The Importance of Elderly Legal Advocates to Stop Elder Abuse

Last week, the New Yorker published a sobering look into the world of abusive guardianships around the country. Stories about elderly individuals being over-medicated and shuffled around to different nursing homes show the dark side of Guardianship law and how the Elderly are abused in our communities. As the baby boomer generation ages, elder abuse will continue to plague our society. After reading this story, I am left with two takeaways:

  1. Attorneys appointed to represent the interest of potential Wards need to do their due diligence EVERY TIME. Visit the person and speak to the caregivers. Talk to the family members and gather all relevant facts before submitting any report to the Court. In 99 out of 100 cases like those discussed in the article, a good advocate for the Ward would prevent the situation from getting out of hand.
  2. Family members and friends need to look out for the elderly in their communities. In a society where we close ourselves off more and more each year, those struggling in their homes or daily lives go unnoticed. If you know of an elderly person or couple in your neighborhood, take time to stop and check on them once a week or so. If you are family, go visit your elderly family members! Look for signs of elder abuse (new credit cards, HSN packages by the dozens, etc.). Those with memory issues can greatly benefit from seeing familiar faces on a daily or weekly basis.

Although we practice Guardianship law at the Weaver Firm, we always recommend a Guardianship as a last resort. The State of Texas has many statutory alternatives including Power of Attorneys, Caregiver Agreements, etc. Often, a strong support system can prevent Guardianships for years if not indefinitely.

For more information about these alternatives or if you think you need Guardianship advice, call our office at 817.638.9016.

To report elder abuse, go here: https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Contact_Us/report_abuse.asp.    

Who is Entitled to Death or Survivor Benefits from an ERISA Plan or from a Federal Employee Benefit Plan?

Are you or someone you know a part of the federal employee plan? Postal employee? Social Security worker? Senator? If so, you are covered by the Federal Employee Benefit Plan. We often deal with clients who are entitled to benefits from this type of plan. Check out this great article about what to do if you are entitled to benefits under this type of plan.

Some highlights:

  • make sure you designate your beneficiary and keep it updated!
    • married? change the beneficiary
    • divorced? change the beneficiary
    • children? change the beneficiary
  • FYI, just because you get a divorce, your surviving spouse can still receive retirement benefits
  • ambiguous designations on forms can still be effective depending on the intent of the employee

article link: https://poseidon01.ssrn.com/delivery.php?ID=695120099066114013027099112073077092097036019031031092110087122090070084089113065093056035048125008059096096007071031065126120038022089021065116026080115123096064024046007086080070084082070083125112002114094008068080065015005113092010007021119102024&EXT=pdf

What Trump’s Tax Plan Means for Texas Estate Planning

Attached, please find a timely article on the changes to the tax laws and how they might affect your Estate Planning.

Here are some highlights:

  • repeal of Estate Tax (death tax)
    • yes, the death tax is once again being threatened to within an inch of its life. While I doubt, the 5.5 million dollar exemption goes away, be on the lookout for changes in the future.
    • no mention of gift tax staying or going . . . limit is $14,000 a year per person still
  • cost basis at death is also strangely unmentioned. Perhaps you will keep a step-up in basis and perhaps not

Our advice:

  • update Power of Attorneys to allow for gifting powers
  • update Estate Planning documents for 2017 changes in language and law
  • keep investing wisely and saving so you can eventually take advantage of no Estate tax in the future!

Link to article: https://www.fa-mag.com/news/what-your-hnw-clients-should-do-in-response-to-trump-s-tax-plan-34964.html

Swedish Death Cleaning . . . Not Quite as Brutal as It Sounds

What is Swedish Death Cleaning? Basically, a guide to decluttering your life. As an advocate of decluttering your life for your heirs and for yourself, I always recommend reading this type of material. Estate sales are expensive and time-consuming. Often, fights start about who gets what jewelry or artwork or personal items.

Having an Estate Plan means actually having a plan for what happened when you age and when you pass away. Wills, Trusts and Power of Attorneys are excellent tools, but making a plan with your family can be the best type of planning. Check out this article and make sure and subscribe to our newsletter for even more in depth content and special news.

https://lifehacker.com/you-must-get-started-on-your-swedish-death-cleaning-1819370181

Is Your Child 18? 4 Tips & More To Prevent Legal Problems

Is Your Child 18? 4 Tips & More To Prevent Legal Problems

Many parents face a new experience this fall–sons and daughters headed to college, moving out, or handling adult responsibilities for the first time. Follow these four NEED TO KNOW tips to help you and your 18-year-old prevent legal problems:

1. Obtain financial & medical power of attorney for your young adult
If young Josh forgets to pay his rent one month, a financial power of attorney allows mom or dad to talk to the landlord and settle the bill—protecting your son’s credit rating. Same goes if Emma ends up with a bad case of bronchitis and can’t speak for herself at the doctor’s office. Parents can step in and determine medical care. At age 18, your child is now an adult in the eyes of the law and needs help preventing legal problems. You have no access to information or input on decisions.

