Roberson Law Specilizing in Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law

Quarterly News

LAW ALERT: Income Limit Restored to Homestead Exemption

 

Due to the recent passage of Ohio House Bill 59, those people earning more than $30,000, who haven't applied for the homestead exemption in the past, will no longer be eligible for the exemption.  Please note that if you are currently receiving the exemption you won't lose it.  However, new applicants for the 2014 tax year will be subject to the new income rules.  As a reminder, if you are already receiving the exemption, you do not have to re-apply every year.

  

This new income limit on the homestead exemption takes away a substantial discount that many seniors turning age 65 could have used to reduce their property taxes.  

 

According to the Ohio Department of Taxation website, "The original purpose for the Homestead Exemption was to help low-income seniors stay in their homes.  Allowing senior citizens of all incomes into the Homestead Exemption program has caused the cost of the program to increase dramatically. The program cost $70 million in 2006 when the income qualification was still in place. That cost escalated to $410 million in 2012 and is projected to be $533 million in 2018. The state budget cannot sustain this kind of growth."

Elderly Woman

Elder Law Update

 

A frequent question we get asked in our office is how one can preserve retirement savings from being depleted by long term health care and assisted living costs.  The answer more times than not is through the purchase of long term care (LTC) insurance.

 

Many people shy away from purchasing LTC insurance because they think that they are too old to apply.  While health status may be a factor in getting a policy, age may not be.  Thinking you are too old is a common misconception for not purchasing this extremely important insurance.  We recommend that you at least try to qualify for a policy instead of assuming that you are not eligible for coverage and not applying at all.

 

For more information on LTC insurance and asset protection, as it relates to long term care, go to our website.

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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! 


Find us on Facebook
 
Although our newsletter only goes out once a quarter, we make posts to our Facebook page twice a week.  That means becoming our "fan" gives you weekly access to what is going on at our firm.  We post everything from pictures of staff members to articles about the latest topics in our area of law.  
 
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Roberson Law Launches New Website    
 
Studies show that a business should get its website redesigned every few years in order to stay current.  Well, because we have been busy practicing law, we haven't had the time to follow that piece of advice.  That was until Brad Cullman of the C-3 Group came to our rescue!
 
Brad is not only the owner of the C-3 Group, a full-service marketing firm, but is also the proud father of our newest associate attorney, Kim Estess.  That being the case, Brad had a vested interest in making sure that his team created for us the most current, user friendly website that is also optimized for mobile devices, a feature that many websites lack.
 
Google has already reported impressive data about the traffic generated to our site since the C-3 Group launched it last month, so we welcome you to click here to visit our site and see it for yourself. Enjoy!


Office picture

    

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

This is a reminder that two widows' support groups are now serving the Miami Valley.

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. at Normandy United Methodist Church, located at 450 West Alex-Bell Road, Centerville, Ohio.

 

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. at Normandy United Methodist Church, located at 450 West Alex-Bell Road, Centerville, Ohio.
 
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.

Coming Soon: 

 

How the Defense of Marriage Act Affects The Future of Estate Planning and Probate Law

 

News You Can Use
In This Issue: 
  • LAW ALERT: Income Limit Restored to Homestead Exemption
  • Wright State Stops Accepting Body Donations
  • DIY Estate Planning Does More Harm Than Good 
  • Roberson Law Receives VA Accreditation
  • Elder Law Update: You May Not Be Too Old To Get Long Term Care Insurance
  • Social Media's Death Planning Tool: Ensuring That You Don't "Friend" a Friend After Your Friend's Death
  • Roberson Law Launches New Website
  • Making Charitable Giving Easy 
  • Widows' Support Groups
  • Need a Speaker For Your Next Event?
  • Coming Soon: How the Defense of Marriage Act Affects The Future of Estate Planning and Probate Law
Wright State Stops Accepting Body Donations  Funeral

 

An element of estate planning involves planning for the disposition of your body upon your death.  Our firm recommends a document called the Right of Disposition of Remains (RODOR) as an integral part of estate planning.  The RODOR grants a person the authority to make funeral and burial decisions on behalf of one who has died.  The authority to make funeral and burial decisions is not an automatic legal right that family members have for their loved ones upon their deaths, so that is why having the RODOR is important.  

 

Many of our clients indicate on their RODOR that they want to have their body donated to be used for medical research.  It is for that reason why we were shocked when we learned that the Wright State University School of Medicine is no longer accepting enrollments of new body donations.  Please note that body donation enrollment forms already sent to Wright State before the date that the school made this announcement will not be denied after you die.  However, new enrollment forms are no longer accepted.  For the time being, the Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati Schools of Medicine are still accepting new enrollments.

 

Read the full article here.

DIY Estate Planning Does More Harm Than Good  Just Say No


Of course you would expect an article about the perils of Do It Yourself (DIY) estate planning from a bunch of estate planning attorneys, right?  Now Forbes and Northwestern Mutual are taking a platform on this subject too.  

 

Forbes recently published an article about the growing number of consumers using online forms to draft their own estate planning documents (ie: trust, will, power of attorney, etc.) and how estate planning attorneys are actually making more money cleaning up the mess that was made from in-accurate or non-state specific language that was erroneously excluded from DIY documents.  

 

This tendency of consumers to act as their own attorneys is making the probate court a lot of money, and also, therefore, the estate planning/probate attorney who helps cleans up the mess.  The saying, "pay me now or pay me later definitely applies in this situation."  That being said, if you are from a low-income household and a financial hardship is the cause for your not getting your estate planning done properly, then please call us and we will work out an interest-free payment plan for you that works within your budget. 

