News

Alkaline Hydrolysis – The Future of “Green” Funerals?

In April 2016, Business Insider published an article titled, “Traditional Burials are Ruining the Planet.” More information has surfaced showing the environmental toll that is taken when someone is buried in a traditional casket featuring steel, wood and embalming fluid.

Cremation became a popular alternative to traditional burials. In fact, cremation rates have increased to nearly 75 percent in some states, according to the Cremation Association of North America. For those people interested in being even more environmentally-conscious are considering a procedure known as “alkaline hydrolysis.” Is it right for you? Can you even do it in the state you reside in? Find out below.

What Exactly is Alkaline Hydrolysis?

It is a process that has been around for over 100 years and involves dissolving the remains of a human in an alkaline solution. It involves a mixture of water and potassium salt. It is also referred to as biocremation, aquamation, or resomation.

Controversial Cremation?

The practice of Alkaline Hydrolysis has drawn criticism based on people interpreting the practice as somewhat “gruesome.” This is because the perception of Alkaline Hydrolysis is that a human body is dissolved in chemicals and poured down the drain. It has also raised public health concerns due to the alleged risk that the liquified remains could wind up in drinking water.

State Laws & Regulations

As of the date of this posting, only 13 states in the United States have legalized the practice of alkaline hydrolysis, including: Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming.

As you can see, Alkaline Hydrolysis is not legal in Virginia or West Virginia. Though, Maryland residents can utilize this practice, if they so choose. Maryland legalized alkaline hydrolysis in 2010, when the state defined cremation as the “means the process of reducing human remains to bone fragments through intense heat and evaporation, including any mechanical or thermal process,” according to Maryland Business Regulation Code § 5-101.

Speak to an Estate Planning Attorney Today

To get more information about final arrangements, including the potential to make your funeral “green,” take the time to schedule a meeting with the legal team at InSight Law.

You Can Now Retire in Margaritaville

If you’re a diehard Jimmy Buffett fan (also known as a Parrothead) you’ll now have the opportunity to go “searchin’ for your lost shaker of salt” at Latitude Margaritaville, a new Florida retirement community.

Jimmy Buffett is partnering with an Ottawa-based developer called Minto Communities to develop the Margaritaville-themed community in Daytona Beach, Florida. The community will eventually have close to 7,000 homes for residents age 55 and older.

The homes will be built on streets affiliated with lyrics to Buffett’s 1977 mega hit “Margaritaville.”

For example, you will be able to live on Flip Flop Court, Coral Reef Way or St. Somewhere Drive. You’ll be able to take your dog to the “Barkaritaville” pet spa and work out in the Fins Up! Fitness Center or the Paradise Pool. You’ll also be able to take classes at the Workin’ and Playin’ Center or catch a show at the Last Mango Theater, according to The Star. And, of course, you’ll be able to order a Cheeseburger in Paradise at the Latitude Bar & Chill restaurant.

The Buffett Empire

Some people mistakenly believe Jimmy Buffett is a laidback singer. In reality, he is more akin to Warren Buffett. He has an empire of resort hotels and a catalogue of popular products including Margaritaville-branded items such as rafts and blenders. Here is a video highlighting one of his popular hotel properties:

In addition, there is a Broadway musical opening that features his music. Oh yeah, and the 71-year-old musician continues to tour with his band.

Reports indicate that Buffett’s business ventures bring in around $1.5 billion annually. Some people claim there’s a woman to blame, but Buffett knows his business success is his “own damn fault.” When he was approached about expanding the Margaritaville brand into an active-adult community, Buffett seized on the opportunity. He recognized that it was a “natural fit” since a large percentage of his fans are aging baby boomers who have followed his career for decades, according to the Washington Post.

Retiring in an Upscale Community Requires Proper Planning

If you hope to one day retire and enjoy the good life at Latitude Margaritaville, you need to have a retirement plan in place, in addition to a detailed estate plan. If you have questions about planning for your future, contact InSight Law today.

Important Info You Need to Know About How Divorce Can Impact Your Estate Plan

Most people never expect to get divorced. They love their spouse and anticipate spending the rest of their lives in marital bliss. Unfortunately, the data indicates this is not the norm. In fact, in the United States, nearly half of all married couples wind up getting divorced, according to the American Psychological Association.

This is why it is important to be prepared and have as much information at your disposal. Below is a general overview of how a divorce can impact your estate plan.

How Divorce Can Impact Your Will

When you get divorced, any items or funds that are directed to your ex-spouse will be automatically revoked, according to Virginia Code § 64.2-412(A). This statutory provision means your ex-spouse will lose the following rights, responsibilities, and benefits described in your Will:
·        General or special power of appointment;
·        Executor status
·        Guardian status
·        Any assets designated to go to the ex-spouse

Despite the automatic revocation, it makes more sense to take the time to update your Will to ensure there is no possibility your ex-spouse could make a legal argument in favor of receiving any assets from your Will.  Also, the period of time between separation and final divorce decree or settlement agreement could last from a few months to a few years. During this period, the disposition of your assets should be clear if something happens to you.

How Divorce Can Impact Your Trust

You need to take action if you get divorced and have a trust. Why? Because the Uniform Trust Code does not automatically revoke the beneficiary status of an ex-spouse upon divorce. Therefore, if you do nothing and your ex-spouse remains listed as the primary beneficiary of your trust, they will still receive those funds when you pass on.

