Did You Leave Life Insurance To Your Ex-Spouse?

Ever heard horror stories about accidentally leaving an inheritance to an ex-spouse? Here is such a story.

Suppose you have a life insurance policy issued as part of an employee benefit plan that identifies your spouse as your primary beneficiary and your adult child as the contingent beneficiary. Maybe you even have a portion of the policy passing to your dog. (This happens)

Years down the road, your marriage ends and you get a divorce.

Your divorce decree provides that your ex-spouse is divested of all right, title and interest in any proceeds from your insurance policies. This solves that problem . . .right?

Nope.

What does Texas Law Say?

Under Texas Law, a designation in favor of a spouse is not effective after a decree of divorce or annulment is rendered unless the decree designates the ex-spouse as a beneficiary or the owner of the policy re-designates the ex-spouse as the beneficiary after the decree is becomes final.

This saves you . . .right?

Maybe not.

State law applies to insurance policies acquired independent of your employment. If you die owning such a policy and you named your spouse as the primary beneficiary and then got divorced, the designation in favor of your ex-spouse would not be effective and the proceeds would pass to the alternate beneficiary.

What Does Federal Law Say?

However, insurance policies issued as part of an employee benefit plan are controlled by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). This federal law trumps state law with respect to most employee benefits. Under ERISA, a plan administrator must distribute benefits to a beneficiary named in the plan regardless of the state law divesting the ex-spouse of his or her right to the benefits.

So if you obtained your insurance policy through your employer, your ex-spouse would be entitled to the proceeds.

What Does This Mean For You?

In layman’s terms, you need to rename your beneficiaries under your policy after a divorce unless you want your ex-spouse getting that money when you die.

There is case law to support the idea that a lawsuit could be brought against the ex-spouse to enforce the ex-spouse’s waiver of those benefits in the divorce decree; however, that may lead to protracted litigation and significant expense.

The easiest way to avoid any of this happening is to make sure you review your beneficiary designations regularly and to update your beneficiary designations as your life changes.

Get married . . .change the beneficiaries.

Have kids . . .change the beneficiaries.

Divorce . . .change beneficiaries.

Call our office for help or questions

817.638.9016 or RWeaver@weaverlegal.net

Our Guide to Disability Planning

This is The Weaver Firm guide to disability planning

Many people associate estate planning with preparing for what happens when they pass away.

This overlooks disability planning as a critical component of any estate plan.

A temporary or permanent disability can affect anyone. Sometimes the disability is sudden and sometimes a debilitating illness causes a slow health decline.

Here are four ways disabilities harm your estate plan:

  • You may be unable to work your normal job or unable to do any kind of work
  • You may be unable to make your own decisions, communicate your wishes, or manage your own affairs
  • If you have children, you may not be able to properly care for them on your own
  • You may not be able to create a will or change your estate plan if you are not of sound mind

How to combat these problems

The Basics: Create a Power of Attorney and Healthcare Directive

The most important step you should take to plan for your incapacitation is to have a valid statutory durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney.

The former gives your agent the power to pay your bills, access your accounts, and keep your financial matters in order if you are unable to do so.

The latter gives someone else the power to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

You should also include a healthcare directive that states your wishes regarding certain treatments, such as whether you wish to remain alive on life support in certain situations.

This documents put healthcare decisions in your hands.

Our Estate Plan recommendation includes all of the previously mentioned documents as well as a Last Will and Testament.

Financial Consequences of a Disability

A disability could prevent you from working ever again.

You should be aware of your disability insurance options, including employer-provided insurance, Social Security Disability benefits, and private disability insurance.

You may also incur additional expenses if you become permanently disabled.

Long-term care planning should be considered in any estate plan, as the costs can be very high and deplete your assets quickly.

Medicaid planning may be an option for some people, while others should consider long-term care insurance. Medicaid planning is one of our specialties. The average nursing home cost in 2018 is over $6,000 a month per person. Our planning sessions cost less than $1,000. You do the math.

If you have minor children, you should already have a guardian designated to care for them. If you are disabled, you may not be physically able to care for your children and you may not have the mental capacity to choose a guardian at that time.

