The specter of long-term care looms large for many people. Whether or not you’re facing an immediate need for nursing home care or assisted living, it’s likely that some form of long-term care will be a reality for you or a loved one at some point during your lifetime. Like so many other topics that are related to elder law and estate planning, long-term care is tough to think about. For one thing, no one looks forward to losing their health, not to mention losing some degree of control over … [Read more...] about Worried About Long-Term Care? Don’t Become a Deer in the Headlights
The Texas Legislature recently passed two important laws. The first law requires the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules that provide for the dismissal of cases that have no basis in law or fact. This is a significant step for Texas because it brings Texas more in line with the federal courts who have had such a rule for years. The second law is known as the “Loser Pays” law. Under this law, the Texas Supreme Court is required to adopt rules for the award of attorneys’ fees to the … [Read more...] about Texas Adopts Loser Pays!
Your IRA allows you to designate one or more beneficiaries to receive your account funds in the event of your death, so why would you want to go one step further and create an IRA trust? There are a couple of reasons why you might opt to include this tool in your estate plan. First, a brief overview of how an IRA trust works: it’s a revocable trust that you establish, naming the trustee as beneficiary of your IRA. When you pass away, the balance of your IRA will pass to your trustee, who will … [Read more...] about Why an IRA Trust?
If you’re a disabled veteran who served at least 90 days on active duty (with at least one of those days occurring during wartime, as defined by the Veteran’s Administration), and you were discharged from the military under other than dishonorable conditions, you might qualify for Aid and Attendance (A&A) Benefits. These benefits can help you cover the costs of in-home care or care at an assisted living facility or nursing home. Your disability does not need to be caused by or related to … [Read more...] about Do You Qualify for Veteran’s Aid and Attendance Benefits?
Do you have your suspicions that one of your heirs might be dissatisfied with the way you’ve structured your estate plan? Are your children apt to fight over their inheritances? If you’re worried that your loved ones might be unhappy enough with your will to contest it in court, you might want to meet with an estate planning attorney and talk about whether a living trust would be a better option. Unlike a will, a properly funded living trust allows your assets to avoid probate. And, while this … [Read more...] about Worried About a Will Contest? A Trust May be the Way to Go
According to the 2010 Census, married couples now represent less than half of U.S. households – 48%, to be exact. As the marriage rate declines, the prevalence of same-sex couples and cohabiting heterosexual couples is on the rise, and these couples are urgently in need of good estate plans. The census numbers may reflect a shift in the way Americans are choosing to structure their families, but the laws that govern estate planning issues are still geared toward married couples. So, if you’re … [Read more...] about Census Numbers Reveal a Need for Estate Planning
On average, women tend to suffer the consequences that come with lack of estate planning – and reap the benefits of a good plan – more than men do. This is because, statistically speaking, women tend to live longer than men. Plus, the average married woman is younger than her husband. Taken together, these statistics mean that women are much more likely than men to be widowed. As a recent Forbes article points out, even though estate planning is crucial to protect women’s finances and preserve … [Read more...] about Estate Planning is Essential for Women
Many people only seek out the services of a lawyer if something negative has happened in their lives – they’ve been arrested, or they’re going through a divorce, or someone close to them has died, and it’s time to probate the estate. Even people who find a lawyer for positive reasons – like making a will – see it as just a short-term transaction: the lawyer draws up a will, the client signs it and breathes a sigh of relief that everything is in order, and they may never see each other … [Read more...] about Do You Have a Lawyer?
When you’re choosing a financial planner, you have a lot of things to consider: what type of education and experience does your advisor have, what type of certification does he or she carry, and – far from the least of your concerns – how is your financial advisor paid? Fee-Only Financial Planners When a fee-only financial planner performs services for you, you are the one paying the bill. He doesn’t get a commission from a mutual fund company, a brokerage house, or any other source. You’ll … [Read more...] about Financial Planners: Fee-Only vs. Fee-Based
Karel Fortyn was 52 when he died of a stroke in early May. He was a life-long lover of reptiles, and he’d built a business around them: Fortyn was the owner of the Seaway Serpentarium in Ontario, Canada. The Serpentarium, operated out of Fortyn’s home, boasted a collection of more than 200 snakes and other reptiles – many of them rare species. Aside from his collection of reptiles, Fortyn left behind a former common-law wife and a brother, but, unfortunately, no Will. Now, his brother and his … [Read more...] about An Unusual Example of the Need for Estate Planning