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News/Blog

ABLE Accounts As Part of Special Needs Planning

November 16, 2017

Many people are familiar with trusts as tools for special needs planning. Not only will a trust ensure that money set aside for a disabled person’s care is used for that purpose, it can also help an individual remain eligible for benefit programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. Recently, the state of Florida began the ABLE United program which created a new way to save money for the use of a disabled person without adding to his or her assets….

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Self-Settled Special Needs Trusts

October 10, 2017

What is a self-settled special needs trust? A self-settled special needs trust is funded using the beneficiary’s own assets. For many years, a disabled person could only set up this type of trust if he or she had a living parent or grandparent, or, if not, by going through court proceedings for approval. In December 2016, the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act was signed into law. Now, those with special needs, but who still have capacity to make their own decisions, can independently create and fund their own trusts….

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Protect Your Estate Planning Documents from Disaster

September 26, 2017

In the wake of hurricane Irma and hurricane Harvey, now is a great time to create a plan to keep estate planning documents safe and easily accessible in the event of a natural disaster. Many recognize the need to have property and health insurance paperwork readily available, but that is not enough.

If a person’s home is destroyed, other important documents will be as well, including estate plans. Injuries, illnesses and loss of life often occur during events such as hurricanes, floods and earthquakes, not just while they are happening, but in the aftermath due to hazardous conditions, preexisting medical issues and even natural causes….

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Updating Your Estate Planning Documents

September 13, 2017

One of the biggest mistakes a person can make is not periodically reviewing, updating, and modifying his or her estate planning documents. Once drafted, many people tuck these documents away, and don’t think about them again. However, changes in personal circumstances can have an unintended effect on the eventual disposition of an estate.

From guardianship and power of attorney designations to bequests of assets, life changes can affect many decisions made when an estate plan was originally drafted….

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Legacy Options for Popular Social Media Sites

August 10, 2017

According to a study by the Pew Research center, 68% of American adults have a Facebook account, 28% use Instagram and 21% are Twitter users. It is essential for individuals to consider what will happen to their accounts upon death.

Facebook and Instagram both provide two options for handling the account of a deceased individual. Under Facebook’s policy, an account can either be memorialized, or deactivated. If memorialization is chosen, once Facebook receives notice and proof of a person’s death, the account becomes a remembrance page, and account activity will be restricted….

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Where to Keep Your Estate Planning Documents

August 1, 2017

When choosing a place to store your advance directives, will, or other estate planning documents, the most important factors to consider are ease of access and a location that will keep the documents free from harm.

Healthcare advance directives, such as living wills and health care surrogate designations, must be quickly accessible. It is a good idea to give a copy of these to the designated and alternate surrogate identified within the documents. Copies can also be given to other close family members or a primary physician….

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What Happens to Student Loans When You Die?

July 6, 2017

Most students must take out loans in order to pay for their higher education. However, many people don’t consider what will happen to their student loan debt if they die before it’s paid off.

Most federal student loans do not require a credit check or cosigner, leaving the borrower solely responsible for repayment. The exception to this is the Direct PLUS loan, which can only be obtained by the parents of a dependent undergraduate student, or by students attending professional or graduate school….

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Creating Your Burial Plans

June 27, 2017

The death of a loved one is a stressful time for family and friends. When it comes to funeral arrangements, family members are sometimes at odds over the details. One way a person can help ease the burden on those left behind is to create a plan for burial arrangements.

Arguably, the most important decisions when it comes to final arrangements are whether a person will be cremated or buried, and the location of his or her final resting place….

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The Importance of Health Care Surrogates

June 7, 2017

Most people are familiar with living wills, which generally detail procedures a person does or does not want if he or she becomes incapacitated and needs life-preserving treatment. In addition to a living will, designating a health care surrogate provides further peace of mind that a trusted individual will be making treatment decisions if a person’s ability to communicate is lost.

A health care surrogate designation authorizes a chosen individual to receive medical information and to make decisions regarding the medical care of another….

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Millennials Need Wills Even If They Have Few Assets

May 31, 2017

According to a 2017 caring.com survey, 78 percent of millennials (ages 18-36) don’t have a will, and many gave a lack of assets as a reason for not beginning the estate planning process. But, no matter the current size of the estate, planning ahead is always a good idea.

A will may seem pointless if there are few assets, or a large amount of student loan or other debt. Some young people overlook the value of assets they have, including retirement or investment accounts and life insurance policies….

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