Even if you are healthy now, planning for disability can give you peace of mind and protect your family.

Consult an estate planning attorney to discuss your disability planning concerns.

817.638.2022 or RWeaver@weaverlegal.net

10 Items Your Kids Don’t Want To Inherit & Remedies For All

Piles of inherited collectibles being sold at flea marketDon’t want to see your beloved collection of books, records, china, or figurines on a table at the local flea market?

Check out our “Top 10 Items Your Kids Don’t Want to Inherit” AND remedies for finding a good home or at least peace of mind regarding your treasured items–

No. 10: Books

Unless your grown kids are professors, they don’t want your books. There are a couple common mistakes my clients make in valuing books:

The 17th-century books are likely to be theological or grammar-based, and are not rare. The 19th-century books are probably not in good condition, and since most came in a series or set, it’s unlikely you’ll have a full (valuable) set.

Remedy: If you think the book is relatively common plug the title, author, year of publication, and publisher into a search engine. Once you have the information, try selling on Amazon or donating to a library. People always need books.

No. 9: Paper Stuff – Photos, greeting cards, postcards

Family snapshots, old greeting cards, and postcards are not worth anything unless the sitter is a celebrity or linked with an important historical event or the subject is extremely macabre, like a death memorial image. Old greeting cards are not valuable unless handmade by a famous artist or sent by Jackie O. Postcards are valued mainly for the stamps.

Remedy: Take all your family snapshots and have them made into digital files. The other option is to sell those old snapshots to greeting card publishers who use them on funny cards or give family photos to image archive businesses like Getty. If the archive is a not-for-profit, take the donation write-off.

No. 8: Steamer Trunks, Sewing Machines and Film Projectors

Trust me, every family has at least three steamer trunks from the 19th century. They are so abundant that they are not valuable, unless the maker is Louis Vuitton, Asprey, Goyard or some other famous luggage house.

Likewise, every family has an old sewing machine. I have never found ONE that was rare enough to be valuable.

And every family has a projector for home movies. Thrift stores are full of these items, so, unless your family member was a professional and the item is top-notch, yours can go there as well.

Remedy: Donate this category and don’t look back. Declutter your life.

No. 7: Porcelain Figurine Collections and Bradford Exchange “Cabinet” Plates

These collections of frogs, chickens, bells, shoes, flowers, bees, trolls, ladies in big gowns, pirates, monks, figures on steins, dogs, horses, pigs, cars, babies, Hummel’s, and Precious Moments are not desired by your grown children, grandchildren or any other relation. Even though they are filled with memories of those who gave them to your mom, they have no market value. And they do not fit into the Zen-like tranquil aesthetic of a 20- or 30-something’s home.

Remedy: Find a retirement home that does a gift exchange at Christmas and donate the figurines. If you want to hold on to a memory of your mom’s collection, have a professional photographer set them up, light them well and make a framed photo for your wall. Collector’s plates will not sell anywhere to anyone. Donate these to a retirement village as well or to anyone who will take them.

No. 6: Silver-Plated Objects

Your grown children will not polish silver-plate, this I can guarantee. If you give them covered casserole dishes, meat platters, candy dishes, serving bowls, tea services, gravy boats, butter dishes and candelabra, you will be persona-non-grata. They might polish sterling silver flatware and objects, but they won’t polish the silver-plated items your mom entertained with. The exception may be silver-plated items from Cristofle, Tiffany, Cartier, Asprey, and other manufacturers of note.

Remedy: None. Give it away to any place or person who will take it.

No. 5: Heavy, Dark, Antique Furniture

There is still a market for this sort of furniture, and that market, in the fashionable areas of the U.S., is most often the secondhand shop. You’ll receive less than a quarter of purchase price if you sell on consignment in one. Unless your furniture is mid-century modern, there’s a good chance you will have to pay someone to take it off your hands.

Remedy: Donate it and take a non-cash charitable contribution using fair market valuation. You can always sell these items at a consignment store or on craigslist.

No. 4: Persian Rugs

The modern tranquility aimed for in the décor of the 20- to 30-somethings does not lend itself to a collection of multicolored (and sometimes threadbare) Persian rugs.

