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Staff Profile: Attorney Ted Brown

 

Ted is a staff attorney with Cooper, Adel & Associates. He grew up in Mariemont, Ohio, outside of Cincinnati, where he served as the Director of Traffic Operations for the Police Department. He graduated from Xavier University with a major in History and Philosophy. During Law School at the University of Dayton, his favorite classes were estate planning, tax and constitutional law. Ted clerked for the Federal Election Commission in Washington, D.C. and also spent a semester studying in a comparative law program in London, England. Ted's wife, Natalie, is also an attorney.

Ted's love of history started with his admiration for his grandfather who served in WWII, Korea and the Cold War. His plane was shot down over North Korea and he was the only man of an eight person crew to survive. He spent three days surviving behind enemy lines until he was spotted by a passing American plane using a small signal mirror.

At Cooper and Adel, Ted leads the Estate Administration Department that helps our clients and their beneficiaries get access to their inheritance, minimize estate taxes, claim IRA distributions and navigate the murky waters of probate. He also works in the Trust Department assisting clients with trust and estate planning. He has learned the most from two attorneys in the firm. One he calls “Jedi Master Dan Vu” and the other he calls “Yoda Thom Cooper”.

The top highlights of his life have been marrying his beautiful wife and attending a campaign rally in 2004 where he met President George W. Bush. He is proud of working to start an annual 9/11 Memorial at Xavier University. Ted's greatest aspirations are to live a long, healthy and happy life, while helping other people to do the same.

What would we be surprised to know about Ted?

He is an avid collector of antique road signs. He also volunteers as a traffic control consultant for the Mariemont Police Department and directs traffic for large events, parades, and sporting events. He's also flown in a WWII B-29 Bomber.

How is it to work with Ted? Here is what Ted's client's are saying:

“Ted did a wonderful job … He was very responsive and offered to meet with us to update our documents.”

“It's a great comfort to us knowing that you are overseeing our estate planning. We really appreciate all that you've done.”

“Your presentations were descriptive and to the point. Our questions were answered promptly.”

Thom & Mitch comments…

“Ted has been a great addition to the firm. He does a great job for our clients and they know it. It is always a pleasure to hear from clients about how well Ted has handled their affairs. One of the things I like about ted is how quickly he learns new things. In recent months, Ted has been working through some of the most difficult-to-understand estate tax laws at the firm and he always meets the challenge.  

DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement.
If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

 

Should I deed my property to my kids?

The Most Common Do-It-Yourself Estate Planning Mistake

By Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2014-03-11 at 12.17.42 PMAnswer: No. Not unless you (and your children) understand the risks and drawbacks.

In an effort to protect their real estate from nursing home or from estate taxes, many people consider deeding their real estate to their children. This is a very risky strategy for a variety of reasons.

Taxes – By transferring real estate to a child while you are still alive can create a future tax time-bomb for that child.

A gift of property during the owner's lifetime results in what is known as a carry-over in basis. Basis is the IRS term for the value of the property when you received it, being either the price you paid for it or the value it was worth when you inherited it. Basis is important when the property is sold. The sale price, minus your basis, equals your capital gain which is taxable at roughly 29% between Federal and State taxes.

For example, if you buy a piece of land for $100,000 and you sell it for $225,000, you have a capital gain of $125,000.

So if you have a piece of property that was worth $150,000 when you bought it and now it is worth $400,000, you have a lot of taxable appreciation. If you deed that property to a child, you pass on that taxable appreciation. Moreover, if the child holds onto the property for another 20 years and the value increases to $750,000 then they will owe tax on a $600,000 gain when they sell. This could result in $174,000 being lost to taxes.

Liability - if the property is owned by someone else, it is subject to the liabilities of that person.

Suppose you gift property to a child. Your child now owns that property. It is considered to be their personal asset, even if you continue to live there. If that child were to get a divorce, then that property is up for grabs along with all of their other assets.

What may be even worse is if that child gets sued, even for something that is no fault of their own, the entire property could be lost to pay their liabilities or judgement creditors, potentially leaving you without a place to live.

It is very important to understand the many potential consequences of gifting any assets, particularly real estate, before embarking on such a plan. You should seek the assistance of Elder Law Attorney to discuss the best strategies for protecting assets before taking on the challenge yourself.  

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

Honoring the Dangers of Spaceflight

By Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2014-01-27 at 4.49.12 PMThe achievements of human space exploration has afforded mankind with innumerable benefits. While many of us take these benefits for granted, these achievements have come at a high price.

