Posted Jul 3, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Death is not a fun topic to discuss, but it’s a sure thing for us mortals. Ben Franklin quipped that “the only thing sure in life is death and taxes,” and we talk about taxes all the time. The problem is that most people avoid talking about death-related issues, despite the fact that death is inevitable. With proper planning, you can place controls on your bequests at death, and gift wrap the inheritance you leave to protect your loved ones as well as insure that only the chosen ones receive your gift, when you want them to get it and in the way you want it received.
Posted Jun 30, 2014 by Bill Alexander
There are many reasons why people remain unmarried today, whether because of children from a prior marriages, high income taxes, or outstanding debt. Regardless of the reason, it is important that unmarried couples plan ahead.
Many seniors, whether widowed or divorced, are unsure about marrying again. Our clients often have concerns about protecting their children from a previous marriage. With a premarital, or prenuptial, agreement, a couple can accomplish this goal by giving up all rights to inherit from each other. In North Carolina, without a valid pre-nuptial in place, your spouse has the right to inherit before your children do. How much your spouse can inherit will vary from one state to the next. If you do not have a prenuptial agreement, North Carolina uses factors such as how long you have been married and how many children you have to determine each person’s share.
Posted Jun 27, 2014 by Bill Alexander
At W.G. Alexander & Associates, we pride ourselves on planning that works—that is, plans that result in your loved ones receiving your property the way you want and when you want with the least tax liability and the lowest administrative fees. However, good planning is more than just having the right documents in place. Sometimes plans don’t work because people don’t understand how their overarching estate plans work. How you hold title to your various properties can significantly alter the results of even the best documents. Having your documents and property titles reviewed by an experienced Elder Law attorney and then properly titling your assets to work with your documents will maximize your asset protection.
Posted Jun 16, 2014 by Bill Alexander
We frequently advise clients that having the right documents in place, such as general durable powers of attorney and health care powers of attorney, helps to protect your assets in the event that you cannot make decisions on your own. However, how well your documents work will depend entirely on how well you have selected your agent (attorney-in-fact). Your agent will have the authority to make important decisions about how you will live, where you will live, what support you will receive, as well as how to protect your family in the event that you are unable to do so yourself. Consider carefully who you want to carry out your wishes, whether during your lifetime or after your death.
Posted Jun 13, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Legal documents, such as wills and powers of attorney, can help you control and protect your property. However, most fail to use their legal documents to their advantage. Many fail to realize that their legal documents don’t work the way that they expect or intend with their overarching estate plan. If done correctly along with proper planning, your legal documents can keep your family in harmony after your death.
Posted May 21, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Recently there has been sensational news about staff at many VA Hospitals mis-scheduling medical appointments and filing false paperwork that made it appear to supervisors in Washington that they were meeting specified timelines—and some veterans may have died because they did not get timely treatment by the VA. Shame on those who filed false papers to save face when there was no possibility of meeting arbitrary timelines for appointments.
The true scandal is not with the false VA reports. The real scandal is that Congress refuses to adequately fund the VA to properly give care and benefits to our veterans. When timelines are not met, it is not because of mismanagement or paper shuffling; it is because our VA Hospitals are understaffed and overworked—trying to take care of our veterans without adequate resources. The resources are controlled by Congress in Washington.
Posted May 19, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Our senior clients’ greatest concerns are that 1) they will run out of money during their retirement and 2) they are unprepared for a long term care crisis. Two things that most seniors should do to plan ahead are avoiding annuities and manage your qualified retirement accounts rather than just taking required distributions. At retirement, or during a long-term care crisis, you should take steps to structure distributions from your retirement account such that you will receive the most favorable tax treatment for an expected long term care need. These are general concerns and may not be appropriate for you. You should get particular advice concerning your individual situation from an elderlaw attorney and your financial advisor.
Posted May 18, 2014 by Bill Alexander
It is important to know when you are eligible for government assistance, as well as what resources are available. The Veterans Pension Program is one of the most important government assistance programs, as it reimburses long term care expenses for Veterans at all care levels (in-home, assisted living, and nursing facility). If you were on active duty for ninety consecutive days and served one day of active duty during a war period (through the Vietnam War) with any discharge other than a dishonorable discharge, and you are paying out a substantial sum each month for long term care, then you may qualify for the Pension Program.
Posted May 16, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Twenty percent of seniors between the ages of 70-80 develop Alzheimer’s disease or some other form of dementia. While everyone becomes more forgetful as a natural part of aging, Alzheimer’s is a more progressive loss of short-term memory. Both victims and their caregivers face issues related to Alzheimer’s disease. Throughout the progression of the disease, it is important that caregivers find support and that victims obtain appropriate legal documents.