Remedy: The high-end market is still collecting in certain parts of the U.S. (think Martha’s Vineyard), but unless the rug is rare, it is one of the hardest things to sell these days. If you think the value of the rug is below $2,000, it will be a hard sell. Like antique furniture, it may be best to donate. Tax deductions are helpful. 

No. 3: Linens

Go ahead, offer to send your daughter five boxes of hand-embroidered pillowcases, guest towels, napkins, and table linens. She might not even own an iron or ironing board, and she definitely doesn’t set that kind of table.

Remedy: Source those needlewomen who make handmade Christening clothes, wedding dresses, and quinceañera gowns. Also, often you can donate linens to costume shops of theaters and deduct the donation. 

No. 2: Sterling Silver Flatware and Crystal Wine Services

Unless the scrap value for silver is high enough for a meltdown, matching sets of sterling flatware are hard to sell because they rarely go for “antique” value. Formal entertaining is not a priority these days. And of course, sterling must be hand-washed and dried. Can you see your kids choosing to use the silver? Same goes for crystal: The sets you have are too precious, and the wine they hold is too small a portion. Period.

Remedy: Sites like Replacements.com offer matching services for folks who DO enjoy silver flatware and have recognized patterns. Because they sell per piece, and therefore buy per piece, sellers get a rather good price. Sell your whole silver service; it will be “pieced out.”

Unless your crystal is Lalique, Moser, Steuben, Baccara, or another great name, you will not be able to sell your “nice set.” Give “unknown maker” sets away, fast.

No. 1: Fine Porcelain Dinnerware

Your grown children may not want to store four sets of fancy porcelain dinnerware, and frankly don’t see the glory in unpacking it once a year for a holiday or event.

Remedy: Like silverware, china is something to consider for sale to a replacement matching service like Replacements.com. Know your pattern to get a quote from one. Because such replacement companies buy per piece, the aggregate of the selling price is always more than a bulk sale at a consignment store, which might be your only other option.

These are typically items we don’t include in a will. If you need to update your will or trust, give our office, Weaver Firm-Attorneys, a call today at 817.638.9016 or send an email to TWeaver@weaverlegal.net. We’ll be glad to help you sort things out. 

Travis Weaver, Attorney

Travis Weaver, Attorney

Why Use Elder Law Attorneys?

The name, elder law attorney, makes some individuals think that the attorneys who work at the Weaver Firm only work with senior citizens. Elder law attorneys are those who help people plan for the future–their later years, incapacity, and long term care planning. We also help those who have faced, or are facing, a life changing event. So why use Elder Law attorneys?

A disabled person need not be elderly, yet needs an attorney who understands the nuances and benefits of special needs planning. Government benefits require mountains of paperwork and we help you sort through it.

At our law firm, we definitely work with senior citizens (note that in many cases 55-year-olds are considered seniors) who are having their advance directives, wills and other legal paperwork drawn up. We also work with individuals and families who are facing life-changing or potentially life-altering events.

ELDER LAW ATTORNEYS ARE NOT JUST FOR THE ELDERLY

As mentioned, some of those life-changing events could include: 

  1. Planning for retirement
  2. Facing nursing home or assisted living placement
  3. Buying or inheriting a home
  4. Life changing or potentially life altering surgery
  5. Marriage
  6. Divorce
  7. Child birth or adoption

When working with a Weaver Legal attorney, you’re taking proactive steps to protect your life savings, your legacy, determine who will inherit your estate, putting plans in place in the event you are suddenly unable to make financial decisions, pay your bills or are faced with a life-or-death health situation or hospital stay.

Why Choose an Elder Law Attorney?

Individuals or couples of any age can work with an elder law attorney to have a last will and testament prepared.

Young couples, especially those starting out, buying a house, and having or adopting children should have a will drawn up.  Do you want to decide who the guardian of your children should be, or let the government decide?

What are the benefits of working with an Elder Law Attorney? 

If you’ve lived through the death of a loved one and if they didn’t have a will in place or they hadn’t made their final wishes known, you were left to “take care of things” without really knowing their wishes.

