Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How can I find out who the Beneficiary is Under a Life Insurance Policy?

There are so many issues that come up during the estate administration of a person who has died.  Often family members want to determine the beneficiary under any life insurance policy.  Further, if there are children of a prior marriage this information may not be easily attainable. 

Life insurance policies do not go through the probate process.  The probate process does establish a public file that any one can view.  However, the insurance policy is a private contract between the insured and the insurance company.  There is no real audit trail or documentation regarding who may have received insuarnce proceeds.  Therefore, it is important to let family members know about your insurance policy or at least the person that you named as beneficiary.  You do not want to leave your family members in the dark if they need to know. 

Put your affairs in order today.  Contact us at www.ythlaw.com

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Beneficiaries of a Will Need to Be Timely with Complaints

A potential client called regarding issues with the executor of an estate.  The caller was a beneficiary under the Will.  However, it had been over 13 years since the Will was probated. 

It is important to be timely with any issues you might have when you are a beneficiary under the Will.  You want to make sure  you get the assets that you are entitled to receive.  You will impact your opportunity to obtain whatever monies you are due the longer you might wait to raise issues.

When a Will is probated, there are timeframes that must be met. The Executor is required to provide a status report to the Register of Wills within as well as file the inheritance tax return within 9 months of death. The estate can be closed out with either a final accounting to the court or a Family Settlement agreement.   If you are a beneficiary under a Will you have to be notified to properly closed out the estate.  You can obtain a copy of the probate file to see what has or is occurring.

Contact us for your probate needs and questions at www.ythlaw.com

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Without a Will - There Will be Unintended Consequences

I just recevied a call from a prospective client.  She had an issue that, unfortunately, happens to many people.  However, it can be avoided with proper planning. 

The caller's mother died without a Will and her primary property was her home.  Her husband predeceased her but her 2 children survived her.  The caller has lived in the home with her mother while her sister has never been involved with the mother or expressed any interest in the home.  Now, the mother has passed and guess who gets the home.  YOU GUESSED it, the caller and HER SISTER equally.

Even though the caller obtained Letters of Administration to handle her mother's estate, it does not give her 100% interest in the estate.  She did get appointed because her sister expressed no interest in handling the administration and signed forms to that effect for the Register of Wills, this did not serve as a disclaimer of her inheritance.  That is a separate "estate administration" process. 

So, encourage your loved ones to get a Will done so that unintended consequences do not happen to them.  Contact us for expert estate planning!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Beware the Unintended Consequences

Over the last 2 days, I have discussed TOD, POD, Joint Ownership, Beneficiary Designations.  You want to title your assets to meet your specific needs and not have Unintended Consequences. 

If you retitle your asset into a joint title with rights of survivorship, you give up the right to give that asset to another person under your Will.  Similarly, when you create a POD bank account or a TOD brokerage account, you give up the right to leave the account to another person under your Will.

You want to have your estate plan handled by a professional.  Contact us at www.ythlaw.com
for all your estate planning, estate administration and elder law needs.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Joint Title with Right of Survivorship

Two popular forms of joint ownership are Joint Tenancy and Tenancy by the Entirety.  The Tenancy by the Entirety is limited to joint ownership between spouses. 

The Joint Tenancy allows joint ownership between any two or more persons.  One of the distinguishing features of both Joint Tenancy (with Right of Survivorship as oppose to In Common) and Tenancy by the Entirety is the Right of Survivorship.  When one joint owner dies, the deceased owner's interest in the asset goes to the surviving joint owner automatically.  This result is not affected by the deceased owner's will.

You want to make sure your property ownerships are done correctly by seeking expert legal advice.  Contact us at www.ythlaw.com

Monday, November 28, 2011

POD Accounts and TOD Accounts

Many clients have asked whether Payable On Death (POD) accounts and Transfer On Death (TOD) accounts will have the same effect as a Will.  A bank account titled as a POD account with a seignaed beneficiary and a brokerage account titled as a TOD account with a designated beneficiary will be paid to the designated beneficiary regardless of the terms of the Will.

A POD is a bank account that enables an account owner to designate one or more beneficiaries who will receive the funds of the bank account at the account owner's death.  A TOD account is a securites account that enables an account owner to designate one or more beneficies who will receive the assets of the account at the account owner's death.

