Roberson Law Focusing on Estate Planning, Trust, Probate and Elder Law

Newsletter

Tax Time Is Here: Is Your Accountant A Help Or A Hi ndrance? 

Our office works with a lot of 
Taxaccountants. Accountants are often on the front line of the planning issues that we handle for clients.  Nine times out of ten the accountants are a tremendous help to our clients, especially to those who are business owners.  However, it is always prudent to know what to expect out of your accountant to ensure that he or she is being more of a help than a hindrance to your long term planning needs.
  
For example, one question to ask your accountant is how money paid to your family for services rendered should be reported on your or their tax returns. If you need to qualify for Medicaid, have been paying family members, and do not have a personal services agreement, the payments could be viewed as gifts, which could result in your being disqualified from receiving Medicaid benefits.  For more information on this subject, see our "Elder Law Tip Of The Quarter" in our elder law section of this newsletter.

There are many areas in which your accountant needs to be adept when it comes to the preparation of your tax return(s), like understanding the tax code and the cause and effect that your tax return has on your future estate planning, financial planning, and long-term planning issues.

Washington News published an article that states in simple terms the ten tips that the IRS has for selecting a tax preparer.  The tips seem like common sense, but are still often forgotten.  Read the " Ten Tips on Tax-preparers." 

Elderly Woman

Elder Law Update: What You Should Know About Adult Protective Services

We get a good amount of calls in our office about elder abuse or elder neglect. Many times the call comes from a professional who calls about a client of his or hers who appears to be in distress and has no family or friends to assist. When we get these calls, we almost always refer the person to Adult Protective Services (APS).

APS is a government agency run by each county that exists to provide help to defenseless older adults who have no one to assist them.  A caller's name is always kept confidential and APS has a duty to investigate every call that is made to them.  The number to APS in Montgomery County is 937. 225.5475 and the number to APS in Greene County is 937.562.6000.

For a list of answers to other frequently asked questions about APS, please read an article published by the Ohio Bar Association.
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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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ELDER LAW TIP OF THE QUARTER:
 
Two documents that we often prepare in conjunction with Medicaid planning are the Personal Services Agreement and Lease. Both documents can be very important proof for substantiating the money paid to a caregiver, who is often a family member, so that the money paid to the family member does not have to be repaid in order for the Medicaid application to be approved.
 
Without a Personal Services Agreement or Lease in place, the money paid to a family member for living expenses, caregiver fees, or other expenses could be determined to be a gift that must be paid back before the applicant could qualify for Medicaid.

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2016 IRS Gift And Estate Tax Exemption Amounts

The IRS announced the inflation adjusted figures for gift and estate tax exemption amounts for 2016.

The annual exclusion amount remains at $14,000. That is the amount that can be gifted to US citizens each year without eroding the per person exemption amount.

The exemption amount for federal estate taxes increases from $5,430,000, to $5,450,000, or $10,900,000 for a married couple. Thus, with special planning, married couples with less than $10,900,000 do not pay estate tax upon their deaths on assets passing to family and friends. The $10,900,000 can also be used for lifetime gifting without incurring gift tax, which remains an advantageous strategy for affluent clients seeking to leave more to family and less to the IRS.


Office picture

     

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

Whatever you are, be a good one.

- Abe Lincoln


In This Issue:  
  • Tax Time Is Here: Is Your Accountant A Help Or A Hindrance?
  • Don't Get Caught With An Outdated POA
  • Elder Law Update: What You Should Know About Adult Protective Services
  • Goodbye, Darelene
  • Always, Always Accept Your Certified Mail
  • Character Really Does Count
  • 2016 IRS Gift And Estate Tax Exemption Amounts
  • February Grief Support And Resources
  • Need A Speaker For Your Next Event?
Don't Get Caught With An Outdated POA

As many of our clients already know, a comprehensive general durable power of attorney is an effective estate planning tool to authorize another person to act on one's behalf in the event of disability or incapacity.  In an effort to improve the usefulness of a power of attorney ("POA"), the laws regarding powers of attorney under the Ohio Revised Code were revised in March of 2012 in order to offer additional safeguards against abuse by the agent appointed in the POA and encourage third party acceptance.  

We believe that these laws bear repeating because of the serious consequences that can occur if you don't keep your POA updated.

We wrote an in-depth  article about this topic that we encourage you to read so that you don't get caught in a situation where your agent needs to use your POA on your behalf and cannot because it is too old.
Goodbye, Darelene             Darelene Hartmier

At the end of December, our dear fiduciary paralegal, Darelene Hartmier, retired after fifteen years of service to our firm.  Darelene's role in our office was two-part as she prepared the probate pleadings and annual accountings for the disabled persons for whom Nancy Roberson serves as legal guardian, and paid the bills and oversaw the everyday needs of the clients for whom Nancy serves as POA agent. 

