Estate and Elder Law

Recent Posts

No Saturday letters? How it might affect seniors
Posted on 14 Feb 2013 by karplaw

The United States Postal Service has said it will discontinue Saturday letter delivery beginning August 2013, saying it will save it $2 billion annually. That's a chunk of change, but just a small patch on the red ink: USPS lost $16 billion just last... Read More

U.S. Supreme Court cites Florida inheritance law in unusual case
Posted on 15 Jun 2012 by karplaw

The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in the case of Astrue v. Capato. The circumstances of the case are ones most of us will never experience. Nonetheless, the case has lessons for everyone. It underscores the importance of creating... Read More

After the Election, Still Looking for Estate Tax Certainty
Posted on 9 Nov 2012 by karplaw

It's over. American voted. We have our winners and losers. With the election behind us, Washington has got to get down to business, and soon. The so-called fiscal cliff is looming. How this issue is handled will likely have a dramatic impact on... Read More

Minor children? Here are the steps you need to take to protect them
Posted on 8 Feb 2013 by karplaw

The importance of life insurance for parents with young children cannot be overstated. However, insurance is just one part of the story. To ensure your child's financial security, you need to properly plan for how the proceeds will be distributed... Read More

Two States Involved in Food Tycoon's Estate Battle
Posted on 13 Nov 2012 by karplaw

A new estate battle is capturing public attention. As often is the case, it involves questions about undue influence. What's not so usual is that the conflict is unfolding in two states: Minnesota and Florida. You may not know the late Jeno Paulucci... Read More

Importance of a prenuptial for the Playboy tycoon - and the rest of us
Posted on 9 Jan 2013 by karplaw

Playboy tycoon Hugh Hefner, 86, and Crystal Harris were to be married in June 2011. Harris, however, abruptly called it off, announcing plans to auction off her engagement ring. But the runaway bride has returned. On New Year's Eve the two tied the... Read More

New Bill Would Help Special Needs Children of Military Retirees
Posted on 29 May 2012 by karplaw

If it becomes law, a new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives will provide greater financial security to special needs children of retired military personnel. House Bill 4329, The Disabled Military Child Protection Act, would allow military... Read More

Have you funded your revocable trust?
Posted on 12 Nov 2012 by karplaw

What is the difference between a revocable trust that prevents your estate from going through probate, and a revocable trust that's just a stack of papers? The answer: funding your revocable trust . This is an essential step you must take once the... Read More

Whitney's World Unveiled in Death
Posted on 6 Apr 2012 by karplaw

The toxicology report has been released: Now the entire world knows what happened to megastar Whitney Houston in that Beverly Hills hotel room on Feb. 11. And with the late singer's reliance on a Will as her estate planning vehicle, her family's... Read More

Do-It-Yourself Estate Plans: Saving Money or Throwing it Away?
Posted on 18 Sep 2012 by karplaw

I often warn readers about the dangers of using do-it-yourself websites and pre-printed forms to create wills and trust. Experienced estate planning lawyers do more than put together a pile of papers for you to sign and take home: We offer individualized... Read More

Elder Abuse: Social Media Keeps Grandparent Scam Going Strong
Posted on 23 Jul 2012 by karplaw

Back in 2010 we warned you about the "Grandparent Scam." It goes like this: A grandparent, other family member or friend receives a call about a loved one. The caller claims that the grandchild is in trouble - arrested or in the hospital, for... Read More

How to Protect Yourself from Court-Ordered Guardianship (and the Occasional Bad Apple Guardian)
Posted on 31 Jul 2012 by karplaw

Becoming incapacitated and unable to manage one's own affairs is an unnerving prospect. Having the court appoint a guardian for you adds insult to injury. No one wants the state mucking around in his personal affairs and finances. There's yet... Read More

Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property: New law terminates spouse's powers when dissolution of marriage is pending
Posted on 21 Aug 2012 by karplaw

Recent changes in Florida Statute 709.2109 state that a person named as agent under his/her spouse's Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property loses legal authority to act on the spouse's behalf in the event of divorce or annulment, or when... Read More

Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property: New law terminates spouse's powers when dissolution of marriage is pending
Posted on 21 Aug 2012 by karplaw

