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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 . . .

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 . . .

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 . . .

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Power of Words: Elderspeak

As an elder law attorney, I am fortunate to work with people who range in age from younger than I am to almost as old as my grandmother, who was 101¾ when she died!  One of my favorite parts of my job is getting the chance to hear stories from people who were adults before I was even born – I am always learning something new or gaining a new perspective. 

I also work with many people who have had to step into the role of caregiver for their elderly parents or relatives, and I helped my mother and her sisters as they cared for my grandmother in her home.  We often took note of the difficult role reversal everyone experienced as my grandma’s children and grandchildren began to take care of her as she took care of us when we were young.  My grandmother was hard of hearing, and as she aged she lost her vision.  In the last decade or so of her life, she needed help eating, dressing, keeping her house clean, and moving around.

Read more . . .

Friday, January 4, 2019

Taking against the will: your Last Will and Testament may not be the last word on your probate estate

Most people are confident that their Last Will and Testament is the last word on how their probate estate will be distributed after they have died, and in most cases, they are probably right.  However, if you are married, Indiana law dictates how much of your estate your spouse is entitled to receive upon your death, regardless of what your Last Will and Testament says.  It is important for people who are married (and for people who are planning to get married) to understand how this law works and what they can do to ensure that their wishes can be carried out.

Here’s a basic overview of the law.  Read more . . .

Friday, November 23, 2018

Happy Thanksgiving! A great time to talk to your family about estate planning.

It's the Friday after Thanksgiving.  You have probably hit the point at which you are recovering from your Black Friday shopping, debating whether ordering pizza is preferable to eating yet another leftover turkey sandwich, or consulting the TV guide to find out when the next football game is on.

 Thanksgiving is a great opportunity for many families to talk about estate planning.
Read more . . .

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Veterans Day

As a daughter of a retired Army Veteran and a sister of two retired Air Force Veterans, it is no wonder that I have a soft spot for our men and women who serve in our military.  This Sunday, November 11th is Veterans Day and for this week’s blog I thought I would provide a little history on Veterans Day.

Veterans Day is the day in which we thank and show our appreciation to the men and women who serve or have served in the military whether in war time or peace time. 

Veterans Day evolved from Armistice Day which was established by President Woodrow Wilson in 1919, in recognition to the end of World War One on November 11, 1918 at 11:00 am.   In 1954 President Eisenhower made November 11th the official observance of Veterans Day which would recognize all wars and not just World War One.
Read more . . .

Friday, October 19, 2018

My dad has had to go to rehab: an attorney takes her own advice

A big part of my job as an attorney at Severns & Howard is to work with the families of people who are in long-term care facilities.  I presently find myself on the other side of the desk, so to speak, because my father recently had a major surgery requiring a stay in a rehabilitation facility.  Suddenly, I was the one sitting with my mom as she tried to make sense of insurance papers, hospital discharge instructions, and rehab facility websites.

Read more . . .

Friday, September 14, 2018

Elder Law: More than Just a Job

My name is Jackie Jaques, and I’m an associate attorney at Severns & Howard,  PC.  One thing I love about Severns &Howard is that, for everyone who works here, elder law is more than a job – it’s a calling.  One of the most fulfilling parts of my job is having the opportunity to help families make sense of options they have to provide for their loved ones who are dealing with disability – whether it’s establishing a special needs trust for a disabled child, finding resources to meet the needs of a client facing healthcare challenges, or applying for Medicaid to help pay for long term care for an elderly parent.

When I’m not at work, I dedicate some of my time to two organizations whose missions align with my passion for serving people who are living with disabilities. I'm excited to have the chance to share more information about them with you.

Read more . . .

Friday, July 27, 2018

529 Savings Plans: Helping Your Children and Grandchildren Pay for College

August is right around the corner, and kids are getting ready to head back to school.  Some of those kids are heading off to college, and families feel the strain of rising tuition costs.  Last school year, the average in-state cost for college tuition and fees in Indiana was $7,866!

Many of our clients want to help their loved ones pay for college, and we can help them create

Read more . . .

Friday, June 29, 2018

Exercise - it's good for your brain!

Maybe you already exercise to trim your tummy, keep your weight in check, or ward off the major killers. Good for you! But did you know that moving your body is also about the best thing you can do for your brain? While the benefits of a workout have been well-known for below-the-neck for a long time, the incredible advantages for your brain are just being discovered.

Research shows that physical exercise improves memory and thinking skills, mood and creativity, and learning while reducing depression, age-related decline, and the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

 Science is recommending exercise as a way to prevent Alzheimer’s. Exercise protects your hippocampus, the part of your brain which governs memory and spatial navigation, the first things to go with Alzheimer’s.

Read more . . .

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