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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Tips on Creating an Estate Plan that Benefits a Child with Special Needs


Parents want their children to be taken care of after they die. But children with disabilities have increased financial and care needs, so ensuring their long-term welfare can be tricky. Proper planning by parents is necessary to benefit the child with a disability, including an adult child, as well as assist any siblings who may be left with the caretaking responsibility.

Special Needs Trusts
The best and most comprehensive option to protect a loved one is to set up a special needs trust (also called a supplemental needs trust). These trusts allow beneficiaries to receive inheritances, gifts, lawsuit settlements, or other funds and yet not lose their eligibility for certain government programs, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).
Read more . . .


Friday, May 31, 2019

Why Would I Want an Irrevocable Trust?


A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog about irrevocable trusts.  Typically, once you put an asset into an irrevocable trust, you no longer have control over that asset – you lose your ability to use that asset as you wish.

 Why, you may ask, would I ever want to give up control of my own assets?  I’ve worked my entire life to pay off the mortgage on my house and to build up my investments.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Emotional Support Animals (ESA) - What they are, who may use one, and how to get an ESA.


May is Mental Health Awareness month.  This week’s blog touches on one resource for not only elderly and disabled companionship and mental health, but a resource for any one struggling with mental health issues; Emotional Support Animals (ESA).

What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?  You know about the peacock. The squirrel. The duck, in fancy clothes with the ridiculous name.
Read more . . .


Friday, May 10, 2019

What is an irrevocable trust?


As an estate planning attorney, I sometimes find that words I use in everyday conversation sound like legalese to the rest of the world.  It’s important that I remember to translate those words that roll so easily out of my mouth into language that makes sense to a non-lawyer!

One such term that might require some explanation is “irrevocable trust.”  We use both revocable and irrevocable trusts regularly in our practice to meet our clients’ goals.  To explain it at its most basic level, once an irrevocable trust has been established, it cannot be changed. 

Here are some examples of what it means to say that you can’t change an irrevocable trust:

  1. The terms of the trust cannot be changed.
    Read more . . .


Wednesday, May 1, 2019

How to Fight a Nursing Home Discharge


Once a resident is settled in a nursing home, being told to leave can be very traumatic. Nursing homes are required to follow certain procedures before discharging a resident, but family members often accept the discharge without questioning it. Residents can fight back and challenge an unlawful discharge. 

According to federal law, a nursing home can discharge a resident only for the following reasons:

  • The resident's health has improved
  • The resident's needs cannot be met by the facility
  • The health and safety of other residents is endangered
  • The resident has not paid after receiving notice
  • The facility stops operating

Unfortunately, sometimes nursing homes want to get rid of a resident for another reason--perhaps the resident is difficult, the resident's family is difficult, or the resident is a Medicaid recipient. In such cases, the nursing home may not follow the proper procedure or it may attempt to "dump" the resident by transferring the resident to a hospital and then refusing to let him or her back in.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Maximizing Social Security Survivor's Benefits


Social Security survivor's benefits provide a safety net to widows and widowers. But to get the most out of the benefit, you need to know the right time to claim. 

While you can claim survivor's benefits as early as age 60, if you claim benefits before your full retirement age, your benefits will be permanently reduced. If you claim benefits at your full retirement age, you will receive 100 percent of your spouse's benefit or, if your spouse died before collecting benefits, 100 percent of what your spouse's benefit would have been at full retirement age. Unlike with retirement benefits, delaying survivor's benefits longer than your full retirement age will not increase the benefit.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Using a Donor-Advised Fund May Be a Way to Get a Charitable Tax Break Under the New Tax Law


Donor-advised funds are a growing trend in giving that may get more popular due to the new tax law. These funds allow you to donate money, receive a charitable tax deduction, and continue to grow the money until you are ready to distribute it to a charity or charities of your choice. 

A donor-advised fund is established through a charity or nonprofit. The way the fund works is that you donate assets (it can be cash, stocks, or real estate) to the fund. The gift is irrevocable – the nonprofit controls the assets and you cannot get the assets back.
Read more . . .


Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Assisted Living – Part II: Questions to ask when selecting a facility and the financial aspect of living in an assisted living community.


            On March 14th our blog, “Assisted Living – Part I:  What is Assisted Living and how do I decide if it is the right move for me or my loved one?” discussed what an assisted living community is and gave five strategies for talking about and determining whether assisted living is right for you or your loved one.  In follow-up, today’s blog will present items to consider and questions to ask when selecting an assisted living facility.  We will also discuss how to plan for the financial aspect of an assisted living facility.

            By 2030, 20 percent of U.S.
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Monday, March 25, 2019

Death and taxes


I’m sure you’ve heard the adage about nothing in life being certain except death and taxes.  However, if you are settling the affairs of a loved one who has died, you may not be so certain about dealing with your responsibilities regarding taxes. 

Many people have heard about estate or inheritance taxes, but for the vast majority of people in Indiana, inheritance tax is not an issue under current law.
Read more . . .


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Assisted Living – Part I: What is Assisted Living and how do I decide if it is the right move for me or my loved one?


In our previous blog on February 25th, we addressed how to “Age in Place” and how to safely remain at home during retirement and as one ages.  However, for many older adults, advancing age means they will face a time when living alone is no longer feasible.  Certain aspects of daily living become more challenging, and finding that you need assistance to do things like caring for your home and yourself, may mean that it is time to consider moving into an assisted living facility. 

            What does assisted living mean?  Depending on the state and the individual facility, assisted living can mean different things and it may go by other names, but the concept of assisted living is simply that:  Older adults move to a facility where they can receive assistance with the daily tasks of living.  Assisted living facilities offer some level of care or assistance to older adults who are unable to manage these tasks of living on their own, such as cooking, bathing or toileting.
Read more . . .


Friday, March 1, 2019

Elder Law Attorneys: Not Just for Old People


I am proud to tell people that I work in the field of elder law.  It is incredibly humbling and enlightening to work with our clients who have been around for decades longer than I have.  Even though clients come to our office seeking our advice in preparing for the final years of their lives, I always come away from our meetings having gained a new perspective or having learned something I never knew before.


Read more . . .


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