Recent changes in Florida Statute 709.2109 state that a person named as agent under his/her spouse's Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property loses legal authority to act on the spouse's behalf in the event of divorce or annulment, or when... Read More

Surprise: Study Shows Oldest Baby Boomers ARE Retiring
Posted on 27 Apr 2012 by karplaw

Surprise: Contrary to conventional wisdom, a new study seems to show that the first wave of Baby Boomers, born in 1946, isn't shunning retirement. They're retiring, despite expert predictions that they would not. According to the 2011 MetLife... Read More

  • Blog Post: Whitney's World Unveiled in Death

    The toxicology report has been released: Now the entire world knows what happened to megastar Whitney Houston in that Beverly Hills hotel room on Feb. 11. And with the late singer's reliance on a Will as her estate planning vehicle, her family's privacy is further eroded. Why someone with her...
  • Blog Post: Astor Estate Finally Settles

    Socialite and philanthropist Brooke Astor died at age 105 in 2007, leaving behind a $200 million estate, a Will executed in 2002, a raft of later codicils, and a pitched legal battle over who should get her fortune. On March 28, 2012, the Westchester County, NY Surrogate Court brought the saga to an...
  • Blog Post: Surprise: Study Shows Oldest Baby Boomers ARE Retiring

    Surprise: Contrary to conventional wisdom, a new study seems to show that the first wave of Baby Boomers, born in 1946, isn't shunning retirement. They're retiring, despite expert predictions that they would not. According to the 2011 MetLife Study of Baby Boomers at 65 , nearly half are now...
  • Blog Post: Trustees Give Cat a New Lease on One of Her Nine Lives

    When Georgia Lee Dvorak died on Christmas Eve at age 74, she left behind no family, just a beloved black cat named Boots. But her owner's death was just the beginning of bad news for Boots. According to Dvorak'sWill, any cats she owned at the time of her death were to be euthanized. Despite...
  • Blog Post: How to Coordinate Your Life Insurance with Your Estate Plan

    Life insurance can be a powerful tool in your estate plan . It can be relied on to help your surviving spouse or heirs when you're gone. If your estate is taxable, life insurance may be used to pay estate taxes and other expenses. As with any aspect of estate planning, the devil is in the details...
  • Blog Post: New Bill Would Help Special Needs Children of Military Retirees

    If it becomes law, a new bill introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives will provide greater financial security to special needs children of retired military personnel. House Bill 4329, The Disabled Military Child Protection Act, would allow military retirees who participate in the Survivor Benefit...
  • Blog Post: U.S. Supreme Court cites Florida inheritance law in unusual case

    The U.S. Supreme Court recently handed down its decision in the case of Astrue v. Capato. The circumstances of the case are ones most of us will never experience. Nonetheless, the case has lessons for everyone. It underscores the importance of creating a precisely worded estate plan that takes all contingencies...
  • Blog Post: Disorganization Usually Doesn't Turn Out This Well

    He didn't make it easy, but Robert Spann gave his daughters quite a gift. Spann used to hide valuables in odd places in his Arizona home, without documenting or telling anyone their location, not even his heirs. After his death in 2001, the children went through his home and came up with hidden treasure...
  • Blog Post: Will Medicare Pay for Your Florida Nursing Home?

    Are you one of the many Florida residents relying on Medicare to pay your way if you ever need nursing home care? Depending on what you mean by "nursing home," you, your family and your pocketbook could be in for a big shock. Many people fail to realize that Medicare does not cover long-term...
  • Blog Post: Elder Abuse: Social Media Keeps Grandparent Scam Going Strong

    Back in 2010 we warned you about the "Grandparent Scam." It goes like this: A grandparent, other family member or friend receives a call about a loved one. The caller claims that the grandchild is in trouble - arrested or in the hospital, for example - and says funds must be wired immediately...
  • Blog Post: How to Protect Yourself from Court-Ordered Guardianship (and the Occasional Bad Apple Guardian)

    Becoming incapacitated and unable to manage one's own affairs is an unnerving prospect. Having the court appoint a guardian for you adds insult to injury. No one wants the state mucking around in his personal affairs and finances. There's yet another reason to be wary of court-ordered guardianship...
  • Blog Post: Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property: New law terminates spouse's powers when dissolution of marriage is pending

