Posted Mar 24, 2015 by Bill Alexander
Scammers and hackers are constantly targeting seniors; every year, they use more sophisticated technology to steal our personal information. The scariest attack uses voice modulation software; the criminals have a friendly but recorded conversation with anyone, such as your Pastor. Then they use that conversation to create a false conversation—then you get a call you’re your “Pastor” asking for your credit card information to help with an emergency at the Church. Since you are familiar with your Pastor’s voice, your guard is down and you are likely to give out the information. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to increase your protection.
Posted Mar 16, 2015 by Bill Alexander
There are many reasons why using a revocable trust-based plan may be more advantageous than planning with a last will and testament to distribute your estate at your death. Revocable trusts provide families with privacy at death. Unlike a will, a trust is not public record. Instead, trusts are private contracts that can act as significant asset-protection tools.
Revocable trusts help families avoid high court costs associated with probating a will. Those with a probate estate of $1 million or more can expect court costs of $6,000. The court costs in a probate for one person can be more than the cost of paying an attorney to draft a revocable trust, which will allow a couple to avoid these fees at the death of each spouse.
Posted Mar 2, 2015 by Bill Alexander
When forming a business, most people wish to protect their personal assets from all potential business-related liability. There are several different options from which to choose when selecting the best entity for your particular situation: consider a C-Corporation, a subchapter S corporation and there is also a PC (Professional Corporation); a Limited Liability Company (LLC) is another option and it has a professional side as well call a Professional Limited Liability Company (PLLC).
Posted Feb 17, 2015 by Bill Alexander
While the catastrophes of the VA Healthcare system hit the news, with veterans waiting forever to get the care they need, and the VA Benefits Department hit the news with Service Connected Disability Claims taking forever to be processed, it is our “Greatest Generation” of veterans who are being left behind with the VA silently trying to change the one program that helps our WWII and Korean war veterans when they need expensive long term care—the Pension program.
The VA Pension program is limited only to “war period” veterans and their widows. It is also a program that for now is almost exclusively for those veterans who served during WWII and Korea. It is not really a “pension.” It is a benefit program to reimburse veterans for long term care expenses when they are paying out most or all of their household income for unreimbursed care. It is the one program that helps our veterans preserve their dignity at home rather than being placed in Nursing Homes.
Posted Feb 16, 2015 by Bill Alexander
Providing care to your loved one, whether a child, parent, or spouse, can be a labor of love. But caregiving is a much more difficult job than most people realize, as caregivers are often chained to their responsibilities. They often lack the opportunity to go to the grocery store or more importantly, to get away for a few days. Caregivers must make many sacrifices to provide for the daily needs of their loved ones.
Frequently, families lack the money to hire professional caregivers. Instead, they must provide this care themselves. Often, family members, acting as caregivers, experience stress as they attempt to provide around the clock care for their loved one. As a result, they feel underappreciated for their efforts.
Posted Feb 10, 2015 by Bill Alexander
Avoid do-it-yourself estate planning. Most people miss out on important tax and money saving strategies when they draft their own documents through software companies like LegalZoom or Quicken Lawyer. Worse, some people try to write their own Will, Deeds, and Powers of Attorney. More often than not, it ends up in a lawsuit, or at best, the estate is not distributed as the person hoped. Few understand what documents they need and how best to use them to their advantage. Seek professional legal advice to save yourself time and money. If you are a senior, then instead of seeing an “estate planning attorney,” seek an elderlaw attorney who does asset protection in their estate planning.
Posted Feb 2, 2015 by Bill Alexander
Many file their taxes annually through the use of programs like TurboTax. However, taxpayers may find their returns complicated by the Affordable Care Act for 2014. This year, every taxpayer must report to the government whether he or she had health insurance. Those who did not have health insurance for 2014 will be penalized.
If you have not yet signed up for health insurance, it’s important to go ahead and do so. You may be eligible for a tax credit if you have limited income and choose your insurance plan through the Marketplace. This credit is based prospectively on the income that you expect to receive in the coming year. After you complete the required steps to enroll, the government will send you Form 1095 to file with your 2014 tax return. The government will use this information to apply your credit based on the income that you actually earned in 2014. If you earn more than you thought you would, your tax refund may be decreased, or you may owe additional tax.
Posted Jan 26, 2015 by Bill Alexander
Set achievable goals for 2015 by vowing to update your legal documents and put proper planning in place. It’s important for an experienced elder law attorney to review your planning every 3-5 years, as personal circumstances, state laws, and the nature of your assets may change over time.
While every person has unique estate planning needs, we recommend that our clients have the following five basic documents: a will, a health care power of attorney, a general durable power of attorney, a HIPAA compliant medical release, and an advanced directive for natural death. Many clients can also benefit from trust planning.
Posted Jan 19, 2015 by Bill Alexander
This past week on our radio program, “Asset Protection Today,” on Talk Radio 850 WPTK (AM) with Attorney Bill Alexander, we were delighted to welcome Robert Friedman, the executive publisher of the North Carolina Triangle Edition of Attorney at Law Magazine. The Triangle Edition of Attorney at Law magazine showcases the personal achievements of top attorneys and judges in our area. Over 5,000 attorneys in private practice receive the magazine each month throughout the Triangle.
The Triangle Edition of Attorney at Law Magazine features Bill Alexander as its Estate Planning attorney for January, 2015. The magazine recognized Alexander because of his firm’s unique combination of estate planning, elder law, and asset protection. Friedman realized the importance of Alexander’s work after his Father needed assistance with Veteran’s Benefits to cover the cost of long-term care.