How Divorce Can Affect an Advance Medical Directive

When your divorce is finalized, you may believe this automatically revokes all rights and responsibilities from your now-ex-spouse. This is not correct. In fact, under the Virginia Health Care Decisions Act, an advance medical directive is not automatically revoked as a result of a divorce. Therefore, you need to be proactive and expressly revoke the existing advance medical directive naming your ex-spouse as your health care agent.

How Divorce Can Affect Designations of Beneficiaries in Your Estate Plan

Fortunately, automatic revocation exists when it comes to beneficiary designations. According to Va. Code § 20-111.1(A), a revocable beneficiary designation providing for the payment of a death benefit to your ex-spouse is revoked.  This includes any life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or any other contracts providing for the payment of benefits to a spouse upon your passing.
However, if you are a federal employee, or your life insurance plan is governed by federal law, your ex-spouse will receive the life insurance proceeds, if they remain listed as the designated beneficiary.

Have Questions? Contact an Experienced Trust and Estate Planning Attorney in Ashburn

Divorce can significantly impact an array of provisions within your estate plan. As a result, if you are in the midst of a divorce, or just had your divorce finalized, take the time to sit down with an experienced Ashburn trust and estate planning attorney to take the necessary steps to update your estate plan.

Advances in Medical Technology Making Prospect of Living to 120 and Beyond a Possibility

In trust and estate planning, there is an emphasis on the end of life and what needs to be done after you’ve left this earth. This blog will be a breath of fresh air since we’re focusing on living longer and enjoying as many years on this earth as possible.

Advances in medical technology have made it possible to actually identify risk factors in the human body before they can inflict significant harm on your overall health. These risk factors are identified through “biomarkers” and “genome sequencing.”

Basics of Biomarkers

Biomarkers are biological data points that reveal the current physical state of affairs of a specific medical condition. The majority of biomarkers are discovered through blood tests for future risk, but they also might include other health data points like an individual’s calcium score and blood pressure.  Furthermore, new health biomarkers are being identified quite frequently, according to Fortune.com. This will give doctors more data points to examine and track particular medical conditions.

Here is an interesting video focused on personalized medicine, genomics, and biomarkers:

General Info on Genome Sequencing

Personal genome sequencing, using the identified biomarkers, can enable medical professionals to discover specific future health risk you may face so you can take action now and stop it in the early stages before it becomes a serious health risk.

Genomic mapping and analysis enables doctors to identify the specific processes that lead to the creation of a future disease state. Once a biomarker corresponding to that future disease is identified, a detailed protocol can be developed to track and manage it.

Bottom Line

With these incredible advances in biomarker identification and personal genome sequencing, you may be able to stop a disease before it starts which means we may wind up being able to live much longer and healthier lives.

How to Take Advantage of These Medical Advances

There are steps you can take right now to begin taking advantage of these medical advances For example, you can have your genome mapped by numerous health services companies.  You can also work with physician and care teams who have a deeper understanding of longevity care and are actively staying abreast of the latest developments in the field.

These experts can monitor developments with your particular biomarkers, with the goal of staying out in front of any illnesses, diseases or other negative health outcomes. They can also provide you with a range of options to address any issues that appear, often using more advanced and less invasive health care methods, according to Safe Harbor Asset Management.

As you can see, this is an incredible time to be alive and you may be able to enjoy this life for much longer than expected.

Advances in Medical Technology Making Prospect of Living to 120 and Beyond a Possibility

In trust and estate planning, there is an emphasis on the end of life and what needs to be done after you’ve left this earth. This blog will be a breath of fresh air since we’re focusing on living longer and enjoying as many years on this earth as possible.

Advances in medical technology have made it possible to actually identify risk factors in the human body before they can inflict significant harm on your overall health. These risk factors are identified through “biomarkers” and “genome sequencing.”

Basics of Biomarkers

Biomarkers are biological data points that reveal the current physical state of affairs of a specific medical condition. The majority of biomarkers are discovered through blood tests for future risk, but they also might include other health data points like an individual’s calcium score and blood pressure.  Furthermore, new health biomarkers are being identified quite frequently, according to Fortune.com. This will give doctors more data points to examine and track particular medical conditions.

Here is an interesting video focused on personalized medicine, genomics, and biomarkers:

General Info on Genome Sequencing

Personal genome sequencing, using the identified biomarkers, can enable medical professionals to discover specific future health risk you may face so you can take action now and stop it in the early stages before it becomes a serious health risk.

Genomic mapping and analysis enables doctors to identify the specific processes that lead to the creation of a future disease state. Once a biomarker corresponding to that future disease is identified, a detailed protocol can be developed to track and manage it.

Bottom Line

With these incredible advances in biomarker identification and personal genome sequencing, you may be able to stop a disease before it starts which means we may wind up being able to live much longer and healthier lives.

How to Take Advantage of These Medical Advances

There are steps you can take right now to begin taking advantage of these medical advances For example, you can have your genome mapped by numerous health services companies.  You can also work with physician and care teams who have a deeper understanding of longevity care and are actively staying abreast of the latest developments in the field.

These experts can monitor developments with your particular biomarkers, with the goal of staying out in front of any illnesses, diseases or other negative health outcomes. They can also provide you with a range of options to address any issues that appear, often using more advanced and less invasive health care methods, according to Safe Harbor Asset Management.

As you can see, this is an incredible time to be alive and you may be able to enjoy this life for much longer than expected.