When you haven’t spoken with an elder law attorney to have your will or advanced directives drawn up you are leaving your family to face a burdensome task in addition to dealing with the grief of your passing.

Why hire our Attorneys? 

It is better to be proactive because you simply don’t know if you will be the victim of an accident that could leave you debilitated and unable to make decisions on your own behalf. If you haven’t named a Medical Power of Attorney, the decisions on your medical care may be left up to the medical team and not your family.

Contact us today for Elder Law Needs. 817.638.9016 or RWeaver@weaverlegal.net

What is the “Death Tax”? Don’t let it scare you!

Who Pays Estate or “Death” Tax?
Only Applies To Estates Above $11.2 Million 

Don’t be afraid! One of the first questions we get asked when discussing estates and probates is, “Will my loved ones pay ‘death’ or inheritance tax after I die?”

The short answer. Probably not.

The estate tax—a.k.a. the “death” tax to those who want it repealed—is a federal tax on assets (including cash and securities, real estate, insurance, trusts, annuities, business interests and other assets) upon one’s death.

In 2017, anyone who died leaving an estate larger than $5.49 million paid 40 cents on the dollar for every dollar over $5.49 million. As you can imagine, this is an unpleasant conversation to have with people.

After the new tax plan passed in 2018, the estate tax exempt amount jumped to $11.2 million per person.

Unlimited amounts pass between spouses. The $11.2 million amount applies to beneficiaries like children or grandchildren.

According to a 2015 report from Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation, 4,700 estate tax returns reporting tax liability were filed in 2013, out of 2.6 million deaths in the United States. That’s around 0.2 percent of Americans, or roughly two out of every 1,000 people who die.

And once the tax bill passed, the studies estimate that around 1,800 estates will be affected this year.

Estates Often Pay Less Than 17%  in Taxes — Not Top Rate of 40%

The top statutory rate is 40 percent, however the effective tax rate— or what the estates actually paid—was less than 17 percent in 2017, according to the Tax Policy Center.

If the tax rate is 40 percent, how is it estates pay less than 17%? Here are reasons:

  • Remember, estates only owe taxes on the amount above the exempted amount, which, again, is $11.2 million in 2018.
  • There are plenty of deductions and loopholes thrifty accountants and lawyers can use.
  • GRATs (grantor retained annuity trust) – a type of trust created to transfer assets tax-free.  We recently implemented a plan involving a GRAT for a client.  The estate owner put money into a trust designed to repay the estate the initial amount, plus interest at a rate set by the Treasury, typically over two years. If the investment — typically stock — rises in value any more than the Treasury rate, the gain goes to an heir tax-free. If the investment doesn’t rise in value, the full amount still goes back to the estate.

State Inheritance Tax – Texas Doesn’t Have It

Some states have state inheritance taxes. Luckily, Texas has no such tax. Below is a handy guide to your state’s inheritance tax.

Inherited Retirement Account Taxes – Some Apply

If you inherit a 401(k) or IRA, you may be taxed on any distributions and you may pay the capital gains tax on the gains if you inherit stocks or real estate and sell them.

Gift Taxes – Give Away $15,000 Tax-free To You

Finally, individuals are allowed to give away $15,000 per year (in cash, stocks, cars, etc.) without being taxed, and that’s $15,000 per donee. So if you have three kids, you can gift each of them $15,000 per year, for a total of $45,000. If you give more than that amount, you will need to file a gift tax return so you aren’t taxed on the excess amount.

Again, if you’re gifted stocks, know that you’ll pay taxes on the gains should you sell them.

Tax Attorney Could Help Cut Taxes On A Large Estate 

If you’re likely to inherit (or give away) a sizable estate, you should meet with a tax attorney to figure out how everything will go down in your state.

You can afford it, after all.

Come see the Weaver Firm Attorneys today to discuss estate taxation issues and planning techniques.

Rick Weaver, Attorney  or Travis Weaver, Attorney

Office: 817.638.9016 

Email: RWeaver@WeaverLegal.net

Email: TWeaver@WeaverLegal.net

What Are the Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s and dementia develop slowly over a number of years Sometimes these signs are mistaken for normal, age-related mental decline instead of the result of a more serious problem.

