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Asset Protection Today Podcast: Family Dynamics Can Make or Break Your Asset Protection Plan

Posted Dec 6, 2018 by Bill Alexander

All families should implement an overarching plan to protect their assets. Unfortunately, most families fail to first consult an experienced attorney for good legal advice regarding how their estate plan and legal documents interconnects with their insurance and financial needs. As a result, most families end up with a hodge-podge of assets with various title holdings that sometimes conflict and often fail to work as anticipated.
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Asset Protection Today Podcast: What is a Real Estate Exchange?

Posted Nov 16, 2018 by Bill Alexander

Real estate can be an excellent investment under the right circumstances. When it comes to owning an investment property, what are your options when you’re interested in moving on? In this episode, Bill explains the concept of the real estate exchange, a method of replacing one investment property with another, without having to foot a major tax bill.

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Asset Protection Today Podcast: An Auto Insurance Horror Story

Posted Nov 2, 2018 by Bill Alexander

Basic asset protection planning consists of four main components to make sure you are well protected.

The first and most important component is a good liability insurance policy—and that normally means an umbrella policy to give you adequate coverage. You need to take care of this component first, which makes the other components work. Secure the policy before the fact and before it is too late.

Also in this component is auto insurance. In this episode, Bill tells the story of one client who had a wonderful asset protection plan unraveled by a mistake with auto insurance. Bill also explains the importance of having “Med Pay” in your policy.
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Asset Protection Today Podcast: DNR

Posted Oct 26, 2018 by Bill Alexander

The DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) order, otherwise referred to as an AND (Allow Natural Death), only apply to situations where a patient is no longer lucid. Either the patient’s heart has stopped or the patient is no longer to breathe on their own, and the patient has determined ahead of time that they do not want any further life-saving actions taken.

DNRs are critical medical documents, however, they are one of the most misunderstood documents related to end of life. In this episode of Asset Protection Today, Bill explains how the DNR can be abused.

Check out this episode!

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Asset Protection Today Podcast: Living Wills

Posted Oct 23, 2018 by Bill Alexander

On this Asset Protection Today podcast we talk about the issues and planning necessary so you can protect your assets — but we turn to a topic that is difficult for many to address: a living will. However, in the grand scheme of things, it is equally important — not so much for asset protection but for family harmony and psychological well being.

Living Will Background

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Asset Protection Today Podcast: Medicare Enrollment

Posted Oct 20, 2018 by Bill Alexander

As seniors near age 65, there are often important decisions that they must make about their Medicare election. Unfortunately, most people fail to seek good advice about maximizing their benefits under this program.

Medicare is not automatic; you must sign up and make elections inside the system. These elections can be more complicated than you may think. It’s important to start investigating what options are available before you’re eligible. With Medicare, you can sign up several months before you turn 65. Unfortunately, if you don’t sign up in advance, you will be penalized.

Understanding the different parts of Medicare

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Asset Protection Today: Real Estate March 24, 2018

Posted Apr 11, 2018 by Bill Alexander

Asset Protection Today: Real Estate March 24, 2018

Real estate can be an excellent investment under the right circumstances. This includes both your primary residence as well as investment property. There are several factors to be considered when thinking about purchasing real estate.

Everyone knows the adage “Buy low, sell high.” That is excellent advice for real estate. Buying low requires patience to find the right property that can be purchased at a lower price. Selling high requires research into neighborhoods, house size, the age of the house you want to purchase, as well as other factors.

Additionally, there are differences between purchasing a house for your primary residence and purchasing one as an investment property. Some of the differences include tax implications, types of loans available, and how the property is titled. It is important to consider all factors involved and research the options available.
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Asset Protection Today: Back to Basics March 31, 2018

Posted Apr 10, 2018 by Bill Alexander

Basic asset protection planning consists of four main components to make sure you are well protected.

The first and most important component is a good liability insurance policy—and that normally means an umbrella policy to give you adequate coverage. You need to take care of this component first, which makes the other components work. Secure the policy before the fact and before it is too late.

The second component is to have strong legal planning. You need good documents which include trusts, wills, advanced powers of attorney, and healthcare documents. One main problem for legal planning is that people do not know their options. Good legal planning is all about choices; often it is about control versus absolute protection.
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May Day for War Period Veterans: What We Don’t Know

Posted May 12, 2017 by Bill Alexander

The first day in May is important for several celebratory reasons. Among the many celebrations is Law Day: a celebration of the rule of law and its contributions to the freedom we enjoy as Americans. Part of an attorney’s role is knowing the rules and how to use them to help clients. And it’s all about rules when dealing with long-term care: how to properly, ethically, and lawfully use the rules to help you care for yourself and your loved ones. Requiring long-term care means you or a loved one needs assistance performing an activity of daily living, such as bathing, dressing, toileting, eating, and/or taking medicine.
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Are My Out-of-State Estate Planning Documents Valid?