Therefore, it is important in estate planning to look at all your holdings and determine whether the arrangement meets with your intent.  We help you make sure that uninteded consequences do not happen to your family.  Contact us at www.ythlaw.com

Monday, November 14, 2011

Final Accounting - Estate Administration

The administrator or executor of an estate must do a final accounting prior to distribution to the beneficiaries.  The final accounting can be done formally, ie. filed with the court, or an informal family settlement agreement can be used.  Even in the informal accounting, all assets and expenditures must be addressed. 

A question was posed regarding signing a waiver and release which holds the administrator and the attorney harmless for any mistakes or errors as part of receiving a distribution from the estate. The waiver seemed overly broad and there were concerns about signing.

First, you should be clear regarding what you are signing and that may mean you have your own independent legal review of the waiver you are being asked to sign.  In many cases, such waiver can be modified to be more limited in scope since generally a broad one is used even in cases where its application is not appropriate. 

For expert estate administration advice and guidance, contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/

Friday, November 11, 2011

Intestate - Die without a Will

It is so important that you make a Will.  But, the question often arises what happens if you die without a Will?  If there is no Will at death, the intestate laws of the state apply. 

A question was posed regarding the death of a spouse leaving a wife and 5 children without benefit of a Will.  For real estate, if the property was owned jointly with the wife, the property will go by joint ownership to the wife.  The other assets would go as follows:  The first 30,000 would go to the spouse and the remaining would be split 50% to the wife and 50% equally distributed to the 5 children.  Note, this would include any real estate that was owned in the husband's name alone.  If any child is under the age of 18 their share will be held for them and given out right to them at the age of 18 years of age.

Would this be the result you would like to see for your estate?  Many would say no!  Save your estate by making a Will today.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/

Thursday, November 3, 2011

How Long is Probate?

Clients often want to know should they set up a trust to avoid probate in Pennsylvania.  Though in some states, you want to avoid probate due to cost and the length of time involved, Pennsylvania does not fall into that category.  However, you still want to understand what the time period for probate might be. 

In Pennsylvania, the inheritance tax is due within 9 months of death.  Of course, you can file earliers.  Upon filing the return with the Register of Wills, you want to generally allow 4-6 months for processing by the Department of Revenue.  The Register of Wills serves as agent for the Department of Revenue.

Generally speaking the overall estate administration for most Pennsylvania estates with any complexity is 12 to 18 months if handled properly.  The clock starts to ticking upon the appointment of the estate administrator/executor.  Sometime that process may cause a delay if there is no Will or a challenge to a named Executor in the Will. 

The final step is a formal or informal accounting of the estate.  If done formally, it could take an additional 2-3 months to get a Hearing on the formal accounting.  If done informally, distribution would occur once all beneficiaries are in agreement with the settlement. 

You want the guidance of an expert attorney in this area.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ for all your probate needs.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Power of Attorney - Does not permit your Agent to Make your Will.

One of my clients recently posed a question regarding the General Power of Attorney.  She serves
 as Agent under her mother's General Power of Attorney.  Her mother is now unable to handle any of her affairs.  She does not have the capacity to make a Will which she never got around to doing. 

Can her daughter make a Will for her mother?  Quite simply the power of attorney would not allow the daughter to make a Will for her mother.  Only the person making the Will can have one created for them.  If her mother still had capacity to make the Will but was unable to sign the Will, then many jurisdictions permit proxy signatures -- someone signing for the testator.

Therefore, though the daughter could provide a proxy signature, she could not handle the whole thing, from development to execution. That would effectively make the document her Will, and not her mother's.

Share your questions here for a response or contact us at www.ythlaw.com

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Are You Ready for Retirement?

I remember when I was a child how time seemed to drag on.  Summer was forever and of course the school year was forever as well.  Now, Summer breezes by; Fall leaves quickly, Winter thaws swiftly; and Spring flowers rapidly.  I suggest that if we were to slow down and stop doing, we could just be with the seasons. 

As we age, we should enjoy each season.  Planning for our retirement is a part of enjoying the seasons of our life.  Have you saved enough money?  Is your money invested safely?  Have you been able to eliminate all debt or at least most so you can live on less?  If you have not been able to answer yes to these questions, then now is the time to focus on what matters most, your retirement years. 

