Naming a Guardian – Do You Need Court Approval?

If you have minor a child, or children, an important issue you’ll need to address in your estate plan is determining who will take care of your children if you suddenly pass away. This person would serve as a “guardian” for your children until they become legal adults. A question I routinely get asked by clients is whether the guardian they prefer to name will need to be approved by a court. Here’s the answer: it depends. A major factor that will influence a guardianship issue is where you reside. If you live in Maryland, you can actually...

Continue reading

Proper Medicaid Planning Is Essential for Long-Term Care

The National Institute on Aging reports that roughly 70 percent of American over the age of 65 will need some type of long-term care. If that isn’t shocking enough, the NIA reports that over 40 percent of Americans will need some type of nursing home care at some point in their life. You may be thinking, “What’s the big deal?” Well, considering the fact that the annual cost of long-term care at a nursing home is over $100,000 per year, the “big deal” is financial – the cost of care could quickly wipe out your savings leaving you with very...

Continue reading

No Children? The Challenge of Deciding Who Receives Your Estate’s Assets

Most people with adult children include them in their estate plan by giving them authority to make decisions on their behalf, and to ultimately inherit their assets. But what about couples who have no children? Estate planning for childless couples can actually be more challenging than for couples with children. How is it more difficult? Well, because there’s probably no default individual to empower to make decisions on your behalf, administer your estate, and determine who will inherit your assets. Childless couples usually look to siblings, extended relatives, charities, or close friends. Another issue for childless couples is the tendency...

Continue reading

Estate Planning – Hard Truths

Richard Randall, the Chairman and CEO of the National Network of Estate Planning Attorneys, recently published a great article highlighting some hard truths about estate planning. Richard points out some serious flaws with how most people approach the estate planning process. Unfortunately, it's viewed as a "one and done" event without much discussion about proper maintenance and disclosures necessary to create a thorough estate plan. Check out the full article here: The Truth About Estate Planning ...

Continue reading

Blended Families and Estate Planning

If you, or your significant other, have been through a divorce, the impact on how you plan your estate can be significant. The absolute worst thing you can do in this situation is nothing and hope your loved ones just “figure it out.” What if your ex-spouse comes out of nowhere and claims they are entitled to certain benefits? It’s happened before. Check out this article I published a few months ago about a Maryland case that involved such a fast pattern: https://insightlaw.net/current-events/attack-of-the-ex-spouse-maryland-court-allows-former-wife-to-receive-50-percent-of-deceased-ex-spouses-pension-benefits. So what should you do? Well, a good first step is to review all of your current estate...

Continue reading

Take Part in the Seventh Annual Virginia Healthcare Decisions Day

Virginia is putting the spotlight on an important aspect of estate planning - healthcare directives. The Seventh Annual Healthcare Decisions Day will take place on April 16th. For more info, check out the Virginia State Bar's info page. So what is this day all about? Well, a critically important estate planning document is an “Advance Directive.” This document allows you to put your wishes regarding medical care in writing and lets your loved ones know the types of medical care you do and do not want in car you are unable to express your wishes. Generally, there are two types of...

Continue reading

Limiting Exposure to Liability Critical for Small Business Owners

If you’re a business owner, one of the most important legal concepts you need to be familiar with is limited liability. You’re probably somewhat familiar with limited liability if your business is structured as an “LLC” (which stands for Limited Liability Company) or “PLLC” (which stands for Professional Limited Liability Company). Additionally, if you’re a shareholder, you enjoy limited liability for the actions of the corporation. However, courts across the country have recognized certain circumstances where a court can “pierce” the proverbial “corporate veil” and hold shareholders liable for the actions and/or negligence of a company. The standard used...

Continue reading

The Long Goodbye – Living with Alzheimer’s and Why You Need an Estate Plan

Alzheimer’s disease has made numerous headlines recently. Country music legend Glenn Campbell won a Grammy award for his heartbreaking song “I’m Not Gonna Miss You” which provides insight into the singer’s steady decline after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, the movie “Still Alice” was released, which is based on the best-selling book (same title). ABC News also did a report providing a glimpse into what life is like with Alzheimer’s. Check out the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LL_Gq7Shc-Y It’s clear that Alzheimer’s is a cruel and tragic disease. It’s often referred to as the “Long Goodbye” because it doesn’t hit...

Continue reading