This week is marked as the deadliest week in the history of manned space exploration. The span from January 26 to February 1 has seen three major tragedies resulting in the loss of the entire crew in all cases. Below is a brief synopsis of these tragic missions. Today we remember the lives of these brave pioneers who gave their lives in the name of science and discovery:

January 27, 1967 – Apollo 1

January 26, 1986- Space Shuttle Challenger

February 1, 2003 – Space Shuttle Columbia

 

image via Wikipedia

VA Benefits for Desert Storm Veterans

by Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2014-01-15 at 9.11.00 AMThis week will mark the 23rd anniversary of the beginning of Operation Desert Storm on January 17, 1991. This marked the beginning of the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent liberation of Kuwait by coalition forces. Iraq, under the leadership of Saddam Hussein, invaded Kuwait in August of 1990 sparking global outrage. The United States, together with over 30 other nations, formed a multinational coalition to free Kuwait from Iraqi control.

Operation Desert Storm began with one of the most vigorous air campaigns in military history, spanning nearly 5 weeks of 24 hour-a-day operations including air-to-air dogfights with Iraqi aircraft and strategic and systematic strikes against Iraqi command and control sites on the ground. The air campaign was the first to use many of the state of the art precision guided weapons, stealth aircraft and other modern military technology still in use today. The air war was followed by the now famous “100-hour” ground invasion driving the Iraqi Army from Kuwait and entirely defeating what was then the 4th largest army in the world in just under 4 days. Offensive operations in the Persian Gulf concluded on February 28th, 1991.

Over 650,000 Americans served in the Persian Gulf War and the VA offers many benefits for those who served. Many Gulf War veterans are not aware of these benefits which include disability compensation, pension, education and training, health care, home loans, insurance, vocational rehabilitation and employment, and burial. (Click on any of these links for information directly from the VA website)

Additionally, there are a variety of illnesses and conditions that are linked to service in the Persian Gulf that can entitle veterans to special pension benefits.

See the link below for more details:

http://www.benefits.va.gov/persona/veteran-gulfwar.asp

(Image by Bryan Dorrough)

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

2014 Federal Gift and Estate Tax Update

By Attorney Ted Brown

TaxCredits_Flickr_TaxJarEffective January 1, 2014, the unified federal gift and estate tax exemption was increased to $5.34 million dollars. This change reflects an adjustment for inflation from last year's 5.25 million exemption amount. In January 2013 as part of the “fiscal cliff “ negotiations, Congress established the limit at $5.25 million to be adjusted annually for inflation.

What this change means is that an individual can now give up to $5.34 million during their lifetime, or pass away with an estate valued up to $5.34 million dollars, without paying any Federal gift or estate tax.

The annual gift reporting limit remains at $14,000 per person. Total annual gifts less than this amount do not need to be reported and are not subject to gift tax. Total annual gifts in excess of this amount count against the donor's $5.34 million lifetime gift exemption.  

Photo by: Tax Credits on Flickr

 

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

Remembering President John F. Kennedy

By Attorney Ted Brown

November 22, 2013

U.S. President John F. Kennedy  Portrait50 years ago today, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was the 35th President of the United States and the youngest President ever to be elected at age of 43. However, he was the second youngest President to serve, following Theodore Roosevelt who took the Oath at age 42 after President William McKinley was assassinated in 1901.

Kennedy served as Lieutenant in the United States Navy, commanding a torpedo boat in the South Pacific during World War II. Upon his return home, he began his political career in 1947 after being elected by the State of Massachusetts to the House of Representatives. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1953 and served there until defeating Richard Nixon for the Presidency in 1960. Kennedy's campaign against Nixon was the first to feature a live television debate between the candidates which served to showcase Kennedy's charm and charisma.

Although brought to an abrupt and tragic end in 1963, his Presidency was marked by his tremendous leadership through many significant events including the Cuban Missile Crisis, the building of the Berlin Wall, the fight against the global expansion of Communism, a nationwide crackdown on organized crime, support for the Civil Rights movement as well as the birth of the space program and Kennedy's personal challenge to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade.

Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald while driving through Dallas in a motorcade at 12:30 pm on November 22, 1963. Oswald fired three shots from the 5th floor of the Texas School Book Depository building located near Deely Plaza. One shot wounded Texas Governor John Connelly. The public assassination, together with the controversial and conspiracy-laden investigation that followed, has left a lasting and dark imprint on the American people. Many historians have described the event at the loss of our collective national innocence which led to much of the political turmoil of the 1960's and beyond.  

Remembering our Cold War Veterans

By Attorney Ted Brown

Cold war veteransAs we celebrate Veteran's Day 2013, it is important that we take a moment to remember the men and women who defended our nation from the nearly 50 year struggle known as the Cold War. Stretching from the end of World War II in 1945 until 1992, simply stated, the Cold War was the global ideological struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union.

