Roberson Law Specializing in Estate Planning, Probate & Trust Law

Quarterly News

Loophole Found For Homestead Exemption Applicants   

Beginning in 2014, Ohio residents applying for the homestead exemption will be subject to an income test to determine eligibility.  If you qualified for the homestead exemption in 2013, but failed to apply, you may be able to still qualify for the homestead exemption by filing a late application for the 2013 tax year without meeting the income requirements by filing both the 2014 application and the 2013 late application before the 2014 application deadline on June 2, 2014.  We successfully tested this loophole for one client who wouldn't normally qualify due to the new income restrictions.  That being the case, please contact our office if you would like to obtain our assistance with determining if you qualified for the homestead exemption in 2013 and can file a late application without having to meet the income requirements.   


*Please note that if you already receive the property tax credit or have previously submitted an application for the Homestead Exemption, you do not need to apply again.  To complete the application, call the Auditor's office in the county where your home is located.  Enrollment in the program is open until Monday, June 2nd, 2014. 

Elderly Woman

Elder Law Update: Don't Shoot The Messenger


The attorneys at our office attended the Annual Estate Planning and Probate Seminar at the Dayton Bar Association last month and learned some important new developments regarding Medicaid qualification requirements that you should know if you or your family member may be applying for Medicaid any time in the near future.  Many of the points noted at the seminar included qualification requirements that we have been advising our clients to follow for years, but the most shocking new development included prohibiting Medicaid applicants from tithing or making cash donations to a church or non-profit organization.  We have always advised our clients to not make cash gifts to family members or friends during the application period, or the five-year look back period, but advising clients not to tithe is a new restriction.  
As a reminder, we suggest that you schedule an appointment with us to assist you in developing a game plan to address long term care expenses and we do not recommend attempting the Medicaid application process before having "all of your ducks in a row."  Don't do it alone; one wrong transfer may disqualify the recipient from receiving Medicaid.  

Because asset protection planning is such a hot topic right now, we want to remind everyone again about another Medicaid planning strategy that we mentioned in a previous newsletter: we recommend that married couples transfer their 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:  An 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 either spouse alone or 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.  

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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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Although our newsletter goes out only once a quarter, we make posts to our Facebook page once 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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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

For further information about the Widows' Support Group, call or email Sherry Matsel at 937.878.9707 or

Helpful Hints: PaperKarma 


Junk mail has gotten out of control. Like telemarketing calls, junk mail has become a serious nuisance.  Unlike telemarketing calls, however, there hasn't been a really effective way to get your address and name removed from unwanted mailing lists.  That is, until PaperKarma was created.

PaperKarma is a free app that was developed to rid our mailboxes of the nuisance of unsolicited junk mail.  PaperKarma is to junk mail as the Do Not Call List is to telemarketers.  The only caveat to using PaperKarma is that you must have a smart phone in order to download the app that is required to use the service.  


Once the app is downloaded, all you have to do is open the app and take a picture of the piece of junk mail.  After the picture is taken, you will be automatically unsubscribed from the distributor's list. Yes, it's that easy!


A few of our employees have put the app to test, and they can verify that it works.  They also said that you will not only visibly notice a reduction of your junk mail, but you will also wonder "Why didn't I think of that?"

News You Can Use
In This Issue: 
  • Loophole Found For Homestead Exemption Applicants
  • A New Take On Health Care Directives: Case Review Of Pregnant Brain-Dead Woman 
  • What's New At Roberson Law?
  • Elder Law Update: Don't Shoot The Messenger 
  • Do Not Make These Four Estate Planning Mistakes
  • A Beneficiary Designation Form For Google Accounts...Really?
  • New Tax Exclusion Amounts For 2014
  • Need a Speaker For Your Next Event?
  • Widows' Support Groups
  • Helpful Links: PaperKarma
A New Take On Health Care Directives: Case Review Of Pregnant Brain-Dead Woman    advancedirectives


Almost ten years ago, the landmark Terry Schiavo case emphasized the importance of having a Living Will.  A recent Texas case put the Living Will in the media once again.  The case involved Marlise Munoz, who was 14 weeks pregnant when she suffered a brain clot in one of her lungs.  Although Munoz was considered brain dead, the fetus was still alive and would die if  Munoz was removed from life support.  That is why the Living Will once again became the center of the controversy.
Munoz's medical directives indicated that she did not want to receive life support if she was permanently unconscious and there was no hope for recovery.  However, Munoz did not leave any specific instructions in her advance medical directives about whether or not she wanted her wishes to be carried out if she was pregnant.  Read more about the case here.
This case brings to light an important decision that needs to be made by women of child-bearing age or women who still have the possibility of being pregnant when they complete their advance medical directives.  These particular women should especially consider completing the additional instructions section of the Health Care Power of Attorney, indicating their intentions if they become brain dead while they are pregnant.  If this extra step had been taken by Munoz on her advance medical directives, the Munoz family wouldn't have had to endure the emotional and financial strain of a court battle during a time when the family was already grieving. 
 What's New At Roberson Law?    2013 Staff Picture


Because our office staff and client base often interacts like a close-knit family, from time to time our clients inquire about the personal happenings with our staff that do not pertain to our day-to-day legal work.  That is why we decided to give everyone an update on the staff at Roberson Law so that you can get a closer look at the staff behind closed doors. 


