Monday, August 9, 2010

Free - Some Things In Life Are!!!!

We say, slow down and smell the flowers. It is FREE, you know.

Well, you can also get a hug, for FREE!! How special is that?? Watch and see!!!

Leave your comments here or contact us for your charitable estate planning today.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

When Do You Need A Trust?

A revocable living trust serves several purposes. It avoids probate, provides privacy and provides ease of handling your business during any incapacity. Generally, I recommend such a trust when a client has real estate in more than one state. This avoids the necessity of probating in more than one state.

However, if there is a mortgage on the property, you must obtain approval of the mortgage holder to change the Deed into the name of the trust. Though this is permissible by most lenders, the process to go through to get the approval can be daunting. So, before you obtain a revocable living trust, contact your mortgage holder to get the paper work that you will be required to fill out. This way you know the steps ahead of time and the attorney can assist you with the paperwork.

Leave your comments here or contact us at

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Power of Attorney

I can not stress enough how important it is to have a Power of Attorney. I had a situation recently where the brother of a client became terminally ill. The brother was not married and had no children. His only relative was my client. With the illness, my client's brother could not pay his bills and my client was taking care of all these expenses. However, my client did not anticipate such a prolong illness and needed to access his brother's money to continue with the payments.

When I visited the brother in the hospital, I realized that he did not have the capacity to execute a Power of Attorney. Obtaining a guardianship was going to be the only option available to my client. Guardianship procedures are long and costly. Whereas, a Power of Attorney can range from $75 to $150.

Leave your comments here or contact us at

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Inheritance Disclaimer and Medicaid

There was a question from a reader regarding whether a medicaid recipient can disclaim his inheritance. In this situation, a 89 year old man has been in a nursing home for 3 years and for the last 2 years he has been on medicaid. He had very little assets and once those resources were depleted he applied for and obtained medicaid to cover his stay in a nursing home. Now a relative has died and in their will left the 89 year old an interest in a home which when sold will yield him about $125,000. He prefers to disclaim this inheritance to enable a younger relative to inherit. Can he do this?

In order to answer that question, you must review the federal medicaid law and the state law interpreting and implementing that law. Unearned income is consider a resource for medicaid purposes and an inheritance is unearned income. But, if you disclaim an inheritance you never get this unearned income. However, does this disclaimer amount to a transfer of assets which brings with it a penalty for eligibility? Does medicaid have to be informed regarding the inheritance and the disclaimer? If the 89 year old should proceed to disclaim, there will be potential objections from medicaid and who would win depends upon all the factors mentioned.

Leave your questions here or contact us at

Monday, August 2, 2010

School's Out for the Summer

Summer slow down, please. It is August already and though we have been experiencing 100 degree weather, I still love my lazy, hazy summer days. Like most folks, I work year round but summer just reminds me of my "school's out for the summer days". At a cellular level, my body seems to remember the fun of summer. It was a time to join with my cousins at our grandmother's where the rules differed from home. Hiking in the woods, swimming in the bay, up all night, lots of homemade sugary treats and fun adventures that provide memories of a lifetime were just a few things that make me even now a summer adult.

I have thought about how to capture such basic, wholesome experiences for my children in this day and time when the freedom we had would prove dangerous today. To me, living life has given me many estate planning moments. Though this is not an estate planning moment, it is a life moment of reflection. Maybe sharing this with you, you can help me in finding ways to protect and preserve the wonders of childhood so that when our children are adults they can still feel that summer fun.

Leave your comments here or contact us at