Roberson Law Specializing in Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law

Quarterly News

Legal Services Discontinuing for U.S. Auto Workers and Retirees   
 
After decades of providing legal services to American auto workers, December 31, 2013, is the last day that the United Auto Workers (UAW) will provide legal services to its employees and retirees.  The UAW Legal Services Plan (LSP) has been a source for legal services for its members for many years.  The UAW LSP issued a statement on its website saying, "Thank you for your support over the last 32 years.  We are proud of our record of providing high-quality and efficient legal services, and of our service to UAW members."     
 
Because, according to UAW statistics, the UAW has more than 390,000 active members and more than 600,000 retired members in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, the discontinuation of the UAW LSP could potentially affect a lot of people who rely on the UAW LSP for legal services.  
 
We have always included in our new-client packets a legal resource guide for auto-workers and people in the military to reference since so many people in the Miami Valley have ties with either General Motors, Chrysler, or Wright Patterson Air Force Base. The legal resource guide advises people where they can get free legal services if they are affiliated with any of the aforementioned organizations. At the first of the year, however, we will no longer be using that legal resource guide.

The UAW LSP states on its website,"We will handle all the cases that come in, and continue to handle the cases that have been opened by the end of 2013, until they are completed."  However, December 31, 2013, is the deadline for submitting any new cases.
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One estate planning document that is necessary for General Motors employees and retirees that our office prepares quite often is the General Motors Power of Attorney (GMPOA).  GM sometimes does not honor the statutory General Durable Power of Attorney (GDPOA); therefore, having this specific GMPOA is extremely important.  For that reason, we encourage anyone who receives General Motors benefits to have the GMPOA prepared.  The GMPOA is a template that we maintain at our office, so we can prepare the GMPOA very quickly.  Feel free to call our office if you need more information.

Elderly Woman

Elder Law Update

 

We encourage people who don't have long term care insurance to develop a game plan years in advance for paying for long term care, a very costly expense that is not covered by Medicare or private health insurance.  This type of planning often involves transferring specific assets out of the name of the person who will be receiving the long term care so that, by the time that the care is needed, the recipient will be eligible for Medicaid to cover the costs of the care.

 

For example, we recommend that married couples transfer the home into the name of the Community Spouse (the one living at home) and out of the name of the Institutionalized Spouse (the one living in a nursing home) or Revocable Living Trust (RLT) for the following reasons:  A recent Ohio court case held that a home titled in a RLT is a countable resource for Medicaid qualification purposes.  (Contrast this to the home being an exempt asset if titled in the name of the Community Spouse alone or the Husband and Wife jointly.)  Also, if the name of the Institutionalized Spouse remains on the home and Medicaid benefits are provided to the Institutionalized Spouse, Medicaid may put a lien on the home to the extent of the share of the Institutionalized Spouse.

 

Medicaid planning, as it is often called, is complicated.  We suggest that you schedule an appointment with us to assist you in developing a game plan to address long term care expenses.  Don't do it alone; one wrong transfer may disqualify the recipient from receiving Medicaid.  

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Did you know that we have a department dedicated to senior services?

  • Preserve your savings from nursing home costs
  • Keep your home in the family
  • Know when to apply for Medicaid
  • Receive help finding the right nursing home

 

Check out our web page on Elder Law! 

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Our mission is to  provide excellent, compassionate legal services to help people plan for the unexpected and prepare for the inevitable.
 

Coming Soon in 2014: 

 

How the Defense of Marriage Act Affects The Future of Estate Planning and Probate Law (When we find out, we will let you know.) 

News You Can Use
In This Issue: 
  • Legal Services Discontinuing For U.S. Auto Workers and Retirees  
  • To Do List For End-Of-Year Estate Planning & Asset Protection
  • Who Is Responsible For Paying Off Your Credit Cards After You Die?
  • Roberson Law Holiday Letter
  • Getting a Trust For the Sole Purpose of Protecting Your Privacy
  • Elder Law Update
  • Ready To Retire? Read and Heed 
  • Widows' Support Groups
  • Need a Speaker For Your Next Event?
  • Coming Soon in 2014
To Do List For End-Of-Year Estate Planning & Asset Protection
   
1) The deadline to make year-end gifts is quickly approaching.  Forbes recently published an article about the 2013 tax limits.  We encourage you to read the article to ensure sure that you are following all of the rules when making gifts in order to get the maximum tax benefit.
 

2)  If your spouse died this year or you got divorced, you should update your estate planning documents in order to remove your former spouse's name as a beneficiary, agent, executor, and trustee.

 

3) December is the most popular month to get engaged.  It is for that reason why we encourage all of our clients who are getting married or re-married to strongly consider getting a Prenuptial Agreement (PA).  PA's aren't just about protecting assets in case of a divorce.  Without a PA, the inheritance that you intended to leave to your heirs could instead go to your new spouse upon your death, which could potentially cause you to effectively disinherit your children.

 

4)  If you are married and may have to apply for Medicaid for yourself or your spouse to pay for long term nursing care, you should get your home out of your Revocable Living Trust ASAP!  (Read more about this in the Elder Law Update section of this newsletter.)

 

5)  If anyone who is listed in your Health Care Power of Attorney or Living Will has moved or changed phone numbers, you should update these forms with current information so that your health care providers can connect with your contacts in case of an emergency.  (We have complementary blank forms at our office that we will give you for this purpose, but remember that you will need to get them witnessed and notarized.) 