We help you plan for the future by reflecting on your past accomplishments, celebrating your present moments and enjoying the prospects for your future.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Are You Living Your Relevant Life?

What is your legacy?  When you speak does anyone listen?  Does it move or change anyone?  Have others taken necessary action beneficial to them because of YOU

It could be hundreds, thousands or just one.  If you AFFECT the action of one or the actions of many and it made you feel alive, needed or energized, you are living your relevant life.  If that is not the case for you, what are you waiting for?

We take the time to assess the life you are living when we do your estate planning.  Through this process many come to understand what is most important in their lives.  It can be a time of profound discovery and potential CHANGE.

Contact us at www.ythlaw.com for your estate planning needs.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Legacy of Peace

The legacy we leave to our family is important.  Many also live a life whose legacy will change the world. 
The 2011 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday October 7, 2011 to Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen for their work on women's rights. The Norwegian Nobel Committee honored the three women "for their non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work."

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Steve Jobs - His Life, His Legacy

We mourn the death of a man whose technological advances were revolutionary.  Our regularly scheduled television programs were interrupted to announce his passing because his death was of such significant note.  BUT it was his life that was the most significant.  There are so many lessons from his life but four (4) stand out::  (1) Live Each Day as though it is Your Last   Stop!! Think, at this moment in time are you doing what matters most.  Tomorrow is not guaranteed to you.
(2) Surround Yourself with Great People  Look!!  Are the people in your circle teaching you anything new or just draining you.  Connect with the best and let go of the rest.     
(3) It does not matter what others think.  Listen!!  You have to be unaffected by others opinions of you whether such opinions are Good or Bad if you want to be the master of your destiny.  
(4)    Find YOUR Passion.  Heart Centered!!  Where does your heart lead you?  What is it that makes you feel true to yourself.  What is it that you could do all the time and say "Oh, that is not work."  BUT in fact it is.  You have found your passion.  Go For It!!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Discussing The Seven Principles of Wealth

In addition to discussing the 7 benefits of estate planning, I also covered the 7 principles of wealth during my presentation at the American Embassy in Jamaica.  

The 7 principles of wealth are (1) enjoy what you do; (2) have a budget; (3) put your money to work for you; (4) protect your resources (be prudent and wise/seek professional advice); (5) access whether to own or to rent; (6) save for retirement; and (7) increase your knowledge in order to obtain your specific goalsrainawoseve pay 

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Discussing the 7 Benefits of Estate Planning

I covered 2 primary topics during my presentation at the American Embassy in Jamaica.  One was the 7 principles of wealth which I will post on tomorrow and the 7 benefits of estate planning. 

The 7 benefits of estate planning are (1) protect assets; (2) save money; (3) establish a legacy; (4) address special circumstances; (5) discern elder needs; (6) distribute wealth; and (7) obtain peace of mind.  

To learn more contact us at www.ythlaw.com

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Death is Life - A Reflective View of My Jamaica Journey

I share with you a link to one person's reflection on my visit. She served as the Public Affairs specialist for my trip.
Her words help capture the wonderful experience I had sharing my estate planning expertise in Jamaica.  I spoke to the retired community, American Embassy personnel, college and high school students as well as those in the legal community. 

Contact us  for your estate planning needs.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Estate Planning- Preparing For A Prosperous Future

The Founder and CEO of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons ("CCRP") thanks me for my presentation to the CCRP during my visit to Jamaica.  Estate Planning: Preparing for a Prosperous Future was well received by those in attendance.  It was a rewarding experience to reach seniors and the retirement community in Jamaica.  Seniors around the world have made significant contributions to their community and so it is only appropriate that organizations are formed to address their unique needs and interests.  It was an  honor to present to such an important and distinguished audience.   
Yvette E. Taylor-Hachoose with Jean Lowrie-Chin of CCRP

Monday, September 26, 2011

Caribbean Community of Retired Persons

Jean Lowrie-Chin, the Founder and CEO of the Caribbean Community of Retired Persons (CCRP), warmly welcomed me to Jamaica.   Like the AARP in the United States, the CCRP recognizes the important resource the senior population provides to the community.  As an organization,  CCRP seeks to help seniors and retired persons to live life to the fullest.  They look for sponsors to provide programs and benefits of importance to the retirement community.  

