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The Importance of Funeral Planning

By Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2013-07-15 at 9.53.41 AMPlanning for your own death is not something that anyone enjoys thinking about. However, it is a necessary step to any well-formulated estate plan. The purpose of an estate plan it to make things as easy as possible for those you leave behind, leaving no room for argument or indecision.

Therefore, it is a common step to set aside funds to be used to pay your funeral expenses. This is usually done in conjunction with putting your wishes in writing. That way, your family has some guidance and doesn’t end up arguing over what “dad would want.”

It is not necessary to plan every single detail. Too often families get bogged down in the details. The important thing to do is to make sure your family has a general idea of your wishes:

  • Burial or Cremation?
  • Viewing or no viewing?
  • A basic service or the elaborate send-off?

The purpose of this exercise is to minimize family disagreement over how much to spend and where you want to end up.

Beyond providing guidance in writing, it is just as important to designate someone to carry out these wishes and make the technical decisions. A Power of Attorney ends at death meaning that your agent will not have the authority to make decisions regarding your last wishes. The Executor of your estate will have this authority, but only if you have probate assets requiring administration in Probate Court.

The goal of most estate plans is to avoid probate. Therefore, having to appoint an Executor to carry out your funeral wishes would defeat that planning. Ohio law now provides for this by allowing someone to appoint a “Funeral Trustee” who is empowered to carry out the decedent’s funeral wishes without the need for Court approval.

Funeral planning is an important part of your estate plan and cannot be accomplished with one simple form. Be sure to contact an Elder Law attorney to discuss your options.

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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.

 

Elder Law Tips & News

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Good & Bad News About Aging: A well-respected medical journal, The Lancet, reports that those over 90, nonagenarians, are improving in cognitive functioning. Also, they found that the chances of living to age 95 increased in the group born just 10 years later by 32%.

The good news: The group who were born in1915 and assessed at age 95 score significantly better on the mental and cognitive tests than those born in the group born in 1905. Further, those born later scored significantly better in their ability to perform the activities of daily living.

The bad news: There was not much difference between the two groups in terms of physical performance tests.

What’s it mean to you? Consider moving ahead with your estate planning – you may live longer than you think!

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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.

 

The Doolittle Raiders Hold their Final Reunion

By Attorney Dan Vu

71st logoLast April, with only four living Doolittle Raiders still living, the men decided to hold their final reunion at Fort Walton Beach, Florida. They chose this location since it was where their famous mission began. The Doolittle Raiders trained at Fort Walton Beach to take off in B-25 Bombers on short practice runways of less than 500 feet. They would need this training to take off from the flight deck of their aircraft carrier, the USS Hornet.

The daring mission was to bomb Japan itself at a time when our country was in its darkest hours, reeling from the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor. Also, the United States continued to suffer losses in the Philippines. The raid was a strategic success, since it required Japan to re-allocate its resources to defend its homeland and it also gave the the United States a much need morale boost.

Of the 80 men who took part in the mission, 69 survived the mission and 62 survived the war. Today four are living and three of the four were healthy enough to make the reunion.

In 2010 the Doolittle Raiders held their reunion at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base and Museum Center near Dayton, Ohio. For those of you local to our Monroe and Sidney Office, I encourage you to go see the Wright Patterson Air Force Museum to learn more about the raiders and to see in person some of their memorabilia.

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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.

 

Are Joint Accounts with your Children a Good Idea?

By Attorney Ted Brown

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 3.21.03 PMI often meet with clients who want their children to be able to access their accounts to help out with writing checks or paying bills. I also frequently meet with children who are glad to help aging parents manage their finances. However, these good intentions can create a very serious risk of major liability if carried out incorrectly.

THE WRONG WAY
When going to the bank, parents request that the helper child be “added to the account” which the bank obligingly does. In doing so they make the helper child a legal co-owner of the account. This act financially ties the parent and child exposing both to joint liability.

