Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kagan Confirmation Hearings

Congress makes the laws, the President enforces the laws, and the Supreme Court interprets the laws. It seems simplistic and straightforward but it is not because the devil is in the details. This week we watch the confirmation hearings of, Elena Kagan, a nominee to the Supreme Court of our nation. The hearings are just as important as an election to congress or the presidency.

I am always reading court opinions that interpret tax laws affecting estate planning as well as opinions pertaining to specific estate plans that have been challenged by those affected by the plan in one way or the other. Just like the laws of the land, your will has to be written to withstand the scrutiny of a judge, maybe not a Supreme Court Justice but the judiciary may be called in to determine whether your will complies with the laws or if your intentions are clear.

Professional guidance is key when making your will. Leave your comments here or contact us at

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

BP - Oil Disaster in the Gulf

I, alongwith the nation and the world, are watching the unfolding of the worst oil spill in US history. The deaths from the explosion, the impact on the fishing industry, tourism, wetlands and wildife are all unprecedented. And now there is a fund to begin to compensate those who have suffered as a result of this tragedy. But is it enough? What would be enough?

There are so many plans that have to be put on hold and dreams that can never be realized. How can you value such loss?

What we all can do is prepare ourselves for the expected and the unexpected. What happens to our loved ones when we die? How do we manage during a sickness or disability? Unlike the unprecedented oil spill, we have ways to address these emergencies. Get your will done today. Name a person under a power of attorney to act for you when you are unable to act for yourself. Take these steps now before it is too late. Leave your comments here or contact us at

Monday, June 28, 2010

Too Many Wills Creates Chaos

In my book Stop! What are you waiting for? Your Step-by-Step Guide to Estate Planning, I stressed the importance of shredding prior wills. Even though the new will revokes any prior will, finding the old one first could start a process in the wrong direction and create disharmony when the current will is found.

Apparently, there were 2 wills found for Gary Coleman and even some handwritten notes. The handwritten notes would not be a will if the will formalities were not followed.

You must handle your will as you handle your other business. Be organized and consistent. If your will is not maintained with your attorney, maintain it in a safe or safety deposit box. Why have unnecessary chaos, with a little planning while following best practices, you lessen the burden on your family and friends.

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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yet Another Will in the Gary Coleman Saga

This was the recent headline in one newspaper. It just reminds me of the importance of taking proper care of your important papers. When a new Will is done, it revokes the prior Will. But if no one knows of the new Will, the old Will could end up being used. That is why is it also important/critical that ALL prior Wills are shredded/burned/ get the picture. GET RID OF ANY OLD WILL.

If Gary Coleman had another Will, as long as all of the legal requirements for making a Will were satisfied, it would prevail over any Will already submitted to the courts. The ramifications of any conflicts will continue to fuel the backstory of yet another Hollywood drama.

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Thursday, June 10, 2010

A Uncommon Millionaire and her Wonderful Legacy

I enjoy the stories of folks leaving a legacy worth millions to deserving people who did not expect it. Here is another story from the headlines that reminds us that it takes all types of people to make a difference in our lives and "be kind to your neighbors" should be everyones motto.
Click on the picture to hear her story!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Elder Care - When a Nursing Home is Required

I recently spoke with a client whose 91 and 95 year old grandparents are in need of long term care. They can no longer stay in their home because the limited care they receive (4 hours a day) is not sufficient to meet their needs. However, the cost of a nursing home is prohibitive given their resources.

So, what is one to do? Their options are limited. Since both need to have 24 hour care, all of their resources would have to be paid to the nursing home until they qualify for medicaid. My client's grandparents could spend down on eligible items like prepaid funeral, medical bills and home repairs (which would be necessary to sell it). Other transfers, like to a trust or gifting to family members, would affect their eligibility for medicaid since there is a 5 year look back period on transfers.

The options are few given their advance age. Planning for long term care needs to be on everyones' radar since we are living longer and with that our medical needs increase. Leave your comments here or contact us at

Monday, June 7, 2010

Coleman Dies at 42

Gary Coleman, the child star of "Different Strokes", suffered a brain hemorrhage and went into a coma. Life support was withdrawn and he soon passed on. It was reported that he had named his personal representative to speak for him regarding healthcare matters when he could not speak for himself. Through that power, his agent (his ex-wife) withdrew life support.

Now at issue is the remains of his body. Who has the rights thereto? His parents or his ex-wife. Unless he provided otherwise for his remains, the parents would have the priority right. Of course, as with all of Hollywood matters, the drama continues to unfold. Did he remarry the ex-wife and therefore, elevate her status to wife?

I will continue to follow but in the meantime I continue to stress the importance of your estate plan and how it covers all of your assets, even your physical body. Leave your comments here or contact us at

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Bucks County Estate Planning Council

There is so much information on estate planning. You want to make sure you are getting correct and up-to-date advice and guidance. In my opinion, seeking the advice of an estate planning attorney is of course one of the most important ways to accomplish this goal. There are also organizations, associations, groups, and councils that can provide some relevant guidance. The Bucks County Estate Planning Council is another important way to stay current in this area.

Even if you do not want to join the Council, you can attend the dinner meetings which always has a relevant estate planning topic presented by an expert in the field. You can get a list of the scheduled meetings, topics and costs from their website and additional information about the Council.

The Council is interested in sharing information to those who need to know it. You can benefit from the professionals associated with the Council in ways to grow, protect and preserve your estate. Contact our offices at for expert estate planning advice.