 

6)  Review your will and trust to make sure that they still reflect your current wishes about whom will serve as your executor or trustee and how your assets will be distributed after your death.  Because people die, babies are born, and relationships change, this needs to be done at least once a year.  If it has been more than five years since you have met with an attorney to review your estate plan, make it a priority to schedule an appointment to do so.

Who is Responsible For Paying Off Your Credit Cards After You Die?   

 

One of the most frequent questions that we get asked at our office is whether or not a surviving spouse or beneficiaries are personally responsible for paying the outstanding debts of a decedent after his or her death.  A typical question is, "What if my wife had a shopping problem and max'd out all of her credit cards before her death; does that mean that I am no longer going to get her life insurance money because all of the proceeds are going to be used to pay off the credit cards?" Unfortunately, this is a tricky question because the answer depends on some essential key factors that must be considered before the Executor knows from whose funds the decedent's debts are to be paid. 

 

Trisha Sherven wrote an excellent article for Money Talk News about debts after death, outlining all of the steps that one should take to determine how to handle the debts of a loved one after death.  Although we still encourage our clients to contact us as soon as their loved ones die, so that we can provide guidance on the next steps to take, we feel that this article provides a good basis for where to begin.

 

Read the full article here.

Roberson Law Holiday Letter    

2013 Staff Picture
Every year we mail a holiday letter in order to stay in contact with all of our past and current clients.  This is a 20-year tradition in our office.  The letter is mailed through the United States Postal Service to everyone in our client database for whom we have a current mailing address.  
 
The holiday letter takes a lot of effort to get mailed, for we have almost 2,200 people this year who had a letter mailed to them.  That meant that we had to go to the post office and purchase 2,200 stamps, go to the office supply store and purchase 2,200 sheets of holiday paper, and fold and stuff 2,200 envelopes.  It's quite an undertaking!
 
Although this email newsletter gets emailed to over 2,700 people, we do not have everyone's snail mail address in order to send our holiday letter.  For that reason, we have included a copy of our holiday letter in this newsletter for anyone to read who may have not received our holiday letter.  Read a copy of the letter here and enjoy!

Getting a Trust For the Sole Purpose of Protecting Your Privacy 

You've probably heard that one of the main reasons why people decide to get a revocable living trust as part of their estate 

Privacy

plan is to avoid probate.  Did you know that a huge benefit of avoiding probate is protecting your family's privacy?
  
In his article "Addressing Client Privacy," attorney George H. Lovett points to statistics from the Federal Trade Commission showing that in 2011, agencies registered 1.8 million scam complaints, costing the victims over $1.5 billion. Consider these numbers along with the fact that Ohio has one of the strongest open public records laws in the country, and the stage is set for scam artists to take advantage of unsuspecting Ohio citizens.
 
If probate is not avoided, then an accounting of all the probate assets that the decedent owned will be made public record through the probate process.  That reason alone motivates many widows to get a trust, so that their assets are not on public display.
 

When a trust is used as part of an estate plan, the probate process can often be bypassed if the trust is fully funded.  By keeping your personal and financial information out of probate court, you are protecting your family from unnecessary risks arising from easy access to public information.

Ready To Retire? Read and Heed  

Because millions of baby boomers in the United States are entering the typical "retirement age," which is around age 65, planning for retirement is a hot topic right now in many American households. 
  
Many "boomers" are entering this period in their life with many uncertainties due to health care costs and retirement accounts that took a big hit with the economic downfall of 2008.

Wisely timing your actual retirement date is everything, according to an article published in the Wall Street Journal titled, "Five Retirement Myths That Could Cost You."  According to the article, "One of the biggest disconnects for retirees is between the date they expect to retire and when they actually leave their full-time job."  So many people think that they can retire at age 65, but sometimes doing so will cause the potential retiree to forego a lot of future income in addition to health insurance benefits that are relied upon by the retiree's non-working spouse.

Read the entire article here to learn about the five things that you may want to consider before you make the plunge into retirement.

 

Roberson Law Dayton Ohio


Need a Speaker For Your Next Event?

  

We are grateful for all of the opportunities that Nancy Roberson has been given to speak this past summer and fall to various civic organizations, non-profit groups, and churches about her personal story and the importance of planning for death and disability.

 

If you would like Nancy to speak at your next event, please call 937.643.2000 or email Amy Cary at acary@dayton-attorney.com to book your event.  Nancy has an inspiring story that captivates and motivates audiences to get their affairs in order. 

 

As always, we never charge a fee for our professional speaking services, and we require a minimum of  only ten people to attend in order to book an event.  You may also go to our speaking engagements page on our website to read some testimonials from past attendees and to obtain more information about speaking engagement opportunities. 

Widows' Support Groups

This is a reminder that the Young Widows' Support Group (under age 50) meets on the first Thursday of each month from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and the Widows' Support Group (over age 50) meets on the first Friday of each month from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Both groups meet at Normandy United Methodist Church, located at 450 West Alex-Bell Road, Centerville, Ohio.  Dates may change, however, due to holiday conflicts.
 
For more information about the Young Widows' Support Group, visit the website, call Pam Walker at 937.434.7981, or email DaytonYWSG@aol.com.
 

For further information about the Widows' Support Group, call or email Sherry Matsel at 937.878.9707 or imboo25@yahoo.com.

All material in this newsletter is Copyright � 2013 by Nancy A. Roberson. All rights reserved.