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 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

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  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 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 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 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 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

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

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 for help with your estate planning, probate and elder law needs,

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 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 for your estate planning, probate and elder law needs.