts stack up against SNTs and when to use them? Do you have the latest information on benefits eligibility and how it interplays with financial planning for disability? This timely legal course will give you the skills and knowledge to pick the right tool for your clients and execute it impeccably. Register today!

  • Get an incisive update on the recent and upcoming laws and rules governing disability planning.
  • Plan ahead, know what counts as a qualified expense in ABLE vs. SNT accounts.
  • Get answers to questions regarding Medicaid estate recovery rights and remedies.

Who Should Attend
This timely guide to SNTs is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit accountants, trust officers, financial planners, and paralegals.

Course Content

  • Special Needs Trusts Legislative and Regulatory Update
  • ABLE Act Special Needs Savings Accounts in a Nutshell
  • Special Needs Trusts (SNTs) Construction
  • Preserving Benefits Eligibility and Accounting for Medicaid Estate Recovery Rights

April 24, 2019 in Conferences & CLE, Current Events, Disability Planning - Health Care, Disability Planning - Property Management, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Trusts | Permalink | Comments (0)

The Rise of Gray Divorce and Disinheritance

GraydivorceThe past 25 years has seen a dramatic rise in the amount of divorces for those over the age of 50 and even 65. For the 50 and up group, divorce doubled; 65 and up saw the divorce rate triple. Many of them remarry, and this can cause dire consequences for their adult children.

When it comes to a second or third marriage, family dynamics may be split along bloodlines. When one spouse dies before the other, the entire estate may transfer to the other spouse, leaving the children of the first spouse out of luck because their step-parent may not be obligated to leave them anything.

Here are some steps that can protected an heirs inheritance when there is a gray divorce and subsequent marriage.

  • Negotiate a prenuptial agreements with the new spouse. This may take some sensitivity, but it will protected all members of the blended family.
  • Prior to the gray divorce, establish a life insurance policy with the children as beneficiaries and for it to be held in trust by a third party.
  • Sign a post-nuptial agreement if a prenup was not performed so that both parties' estate plans provide for either's spouse as well as their own children.
  • Purchase long-term care insurance so that the inevitable costs of aging do not deplete either spouse's estate.
  • Gifts during a spouse's lifetime or a fully discretionary trust that permits distributions to be sprinkled among a child and grandchildren would keep the assets out of the reach of creditors, including a divorced spouse of a child..
  • An estate plan that includes a marital trust that provides for the subsequent spouse during their life, and then at their death, distributes the assets to the children, step-children, and grandchildren in accordance with the terms of the trust.

See Nancy S. Hearne, The Rise of Gray Divorce and Disinheritance, Saul.com, April 2019.

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

April 24, 2019 in Current Affairs, Disability Planning - Property Management, Elder Law, Estate Administration, Estate Planning - Generally, Gift Tax, Non-Probate Assets, Trusts, Wills | Permalink | Comments (0)