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Community Property, Separate Property and Estate Planning

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Oct 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

If you are married, a good estate planning attorney will ask you during the information gathering process whether you have ever lived in a community property state. This is because community property retains its character as such when a couple moves to a state with different marital property laws. Your estate planning attorney needs to know this because it can have an impact on what is included in your estate when you die and to what extent the property received a step up in basis when you die.

Your Duties as a Representative Payee for an Elder's Social Security Benefits

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

There often comes a time in a older adult's life when he or she cannot handle his or her finances any longer. The usual solution is to already have a general durable power of attorney in place that authorizes a trusted person (such as a healthy spouse or an adult child) to handle the elder's financial affairs in the event of incompetency or other disability. This is a sound strategy but, unfortunately, does not apply to management of Social Security benefits. This is because the Social Security Administration (SSA) simply does not honor powers of attorney and, because SSA is a federal agency, they do not concern themselves with state laws that require financial and other institutions to honor valid power of attorney.

Naming a Trusted Contact Person

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

In 2018, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) enacted a new rule designed to help protect senior investors. Under this rule, financial advisors are required to make reasonable efforts to obtain the name of and contact information for a "trusted contact person" upon opening a new account or when updating account information for existing clients.

FINRA's Senior Helpline

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Oct 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

To help protect seniors and other vulnerable investors from financial exploitation, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) has developed a Senior Helpline to provide assistance and advice.

Arizona's Beneficiary Deed (Transfer on Death Deed)

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Oct 10, 2019 | 0 Comments

An Arizona beneficiary deed is a nonprobate device to transfer residential real property to a named beneficiary upon the owner's death. Like a will, no consideration is required and the beneficiary’s acceptance is not required. Capacity to contract is required. Beneficiary deeds are revocable by recording a revocation, recording an absolute conveyance, or recording a subsequent beneficiary deed.

Common Estate Planning Myths

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Oct 04, 2019 | 0 Comments

Estate planning can be a very difficult process. While it’s not brain surgery, making the decision to move forward with the planning requires us to face the fact that we will not live forever. This thought can stop many people right in their tracks. Others talk themselves out of seeing a qualified attorney to put together an estate plan based on some of the following common myths:

DIY Estate Planning Mistake #8: Home Brew Amendments

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

Some people have been known to take a perfectly good attorney-prepared estate plan and tinker with it on their own. A classic example is crossing out names and writing in different names by hand. Another example is crossing out a bequest, either because the testator has changed his mind about giving it to a particular person or he no longer owns the item.

DIY Estate Planning Mistake #7: Proscratination

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Sep 27, 2019 | 0 Comments

In order of priority, this mistake really ranks #2 behind DIY Mistake #1: Not Having An Estate Plan, but I had already posted mistakes 2 through 6, so this is going to have to be #7.  Human beings tend to procrastinate when a task they KNOW they need to do seems overwhelming or too expensive or ...

California's Transfer on Death Deed

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Sep 26, 2019 | 0 Comments

A nonprobate device to transfer residential real property to a named beneficiary upon the owner’s death. Like a will, no consideration is required and the beneficiary’s acceptance is not required. Capacity to contract is required. TODs are revocable by recording a revocation, recording an absolute conveyance, or recording a subsequent TOD deed.

How to Determine if a Reverse Mortgage is Right for You

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

A reverse mortgage, also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), is a type of loan that allows older homeowners (62 or older) to convert part of the equity in their homes into tax-free income. Reverse mortgages are wonderful financial tools for certain individuals; however, it is a very important financial decision. If you are considering a reverse mortgage the first step is to talk with a reverse mortgage counselor.

Be Careful About Putting Only One Spouse's Name on a Reverse Mortgage

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

A case involving basketball star Caldwell Jones demonstrates the danger in having only one spouse's name on a reverse mortgage. A federal appeals court ruled that an insurance company may foreclose on a reverse mortgage after the death of the borrower, Mr. Jones, even though Mr. Jones’ widow is still living in the house. While there are protections in place for non-borrowing spouses, many spouses are still facing foreclosure and eviction.

DIY Estate Planning Mistake #3: Relying on Beneficiary Designations

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Sep 18, 2019 | 0 Comments

Plenty of my clients use these techniques in addition to their will and their trust(s). They have their place in estate planning as long is the choice is made in an intentional, conscious, educated, and informed manner. The problem is too many people don't think it all the way through, if they think about it at all, usually because they are not aware that they SHOULD think it through better. They don't know what the alternatives are or what questions they should be asking.

How Much FDIC Insurance Do I Get for My Trust?

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

FDIC deposit insurance covers the depositors of a failed FDIC-insured depository institution dollar-for-dollar, principal plus any interest accrued or due to the depositor, through the date of default, up to at least $250,000. For example, if a person had a CD account in her name alone with a principal balance of $195,000 and $3,000 in accrued interest, the full $198,000 would be insured, since principal plus interest did not exceed the $250,000 insurance limit for single ownership accounts. The amount of FDIC insurance provided for accounts held by a trust depends on whether the trust is revocable or irrevocable as well as other factors.

Adoption and Rights of Inheritance

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

A question arose today in an online ask-a-lawyer forum that I monitor, so I decided to write a blog post about the subject because this does come up every so often. The two most common questions people ask with respect to adoption and inheritance are: Can an adopted child inherit from adoptiv...

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