Category Archives: Recent Blogs

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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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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Do a Letter of Intent for Your Child

A “Letter of Intent” is a detailed description of a child (or incapacitated spouse) with a disability, including explanations of his or her medical, physical, mental, emotional, family, social, religious, educational and recreational history, abilities, preferences and dislikes.  This Letter

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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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Elder Exploitation a Growing Problem

June 15 was World Elder Abuse Awareness Day.  On June 14, Richard Courtney attended the summer meeting of the Elder Law Committee of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) in Seattle.  A large portion of that meeting

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FALL (ING)

Last Friday at 3:02 PM Central Time, summer here was over.  Fall began.  Fall.  I have had a few thoughts about that word. For the next three months, it will be Fall.  A noun.  A season.  A beautiful time of

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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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Love-Hate on Four Legs

Furry little puppies – don’t  you just love them?  You have to love them.  Videos of a tumbly mess of awkward little furballs trying to play can make you want to run out and buy one for that puppy therapy

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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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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, 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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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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Two Breaks for Disabled in New Tax Bill

The recent Tax Cuts and Jobs Act threatened to remove some important provisions for persons with disabilities from the law.  However, two important provisions were kept after the tough negotiations over the Republicans’ overhaul of the tax code. Medical Expense

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Two Different Types of Special Needs Trusts

This article is reprinted with permission of the Special Needs Alliance - www.specialneedsalliance.org. There are two types of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs), commonly designated as first-party and third-party SNTs. It is important to determine which type of SNT you have or

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Two Different Types of Special Needs Trusts

There are two types of Special Needs Trusts (SNTs), commonly designated as first-party and third-party SNTs. It is important to determine which type of SNT you have or need. This depends upon whose property is funding the SNT. If the

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Upcoming Events and Presentations

Below are some upcoming presentations by Richard Courtney on various elder law and special needs planning topics, followed by important information about some great events to be put on by a variety of non-profit groups.  (Contact us if you would

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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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Where Can Service Animals Go?

by Richard A. Courtney, CELA Service animals can change lives. My daughter, Melanie, who’s had service dogs for years, comments that beyond the many helpful tasks they perform and the unconditional love they provide, they open up opportunities for social

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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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