This struggle took many forms and existed on many fronts, including division of Berlin, the Space Race, the Cuban Missile Crisis, and global nuclear arms proliferation as well as the the so called “hot” conflicts of Korea and Vietnam.

The “soldiers” of the Cold War included not only traditional armed forces but also tens of thousands of unconventional military personnel tasked with maintaining a constant state of readiness including high-altitude aircrews, deep-sea submarine crews and land-based missile bases on alert 24 hours a day, as well as civilian personnel engaging in espionage, surveillance and clandestine missions, intercepting communications, other critical tasks.

One of these Cold War veterans was my Grandfather who served in the Air Force's Strategic Air Command. His squadron routinely flew 12 to 18 hour missions on fully armed B-47's and B-52's high over the Arctic Circle ready to attack strategic locations in Russia at a moment's notice.

He later commanded a nuclear missile base and supervised the routine drills to pressurize and fuel the missiles with highly-volatile liquid oxygen. In the event of war, this needed to be done in a matter of seconds and constant practice was required.

My Grandfather was one of many who served during this period who often go unrecognized for the perils and the unwavering stress they experienced while both preparing for and defending us from the constant threat of nuclear war.  

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.
The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

What the latest delay for Obamacare means to you

By Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2013-10-15 at 8.47.06 AMThe Obama Administration recently announced yet another delay in the implementation of the Affordable Health Care Act, also known as “Obamacare.” This marks at least the fourth delay of this kind, stalling a major component of the law.

This latest delay applies to the cap on out-of-pocket health care expenses that was the key component of the legislation touted to make health care more affordable for the average American. To explain the full impact of this delay and what it may mean for you and the ultimate success of Obamacare, I need to start at the beginning.

Typically you pay for health care in two distinct ways: the premiums that you pay for health insurance and the costs that your health insurance does not cover (aka: out-of-pocket costs). Both premiums and out-of-pocket costs depend on the specific health insurance plan that you buy. Typically, lower premiums buy you less insurance and a risk of higher out-of-pocket costs. On the other hand, higher premiums provide more coverage and less out-of-pocket costs. However, the risk for everyone is that a catastrophic condition or complex procedure results in astronomical costs that your insurance won't cover.

One of the goals of Obamacare was to eliminate this risk by mandating a maximum cap for out-of- pocket expenses that a patient could be required to pay in any given year. Those limits are roughly $6,000 for an individual and $12,000 for a family. That means that no matter what the circumstance or what type of insurance you have you cannot be required to pay more out of pocket than those limits. The insurance company will be expected to pick up the difference. This sounds good right?

Well there is no such thing as a free lunch. While Obamacare caps out-of-pocket expenses, it does not prevent insurance companies from increasing premiums. If the insurance company if going to be forced to eat the entire cost of the care you may potentially require, with the exception of $6,000 per year, they will inevitably have to raise premiums to stay in business.

Here's why: the insurance company offers you policies based on their estimation of your potential health problems. In a sense, they are gambling on you. If they gamble wrong, they have a way out known as the lifetime limit. This says that once the company pays a certain amount for you over your lifetime, they are off the hook. Everything else is paid out of your pocket. This is why younger people typically have cheaper premiums, statistically they require less care. Insurance companies are in the business of insuring risk. The more the risk, the higher the premium.

Obamacare outlaws the lifetime limit and puts strict caps on the out of pocket costs the insurance company can require you to pay. So the insurance company no longer has a way out. This means that they will need to take steps up front to better prepare for the risk that you cost more than they predict. They will do this by charging higher premiums across the board regardless of your health.

Rising health insurance premiums will not make health care more affordable or accessible for the average American. This is perhaps part of the reason that the Administration has decided to delay. By postponing the implementation of out-of-pocket caps, they hope to delay the dramatic increase in health insurance premiums. However, the current blessing of reduced insurance premiums is likely to come back as an unwelcome surprise in the form of significant rate hikes when the rate cap is later implemented.

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person's situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you. No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement. If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.  

20th Anniversary of Black Hawk Down

By Senior Associate Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2013-09-30 at 10.53.33 AMThe story of the Battle of Mogadishu, depicted in the motion picture Black Hawk Down (2001) occurred on October 3rd, 1993 and this year will mark the 20 year anniversary of this critical, yet widely unknown, event in U.S. Military history.

Background:
The mission was part of a paramilitary and humanitarian relief operation undertaken by the UN and the United States to bring stability and end the tribal war that began in Somalia in 1992. This war was devastating to the people of Somalia and involved widespread starvation and ethnic cleansing with the death toll topping 300,000 by early 1993.