Because the symptoms progress slowly, it’s easy for loved one’s to deny they even exist until an event happens that is so uncharacteristic or bizarre that the symptoms become undeniable.

We’ve seen this type of denial in our family.

Look for the below-mentioned signs and consider a planning meeting with our attorneys before the situation deteriorates beyond repair.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, the following are ten warning signs of Alzheimer’s:

  1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life, especially newly-learned information. Early symptoms include repeatedly asking the same questions, and increasingly relying on memory aids, such as notes, to recall routine tasks.
  2. Challenges in planning or solving problems. The onset of Alzheimer’s can make it difficult keep track of finances, and plan and cook meals. Sometimes, people give gifts or make unusual purchases.
  3. Difficulty completing familiar tasks at home, work, or leisure, such as driving to a familiar location or recalling the rules of a game.
  4. Disorientation of time or place. Those with Alzheimer’s can experience confusion about where they are, how they got there, or what day it is.
  5. Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships, such as depth perception. This leads to people tripping on stairs or ledges and can cause physical harm.
  6. New problems with words in speaking or writing. People with Alzheimer’s struggle with remembering the right word or use the wrong word to describe familiar objects. Sometimes, people will avoid discussing certain issues or avoid situations altogether to cover up these signs.
  7. Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps to locate them. This includes keys and medications.
  8. Poor or impaired judgment. Those with Alzheimer’s may be more prone to give away large sums of money to telemarketers, dress inappropriately, or keep up with personal hygiene. They may even forget to eat for days at a time.
  9. Withdrawal from work or social activities.
  10. Changes in mood and personality. Symptoms can include mood swings, anxiety and delusions.

Our recommendations if a loved one is experiencing these symptoms:

The Alzheimer’s Association recommends seeing a doctor right away if you or someone you love experiences any of these symptoms because early diagnosis and treatment can delay the progression of Alzheimer’s.

In our pre-planning session, we discuss estate planning documents to protect your loved ones and options for long term care including Medicaid and VA planning.

Schedule a meeting today. 817.638.9016 or RWeaver@weaverlegal.net

Nursing Home Bill Blues? How You May Qualify for Payment

Yes, you or your loved one may qualify for payment of nursing home care.

Understanding the rules and proper legal planning within the rules may help you understand about options that may pay your nursing home bill.  

Who pays for nursing home care? Medicare and Medicaid are different programs offering different solutions.

  • Medicaid pays for nursing home care for qualified men and women and pays for health care for qualified low-income individuals.
  • Medicare provides health insurance for people age 65 and over.

Good news! You can qualify for both programs at the same time, known as “dual eligibility.”

There are about 11 million people who are dual eligible, including many seniors who need nursing home care or are already in nursing homes.

Working with an attorney focused on elder law may help you make proper legal arrangements to

How To Qualify for Medicaid Nursing Home Benefits and Medicare Health Insurance

Medicare Qualification: Anyone qualified for Social Security benefits (retirement or disability) is eligible for Medicare. Remember, Medicare is health insurance for those age 65 or older.

Medicaid Qualification: People with specific income and resources are eligible for Medicaid, including paying for nursing home services. 

Proper legal planning for nursing home qualification may make a difference in keeping your home, car, etc.
At first glance at the qualification table below, you may assume very few assets can be retained by a healthy spouse and still allow the dependent spouse to qualify for Medicaid nursing home care. In many situations, proper legal planning provides protection of family assets.

Every case is different. We’ll be glad to visit with you about your situation. 

More Medicare & Medicaid Benefits

There are also different levels of Medicare and Medicaid coverage, so a person who is dual-eligible may fall into one of these four categories:

  • Qualified Medicare beneficiaries may pay for Part A and Part B premiums, deductibles, copayments and coinsurance.
  • Specified low-income Medicare beneficiaries have their Part B premiums covered by Medicaid.
  • Qualifying individuals may also receive help from Medicaid for their Part B premiums.
  • Qualified disabled working individuals may have their Part A premiums covered by Medicaid. This program is limited to individuals with disabilities who are working.