Trisha Webb, our records retention manager for the past five years and new fiduciary services manager, has taken over Darelene's duties pertaining to paying bills, working with health care providers, and managing the day-to-day affairs of the clients for whom Nancy serves as legal guardian or POA agent.

Kayla Helm, our legal secretary who is about to graduate with a degree in Paralegal Studies, has taken over Darelene's duties that pertain to the preparation and filing of the court pleadings associated with being appointed a legal guardian.

We surely miss Darelene, as do the clients with whom she served, but know that she deserves to enjoy this next chapter in her life.
Always, Always Accept Your Certified Mail

Our office sends a lot of certified mail.  In fact, just about every law office sends certified mail because sending mail certified, return receipt requested, is one of the only ways to legally prove that you sent a piece of mail.

In probate cases, the court requires that certain probate pleadings be sent via certified mail.  This means that timely being able to complete a decedent's estate administration is dependent on the beneficiaries accepting their certified mail.  When certified mail is not accepted, a delay occurs in settling the estate, which means that beneficiaries are going to have to wait even longer to receive their inheritance.  One beneficiary's refusal to accept his or her certified mail will affect when the remaining beneficiaries will get their distributions, so that is why it is imperative that certified mail be accepted or timely picked up at the post office before it is returned to the sender.

The issue of people not accepting certified mail is a sore spot for lawyers, so the Ohio State Bar Association published a list of answers to frequently asked questions about accepting certified mail that we encourage you to read.


Character Really Does Count!
Character

For the past ten years, our office has subscribed to a monthly journal from the company Strata Leadership, formerly known as Character First.  The journal focuses on a character quality each month, with the sole purpose of encouraging companies to build character in their organizations.

Because the legal profession is often criticized for lacking character, the employees at Roberson Law take the issue of character building very seriously.

A prior email received from Strata Leadership focused on the character quality "endurance ." We want to share this article with our newsletter subscribers because we see our clients having a difficult time exhibiting endurance due to the various trials, tribulations, and grief our clients often experience.

Robert Greenlaw writes in his article that endurance is finding the strength to keep going and is "built on patience, hope, optimism, and faith that what you are doing is worth the effort. It is being honest about the challenges before you without getting lost in negative thought, discouragement, and despair."

 

Roberson Law Dayton Ohio


Need A Speaker For Your Next Event?

2015 was a busy year for Nancy Roberson as she gave speeches to various churches, civic organizations, and businesses on the importance of planning for death and disability, which often included her heartfelt, personal story of the tragedy in her life that propelled her to pursue her practice area of law.

Rob Moyer, the President and CEO of Rexarc where Nancy speaks to the company's employees who are entering retirement, wrote the following testimonial about Nancy's speech:

"As a committed community contributor, Nancy Roberson has spoken to the Rexarc organization to communicate the importance of thinking ahead and planning for the inevitable. Through her insightful presentations, many individuals have shared that Nancy's thoughts have stimulated their review or proactive development of their estate planning. Through the support of personal and professional development by Rexarc, driven by Nancy's presentations and encouragement, the Rexarc workforce has become more prepared through awareness of the need to have a personal estate plan."

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 personal and legal affairs in order.

As always, we do not charge a fee for our professional speaking services as long as you confirm that at least ten people will attend. If fewer than ten people attend the event, then we just request that a donation be made to the Young Widows or Widows Support Group. 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 topics.

Grief Support And Resources

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.  (Dates may change, however, due to holiday conflicts.)  Both groups meet at Normandy United Methodist Church, located at 450 West Alex-Bell Road, Centerville, Ohio.  Following is the schedule for February:

February 4, 5:  The meeting will be a "Valentine Memories" program.  Please come prepared to share a special memory of your loved one, which could include a Valentine, picture, or special experience.  
 
For more information about the Young Widows' Support Group, visit the website, call Pam Walker at 937.672.8810, or email DaytonYWSG@aol.com.
 
For further information about the Widows' Support Group, call Sherry Matsel at 937.878.9707 or email  imboo25@yahoo.com.

Also, we endorse and highly recommend a Grief Seminar that will be offered at Fairhaven Church on Saturday February 6, 2016, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Stephanie Hittle, a licensed grief counselor, will be leading the seminar.  She'll be covering the differences between healthy and unhealthy grief and providing valuable strategies to cope with grief.  This is a free program, but you'll need to register by emailing LeAnn Hill at Fairhaven: lhill@fairhavenchurch.org.

All material in this newsletter is Copyright © 2016 by Nancy Roberson. All rights reserved. 937.643.2000.