Posted Aug 3, 2016 by Bill Alexander

Moving to the great state of North Carolina? Do you already have estate planning documents in place? Will your estate planning documents be applicable in the new state? The great legal answer is, it depends. The bottom line is that anyone who moves to another state should have their documents reviewed. Under the U. S. Constitution, each state is required to give full faith and credit to public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states. So your documents should be valid—but that is not necessarily the case. Your Last Will and Testament is one such document that can be effected by moving to a new state.
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A Pension that Isn’t Really a Pension

Posted Jul 1, 2016 by Bill Alexander

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is a monster of bureaucracy, making it difficult for Veterans to receive any kind of assistance. The VA requires an application in order to get anything—you must fill out lengthy forms to apply for disability, for pension and the like—and the first answer is always “no.” Receiving a denial is typical for those applying for the first time. The first denial often does not mean you’re not eligible for a benefit; it’s the government’s way of saving money. If you accept the denial, the VA pays less in claims and reduces their budget. In fact, Veterans really have to fight for their benefits so it’s important that, if you’re applying for a VA benefit, you select the best option for your needs and consult a professional about how and when to apply.
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How Remarriage Effects Your Social Security Benefit

Posted Jun 29, 2016 by Bill Alexander

The rules for claiming Social Security are important when it comes to remarriage. But most people don’t know what options are available to them. The determining factor in terms of remarriage and Social Security benefits has to do with at what age you remarry. Couples marrying for a second (or subsequent) time before age sixty (60) suffer different rules than those who remarry at or after the age of 60.
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Educational Funding in Your Retirement Plan

Posted Jun 22, 2016 by Bill Alexander

For many families, contributing to a child’s education is equally as important as saving for retirement. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know, even tricky, which vehicle will help you the most. Generally, the best way to save is to contribute at least $200 to $300 each month to the investment vehicle you want to use as your child’s college fund. The earlier you save, the more the investment adds up and makes for an extraordinary plan. Here are a few vehicles available to families who want to contribute to a student’s future expenses that are compatible with most estate plans:

The 529 Plan
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PODs and TODs: To Sign or Not to Sign?

Posted Jun 10, 2016 by Bill Alexander

Pay on death (PODs) and transfers on death (TODs) can be helpful to a lot of families if used consistently with their estate plan. A POD is a beneficiary designation used by bankers for your bank accounts. It is a contract provision telling the bank to pay the amount in your account to someone (the beneficiary) when you pass away. A TOD is a similar tool that is used by financial institutions for investment accounts. It designates a beneficiary to receive payments from the investment after you pass away. They both avoid probate. On the surface, PODs and TODs seem helpful. But is signing a POD or TOD a good idea for your estate plan?
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The Cost of Not Preparing for Long-Term Care

Posted Jun 2, 2016 by Bill Alexander

Families frequently come to our law office seeking help for a long-term care crisis. Long-term care needs cause the loss of independence and the depletion of assets and they know we can help. In one instance, a couple saved enough cash and retirement assets to support them for their lifetime. However, one spouse’s chronic illness required daily assistance that ultimately led to nursing care. Even though the nursing care was expensive, the spouse was confident their assets would hold out without impoverishing her. Unfortunately, without an asset protection plan in place the couple’s assets quickly diminished. The spouse didn’t seek help until she panicked over running out of money. Her big mistake was waiting until their resources were low. We got her husband on Medicaid within a few weeks, but if we had seen her two years earlier we could have preserved almost all of their assets while getting Medicaid, and she could have enjoyed plenty of money for the rest of her life. Wh...

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NC House Bill 2 Discriminates Against Older Workers

Posted May 25, 2016 by Bill Alexander

Senior citizens face unique issues everyday; one devastating issue is age discrimination in the workplace. Age discrimination is the unfair treatment of an individual due to their age. It can happen in employment, housing, and many other ways. This under-acknowledged form of discrimination happens frequently.
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Legislative Concerns for Special Needs Planning

Posted Mar 30, 2015 by Bill Alexander

Parents must often consider how best to plan for their special needs child. They must ensure that their loved one will always have a place to live, as well as future financial stability. In essence, parents must find a way to provide for the unique needs of their child at their death. This requires a plan with flexibility for unforeseen changes.

Fortunately, Congress has made this planning easier with legislation that authorizes a tax-deferred savings account for children with special needs. Much like special needs trusts, these accounts are not counted for government assistance program eligibility. When loved ones contribute to their account, special needs individuals can still receive assistance from programs like Medicaid. While these accounts are limited to $100,000, those who cannot create a Special Needs Trust should consider this viable alternative.
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