Posted May 12, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Titling and owning your property correctly will provide maximum asset protection for you and your family. Lack of an overarching estate plan may leave you vulnerable to predators and creditors. Title your car, house, bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance and trust assets properly for the greatest protection.
Posted May 10, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Now that April 15th has passed (and you have hopefully filed your taxes or an extension), there are several important things that you should know for better estate and tax planning for the upcoming year. Knowing when to make proper gifts, as well as reviewing and updating old documents will better prepare you for 2014.
Posted May 1, 2014 by Bill Alexander
It is important for those who have worked hard to stay in control of their assets for themselves and for the benefit of their families. Maintaining control of your assets and letting trusted agents take over at the right time is an important aspect of planning and asset protection. Putting a plan in place now can ensure that your assets will be given to whom you want, the way you want, when you want, and do so saving taxes and fees.
Posted Apr 9, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Kathryn Bowman will be contributing to the “Elder Law and Elder Care Panel” at the April 2014 meeting of Morgan Stanley’s “Wealth Wisdom for Women” professional group.
The meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 16th, 2014, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM at the Morgan Stanley Board Room, located at 700 Spring Forest Road, Suite 200, Raleigh, NC 27609. The event and lunch are complimentary.
A pre-event networking session is scheduled to begin at 11:30 AM.
The event is hosted by Morgan Stanley Wealth Management Financial Advisors Virginia Clay, CFP, CFA, and Marti Switzer, CFP. To register, contact Nancy Provost, CSA, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 919-877-2442.
Posted Apr 7, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Everyone should work toward being debt-free by the time they retire. Freedom from all outstanding monthly payments (mortgages, car loans, or real credit card debt) will help you live comfortably in retirement and make it less likely that you will run out of money—even if you live longer than expected. Most retirees who are debt free can make it through unexpected financial challenges with their standard of living intact.
Posted Mar 31, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Both single and married parents need to do basic planning to provide direction for their children in the event that tragedy strikes. They must decide who will care for their minor children if they can no longer do so themselves. They must also determine who will manage their children’s money and property until they reach adulthood.
Posted Mar 24, 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 Cheryl Theriault, the manager and owner of Aging Family Services. Aging Family Services is a geriatric care management company that assists the elderly, the disabled, and those with poor health. Cheryl and her team act as elder care consultants, helping families navigate the delivery system to find services and resources.
Geriatric Care Managers can provide your family with a variety of services. They can assist adult children as they care for elderly loved ones, help caregiving spouses create emergency plans in the event of a crisis, assist seniors moving into the Triangle when family lives out of town, assist loved ones in emergencies, as well as act as a neutral party to provide advice in instances of family disagreement.
Posted Mar 11, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Most of us procrastinate when it comes to life or death planning, and often we put things off until it’s too late—which puts a great burden on our loved ones to do what’s needed in a hurry and under great stress. Putting plans in place now will make dealing with crises easier with when the time comes. Most planning doesn’t require a lawyer, but an experienced elderlaw attorney can assist you in meaningful ways while doing your estate planning—controlling your property while you are alive and well, appointing trusted agents for those times that you are not well, and then leaving your nest-egg to whom you want, when you want and how your want while avoiding every possible tax and fee. Visit an experienced Elder Law Attorney today to help you with your funeral, legacy, and long-term care planning.
Posted Mar 3, 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 Danny Beeson, the Regional Vice President of Matthew 25 Planning. Danny is a funeral director with ten years of experience in the funeral business.
Everyone should make time for funeral planning, as it’s an inevitable final expense. You can prevent your loved ones from having to make difficult decisions in times of stress by organizing your important documents now and making your funeral arrangements ahead of time. In addition, legacy planning allows you to pass along your values and stories to your children, which they can share with generations to come.
Posted Feb 24, 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 Melanie Mattingly, the author of The Drop Dead Book; this tool allows you to organize your important documents in one easy-to-access place. Melanie is the managing partner of Preferred Living Solutions in Wake Forest, which helps seniors and people with disabilities manage their care by providing support through respite, assistance with paying bills, help with insurance claims, and more. It is not a Home Health Agency but instead works with those agencies and much more; it is a care management company.
Posted Feb 17, 2014 by Bill Alexander
Clients frequently come to our office having heard myths about Medicaid and other public assistance programs for seniors needing long-term care. If acted on, these myths can have disastrous consequences; you can lose potential benefits and/or you family will end up paying thousands of dollars in unnecessary taxes. We also see clients making the same types of asset protection mistakes repeatedly. The following information will help readers make better choices.