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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Can I Get A Witness?

Whenever that Brothers Osborne song “It Ain’t My Fault” comes on the radio, and it gets to the part where they sing, “I got my hands up. I need an alibi. Find me a witness who can testify.” it always gets us thinking about


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Friday, May 11, 2018

Author’s Estate Plan Preserves Her Privacy

The beloved author Harper Lee was known for two things: 1. The coming-of-age classic To Kill a Mockingbird and 2. Her desire to keep her personal affairs out of the public eye. When she died in 2016, many thought her will might reveal whether readers could expect additional books written by her to be published, and tell us a little more about her mysterious private life. Earlier this year, her will was finally made public, but it leaves us with more questions than answers.


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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Pooled Income Trusts & Public Assistance Benefits


Pooled Income Trusts and Public Assistance Benefits

A Pooled Income Trust is a special kind of trust that is established by a non-profit organization. This trust allows individuals of any age (typically over 65) to become financially eligible for public assistance benefits (such as Medicaid home care and Supplemental Security Income), while preserving their monthly income in trust for living expenses and supplemental needs. All income received by the beneficiary must be deposited into the Pooled Income Trust.

In order to be eligible to deposit your income into a Pooled Income Trust, you must be disabled as defined by law. For purposes of the Trust, "disabled" typically includes age-related infirmities.
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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

When Is A Person Unfit To Make A Will?


When is a person unfit to make a will?

Testamentary capacity refers to a person’s ability to understand and execute a will. As a general rule, most people who are over the age of eighteen are thought to be competent to make and sign the will. They must be able to understand that they are signing the will, they must understand the nature of the property being affected by the will, and they must remember and understand who is affected by the will. These are simple burdens to meet. However, there are a number of reasons a person might challenge a will based on testamentary capacity.
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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Changing Uses for Bypass trusts


Changing Uses for Bypass Trusts

Every year, each individual who dies in the U.S. can leave a certain amount of money to his or her heirs before facing any federal estate taxes. For example, in 2016, a person who dies could leave $5.45 million to his or her heirs (or a charity) estate tax free, and everything over that amount would be taxable by the federal government.
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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Advanced Medical Directive Planning


While the main objective of estate planning is to help individuals protect their assets and provide for  loved ones, there are other important considerations, such as planning for incapacity. In short, it is crucial  to plan for the type of medical care people wish to receive if a serious accident or illness makes them unable to make or communicate these decisions. By putting in place advance medical directives, such as a durable power of attorney for healthcare and a living will, it is possible to plan for these unexpected events.

Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare

A durable power of attorney for healthcare is commonly referred to as a healthcare proxy. This estate planning tool enables individuals to designate a trusted family member or friend to make medical care decisions in the event of incapacity.


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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Things You Should Avoid When Estate Planning


Estate Planning Dont's

Preparing for the future is an uncertain business, but there are steps you can take during your lifetime to simplify matters for your loved ones after you pass, and to ensure your final wishes are carried out. Planning for what happens to your property, or who cares for your family members, upon your death can be a complicated process. To simplify things, the following list can help you avoid some of the pitfalls you may encounter before, or even long after, you create your estate plan.

Don’t assume you can plan your estate by yourself. Get help from an estate planning attorney whose training and experience can ensure that you minimize tax implications and simplify the process of settling your estate.
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Friday, March 30, 2018

Will SCOTUS Decide What Happens To Your Emails After You Die?

If you are like most people, there are probably a few emails in your inbox or outgoing mail folder that you never want anyone else to see. Whether it’s a receipt for something embarrassing you bought online, or a racy note you sent to a past love, there are some things you just want to keep to yourself. However, unless you include instructions regarding your digital assets in your estate plan, your loved ones may be able to get access to our online accounts after you are gone.


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Friday, March 30, 2018

Choosing An Attorney That’s Right For You


Have your or someone you know tried to adopt a dog lately? You must fill out detailed questionnaires. Submit to a background check. Some kennels are even requiring a home visit from a “canine placement specialist” who can determine if Fido will like the dog bed and chew toys you’ve picked out. In the age of puppy mills and Michael Vick it is easy to see why people are being so cautious, but what has emerged is a system for picking out and acquiring a pet that makes the process of hiring an attorney look like a joke.

Perhaps it is time to put a little more thought into the attorney hiring process?

The first thing anyone who is thinking about hiring an attorney should do is a little bit of thinking about what sort of services they need.
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Is a Copy of a Will Sufficient?


Is a copy of a will sufficient?

Many people keep their important documents at home where they are easily accessible. It’s not at all uncommon to find people with a filing cabinet or even a shoe box containing passports, account statements, deeds, tax returns, birth certificates and social security cards. Wills are often added to these files once the estate planning process is completed. In choosing to store your important estate planning documents at home, however, you risk having the originals lost or destroyed in the case of fire, flooding or theft. So what happens if the original version of your will is lost or ruined?

Generally when a person dies, state law determines what must happen in the state probate proceeding.
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Wednesday, March 7, 2018

A Simple Will Is Not Enough


A Simple Will Is Not Enough

 

A basic last will and testament cannot accomplish every goal of estate planning; in fact, it often cannot even accomplish the most common goals.  This fact often surprises people who are going through the estate planning process for the first time.  In addition to a last will and testament, there are other important planning tools which are necessary to ensure your estate planning wishes are honored.

Beneficiary Designations
Do you have a pension plan, 401(k), life insurance, a bank account with a pay-on-death directive, or investments in transfer-on-death (TOD) form?

When you established each of these accounts, you designated at least one beneficiary of the account in the event of your death.  You cannot use your will to change or override the beneficiary designations of such accounts.
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477 Viking Drive, Suite 410 , Virginia Beach, VA 23452 | Phone: 757.301.9500
5425 Discovery Park Blvd., Suite 101, Williamsburg, VA 23188 | Phone: 757.301.9500
750 Tysons Blvd., Suite 1500, McLean, VA 22102 (By Appointment Only) | Phone: 757.301.9500