Roberson Law Receives VA Accreditation
2013 Staff Picture
The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs just recognized Roberson Law attorneys, Nancy Roberson, Kristina Rainer, and Kim Estess as "an accredited attorney for the preparation, presentation, and prosecution of claims for Veterans benefits before the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)."  The accreditation involves participating in a thorough application process that includes personal and professional references and job experience.  Each attorney is required to follow stringent guidelines in order to remain accredited by the VA.  
 
Being VA approved as an accredited attorney for veterans is an honor that sets each Roberson Law attorney apart from many other attorneys in the area who practice in the areas of Estate Planning, Trust, Probate and Elder Law. 
Social Media's Death Planning Tool: Ensuring That You Don't "Friend" a Friend After Your Friend's Death 
Planning for the disposition of digital information or assets upon one's death continues to be a hot topic in the social media world.  Just about every social media giant, including Facebook and Ebay, has published articles about this topic.   Social Media Icons This past Spring, Google released its instructions for death planning as it relates to accessing and deactivating Gmail accounts after death.  Read the article here.

 

This particular issue really hit home for our Business Manager, Amy Cary, when she kept getting friend requests from a popular social media site to connect with a client who she knew had died almost one year ago.  Amy commented, "It's really disturbing to keep seeing our deceased client's picture pop up with a message saying that he wants to connect with me." 

 

The New York Times recently published an article that drives home the importance of planning for your digital afterlife.  The article addressed the issues pertaining to accessing online banking accounts, brokerage records, and other financial information that a decedent may have managed electronically during his or her life.  According to the Times article, a recent study published by the organization U.S. Trust said that "45 percent of the high-net-worth people it polled had not organized passwords and account information for their digital lives in a place where heirs or an executor would find them."  Read the full article here.

 

Consumers who buy and sell items on Ebay, and have a Paypal account, also need to ensure that they have their Paypal login information available in the event of their deaths.  This is especially important if the decedent generated substantial income from selling products online.

 

There are many online vault companies to whom one can pay a monthly fee to have passwords and pins stored securely online. 
 
Regardless of where you choose to store your digital account information, we suggest that the instructions regarding accessing your said accounts be addressed in your "Letter of Instruction," an estate planning document that we recommend to all of our clients.  The last thing that heirs want to deal with is having an estate administration delayed due to the executor's difficulty in obtaining access to the decedent's digital assets. 

 

Making Charitable Giving Easy 
by Joe Baldasare, The Dayton Foundation   Dayton Foundation

 

Established in 1921, The Dayton Foundation (TDF) has been providing charitable giving services to Greater Dayton residents for more than 92 years. These services include scholarship funds, donor advised funds, and family foundation alternatives, among other current and deferred endowed fund options. The most popular and widely used service is the Foundation's free Charitable Checking Account Service (CCA).  Bob and Nancy Roberson have enjoyed using their CCA for many years and enthusiastically endorse this service.

 

The CCA Service functions like a personal checking account. Individuals may deposit cash or appreciated assets, such as stocks, into an account when it's most advantageous for them and then instruct TDF which IRS-approved charities they want to donate to, how much and when. The Foundation does all the work, including sending the grant checks, and simplifies the record keeping and tax-reporting process.

 

For example, Mr. and Mrs. Donor open a CCA, naming it the John and Sue Donor Family Fund. Each year they consistently give to ten different charities, for a total of $1,000. With their new CCA, they decide to transfer stock (100 shares of ABC) from their account at XYZ Financial Institution to their Family Fund at TDF (cash gifts work just as well). TDF sells the shares and places 100% of the proceeds into Mr. and Mrs. Donors' Family Fund. Because the stock was deposited into a fund at TDF, which is a 501(c)(3) public charity, no capital gains are incurred by Mr. and Mrs. Donor. They then receive an acknowledgement letter from TDF that they can use for their taxes in the year that the gift was made. The deduction is for the fair market value of the stock. For tax purposes, the charitable event occurs when the money goes into their Family Fund and not when it is distributed to the charities. At tax time, Mr. and Mrs. Donor don't have to worry about multiple receipts, canceled checks, etc. All they need is the one statement from TDF detailing their account activity for the year. It's that easy!

 

Now their account is funded. Mr. and Mrs. Donor read in the paper that a dear friend has passed. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations to the individual's favorite charity. Mr. Donor accesses his account from his computer via the Foundation's secure, online service, Donor Express, and makes a grant to the charity in memory of his dear friend. (A paper process is available, if preferred.) No envelope, no pledge form, no stamp and no trip to the post office are necessary. It's easy, convenient and quick.

 

As events and circumstances arise throughout the year, Mr. and Mrs. Donor are able to make grants from their Family Fund to the charities of their choice. As the account starts to deplete, Mr. and Mrs. Donor may add cash or stocks for future giving opportunities. There is no minimum amount needed to open a Charitable Checking Account, and there are no fees. The Dayton Foundation only requests a $15 minimum for grant distributions. Plus, grants to charities can be made in the donor's name or anonymously, if preferred.

 

This is a free service offered by The Dayton Foundation. For more information, contact Joe Baldasare, vice president of Development for The Dayton Foundation, at (937) 225-9954 or jbaldasare@daytonfoundation.org. Additional information about The Dayton Foundation is also available online

 

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 summer 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. 

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