Providing advice and guidance to our seniors is part of the Elder Law services at Taylor-Hachoose Law Offices.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jamaicans Interested in Estate Planning Book

At my presentations at the American Embassy and the Jamaica Fulbright Association, my most recet book Stop!  What Are You Waiting For?  Your Step By Step Guide To Estate Planning was available to the attendees.  In Jamaica as in the states, estate planning is important for asset protection, asset distribution and legacy creation. 

Making the book available nationally and internationally to encourage estate planning everywhere is one of the primary goals of my legal practice.  Plan now for a prosperous future by getting your Will done today.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

American Ambassador to Jamaica

Estate Planning is about to get a boost in Jamaica through public forums in its cities of Kingston and Mandeville.  The estate planning topic is being sponsored by the United States Embassy on September 22 and 23, 2011.  I will serve as the Guest Speaker and subject matter expert. 

This is an opportunity which is important for many reasons.  Of course, it is a topic that I write about and feel is critically important to everyone.  With these particular presentations, I also have the opportunity to be hosted by and present to my former undergraduate professor.  Ambassador Pamela Bridgewater taught in the Political Science Department of Morgan State University before her stella career in the foreign service.  She continues to be a role model to all her former students and to many others whose lives she has touched.  I look forward to being a part of the American Embassy's important work in Jamaica. 


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Jamaica - The Artist and Estate Planning

Estate planning is of particular importance in the Art world.  However, many artist, like most folks, have not attended to getting their affairs in order.  Whether it is visual, musical or other art forms, it is important that the artist protect and preserve his or her intellectual property rights, his or her copyrights or his or her ownership of work produced in a physical form. 

I had a conversation during my recent visit to The National Gallery of Jamaica about Artists and Wills.  The museum has seen first hand what could happen to works on loan when an artist dies without making provisions for his art work.  Money and time can be saved when an artist makes his plans clear by having a Will and keeping it up to date. 

We all have loved ones we want to protect and assets to preserve and pass on.  Contact our offices at http://www.ythlaw.com/ for your estate planning needs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Jamaica - Local News

Whenever I speak in a foreign country, I read their local papers for current events.  You want to understand what is happening in a country during your visit.  It helps with the relevancy of my presentation to put it into a local context. 

In this morning's paper, The Gleaner, there was a probate question posed by one of the readers.  The response was provided by a local attorney.  It was strikingly similar to inquiries I have addressed.  What happens when the original will can not be found?  What happens if the executor named in the will is deceased?  What happens if the executor named in the will does not want to serve?  These and a host of other questions will be addressed in my upcoming presenation. 

By the way, if you were wondering, (1) if the original will can not be found, there are ways to qualify a copy; (2) you need a death certificate to show an executor named is deceased; and (3) if an executor does not want to serve, they have to file a renounciation form.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ for your other estate planning needs and questions.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Jamaica - The Politics of the Times

My love and interest in politics started early on when I was in high school.  I followed that interest to college and majored in Political Science.  Now when I travel for any of my international presentations, I take an interest in the politics of the visited country. 

During my visit to Jamaica, one of the political parties was holding its 73rd Annual Conference.  And, I was able to observe some of its proceedings.  Like the U.S., there are 2 dominate political parties; the Jamaica Labour Party and the People's National Party.  A former colleague of mine who is from Jamaica and was also a political science major, has held a significant post during the People's National Party's prior administration.

It will be interesting to follow Jamaica's upcoming election since visiting this beautiful country as a specialist speaker.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ for all your estate planning needs.    

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blue Mountains of Jamaica

On Saturday, I had an opportunity to relax at a restaurant in the Blue Mountains of Jamaica with Ambassador Bridgewater and her assistant, Jackie.  With its organic menu, from our garden to your plate, Eits gives you a view and food that nourishes the body and soul.  I want to be ready mentally and physically for the upcoming week of presentations. 

I am finding that there are lots of Jamaican business owners and the need for business succession planning is evident.  The wonderful places that I have been and will be able to visit while in Jamaica have to be around for generations to enjoy and prosper.  But, that requires planning and the tpye of planning I will be addressing during this visit. 

Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ for business succession planning and estate planning.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Jamaica - Business of Diplomacy

I arrived in Jamaica this evening.  After leaving the states, where the temperature had dropped to 50 degrees, I stepped off the plane into a warm 80 degree evening.  I was expedited through immigation into a waiting car to take me to the residence of the Jamaican Ambassador.  I will stay at the residence during my week  on the beautiful island of Jamaica.

I was awarded the U.S. Speaker and Specialist Grant to lecture on Financial and Estate Planning for Women.  My first grant was awarded in 2008 to lecture in Ghana and this one is to present in Jamaica.  There is a need both national and internationally to focus attention on getting ones' affairs in order.  If not for yourself, then for those you love.  When I reach beyond my own borders, I am able to still reach those at home.  Whether through blogging or news coverage, the message is delivered.  At some point the message hits home and action is taken.

Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ and follow my blog over the next week, as I share the Jamaican diplomatic experience.    

Monday, September 12, 2011

Are You Prepared?

It has been an extreme weather event for the last 2 weeks.  First, we were hit with Hurricane Irene and then torrential rains causing more flooding.  How do you prepare for the unexpected?  We do not know when a loss might occur but we do know that if it does, we will need some protection.  Therefore, most of us purchase insurance for that potentiality. 

Well, with estate planning, we are also preparing for the unexpected (in many cases) but yet inevitable.  We want to protect our family and preserve our assets.  The only way to do that is to plan in advance. 

Let us help you save money, protect assets and distribute wealth.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

It Takes A Village

We often say that it takes a village to raise a child.  This African proverb, popularized in recent times by Hilliary Clinton's book of the same name, is very true.  There are many people who have no children of their own but have taken on siginificant roles in the lives of children.  That person could be a caring neighbor who is there for before and after school help and more; a special Aunt whose home is always available to a neice or nephew; a teacher who steps out beyond the classroom; or, a recent widow with time to give. 

Estate planning is an important part of the lives of people who nurture, give, and love in the way of the village.  Their stories, wishes and desires form an important part of my practice.  If you want to make sure those you have nurtured and loved during your lifetime recieve a share of your assets, then a Will is an important document for you to have. 

Contact our offices at  www.ythlaw.com for your probate, estate planning and elder law needs.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Kudu - Your Legacy Revealed

What a regal creature the Kudu is as it seems to pose for just the right shot.  Though my shot is not perfect, in my minds eye, I can see the gracefulness of this handsome beast.  When was the last time your picutre captured the essence of what you have seen?  Does it still remain in your camera, on your phone or locked away on your computer?  Take the time to share it, post it or frame it for your wall and all to see. 

Memories are meant to be documented and shared for prosperity.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ to handle, for the those you love, the documentation of your legacy which has been formed from all your cherished moments and events.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Plannning for Life's Unexpected Challenges

Until the Lion King, I never heard of or knew what a Warthog was.  Though a bit romanticized in the Lion King, the Warthog is not one of the loveliest creatures in the wild.  It is like a pig, hog or boar but least attractive.  It can move rather quickly when approached, not that you want to get near.

Not everything in life is attractive, lovely or even romantic.  The unexpected situation could cause difficulty in your life.  But there are ways to make those difficult situations less challenging for those you love.  Advance planniing!!!  This would include getting a healthcare power of attorney, general power of attorney, living will and a will. 

Don't wait until itis too latte.  Plan now by contacting us at http://www.ythlaw.com/

Friday, August 19, 2011

Asset Protection and the Zebra's Stripes, what is that about?

I am always learning somethin new.  Did you know that the Zebra's stripes serve to warm as well as to cool the Zebra?  When the season is cooler or the Zebra seeks warmth, the black stripes become wider.  While the white stripes are wider in warm weather or when the Zebra seeks cooler body temperature.  I never even knew that the stripe's width changes. 

Life is about always learning something new.  It is also about self-preservation, whether in the animal kingdom or with mankind. 

Check out our next informational seminar, book signing or event at http://www.ythlaw.com/.  Learn more about estate planning and protecting your assets and the ones you love. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tower of Giraffes

As I walked the path of our hotel complex, I came face to face with a giraffe.  It was surreal..  We both stared at each other with initial surprise then wonderment, for me.

