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Estate Planning When You Have a Stepfamily

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

Ideally, when a second marriage joins two families together, it should be a joyous occasion that creates one bigger family unit. Unfortunately, it too often also creates inheritance fights between stepparents and children. A good estate plan is necessary to help avoid these types of family squabbles.

Estate Planning During a Divorce: Four Key Considerations

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

You have planned your life carefully. With your spouse you have drawn up a will and established trusts to organize your estate after your deaths. You have made decisions about the guardianship of your children should anything happen to you both before they come of age. Together, you have put insurance policies in place for health, life, and disability. And most likely you are each named beneficiaries on the other’s retirement plan. The only thing you didn’t plan for was divorce.

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 21, 2019 | 0 Comments

Over the past few years, estate planning has experienced unprecedented change. As we conduct more of our lives online, planning for digital assets and online accounts is crucial to securing your legacy. Click through to read more.

How to Leave Your Estate to Your Pet

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 20, 2019 | 0 Comments

It's not as strange as it sounds: people are very close to their pets, and it's natural they want them to be taken care of after they're gone. Click through for some help in making sure your beloved animal friends are provided for.

DIY Estate Planning Mistake #11: Forgeting About the Car

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 15, 2019 | 0 Comments

I answer a lot of "Ask A Lawyer" questions online. Here is one that came up recently (slightly edited for spelling and grammar): "My mom moved from GA to NC with me. We recently went to get a new license plate for her but we could not because the title of her car had her name and her deceased husband's name on it with no "and/or" beside the name. The plate office told us to go to the clerk of court with a will and death certificate. When we got to the clerk of court they told us we had to go to GA as the title was in GA. However, we are a minimum of 4 hours from GA. Is there anything else we can do switch the title without taking a long trip?"

DIY Estate Planning Mistake #12: Making Outright Gifts of Cash (or Cash Equivalents) to Qualify for Medicaid

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 13, 2019 | 0 Comments

Some people do only enough research to figure out that you have to be nearly broke to qualify for Medicaid, so when it starts becoming apparent that they are going to need long-term care, they quickly gift things to their children and/or other people, which can result in a long Medicaid penalty period. Unless they are lucky enough to somehow convince the recipients of those past gifts to gift them back to pay for your care, you end up paying for those gifts twice. Even worse, the private pay rate is virtually always higher (a lot higher) than the Medicaid rate, so you end up having to pay out of pocket substantially more than the value of the gifts that you made.

The Risk Seniors Don't Want to Think About

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 12, 2019 | 0 Comments

The greatest risk facing nearly all seniors is the need for long-term care services. If you are an adult reading this blog, you have about a 70% chance of eventually needing some sort of long-term care, ranging from occasional home visits by nurse or other caregiver to residing in an assisted living facility (ALF) and possibly residing in a skilled nursing facility (SNF or nursing home) . Nursing home care is extremely expensive and can wipe out the life savings of most people.

Five Estate Planning Myths

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 11, 2019 | 0 Comments

There are lots of misconceptions about estate planning, and any one of them can result in costly mistakes. Understanding who needs an estate plan and what it should cover is key to creating a plan that is right for you.

IRS Announces Higher Gift And Estate Tax Limits For 2020

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 06, 2019 | 0 Comments

The Internal Revenue Service announced today in Rev. Proc. 2019-44 the official estate and gift tax limits for 2020: $11.58 million per person (was $11.4 million in 2019). That means you can leave $11.58 million to heirs and pay no federal gift or estate tax. If you are married, the two of you can leave up to 23.16 million combined without incurring a federal gift or estate tax.

Home Care Costs Rise Sharply in Annual Long-Term Care Cost Survey

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Nov 01, 2019 | 0 Comments

When it comes to long-term care costs, the charges for home care are now rising faster than those for nursing home care, according to Genworth's 2019 Cost of Care survey. In the past year, the median annual cost for home health aides rose 4.55 percent to $52,624, while the median cost of a private nursing home room rose only 1.82 percent to $102,200.

DIY Estate Planning Mistake #10: The "Secret Trust"

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Oct 30, 2019 | 0 Comments

A secret trust is created when an individual entrusts property to another person with the understanding that the second person (let's call him the "trustee") should hold the property for the benefit of a third person (let's call him the "beneficiary"). The problem is, none of this is in writing. It's secret.

What is Medicaid Pre-Planning?

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Oct 29, 2019 | 0 Comments

Medicaid Pre-Planning is a process of using legal techniques to transfer assets to your spouse or children or other beneficiaries, or to otherwise cause the assets to be exempt from consideration in qualifying for Medicaid. These techniques (1) preserve these assets for your heirs, (2) while allowing you to maintain a certain degree of control while you are still living, and (3) allow you to qualify for Medicaid coverage much sooner than if your assets were just spent down.


Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Oct 28, 2019 | 0 Comments

Sometimes the most loving thing you can do is protect children and other loved ones from themselves. You might want to make sure that your children are financially secure during their lifetime or that your nephew’s education is paid for. Whatever your goals are, a proper estate plan can put provisions in place to make sure your loved ones are provided for, rather than having their inheritance squandered on a Ferrari, seized by a creditor, or given to an ex-spouse during a divorce.


Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Oct 25, 2019 | 0 Comments

A comprehensive estate plan can contain your wishes with as much detail as you want, including instructions for your funeral or memorial service. Make sure your family has a chance to remember and celebrate your life instead of placing the burden of arranging final plans—like what song will be playing at your funeral—on your already grieving loved ones.


Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Oct 24, 2019 | 0 Comments

You’re a unique individual with your own wishes, hopes, and dreams. Should a will that works for a single, 20-something be the same one used for a well-invested grandparent of 12? You’ve worked hard to create the life you have—make sure you trust your planning to an experienced estate planning attorney and not a fill-in-the-blank, cookie-cutter document generator (you know you’ve heard of them) with a final product resembling a Mad Lib game.

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