As we described earlier in this article, in many cases, nursing home care can be provided through Medicaid for a husband or wife and the more physically able spouse can maintain a level of financial independence. Give us a call at 817-638-9016 to set up an appointment with Travis Weaver or Rick Weaver — both are elder care-focused attorneys at Weaver Firm – Attorneys. Rick is also board certified by the State Bar of Texas in the area of estate planning and probate law.

travis-r-weaver

Travis Weaver, Attorney Focused on Elder Care

Texas Supreme Court Reverses Ambiguous Will Holding . . . Teaches Valuable Lesson

In Knopf v. Gray, the will disposed of the testator’s entire estate as follows:

 “NOW BOBBY I leave the rest to you, everything, certificates of deposit, land, cattle and machinery, Understand the land is not to be sold but passed on down to your children, ANNETTE KNOPF, ALLISON KILWAY, AND STANLEY GRAY. TAKE CARE OF IT AND TRY TO BE HAPPY.”

Bobby then tried to sell the property to someone else and his children sued him, claiming Bobby only possessed a life estate in the property. After a lengthy legal battle, the Texas Supreme Court held that the provision in Bobby’s Will merely created a life estate:

We need only read the provision as a whole to see a layperson’s clearly expressed intent to create what the law calls a life estate. Reading all three clauses together, Allen grants the land to Bobby subject to the limitations that he not sell it, that he take care of it, and that it be passed down to his children. This represents the essence of a life estate; a life tenant’s interest in the property is limited by the general requirement that he preserve the remainder interest unless otherwise authorized in the will. Allen’s words in the contested provision unambiguously refer to elements of a life estate and designate her grandchildren, the petitioners, as the remaindermen. The language thus clearly demonstrates that the phrase “passed on down,” as used here, encompasses a transfer upon Bobby’s death.

The Court’s ruling is an important reminder to make sure your Will is clear and correct.

Call us today 817.638.9016

 

Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors

We are all targets for scammers. Since we often help older individuals, our lawyers at Weaver Firm – Attorneys are especially careful to warn our elderly clients about these schemes.

Seniors make good targets because they generally have good credit and accessible savings.

Further, many seniors are alone or suffer from conditions like memory loss or frailty, which creates an easier target for fraud.

Top 10 Scams Targeting Seniors – Protect yourself and loved ones by reviewing these common fraud schemes that prey on older men and women

  • Medicare & Health Insurance Scams: In these schemes, a con artist pretends to be a Medicare representative and will call or set up a makeshift mobile clinic to try to get people age 65 or older to reveal personal information.  With access to personal information, these con artists later file false claims against Medicare and pocket the money. DON’T GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION TO STRANGERS.
  • Counterfeit Prescription Drugs Schemes: Often, these Internet schemes offer specialized medications at a bargain price. These schemes are dangerous because seniors can lose a lot of money and may not receive the real medications they need.
  • Funeral & Cemetery Scams: This scam involves a crook who scans obituaries and then attends funeral services to take advantage of a grieving spouse or family member.  Often the crook then claims that the decedent owed the crook money and will try to collect on a fake debt.
  • Internet Fraud: Email phishing scams range from those involving a Nigerian prince to a surprise inheritance from an unknown relative.  Seniors also unwittingly update personal information in response to a phishing email from what appears to be a legitimate company or known sender. If  someone offers you a large sum of cash over the internet, avoid these emails.
  • Homeowner & Reverse Mortgage Scams: These scams affect seniors who have equity in their homes. These scams range from predatory lending practices to sales products that can only be purchased with proceeds from a reverse mortgage to family members pressuring a senior to obtain a reverse mortgage in order to steal the proceeds of the loan.
  • The Grandparent Scam: In this scam, a crook calls a senior and says, “Hi, Grandma, do you know who this is?” The senior takes guesses on which grandchild the caller sounds like.  The caller then asks for money to solve some unexpected financial problem like car repairs or overdue rent and begs the senior not to tell the “grandchild’s” parents.
  • Telemarketer Fraud: This common scheme involves a telemarketer asking for identity or financial information.  Some statistics suggest that seniors are twice as likely to make a purchase over the phone. This form of scam is difficult to trace because there is no face-to-face interaction or paper trail.  Scammers usually share the valuable identity and financial information with others.
  • Sweepstakes Scams: In this well-known scheme, a senior is told that he or she won the lottery and needs to pay a fee to unlock the supposed prize. A check is sent to the senior and deposited into the senior’s account, until the senior discovers the fake check has been rejected.  By the time the senior discovers the fake check, the criminals have already collected the fees, which are pocketed by the crooks.
  • Home Repair Schemes: These crooks go door-to-door to conduct home repairs on seniors’ homes. The scam varies from overcharging for work to requiring payment upfront without finishing the work.  These crooks also lure seniors outside of the home to view the proposed repair, and while the senior is outside, an accomplice enters the home to steal valuables.
  • Investment Schemes: Where many seniors find themselves planning for retirement and managing their savings, these seniors should be wary of pyramid schemes complex financial products that lack strong endorsements from trusted finance sources.