Posted Jan 12, 2015 by Bill Alexander
Most people who hold a General Power of Attorney believe that it allows them to do “anything” that could be helpful, if needed. Not True! The opposite is true. It only allows an agent to do what is specifically authorized and has strict limitations. A General Durable Power of Attorney, also known as a financial Power of Attorney, may not provide you with adequate protection in the event that you can no longer make decisions for yourself. Most people have what is known as a “short form” Power of Attorney that is 2-3 pages long because this is the form most North Carolina attorneys use for their clients. These Powers of Attorney reference the N.C. General Statutes, which specifically sets out the authority and/or limitations granted to your agent to make decisions on your behalf. The short form POA appears to give much more authority than it actually gives to your agent.
Posted Jan 5, 2015 by Bill Alexander
Many estate plans require the help of several professionals working together to ensure that your overarching plan for the distribution of your property at your death works the way that you intend. Often plans don’t work out the way you want because your property can be titled in so many different ways. It’s important to consult an experienced attorney, financial advisor, and sometimes a CPA or experienced accountant to ensure that you get the best advice possible. Oftentimes, we choose our professionals based on word of mouth alone. If a friend or trusted advisor recommends a certain professional, first ask why he or she gave the recommendation. Determine whether the professional provided prompt service over time, gave good advice in a particular situation, and communicated well.
Posted Dec 29, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Seniors often wish to make large gifts to loved ones prior to death. Unfortunately, seniors can lose control by gifting property in advance. With good advice, you can ensure that your property is protected for yourself and future generations while preserving full or partial control.
Posted Dec 15, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Families often notice physical or mental decline in a loved one when they visit for the holidays. This is a perfect time to pay extra attention to seniors to determine what you can do to help your loved ones stay independent. It’s important to monitor whether your loved one is experiencing difficulty with activities of daily living, such as eating, bathing, dressing, or medication management. Usually, seniors won’t acknowledge that they need assistance, as they desperately want to stay independent and in control. For this reason, it’s important to reassure your loved one that you plan to help him or her stay home for as long as possible. You can provide assistance from afar in simple ways, such as daily telephone calls to check in.
Posted Dec 8, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Parents of special needs children face unique planning issues, primarily because they must consider providing care for their children throughout their entire adult lives. Parents do everything to insure that their child lives in a safe environment and can take advantage of every available resource; they face a great challenge in replacing themselves at their death to insure their special needs child long is protected and gets their needs provided. While government assistance is helpful, it is not guaranteed for the future; hence, parents must plan for that care.
Posted Dec 1, 2014 by Bill Alexander
This past week on our radio program, “Asset Protection Today,” on Talk Radio 850 WPTK (AM) with Attorney Bill Alexander, we were delighted to welcome Bill Davis, the founder of Team Nimbus. Team Nimbus is a small business advisory firm that helps small business owners and sales professionals with growth and client acquisition. Davis facilitates peer advisory groups, where he brings small business owners together to provide one another with experience and support. He also coaches and consults with small business owners to help them achieve sustainable growth.
Most business owners are very intelligent. Unfortunately, the challenges they face often can’t be solved without the benefit of others’ perspectives. When small business owners meet with other business owners, consultants, and coaches, they receive an array of experienced perspectives. They can then apply this knowledge to their own business acumen and experience to break through roadblocks and challenges with greater velocity....
Posted Nov 20, 2014 by Bill Alexander
As many are aware, North Carolina recently changed its position on same-sex marriage after the Supreme Court decided to let stand five federal appellate court rulings. As a result, October 10th was the first day that the state issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Whether you agree or disagree with this change, marriage will provide many asset protection benefits to same-sex couples, as well as increased rights and responsibilities. With marriage comes certain protective laws, such as a partial entitlement to the other person’s estate at death, having an insurable interest in the other for life and health, and long term care insurance as well as significant tax implications.
Posted Nov 11, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Those approaching age 65 should begin their homework to determine which type of Medicare plan will work best for them. Your Medicare election may be more complicated than you realize, as there are several different options depending on your unique situation.
First, you must choose between traditional Medicare and a Medicare Advantage plan. Traditional Medicare may be more expensive if you don’t already have supplemental insurance coverage through an employer. Supplemental insurance will pay for those costs that traditional Medicare does not, such as your copay in a rehab facility. Medicare Advantage is less expensive for those who do not have and cannot afford supplemental insurance, as you will receive more coverage for less money than having just traditional Medicare alone. Traditional Medicare with a Supplemental Plan normally gives more coverage, but at a greater cost.
Posted Nov 6, 2014 by Bill Alexander
This past week on our radio program, “Asset Protection Today,” on Talk Radio 850 WPTK (AM) with Attorney Bill Alexander, we were delighted to welcome Humorous Motivational Speaker Dr. Charles Petty. Dr. Petty has been inducted into the National Speakers’ Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame. In addition, he has spoken in 50 states and 14 foreign countries.
Posted Nov 4, 2014 by Bill Alexander
This past week on our radio program, “Asset Protection Today,” on Talk Radio 850 WPTK (AM) with Attorney Bill Alexander, we were delighted to welcome Denny Marcin, a Financial Advisor with the McCarthy Group of RBC Wealth Management located in Raleigh. Denny and his team help clients grow their wealth and plan for retirement.
Posted Nov 3, 2014 by Bill Alexander
It seems that everyone wants to sell you an annuity for every situation. While annuities sound like safe investment options, they aren’t nearly as good as they sound. Annuities are often complicated legal contracts that consumers do not fully understand. People just don’t know what they’re purchasing. In essence, you are giving up control of your money for many years, in exchange for a guarantee that you will get all your money back with some interest. The good part is that you are not taxed on the gain until you start withdrawing your money. The bad part is that the gain is always taxed no matter who gets the money or when. The really bad part, especially for seniors, is that if you need to withdraw more than the contract allows, the guarantees go away and you must pay a steep penalty for the privilege of getting your money back.