For example, if the helper child runs into financial difficulties such as a bankruptcy, or a divorce or a lawsuit, the parent’s account is considered to be their asset. Under the law, jointly owned assets are vulnerable to claims of either owner. Therefore the parent’s money can be lost paying for the child’s debts.

THE RIGHT WAY
Instead of adding the helper child as a co-owner, they should be added as a “Power of Attorney” acting under a properly drafted and executed Power of Attorney document. A Power of Attorney is designed to allows you to appoint someone else to act on your behalf. The Power of Attorney or “Agent” is obligated by law to act in the principal’s best interest but are not personally liable for the debts of the principal. Moreover, the principal is not personally liable for the debts of the agent.

Designating the helper child as a Power of Attorney allows the child to access the account, write checks, pay bills and do everything the parent needs without connecting them personally to the account or exposing assets to the child’s liability.
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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.

 

 

Ohio Veterans may qualify for little-known benefit

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Attorney Mitch Adel of Cooper, Adel & Associates Helps Vets Get the Help They Need

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 2.04.37 PMCOLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) —Veterans with long- term disabilities can receive up to $2,000 a month, widows of veterans more than $1,000 a month through the “Aid and Attendance” benefit.

The benefit is available to veterans and their spouses who served 90 days of active duty during World War II, Korea or Vietnam—even if they didn’t go overseas.

To qualify, you must have a “health need”— something that requires the regular assistance of another person for completing basic everyday tasks, like eating, bathing and getting dressed.

Mitch Adel, an attorney specializing in veterans’ affairs with Cooper Adel & Associates, says while the individual can apply for the benefit themselves, it helps to use an attorney.

Approval can take 6 to 8 months. If you are denied and want to re-apply, you have to start the process from the beginning. However, if you are approved, you are eligible for benefits retroactive to the day you applied. Working with an accredited VA attorney can ensure that veterans can get the financial help they need as quickly as possible.

More information is available from the Veterans’ Administration at www.VA.gov or on this website.
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Contact us for a free consultation.

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

 

Can I Afford to Keep Mom at Home?

By Kathy Cooper

Screen Shot 2013-07-09 at 8.46.00 AMEven though many of our clients are not yet in need of extra care, a big question on their minds is how they will pay for care. Most want to be cared for at home. No one wants to go into a nursing home! Most of their children are appalled at the idea of sending their parent to a nursing home. A recent article in Forbes talks about how we often underestimate how much care our aging parents may need and how much it costs to care for them at home.

First, we need to consider how much help is required. The amount of care and therefore the cost of care will depend on the number of activities of daily living (there are called ADLs and include bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, walking and transfer from bed to chair) for which Mom requires assistance. If Mom is over 85 and has problems with three or more ADLs, she will need an average of 9 hours of assistance per day – every day! If Mom also has dementia, the level of care goes up to 14 hours of care each day.

Next, we need to consider who will care for Mom. Family caregivers are the main source of informal care, but that is not always possible. If you are living in another city or you have a job that you must keep, it is unlikely this approach will be feasible. Unlicensed home care workers are often called in for basic care. The national average, according to a 2012 Met Life Study is $20 per hour.

Back to our example of Mom who is over 85, has dementia and requires assistance with three or more ADLs, the cost for long term care would average $102,200 per year. The Forbes article rightly suggests that it is unlikely Mom will be able to afford this on her own, so what can you do? If you are lucky enough to plan ahead because Mom is still doing well, get moving on a plan for her future. Consider contacting an elder law attorney to determine the government or veteran’s benefits that may be available to help pay for care at home, in assisted living and in a nursing home. Even if Mom needs help right now, even if Mom is in a nursing home, you may have options to obtain benefits that can help with the cost of care.

 

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Contact us for a free consultation.

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.

 

Can a living trust continue on generation after generation?

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Answer:  Yes.  A living trust can continue on for several generations.  However, a living trust must legally dissolve at some point, which is limited by what is termed the “law against perpetuity”.  The law against perpetuity is complex and should be discussed with your legal advisor.

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Contact us for a free consultation.

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.

