Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Article 17A Guardianship

Question:  My daughter is 18 years old and is developmentally disabled.  She is unable to make medical decisions for herself and cannot handle her own finances.  A social worker suggested that I apply for an Article 17A Guardianship.  What is an Article 17A Guardianship and is this advisable? Answer: When your daughter turned 18, she…

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Bonding of an Estate Fiduciary

Question: I was recently appointed Administrator of my uncle’s estate, but the Decree from the Surrogate’s Court said that I must post a bond. What does that mean? Answer:  It is fairly common that the fiduciary of an estate may receive notice that the he or she must be bonded in order to complete the…

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Gifting in 2014

  Question:  My mother is widowed and is beginning to decline in health.  I have four siblings.  We know that in order to qualify for Medicaid, Mom cannot have more than a certain amount of assets in her name.  She rents a house, but has approximately $150,000.00 in various CD accounts.  A friend of hers…

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Supreme Court Finds that Inherited IRAs Are Not Protected

In a recent United States Supreme Court decision, the Court unanimously found that IRAs that are inherited, are not protected from creditors in a bankruptcy proceeding because they are not considered “retirement funds” as interpreted by the Bankruptcy Code. In the case, CLARK V. RAMEKER, an individual inherited an IRA from her mother and later…

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Transfer of a Motor Vehicle to the Surviving Spouse

Question: My husband passed away a couple of months ago. All of our assets were held jointly except for one of our cars, which was held in his sole name. The car is worth about $20,000.00. What do I need to do to transfer the car into my name? Do I need to go to…

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Credit Card Debts of a Decedent

Q: My mother passed away with significant credit card debt, as the executor and one of the beneficiaries her estate am I responsible to pay these bills? A: As executor of your mother’s estate you have the responsibility to use the assets of your mother’s estate to pay her debts. Assets that are includible in…

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Do Not Disinherit a Disabled Child

Instead of disinheriting a disabled child, best practice is to create a third party supplemental needs trust. Many families (erroneously) disinherit a disabled child, believing that this is in the child’s best interest and instead leave assets to other family members so that they can care for the disabled individual.  Even with the best of  intentions,…

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VA Healthcare

  Question: All of the attention in the news recently about the Veteran’s Administration Health Care System has made me wonder whether I am entitled to any assistance with paying for my prescriptions drugs? Answer: The Veteran’s Health Administration (VHA) is the arm of the Veteran’s Administration that administers healthcare to eligible veterans. The Veterans…

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Inherited IRA’s are Not Protected in Bankruptcy

Question: I heard that the United States Supreme Court recently issued a decision that inherited IRA’s are not protected from creditors in bankruptcy; can you explain this to me? Answer: The United States Supreme Court’s decision in Clark v. Rameker was issued on June 12, 2014. The essence of the decision is that once an…

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Should I Be Putting Property in My Children’s Names?

Elder Law attorneys hear this question constantly. Typically, once people reach a certain age there is an invisible pressure to transfer assets out of one’s name and into that of their children. Some people feel that if they do not do this, the “State” will take their money either in taxes or for the costs…

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