Thursday, May 18, 2017

Elder Law: SNT Fairness Act

With the recent passage of the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (effective December 13, 2016), disabled individuals with mental capacity can now create their own special needs trust.  Special needs trusts are often necessary in order to preserve asset-eligibility for government benefits, primarily Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI), when a disabled beneficiary receives money from a gift, inheritance, settlement, or other source.  The general purpose of these trusts is to supplement public benefits, ensuring excess funds for that individual to use over the course of his or her lifetime.

Prior to the passage of this law, individuals with disabilities had to rely upon a parent, grandparent, or Court-appointed guardian to establish such a trust funded with their own monies.  In many situations, there was no such individual already available, thereby creating the necessity to petition the Court  for the sole purpose of creating the special needs trust.
Read more . . .

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Estate Planning: Spring Cleaning Your EP Closet

Although past experience reminds us that winter is not yet over, our printed calendars do suggest that spring has begun.  For many, that season’s arrival initiates the annual exercise of cleaning – washing the drapes, dusting the ceiling fan blades, and an overall freshening of the house.  For perhaps a smaller number of cleaning enthusiasts, this ritual also includes the re-organization of closets and sorting through file cabinets or stacks of paperwork.  And for even a smaller percentage of cleaners, sorting may involve a review of legal documents.

If your spring cleaning tradition doesn’t include the tackling of your “estate planning closet,” should it?  Here are some suggested guidelines.

Read more . . .

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Estate Planning: How High to Build the Wall?

Every estate plan should have some kind of wall — a wall of privacy, that is.   But how high?

Maximum privacy suggests you reveal only that a plan exists, while full exposure proposes a full sharing of estate planning documents.  How high you build depends upon your personal comfort level with “prematurely” sharing your personal information with your designated parties (e.g., executor, trustee, agents), the likelihood of revisions, and concern for potential abuse of powers given or information revealed.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Elder Law: M&Ms in Different Varieties

It is actually quite unfortunate that two distinct federal health programs share the same first 6 letters in their names.  It should come as no surprise that Medicaid and Medicare are often confused and misunderstood!  Let’s try to clear the fog and explore what these programs offer.

Read more . . .

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Special Needs Considerations

Many of us have the privilege of knowing a special someone who experiences life from a different vantage point – perhaps one with specific physical challenges or unique cognitive impairments.   One special person in my circle involved a man whose intellectual disability limited his ability to live independently, but whose special needs didn’t inhibit him from singing at the top of his lungs, dancing the polka merrily with his mother, or routinely asking for seconds and thirds of apple pie at family dinners.  He brought and received happiness, just as any other family member or friend.

To read more of this interesting article...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Lesser-Known Tax

It’s tax season yet again – a time where we struggle to complete our income tax filings by the April 15 deadline.  However, this article will not address any last-minute income tax tips; rather, we will explore the world of a lesser-known tax -  the estate tax.

Click here to read more of this article.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Disinheriting Lindsay

The holidays have passed and you shared a lot of fun with family and friends.  Was it all smooth sailing?  Did everything remain calm and collective?  Perhaps you have learned some new tidbits about certain relatives that cause you to second-guess certain estate planning decisions you have made.  Did you joke that you might take someone out of your will and actually give it some consideration?  Well, before you do anything drastic, consider some alternatives.

To read more of this article:  http://vtelaw.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=ARTICLES&Art_Title=Disinheriting_Lindsay_(12_2010)&art_id=2222

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Executor: To Be or Not to Be

This is a two part article on Executors.

So your uncle asks you to serve as Executor.  As his favorite nephew, you agree to take on the task.  After all, it sounds prestigious and powerful, and maybe a little fun.  Or perhaps, you simply feel an obligation to answer him in the affirmative.  On the other hand, maybe you didn’t get asked while he was alive – you simply found out this fact after his passing when the Will was discovered.  Now what do you do? 

To read more about this topic here is the link:  http://http://vtelaw.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=ARTICLES&Art_Title=Executor:__To_Be_or_Not_to_Be_(Part_1)&art_id=2205

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Plural of Executrix?

The Plural of Executrix?

Before you answer, picture this scene.  You are sitting under a spotlight in the “hot seat,” surrounded by a crowd of onlookers masked by darkness and hearing the familiar voice of a day-time talk show host.  At the conclusion of the answer, you are then offered the following selections: (A) Executrixes; (B) Executri; (C) Executrices; or (D) Executors.  After making your selection, you then must declare it your “final answer.”

For the answer to this question and for the whole article please visit the link http://vtelaw.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=ARTICLES&Art_Title=The_Plural_of_Executrix__-_5_2010&art_id=1966

Thursday, July 15, 2010

New Article - Are the Kids Old Enough Yet?

Are the Kids Old Enough Yet?

 “Junior!” she exclaimed with a sharp tongue, as her son attempted to sneak a pre-dinner bite of the dessert she was making.  She only called him “Junior” when she demanded his attention, for he wasn’t even technically a junior.  And she had been doing this for over sixty years.  Yes, this scene actually describes a true story of an 85-year-old mother scolding her 62-year-old son! 

While the parent-child relationship does evolve over a lifetime, it does retain a certain character.  Parents may continue to command a certain respect, and children often continue to honor that position of authority.  However, in the world of estate planning, there may come a time where the children need to take a position of authority.  It may come when the parents are still living, but it will definitely arrive after the parents have passed.  And will those kids, the “juniors” of the world, be ready?

For more of this article here is the link http://vtelaw.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=ARTICLES&Art_Title=Are_the_Kids_Old_Enough_Yet__3_2010&art_id=1909

Thursday, May 6, 2010

New Article - HIPAA, Not HIPPO

While HIPAA was signed into federal law nearly a decade ago, it still seems to cause much confusion.  While you may hear about it regularly at the doctor’s office and the pharmacy, do you really know what it is or what you’re signing? 

 Let’s begin with its acronym.  Many times it is mistyped as HIPPA or even mistaken for HIPPO.  But, be assured there is no mention of a hippopotamus in HIPAA!  It actually stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996, which was finalized in 2000 and modified in 2002.  In that Act was a requirement that the government establish a set of national standards for the protection of certain health information, which is commonly referred to as the “Privacy Rule.” 


For more of this article here is the link http://vtelaw.com/index.aspx?TypeContent=ARTICLES&Art_Title=HIPAA,_not_HIPPO_(5_2010)&art_id=1759

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