    Recent changes in Florida Statute 709.2109 state that a person named as agent under his/her spouse's Florida Durable Power of Attorney for Property loses legal authority to act on the spouse's behalf in the event of divorce or annulment, or when an action is filed for divorce or legal separation...
  • Blog Post: Medicare Part D premium to remain unchanged in 2013

    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has announced that the average premium for Medicare Part D coverage will remain steady in 2013. The average premium will be about $30. This is the third straight year that the Part D premium has not increased. Open enrollment for Medicare Part D plans...
  • Blog Post: Florida Medicaid Penalty Divisor Increases September 1, 2012

    Florida's Medicaid rules are complicated, and always changing. Just a few weeks ago Medicaid increased its so-called monthly penalty divisor. Now, it's been increased again.. Effective Sept. 1, 2012 Florida Medicaid's penalty divisor increases from $6,880 to $7,362. What is the penalty...
  • Blog Post: Do-It-Yourself Estate Plans: Saving Money or Throwing it Away?

    I often warn readers about the dangers of using do-it-yourself websites and pre-printed forms to create wills and trust. Experienced estate planning lawyers do more than put together a pile of papers for you to sign and take home: We offer individualized advice and continuing guidance that obviously...
  • Blog Post: Don't Let Your Digital Assets Die Hard

    A recent story in the press reported that Bruce Willis was considering suing Apple, angry that he could not pass along his enormous I-Tunes account to his daughters in his will because he does not own his account, but merely has a license to access the musical library. Although reports of the lawsuit...
  • Blog Post: A Not-So-funny Riddle from Medicare: When Is Being in the Hospital Not Being in the Hospital?

    When is being admitted to the hospital, not being in the hospital? When you are admitted for observation. This is not just a semantic distinction. If you are on Medicare, the way the hospital stay classifies your stay can have huge implications for your pocketbook, both during your stay and possibly...
  • Blog Post: Medicare May No Longer Use Improvement Standard to Deny Short-Term Skilled Care

    The beginning of open enrollment and intense speculation about the election's impact on Medicare are not the only Medicare-related headlines these days. A new development may greatly help Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions who need skilled nursing and rehabilitation. In the past, Medicare...
  • Blog Post: After the Election, Still Looking for Estate Tax Certainty

    It's over. American voted. We have our winners and losers. With the election behind us, Washington has got to get down to business, and soon. The so-called fiscal cliff is looming. How this issue is handled will likely have a dramatic impact on the structure of federal estate taxes going forward...
  • Blog Post: Have you funded your revocable trust?

    What is the difference between a revocable trust that prevents your estate from going through probate, and a revocable trust that's just a stack of papers? The answer: funding your revocable trust . This is an essential step you must take once the ink is dry on your documents. Without proper funding...
  • Blog Post: Two States Involved in Food Tycoon's Estate Battle

    A new estate battle is capturing public attention. As often is the case, it involves questions about undue influence. What's not so usual is that the conflict is unfolding in two states: Minnesota and Florida. You may not know the late Jeno Paulucci by name, but you probably know the products...
  • Blog Post: Medicare Part D: It Pays to Shop Around

    [ Originally posted Oct 16, 2012 ] Medicare Open Enrollment began yesterday, October 15, and continues through December 7, 2012. The enrollment period ends earlier than in previous years, so those considering making a change should not procrastinate. Medicare beneficiaries should pay particular...
  • Blog Post: Caregivers Facing More Challenges Than in the Past

    Caregiving for an aging loved one: It's not just about bathing, shopping and handling finances anymore. A recent study from AARP's Public Policy Institute and United Hospital Fund finds that caregivers are increasingly taking on tasks that were once performed only by trained medical staff...
  • Blog Post: Supreme Court to Rule on DOMA: Estate Planning Implications

    On December 7 the Supreme Court decided it would hear two cases related to same-sex marriage. One of those cases, U.S. v. Windsor [ enhanced version available to lexis.com subscribers ], challenges Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Passed in 1996, DOMA defines marriage as being...
  • Blog Post: V.A. tightens UME regulations for Pension, Pension with Aid and Attendance

    The V.A. has tightened restrictions on the room and board a veteran may deduct from income when applying for Pension, and Pension with Aid & Attendance benefits. These are benefits available to disabled veterans 65 and older who have served during certain wartime periods, and who fall below certain...