Category Archives: Estate Planning

2019 Social Security and Public Benefit Figures

In most years, the money amounts pertaining to eligibility for, and benefits from, various governmental benefit programs change.  Listed below are the 2019 figures for some Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid programs, along with summary description for each. 2019 Medicare

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Court Confirms Requirements for a Valid Will

In ruling on a recent will challenge, the Mississippi Court of Appeals restated the requirements for a valid last will and testament and what is required to make or overcome a successful challenge to a will. Mary Lou Froemel, a

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Court Confirms that Joint Ownership Trumps a Will

In 1988, Robert Ehrhardt, Sr. and his wife, Julia, purchased a home as “joint tenants with full rights of survivorship, and not as tenants in common.”  In 2000, Robert Sr. executed his last will and testament.  A provision of his

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Details Matter in Real Estate Ownership

Every person who owns a residence or other real property must be aware of the form of ownership.  Recently, I told a client that she could purchase her mother’s residence as part of planning for Mom’s nursing home care.  However,

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Divorce May Not Revoke Your Old Will

A recent Mississippi Court of Appeals decision (Chaney v. Chaney, No. 2015-CA-01613-COA, https://courts.ms.gov/Images/Opinions/CO120771.pdf) points out that a divorce by itself will not revoke one of the spouse’s earlier will. Facts: James Chaney Jr. executed his last will and testament in

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Does Conservatorship End Joint Accounts?

Some folk think “estate planning” is putting their children on their bank accounts.  However, this may not be enough if the client later becomes incapacitated.  If the client does not have a comprehensive durable power of attorney (and in some

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Holiday Helps for Alzheimer’s Caregivers

November and December are holiday months.  The holiday season is a time for visiting and reconnecting with family, friends and neighbors.  Sometimes this season can be sad or stressful for those caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s disease.  Here

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How Do Annuities Compare to Social Security?

Are you hoping to retire one day with enough income to live comfortably in your golden years?  Where will that income come from when you finally quit working?  Social Security forms one leg of the “three-legged stool” of retirement planning

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Joint Custody by Grandparents Upheld by Court

More and more these days, grandparents have been called on to provide care for grandchildren due to problems experienced by their children.  A recent Mississippi case expanded the interpretation of the “grandparents visitation” law. Following a contested custody action, the

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Major Changes Coming for Social Security

For many of the more than 62 million beneficiaries - 42.8 million of whom are retired workers - Social Security is more than just a check. It's a financial lifeline or foundation for retired workers, the disabled, and the survivors

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Medicare Milestones

On July 30, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed Medicare, a health insurance program for elderly Americans, into law.  At the bill-signing ceremony, which took place at the Truman Library in Independence, Missouri, former President Harry S. Truman was enrolled

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New Rules Tighten VA Aid & Attendance Qualification

In January 2015, the VA proposed amendments to its regulations concerning the requirements to qualify for the Improved Pension (commonly referred to as Aid & Attendance, or A&A).  On September 18, 2018, the new requirements were finally published.  The new

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Plan For Your Health Care Decision-Making

The law presumes that every adult is competent to make his or her own health-care decisions, and that no one has authority to make such decisions for the individual unless (a) the individual has voluntarily given that person authority to

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Power of Attorney – to Keep You in Control

The Constitution of the United States and the privacy laws that have emanated from its protections guarantee the right of each competent adult to act in her own behalf regarding all personal and property matters.  It is essential to establish

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Power of Attorney, Gifts and Self-Dealing

A recent Mississippi court case examined the legality of an attempted transfer of jointly-owned bank CDs by use of a power of attorney and how transactions done through the use of such powers of attorney may be overturned where the

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Powers of Attorney and Divorce

This recent Mississippi court case points out two things: people can do some devious things after a divorce, and a power of attorney agent cannot do things that the principal clearly would not do. Facts: In 1972, Carroll and his

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The Four Principles of Long Term Care Planning

The four principles: Knowledge is the key to success. Professional help is crucial in saving time, money and stress. When money is available for care, caregiver stress is reduced and care options are expanded Success is assured through a written

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The New Reality of Old Age in America

People are living longer, more expensive lives, often without much of a safety net.  As a result, record numbers of Americans older than 65 years of age are working — now nearly 1 in 5.  That proportion has risen steadily

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The Who, What, When and How of Medicare

What is it?  Medicare is a medical insurance-type program developed to pay medical costs for retired or disabled persons who have paid into the Social Security system.  Medicare Part A pays for hospital costs and Part B pays for doctor

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We Need to Be Careful with Tax Reform

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (H.R. 1) was introduced in the House of Representatives last week. This is the first major tax law overhaul since the 1986 Tax Act, which took approximately four years of bipartisan Congressional activity to

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When a Court Can Undo Joint Ownership

When a widowed parent begins to lose the ability to care for himself, children may move in and take over the management of the parent’s finances.  In some cases, the managing or caregiver child may change the ownership of assets

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When is a Lease a Will?

Rose Greer leased land to David and Jene Nunnery.  Section 3 of the lease - which extended until July 31, 2025, in automatically renewing one year terms - stated: In the event of the death of the Lessor, this lease

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Why Do-it-Yourself Wills Don’t Work

From time to time, clients have come into our office with wills or powers of attorney they had prepared or printed from an online source.  In most cases we have found that those “do-it-yourself” documents did not achieve the clients’

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