When we encounter something strange or out of context, we pause to take it in, at least after the danger dissipates.  But what if that encounter results in danger.  We really never know when incapacity or death might happen.  In a nanosecond, we could be faced with that possibility. 

Are you prepared for the unexpected??

Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ for your Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Wills, Living Wills and other advise and guidance on your estate planning needs.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lessons of the Elephants

As the elephants emerged from the water, their huge ivory tusks fasinated me the most.  These gigantic but gentle creatures share the earth with us and fortunately we now protect them from being hunted for their tusks.  I can therefore sit on our boat with my 10 year old daughter and marvel with her on the graceful way the white tusks elephants emerge from the River. 

Without the interference of man, animals instinctively protect and preserve themselves as well as the longivity of their offspring.  They want their young to learn and benefit from them.  It is a natural fact, a given.  For us, we have a choice to protect and preserve ourselves and our assets as well as the future of the next generation.  It is our choice to plan or not to plan. 

If the wisdom of the animal kingdom provides any answers, planning would be our best choice. Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ for your estate planning needs.  

Monday, August 15, 2011

Vacation - Remember to Update or Get Your Estate Planninig Done

I was on vacation last week.  As I was preparing for what turned out to be a vacation of a lifetime, I thought about how many of my clients come to me for the first time when they are leaving for a big vacation.  Generally, they are leaving the country.  In some cases, they may be traveling without their children for the first time. 

In my case, we were traveling with our youngest daughter to Africa and taking in 2 national wild game parks,  Mosi Oa Tunya National Park in Zambia, and Chobe National Game park in Botswana as well as taking a sunset cruise on the Zambesi River to take in the Hippos and birdlife.  Though my documents are up to date (but of course), it was interesting that I better understood the anxiety that would exist if that were not the case.  Though I did not intend to be eaten by the crocodiles or trampled by a herd of elephants, you still want to cover your basis. 

We had a great time with lots of memories, photos, videos which I hope to share over the next few days blog posts.  So, are you up to date on all your estate planning needs?  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ before your next vacation for peace of mind. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

The 5 Year Look Back Period

I have discussed the fact that nursing home costs are very high and can deplete a person's resources.  Further, assets can not be transferred in order to qualify for medicaid which covers the cost of medicaid. 

The look back period applies to gifts made.  It also applies to assets placed in a Trust.  This would include trusts which have been set up for those with special needs if the trust was only addressing protecting public benefits of the special needs child. 

There are trust that serve as a protected Trust for Medicaid purposes.  If it were determined that a parent of a special needs child would have to be in a nursing home then monies can be placed in a Trust which is for the "sole benefit" of a disabled child. The Trust would name special needs child's estate, not other individuals, as remainder beneficiary in order to meet the "sole benefit" requirement.

Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/ for your estate planning and probate and elder law needs.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Asset Preservation

As our society ages, there are many issues that must be addressed.  In the area of preserving and protecting assets, we have to address the significant expense of nursing home care.  Can assets be protected from the cost of nursing home care?

There is now a 5 year look back period that pertains to transferring assets to other family members.  The look back period would apply to gifts. When applying for medicaid to cover nursing home costs, the question one has to respond to is whether any gifts have been made in the last 5 years. If so, it would extend the period of ineligibility for medicaid. The person would be treated as though they still have the money and therefore not qualify for medicaid for a period of time.

Let us help you plan for your future now and not wait until the need is upon you.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/

Thursday, August 4, 2011

An Irrevocable Trust Can Terminate

I often have clients that want an irrevocable trust.  I always advised them that, except in very specific situations that could involve the court, the trust can not be revoked, changed or revised.  Here is a common example of how a Irrevocable Trust might be used. 

The parents want to place their home in Trust for the benefit of their special needs child.  Upon his death, the home would go to the other surviving children.  We would start with a Revocable Trust for the parents.  The home would be placed in the Trust and the parents would go about their life as usual.  The terms of the Trust would specify that upon their death, the Trust will become Irrevocable.  The Trustees therefore could not revoke, change or revise.  However, there could be terms in the Trust that would provide for a termination of the Trust.  In this example, the Trust would in fact terminate upon the death of the special needs child.  The home would then transfer to the surviving children FREE of any trust terms. 