The most exciting thing that is going on in associate attorney Kim Estess's life is that she is pregnant with her first child!  Kim and her husband, Adam, are excited to welcome a baby girl into this world at the beginning of August 2014.


The next exciting thing that happened recently is that our treasured secretary, Judy Williams, finally returned to work after being off for five weeks for a hip replacement.  Judy is happy to be back to work, and our staff and clients are happy to have her back too!


Our document legal assistant, Cheryl Lail, was finally able to take a much needed vacation last week to the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.  Cheryl was accompanied by her daughter, Grace Lail, who also does work for our firm as the person in charge of sending Carenotes to our clients who are grieving or experiencing illness.  


Our document retention manager, Trisha Webb, is celebrating the news that her daughter, Kaitlyn, was accepted into the Scripps College of Journalism at Ohio University!  Our business manager, Amy Cary, is honored to be entering her 16th year at Roberson Law, working alongside her mother, Nancy Roberson, who will soon celebrate her 30th year of marriage to Bob Roberson.  The Roberson's are sad that their beloved Indiana Hoosiers men's basketball team had such a rough season this year. 


Associate attorney Kristina Rainer is looking forward to taking a long weekend in April to travel to New York City with her husband, Joe, and our probate paralegal Jennifer Burkitt is looking forward to also taking a long weekend to travel to Chicago with her girlfriends in May.  Last, but certainly not least, our paralegal Darelene Hartmier is enjoying semi-retirement now that she is working in the office three days a week.  Darelene now has more time with her great-granddaughter, Thayla, who lives with Darelene.

Do Not Make These Four Estate Planning Mistakes   

The Wall Street Journal recently published a video on its website titled "Four Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid" that summarizemistakes some typical mistakes that people make when planning for death or disability.  The first mistake is not planning due to fear, which is a common excuse that we hear in our area of law.


Many people are superstitious about planning for death.  People fear that once they get the ball rolling on estate planning, something bad will happen.  Time after time, however, our clients tell us that they experience such a sense of relief after completing their estate planning.  The peace of mind far outweighs the fear involved in beginning the estate planning process.  


Another estate planning mistake that we would like to add that did not make the Wall Street Journal list is the mistake of waiting too long to do estate planning after the first signs of dementia have appeared, or after a bad diagnosis has been given by a doctor.  Estate planning documents must be signed when a person is competent and has the legal capacity to sign the documents; therefore, waiting until dementia or Alzheimer's Disease is onset to get ones legal affairs in order is a grave mistake that should be avoided at all costs. 


The remainder of the mistakes in the Wall Street Journal video involve not understanding how probate works, keeping an eye on estate and gift taxes, and making beneficiary designations without first speaking to a qualified estate planning attorney.  To listen to the entire interview, watch the video posted on our blog (after clicking on the link, the video will start after the commercial has ended).


A Beneficiary Designation For Google Accounts...Really? 

Google has entered the world of estate planning.  People who beneficiarydesignationuse Gmail may now make a change on their Google accounts under the heading of "Inactive Account Manager," where they can indicate who may have access to their Google data if their accounts have not been accessed in a pre-determined time period.  This action is essentially the same as naming a beneficiary designation for your email.  For instance, you can indicate that after 3 months, if your Gmail has not been accessed, your email messages are automatically sent to the person who you named.  We like this new setting in Google because it gets around the problem of knowing the password of a decedent's email account in order to obtain access to it.  For more information on this topic, read an article that goes more in-depth about this topic.
deathtaxNew Tax Exclusion Amounts for 2014
At the beginning of each year, the IRS publishes new tax limits and exclusion amounts that tax professionals and tax-conscious Americans use to wisely plan their spending throughout the year.  Two exclusion amounts in particular are especially interesting to those who are in the profession of estate planning.
The first amount pertains to the Federal gift tax annual exclusion amount, which remained unchanged in 2014.  For yet another year, the maximum amount that one can give to another individual without having to file a gift tax return is $14,000.  Once a gift totaling over $14,000 has been given, a Form 709 must be filed with the IRS.  This form is simple to prepare; however, if you do not want to be bothered with preparing the form, our office can quickly prepare the form for a minimal cost.  Just keep in mind that the deadline for filing the Form 709 is April 15, 2014, for gifts made in 2013.
The other tax limit that estate planning professionals pay close attention to every year pertains to the Federal estate tax annual exclusion amount, which increased to $5,340,000 in 2014.  
As it stands, the Ohio estate tax (OET) continues to be eliminated, although we don't think that will last forever due to the detrimental impact that the loss of the OET income had on Ohio municipalities.  We suspect that this particular issue has not been laid to rest...


Roberson Law Dayton Ohio

Need a Speaker For Your Next Event?


Nancy Roberson has a busy speaking schedule this year with almost twenty events already booked for 2014.


If you would like Nancy to speak at your next event, please call 937.643.2000 or email Amy Cary at 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 never charge a fee for our professional speaking services; we only require a minimum of 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 topics. 

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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.
All material in this newsletter is Copyright � 2014 by Nancy A. Roberson. All rights reserved.