 

Does my trust end when I die?

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Answer:  Normally, yes, but it is your choice.  Most people desire to have their assets distributed outright to their beneficiaries at death as they would with a will and to have the trust terminate.  However, unlike a will a trust doesn’t have to die with you.  Assets can stay in your trust and be managed for your chosen beneficiaries by a trusted person or corporate trustee that you have chosen in order to provide for gifts to minor children or special family situations, where an outright distribution does not make sense.

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Contact us for a free consultation.

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.

 

The Financial Perks of Growing Old Together

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By Mitch Adel
Spring is definitely upon us, and it isn’t just the young folks who are feeling amorous. Love is in the air, but many of us don’t realize its benefits go far beyond the psychological—particularly for seniors.
The financial benefits of marriage are well documented, but the fact is that seniors might actually benefit more in some areas than any other age demographic.Aside from the obvious advantages of sharing your heart and your bank account with a spouse (splitting the cost of things like rent or a mortgage and enjoying the financial stability and reduced risk that comes from two incomes) there are a number of specific ways that seniors can benefit from making a love connection.

Credit where credit is due

Because married couples have the advantage of two credit scores to work with, they can be more strategic in making significant purchases. Simply using the better credit score to make larger purchases (buying a house, for example) can have a positive financial impact: Even a relatively modest difference in credit scores can save tens of thousands of dollars in interest payments—money that can be directed toward your retirement.

An abundance of options

Retirement income options for married couples are also more diverse and financially favorable. One popular strategy that is available for couples is the “spousal switch”: electing to receive half of your spouse’s Social Security benefit as soon as they become eligible, and then switching to your own full benefit once you reach the age of 70 and maximum benefits kick in. By waiting until your benefit caps out—and collecting half of your spouse’s benefit in the interim—you can increase your monthly Social Security check by nearly $500. Similar strategies apply to widows and widowers, and this “juggling” of Social Security benefits can also help to maximize your benefits in circumstances where one spouse earns significantly more than another. It is also worth noting that it isn’t just married couples who may be able to take advantage of Social Security benefits: many states recognize common-law marriage status for couples that meet certain criteria (such as living together and filing taxes jointly), and the Social Security Administration recognizes those state-sanctioned unions.

It’s better to give…

In contrast with the $14,000 annual gift limit that applies to financial gifts between most individuals (above which a gift tax form must be filed and tax penalties may apply) spouses can gift each other any sum of money they choose.This is a small—but important—perk that can be very useful with multiple aspects of financial and estate planning.

With longer life expectancies, the financial pressures for seniors are more significant than ever. Higher medical expenses, largely driven by the skyrocketing costs of assisted living, in-home care and other specialized forms of health care, are making long-term financial planning more important than ever. At the same time, more couples over the age of 65 are getting hitched than ever before: nearly half a million American seniors are marrying every year.

On the other hand…

Before you tie the knot, there are critical issues you should discuss with your spouse-to-be that can affect your pocket book as well as your peace of mind.You should consider consulting with your elder law attorney and financial advisors to make sure you have all the bases covered.

The bottom line is this: whether you are newly married or have been together for decades, understanding how to make your relationship work for you and become a net economic positive is an important piece of the financial puzzle for seniors. Because, after all, what could be more romantic than a long, comfortable and financially secure retirement together?

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Contact us for a free consultation.

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.

 

If my child dies before me, does his or her spouse become a beneficiary of that child’s share of my estate?

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Answer:  It depends.  The answer to this question is based upon your desires as expressed in your trust.  Typically, the wording in your living trust provides that the deceased child’s share of the estate passes on to the children of that child.  If the deceased child has no children, then the deceased child’s share of the estate would typically be divided among the other remaining children.  However, your assets do not have to be distributed that way.  The attorney should write your trust distribution provisions to follow your specific wishes, for example, you may even leave all or part of your child’s share to your child’s spouse.  The bottom line is that with a living trust you make the decisions about how you want your assets distributed.

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Contact us for a free consultation.

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.

 



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