Let us protect and preserve your assets.  Contact us at http://www.ythlaw.com/.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Insurance - Is your estate Solvent?

I have seen families experience real financial hardship upon a loved ones death. This does not have to be the case if advance planning is done. One way to address an estate's solvency is through insurance.

It is important to make sure the estate has liquid assets (cash) to cover the debts and taxes of the estate. One of the best ways to handle the liquidity is with insurance. Insurance can provide that protection for many people.

Contact our offices at www.ythlaw.com for help with your estate planning, probate and elder law needs, www.ythlaw.com

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How does property pass upon death?

There are always questions about the best way to distribute property to your heirs or charitable interest. I remind my clients that property passes four (4) ways upon a person's death. It is passed on by Will (or intestate if there is no Will), Joint Ownership, Beneficiary Designation and Trust (assets have to have been placed into - or retitled into - the name of the Trust).

It is important to determine which way might best serve your needs. An estate planning professional can help with that decision. Contact us at www.ythlaw.com to help with all your estate planning, probate and elder law decisions.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Executors - What you need to know.

I had a question about the role of the Executor. My client wanted to make the right selection among their children. I did advise them that anyone could be selected for the role. You are not limited to family members, professionals or an institution.

Under the law, the Executor has all the necessary powers to administer the estate upon ones death. This would involve gathering up the assets (opening up an estate account) and making the distributions in accordance with the Will provisions. The Executor makes sure the debts and inheritance taxes and final taxes are paid before beneficiaries receive any assets. The Executor's role ends at the completion of administration of the estate.

If there is no Will, the court then appoints an Administrator who has the same role and responsibility as the Executor.

Contact us at www.ythlaw.com for your estate planning, probate and elder law needs.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tenancy By The Entirety

For married individuals, the home is generally owned as Tenancy by the Entirety which means that both, husband and wife, own the whole. When one spoues passes the entire property will belong to the surviving spouse.
The real estate therefore passes via the joint ownership known as Tenancy by the Entirety. It does not pass via provisions provided in ones Will. Only upon the death of the second spouse, if the home is still owned and the deed has not been changed, does the real estate pass under the terms of the Will.
Contact us at www.ythlaw.com should you have any questions on Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Tangible Personal Property

I draft Wills all day long. I therefore take for granted certain terms that lawyers use all the time in their Wills. However, I realize that many of those terms which are standard to me are totally new and sometimes confusing to clients. Therefore, I always find questions posed by clients of value in making sure terms are understandable.

Here is one that often baffles people, tangible personal property. There are 2 types of property, real and personal. Real property is easy to explain. It is real estate, the home and land.
Tangible personal property is everything else, unless something is specifically excluded. It represents your personal possessions which includes household furnishings (not including fixtures) jewelry, cars, china, books, artwork and other tangible belongings. It even includes "money" in any form (cash, bonds, annuities, etc.) unless it is excluded from the definition of tangible personal property.
It is your Will and if there are words that you do not understand or do not make sense have your lawyer explain or change it to be understandable to you. Contact us for your estate planning and probate needs at www.ythlaw.com

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Legacy Lost??

I was saddened to read about the status of Rosa Parks' Estate. Apparently, there has been litigation over her estate since her death in October,2005 at the age of 92.0 The cash value paled the "value" of her memorabilia. Often referred to as the Mother of the Civil Rights Moment" her medals, paper and even clothing carries such significant historical importance which can equate to an invaluable collection. However, this all can be clearly distorted in any protracted litigation or dispute.
What does this do to a legacy of strength, perserverance, faith in the face of adversity? It is not only for me and those who lived during her lifetime; but, for the younger generations and those not yet born that the physical representation of her legacy must be protected. It serves to educate and inspire those exposed to the memory of an historical ICON.
Contact our offices for your probate, estate planning and elder law needs at www.ythlaw.com

Monday, July 25, 2011

Legacy - Take Time to Reflect and Create

Until you die, you are creating your legacy that will last well after you die. How long depends on you and the legacy you create and preserve.