The United States had initially responded with a force of 20,000 U.S. Marines in the fall of 1992 but by August of 1993, that force had been reduced to just under 400 U.S. Army Special Operations soldiers including Army Rangers and the elite Delta Force.

The Battle:
These forces were tasked with carrying out surgical missions to capture and detain members of the hostile warlord Muhammed Far'h Aidid and his militia. One of these missions took place on the afternoon of October 3rd, 1993. Beginning at 3:45 PM, the raid soon went drastically wrong when an American Black Hawk helicopter was shot down and quickly surrounded by angry mobs of Somali Militia. Soon after, a second Black Hawk was shot down.

American forces quickly regrouped to respond to the crash sites which were several miles apart separated by a dense and hostile urban landscape. Only two of eight total crew members survived the initial impact. These survivors single-handedly defended large groups of enemy forces with only small arms until American forces could reach them. Each crash site became the scene of a major and prolonged firefight that lasted into the early morning of October 4th.

American forces worked through the night to recover the bodies of the fallen Americans, in an effort to uphold the Ranger creed “leave no man behind.” These efforts were also motivated by previous incident where an angry Somali mob had burned and dragged bodies of American solders through the streets. Crews spent hours cutting through the armor plated cockpits to extricate the pilots trapped in the wreckage, the whole time under heavy fire. By morning, 19 Americans had been killed. A few weeks later, all American forces were withdrawn from Somalia.

Connection to al Qaeda
However, the event carries historical significance far beyond the borders of Somalia. In 1993, the Somali Militia began working with Muhammed Atef, the operational commander of al Qaeda, then a relatively unknown organization. Atef and others provided the Somalis training and assistance in defeating the technologically dominant American forces. Atef's strategy was to shoot down American helicopters and force them to fight in the streets. When this strategy proved to be overwhelmingly successful in bringing about an unequivocal American retreat, it lent untold creditability and fame upon the leader of al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden.

Muhammed Atef was later killed by American forces fighting in Afghanistan. American weapons and equipment traced to soldiers killed in Somalia in 1993 has also been found on Taliban and al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan.  

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DISCLAIMER – Every case is different because every case is different. This blog does not give legal advice. This blog does not create an attorney client relationship. You are not permitted to rely on anything in this blog for any reason. This blog is an entirely personal endeavor. Every person’s situation is different and requires an attorney to review the situation personally with you.
No attorney-client relationship is created by this site.

The use of the Internet, this blog or email for communication with this firm or any individual member of this firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Before we represent any client, the client and the attorney will sign a written retainer agreement.
If you do not have a written, signed retainer agreement with us, we are not representing you and will not be taking any action on your behalf.

 

Why You Shouldn’t Use Life Insurance to Pay for Your Funeral

By Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2013-09-04 at 10.07.28 AMIn previous blogs, I have discussed the importance of laying out your funeral wishes in writing. This provides your family guidance and reduces the chance for arguments. A step beyond simply designating your wishes is setting funds aside to pay for your funeral before death.

However, the way in which these funds are set aside can present more problems down the road than they solve.

One very common strategy in funeral planning is to purchase a small life insurance policy to be used for final expenses. The policy usually has a value of $10,00 to $15,000 depending on specific funeral wishes. This is usually done in addition to other life insurance.

The trouble with this strategy is that is uses the wrong tool for the job. A life insurance policy is paid to named beneficiaries. After the owner’s death, those beneficiaries complete a claim form and are issued a check from the insurance company. This claim process can take 60 to 90 days or more to complete.

This creates several problems. First, if the policy is paid to individual beneficiaries, such as the owner’s children, they receive the funds directly, even though the policy was “ear marked” for funeral expenses. Once the check is written, the beneficiary has no legal obligation to use the funds for the funeral costs.

Secondly, the claims process takes time. Funeral homes usually require payment immediately – no later than 30 days after the service. Delays can result in interest charges, collections calls and hassles for your family. Even if you have a life insurance policy set up to pay for your funeral, it can take months for that policy to pay out.

The idea of setting money aside to cover your final expenses is a very important decision. However, you want to make sure that it is done in the correct way. By using a pre-paid funeral policy, not a life insurance policy, you can be sure that the funds are available within 7 days of death and are paid directly to funeral service providers. This is different than a pre-paid funeral contract with a specific funeral home. A funeral policy is not tied to any specific provider, which gives you flexibility in the event that your local funeral home changes ownership or your wishes change.

It is important to discuss this type of planning option with a financial consultant that works closely with an Elder Law Attorney.

 

 



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