Latest from Elder Law Issues

The divisions that lead to the recent attack on the U.S. Capitol are having an effect on estate planning. It’s not surprising that family members have differing political views during this turbulent time. What is surprising: the growing number of clients who are considering disinheriting a child because of it. But disinheritance is extreme. A trust often can accomplish the clients’ goals without cutting the child out entirely. Families are typically tolerant of varying political…
If a person over age 55 receives long-term care from Medicaid the state may make a claim against their estate. The Medicaid reimbursement claim may seem like a pointless thing. After all, in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits the patient must be impoverished. So why would they have a probate estate anyway? A Medicaid applicant is entitled to retain their home and still qualify for benefits. That frequently leads to this end-of-life scenario: a…
We, like you, had begun to wonder if 2020 would ever end. But it did! Happy New Year, 2021! We learned a lot in the past year. From client needs to trust administration challenges to office management — there was a lot to absorb. On top of that, we moved into new office space (and we love it!) just weeks before having to lock down. In fact, we foolishly talked and wrote about 2020 New
Each month, we like to take stock of elder law news and developments and share them. The December round-up is actually the 2020 round-up. We’ve reviewed lessons we’ve learned over the past year, inspired by our own practice, cases we’ve read about, and even rumors we’ve heard. We’ve polled our team, and here are the top 10 (plus a couple of bonuses): 1) Does Fair Mean Equal? Especially during the pandemic, some loved ones may…
If you are trustee of an Arizona trust, you must provide information to “qualified beneficiaries” of the trust. But who are those people? If you join us for this week’s podcast episode, we’ll help you understand the legal phrase, its meaning and effect. We hope that helps you figure out how to discharge your legal responsibilities. Perhaps you are a trust beneficiary. We can help you figure out what information you are titled to…
The pandemic response across the country has led to incalculable problems and challenges. One problem area that has been hit especially hard: special needs education. What is special needs education? In normal times, U.S. law requires states and local school districts to provide opportunities for children with special needs. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Education for All Handicapped Children Act (EHA), and other laws have altogether changed the educational landscape. As a…
There are trust reporting requirements for every trustee. Those requirements vary depending on the circumstances, though. Is the trust revocable or irrevocable? Who are the current beneficiaries? What happens to the trust after the death of current beneficiaries (or, perhaps, the passage of time)? As we discuss in this podcast episode, Arizona’s trust reporting requirements are fairly specific. They derive from the Uniform Trust Code, which Arizona adopted in 2008. Does Arizona’s version of…
You have a long pattern of making gifts — to your children, to other family members, and to charities. Do you want to continue to make those gifts after incapacity? You need to make your intentions clear now, while you are still able to express those wishes. Perhaps you are managing someone else’s affairs. Maybe you are acting as trustee, court-appointed conservator, or agent under a power of attorney. Can you make (or continue) gifts…
After someone dies, most believe the will or trust is the final word and must be followed. That’s never really true. Often the document can’t be changed. But, if everyone involved can agree, they usually can deviate from the document and divide assets differently. Under Arizona law, a will cannot be reformed or modified, and a trust can be modified only under certain specific circumstances, which we’ve written about before. But there’s another way. Beneficiaries,…
What does it mean to have someone declared legally incompetent? And how does that happen, anyway? The concept of competence in the law is surprisingly confusing. Most people think they know how to judge that someone would be legally incompetent. Very often they are wrong. Incompetent, or incapacitated? First we have to deal with language. Most people, and many lawyers, think and speak about “incompetence.” The law in most states, though, addresses “lack of capacity.”…