2. Update student checking accounts and more with beneficiaries and co-signers
Maybe you’ll be putting monthly spending money in a checking account for Madison. Or, you’ve set up a 529 plan to pay for Jake’s tuition and books. Possibly you have a will that hasn’t been updated in years—showing your ex-wife as a beneficiary. Take 10 minutes to add yourself as co-signer on a youthful checking account and name a beneficiary. Same goes for updating beneficiaries on savings accounts and wills. You’ll then be able to access funds immediately if needed and avoid probate proceedings in Texas for these accounts.

3. Name a trustee for your estate – not your 18-year-old
Even the most mature 18-year-old doesn’t have the experience to handle decisions like selling a house, moving stock funds, and other major financial challenges if a parent is unable to do so.Update your will to name a reliable person as trustee for your estate, thereby preserving your children’s inheritance and making sure funds are spent as you intend. If you have minor children, naming a trustee for their care is even more important. Trustees can determine where your children live, apply for government benefits for your children, and speak to medical professionals. Good estate planning avoids any funds going to minors, so this won’t apply to seasoned experts like those of you reading this article.

4. What about your daughter’s dog (or cat, lizard, snake)?
If Ethan or Hannah leave Snoopy and Bootsy with you while they’re away at college, congratulations! You can always leave a small fund in a pet trust as part of your will. I also recommend naming the person or people who would take care of the pets. If you need further info on this subject, check out our article, Planning for Fur Babies.

More questions?
As always, if you have questions or would like to visit more about these tips or other estate planning concerns, I’d be glad to visit with you personally at our office just north of Fort Worth, in Rhome, Texas. Call 817.638.9016 and ask for Travis Weaver or send an email to Travis Weaver at TWeaver@WeaverLegal.net.

By Travis Weaver, Attorney – August 22, 2017

What Happens to Your IRA When You Die?

Check out this great article about the different ways your IRA benefits can pass at your death. This article goes into some planning details, but here is a brief summary of the author’s most important points:

  1. Talk to your attorney or CPA about any Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) for the current year. If the beneficiary was over age seventy (70), this is more than likely the case.

  2. Make sure your beneficiaries are up to date. Often we see former spouses or deceased individuals listed as beneficiaries. If these beneficiaries are not updated, you may leave money to someone you don’t even know.

  3. Listing a Trust as a beneficiary can be helpful is done correctly. You can stretch out distributions from your IRA for years. Consult an attorney or CPA about the proper way to set up your IRA Trust as mistakes in planning are common.

For all of these issues and more, set up an appointment with the Weaver Firm Attorneys at 817.638.9016 or at TWeaver@weaverlegal.net

To get ahead of the curve, join our newsletter here.

Will President Trump Repeal the Death Tax? Probably Not.

Forbes recently published an updated look into the proposed GOP tax reform which, among other things, seeks to repeal and death tax. Currently set at 5.49 million per person (portability allows this to double), the estate tax only affects about one percent (1%) of the U.S. population. This new tax reform seeks to lower the highest tax rate as well as reduce the top tax rate on trade or business income. As with all tax reform proposals, take this one with a grain of salt.

If anything was to change regarding the estate tax or laws that might affect you, rest assured, that the Weaver Firm will let you know. Yet another reason to stay up to date on our latest legal tips. For even more information, join our newsletter here.  

Smells Like Teen Inheritance

Refinery29 recently published an interesting glimpse into the life of Frances Bean Cobain. If the last name looks familiar, that’s because Frances is the only child of the late Kurt Cobain of Nirvana fame. Ms. Cobain makes a cool $100,000.00 per month from her father’s old band’s royalties. More recently, Frances and her husband, Isaiah Silva, went through a very public divorce. Silva is currently seeking half of the couple’s assets due to a lack of a prenuptial agreement. For more on this story, check out the original article here. For questions about generation planning or prenuptial agreements, give us a call at 817.638.9016 or visit us at weaverlegal.net.

For exclusive content, join our newsletter here.

Do You Have a Family Succession Plan? The World’s Richest Woman Didn’t

Lilliane Bettencourt passed away last week and Nestle is scrambling to figure out what to do with Ms. Bettencourt’s share of the company. Seeing as Ms. Bettencourt was the world’s richest woman at the time, this share is worth billions. For those of you with family businesses, do you have a plan in case something happens to you? Is this a plan you’ve shared with your family? Come see our attorneys to create a tailored plan for your succession. Then share that plan with your family members, preferably not after a heated political discussion. Just think, you can claim you have a better estate plan than the richest woman in the world.

817.638.9016 or weaverlegal.net 

Ever Wanted to Stretch Your Retirement Even Further . . .Here’s How

 

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-does-a-stretch-roth-ira-work-2017-09-22

 

Today, we bring you this poignant Q & A session from Marketwatch about stretching your IRA benefits. This type of planning can also be incorporated into a Trust for your children or even grandchildren and might allow your IRA to stretch on far beyond what you could imagine.

If you have questions about stretching your IRA or other questions about how retirement planning can mix with estate planning and Medicaid, please contact us at 817.638.2022 or at weaverlegal.net