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Wednesday, June 22, 2022

What Can ABLE Account Money Be Spent On?


ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) accounts offer people with disabilities a great, tax-free way to accumulate money without jeopardizing their qualifications for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and other means-tested programs. Withdrawals are tax-free as long as the money is used for “qualified disability expenses.”  The arguments for starting and maintaining such funds are overwhelming, not least of which is the wide variety of things on which the money can be spent.

To build 529A ABLE accounts, beneficiaries (and other contributors) can put up to $16,000 total into these funds each year.
Read more . . .


Monday, June 6, 2022

Minor Guardianships: Letters of Instruction In Case of the Unimaginable


Writing Instructions to Potential Guardians

If you have minor children, or children with disabilities, the thought of leaving them suddenly is unimaginable.  Parents know their children- their schedules, their health, their likes and dislikes- but keep most of that knowledge in their heads.  When my kids were growing up, I knew when they needed to be at soccer practice and church, who their doctor was and how to reach her, and how to tell when they were sick.  Other than abbreviations on my calendar and names in my database, there was no formal written schedule of activities or list of important contacts.

Most parents can’t imagine how someone would be able to step in and take care of their children.
Read more . . .


Friday, April 8, 2022

Planning for Incapacity


Last month, we introduced our year-long project to organize our estates.  How did you do? Did you check all the boxes?  As with most projects, sometimes getting started is the real goal, so give yourself a gold checkmark if you did anything to start getting your estate in order. 

This month, it is time to make sure we have legal documents in place to protect in case we become unable to make or communicate significant decisions about our healthcare or our finances.

Years ago, I had a potential client whose daughter called my office several times to make appointments for him to get his estate planning documents prepared.  As each appointment time approached, he called my office to cancel.
Read more . . .


Thursday, March 31, 2022

Financial Power of Attorney

What is a financial power of attorney?

A Financial Power of Attorney is a document in which you nominate someone to make financial decisions for you.  When you appoint someone to make those financial decisions, you are called the Principal.  The person you nominate to act on your behalf is called an Agent.  A Financial Power of Attorney can be used for a one-time transaction, such as selling or buying a house, or it can be a durable financial power of attorney written to allow broad powers that can be used for many types of financial transactions for many years.  The term “Durable” in this case means the Financial Power of Attorney remains in effect even if you, the Principal, become mentally incapacitated.


Read more . . .


Thursday, March 31, 2022

What is a guardian, what is a conservator and when should you become the guardian or conservator of an adult?

In Georgia, a guardian is the term used for the person responsible for managing affairs related to the health and safety of the ward, while a conservator is responsible for the financial affairs of the ward. Ward is the term used for someone who has a guardian or conservator. The relationship of the guardian or conservator to the ward is similar to that of a parent to a minor child.

The judge of the probate court in the county in which the ward resides or can be found appoints guardians and conservators.

When a guardian or conservator is appointed, the ward loses many rights.


Read more . . .


Monday, December 28, 2020

What’s the difference between an heir and a beneficiary and why does it matter?

An heir is the person or persons who are related by blood that would inherit from a decedent ( a person who has died) if the decedent had no will.

A beneficiary is a person (or charity or institution) named in a will to whom the decedent wishes to leave his or her assets at the time of death.

Who are your heirs?  Take your wrist and place two fingers on your other hand and place them on your wrist.  Do you feel a pulse?  If so, you don’t yet have any heirs.  That is kind of a snarky way to explain that we cannot know who your heirs are until you are dead.

Read more . . .


Friday, February 7, 2020

Could Your Bad Estate Plan End Up as The Plot of a Book?

My favorite hobby is reading and I try to combine my love of reading with my profession of estate planning.  The plots of some of my favorite books are about dysfunctional family relationships complicated by really bad estate planning!

Here are three books I recommend where siblings were torn apart by their parents’ bad estate planning choices.

The Nest

by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

The four siblings of the Plumb family - Leo, Melody, Beatrice, and Jack- are the beneficiaries of a trust fund they call “The Nest” left to them by their father. The terms of the trust provide that the trust assets will be distributed equally to the four siblings when the youngest, Melody, reaches age 40.

When the book begins, Melody is fast-approaching her 40th birthday, and each of the siblings is anxiously awaiting the distribution that could solve their self-inflicted life problems.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, December 4, 2019

How to Have A Family Conversation with Aging Parents at the Holiday

Happy Holidays! 

 Is It Time to Have a Conversation About Long-term Care with an Aging Parent?

Like many families, mine is scattered all over the United States.  Work and other commitments make it difficult to visit distant loved ones more than a few times a year.  When visiting, it is hard to gauge the health and safety of family members because they are often not going about their normal daily activities. 
A few years ago, while visiting my dad in Oregon, I noticed that there was something not quite right with him.  He was repeating himself and telling stories about his history that I was pretty sure were not true.

Read more . . .


Friday, August 17, 2018

What it means to be a healthcare surrogate

When nominated to become a surrogate healthcare decision maker for someone, you may be asked to make decisions about what healthcare procedures and care will be appropriate for someone other than yourself. You will only be asked to make healthcare decisions if the person is not able to make or communicate those decisions.  you may have to decide what medical care the person would want without ever having discussed the issue with them.

In general, as a healthcare surrogate you will have the right to:

  • Make choices about all medical care for the person, to include surgery, medical tests and pain management.

  • Make choices about where the person will receive treatment

  • Take legal action in order to have the person’s wishes honored

  • Apply for insurance, including Medicare and Medicaid for the person


Read more . . .


Monday, June 26, 2017

The Four Most Important Legal Documents You Will Need to Manage Your Aging Parent's Affairs

To help your parents get their affairs in order, you should first make sure that you or someone trustworthy has the legal ability to manage your parent’s affairs.  This article is a guide to the four fundamental legal documents you and your parent may need in order to get financial affairs in order.



Read more . . .


Thursday, June 22, 2017

How Safe is My Mother from Financial Exploitation?


 

Jennifer’s 80-year-old mother seemed to be running low on funds every month.  By the end of the month, she had no money for groceries.  Jennifer had helped her mother with a budget, so she thought her mother had plenty of money to make it through each month.  When she asked her mother to allow her to look at her bank statements, though, Jennifer discovered a series of automatic debits to several companies she did not recognize.  It turns out, her mother had signed up for monthly book delivery clubs, as well as recurring magazine subscriptions for magazines Jennifer knew her mother did not read.
Read more . . .


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The Elrod-Hill Law Firm,LLC assists clients with Estate Planning, Veterans Benefits, Medicaid, Elder Care Law, Probate, Special Needs Planning and Pet Trusts in the North Atlanta area including the counties of Dekalb, Gwinnett and Fulton.



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