You can make a monetary bequest/gift to your family or you can give to charities that reflect your values and beliefs. What you leave can be tangible (cash, house, car) or intangible (wisdom, ideals, philosophies, principles). However, you can only be impactful in the way that you desire if you plan ahead. Otherwise, your legacy will be left to the whims and fantasies of others.

What we do is work with you to make sure your wishes and desires are documented. Contact us at www.ythlaw.com for all your estate planning needs.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Capture Your Legacy

As you prepare for your weekend, think about all that you have accomplished in your life. If you are so inclined, write those things down on a piece of paper and read through them again. Take the time to celebrate this list during your weekend. Feel free to share this list with family or friends or just keep it to yourself, if you prefer.

It is my wish for you that all that you have accomplished to date is just a reminder to you of what can be done in one's lifetime and to just imagine how much more can be added to that list during the rest of your life.

We celebrate life and living in our estate planning practice. Let us preserve your legacy. Contact us at www.ythlaw.com

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Little Help

I just watched this clip and thought it would be an interesting movie to see. You never know when something may happen to you or the one you love (or not). Planning now can save a lot of anguish later. Let me have your thoughts once you see the movie. I will comment further as well when I see it.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Divorce and Death - What you need to know.

You probably do not even think about all the details of a divorce until you are in the middle of one. That may not be the most appropriate time for you to make rational decisions affecting the rest of your life. But, be that as it may.

What you need to remember, whether you are getting a divorce or not, is that upon death money is distributed 4 ways: by Will, Trust, Joint Ownership or Beneficiary Designation. You need to make whatever changes are necessitated by the divorce in all 4 of these areas.

Contact us at www.ythlaw.com for all your estate planning, probate and elder law needs.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Divorce and the Special Needs Child

A divorce is multifaceted. Therefore, if you are able to move towards a collaborative divorce, it could provide the best alternative to look at all aspects of your life and divorce. Specifically, in addition to divorce attorneys, financial advisors, mental health professionals, you want to make sure an estate planning attorney is involved.

A Special Needs Child will still require the emotional and financial support of both parents, even more so after the divorce. You can handle the emotional side with the help of mental health professionals. A Special Needs Trust could serve to address handling financial needs. You do not want the divorce to affect any public benefits currently available to your child. A neutral party could serve as the trustee and make sure those supplemental needs that you might want for your child are addressed.

We can help you. Contact us a www.ythlaw.com for your estate planning, probate and elder law needs.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Is Your Ex-spouse still a Named Beneficiary Under Your Insurance Policy?

A client called to ask me a question for one of her customers. The customer's ex-wife died. They had been divorced for several years and, as of the date of her death, the children were still minors. The ex-husband "alleged" that it was his ex-wife's intent not to change her life insurance policy. However, the insurance company refused to issue the $250,000 death benefits to the ex-husband.

The question asked was whether the insurance company was correct in not releasing the check to the ex-husband. Well, I pondered the question. The policy is a contract between the insurance company and the insured, now deceased. She named her beneficiary and never changed it even well after the divorce. However, you have to also consider case law and any statutes that might change the basic contract analysis.

ANSWER: The Ex does NOT get the $250,000.
STATUTE: A statute in PA provides that if an ex-spouse is still named as a beneficiary under a life insurance policy upon the death of the other ex-spouse then such ex-spouse will not be entitled to the death benefits. There would have to be CLEAR intent (ie. provided in the divorce decree) that the deceased person intended for the ex-spouse to receive such death benefits.

Call us at www.ythlaw.com for all your probate, estate planning and elder law needs.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Divorce - When Should I update My Powers of Attorney

Another estate planning matter that must be addressed at the time of divorce is your powers of attorney.

(1) If you have powers of attorney naming each other as agents, then 9 times out of 10 you do not want your ex-spouse to handle your affairs when you are incapacitated.

(2) If you do not have any powers of attorney, it is even more important to get them done.

You need to appoint someone to handle your financial affairs (paying bills, dealing with the bank, etc.) when you are unable to do these things yourself. You also want someone to be able to talk with doctors or review your medical information when you are unable to address medical situations yourself.

Don't let a divorce just happen to you. Take a collaborative approach that helps you address the financial, emotional and more importantly those estate planning issues that could get overlooked and lead to real complications. Contact us at www.ythlaw.com for estate planning, probate and elder law needs.