Avoid these scams by refusing high-pressure deals, guarding all personal and financial information, and practicing caution with any offer that sounds too good to be true.  However, having a carefully drafted power of attorney is another way to guard against fraud.  With a power of attorney, a senior can appoint a trusted individual to help manage and monitor financial transactions. If you find yourself in a situation like this, contact one of our attorneys at Weaver Firm – Attorneys before you release information.

817.638.2022 or

RWeaver@www.weaverlegal.net

Skating On Thin Ice – Daughter May Waste Inheritance

Protecting your child once meant insisting on a sweater, warm hat, and gloves. In the cold reality of adult life, your adult child may make poor financial choices and endure major slips and falls.

Check out a client’s questions and our response on providing income to an adult child after you’ve skated away permanently:   

Dear Weaver Firm,

I am in my 70’s and have two children from a previous marriage of five years. One has a son and the other has two daughters.

My daughter is married and values material things far more important than financial security. She and her husband stay in debt, which has contributed to a rocky relationship for the past 15 years. I don’t know if it will last or not, especially when my granddaughter leaves home in just a few years.

More than likely, there will be some money left when my current husband and I are gone. Is there a way to assure that whatever she might be left would be protected from her wasting it away and instead, possibly contribute to her old age? We have individual wills but wondered if a trust of some sort or other type of document would be better? 

What would be the best way to structure this for both of my children and grandchildren and also, my husband’s one family member that he wants to leave something to? My current husband and I have been together for the last 35 years and live in Texas.

-Concerned Client

Dear Client,

Your question has two parts: Do you split your estate equally? And, how do you split your estate?

The first one is easy: Yes. You want to leave your children something, but you don’t want to leave them with resentments and questions. You want to leave this world in a swift, graceful manner that leaves people with a good feeling — the inheritance equivalent of the triple axel from the 2018 Winter Olympics: three equal, generously timed moves, and then you’re off the proverbial ice. Except in your case, for good.

As to your second question. I suggest an irrevocable trust, outlining ways in which your inheritance should be spent. This has two advantages. Your son has a financially responsible life, so he will be glad with any bequest and, I’m sure, will be heartened to know there is money set aside for home improvements or his children’s education. Your daughter, while not so financially responsible or astute, gets the same deal. Only in her case, you are protecting her from herself and protecting the interests of your granddaughter.

You don’t say what relationship your husband’s relative has to him, but if it’s not a sibling, you may consider leaving him/her a smaller amount than the money you leave the rest of your family. You may want to discuss the tax implications of such a trust with a financial adviser when you have decided on your stipulations and the amounts.

You want to appoint someone who has no conflict of interest whether that person is a professional trustee — that is, a bank or trust company — or not. You need to depend on that person to act in a competent and trustworthy manner.

This Trust can be contained in your Will (testamentary trust) or a standalone document. 

Planning for blended family is crucial to avoid hard feelings and litigation down the road. We’re glad to visit with you about your options and concern for your adult children. Call 817-638-9016 to schedule an appointment with attorneys, Travis Weaver or Rick Weaver. At Weaver Firm, we understand your concerns. Let us help protect your family and their future.

817.638.9016 or RWeaver@www.weaverlegal.net