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


New Year's Checklist 
For Estate Planning & Asset

1) If your spouse died last 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.  

2) December is the most popular month to get engaged.  We encourage all of our clients who are getting married or re-married to consult with us and make an informed decision about getting a Premarital Agreement (Prenup).  The motivation for obtaining a Prenup is not because the marriage may not last. Without a Prenup, the inheritance that you intended to leave to your heirs could instead go to your new spouse upon your death.  You probably don't want to disinherit your children.  

3) 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 complimentary 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.) 

4) 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, you should annually review your documents.

As always, if any of your estate planning documents are more than ten years old or you have moved to a different state, you should have your documents reviewed and updated to ensure that your estate plan still reflects your wishes and the current laws where you reside.

Elderly Woman

Elder Care Corner: Signs of Dementia

As most people know, the number one sign of dementia for most people is significant memory loss, with the type of memory loss often being limited to short-term memory.  Usually the people who notice the serious memory loss are family members who interact with the individual on a day-to-day basis.  According to an article recently published online by Haven Behavioral Hospital, "Typically, long term memory, such as childhood events or major life events, remains intact, while the more recent short term happenings tend to be lost.  Additionally, struggle for correct language can be an issue along with reasoning or problem-solving issues."

Everyday tasks that may seem routine or remedial, like driving to a family member's home or operating a can opener, may cause a lot of frustration and seem overwhelming.  

Haven Behavioral Hospital goes on to say about the cognitive issues involved with dementia that " Psychologically, you might notice a change in personality with someone who struggles with dementia.  These symptoms may present themselves in the form of increased level of anxiety or agitation and in extreme cases, paranoia.  Most dementia patients struggle with depression and some even begin to exhibit inappropriate behavior or describe hallucinations in vivid detail."

If you or your loved one show signs of dementia, we can offer guidance about the legal and financial consequences of dementia.
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Upcoming support group for individuals and care partners in the early stages of dementia.

The Miami Valley chapter of the Alzheimer's Association will be launching a new support group in Spring 2017 for people who have been diagnosed with early stage dementia and their caregivers. The new group will consist of a session when everyone will meet together for 30 minutes of dementia education, and then the group will break up into two support groups, one for those with dementia and the other for care partners, that will last about 30 minutes. The series of meetings will last for six months. There are limited spots available, so an initial interview is required to be accepted into the group. Please contact Sarah Cameron, Clinical Services Coordinator, at 937.610.7012 in order to get started.  
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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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News You Can Use
In This Issue:  
  • New Year's Checklist For Estate Planning & Asset Protection
  • Tax-Free IRA Transfers Now Available As Gift Planning Option
  • Trusts Are Not Solely For The Wealthy
  • Character Matters
  • Elder Care Corner: Signs of Dementia 
  • A Year in Review  
  • Helpful Hints: Sign Up for Organ Donation in 60 Seconds
  • Upcoming Grief Support and Resources
  • Need A Speaker For Your Next Event?
Dayton Foundation
Tax-Free IRA Transfers Now Available As Gift Planning Option

In most cases, when an individual distributes money from his or her IRA, the distribution is taxable.  However, as a result of a Charitable Rollover Provision included in the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes (PATH) Act, individuals age 70 1/2 and older are now permitted by the IRS to donate up to $100,000 annually from their IRAs to a 501(c)(3) organization without including the distribution as taxable income.  Individuals who are passionate about charitable giving and who have substantial IRA balances can use this tax provision as a tax minimizing tool to create a win-win situation for the individual and the charity.

The Dayton Foundation included an article in its Futures newsletter explaining how to take advantage of this amazing tax-free benefit. Read the entire article here.

The Dayton Foundation can also offer solutions to help reduce your federal estate tax liability. "When donating appreciated stock or other assets, you can receive a tax deduction for the full fair-market value of the stock on the date of the gift and avoid paying long-term capital gains tax on the increased value."
Trusts Are Not Solely For The Wealthy   Privacy

Did you know that a huge benefit of getting a trust is to protect your family's privacy?  Quite often we hear our clients say that they do not need a trust because they are not rich. However, there are many reasons why a person would get a trust regardless of the amount of money in his or her bank account; one monumental reason is protecting privacy.  

Because Ohio has a strong open public record law, the stage is set for scam artists to take advantage of unsuspecting Ohio citizens.   If probate is not avoided and there is more than one beneficiary, then an accounting of all the probate assets that the decedent owned will be made public record through the probate process. Most of the probate records dating back to the 1980's are online for anyone to view. That reason alone motivates many people 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 public probate process can often be bypassed if the trust is fully funded.  By keeping your personal and financial information out of the probate court, you are protecting your family from unnecessary risks arising from easy public access to your family's personal and financial information.

Character Matters
A law office that focuses on character?  Isn't that an oxymoron?  We take the issue of character very seriously at our firm, for exhibiting character 
i s one of the driving forces behind everything we do.  In support of this effort, we subscribe  to a monthly journal from the company Strata Leadership that focuses on a character quality each month, with the sole purpose of building character in organizations.  

The character quality highlighted this month is discipline. Discipline is an appropriate character quality to focus on at the beginning of a year due to all of the New Year's resolutions people make. 

According to Strata Leadership, the definition of discipline is, "Choosing behaviors to help me reach my goals."  The action plan for practicing discipline is: 
 1) Pause and think before you act. 
 2) Control your emotions. 
 3) Build healthy habits.

"For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant; later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it." 
-Hebrews 12:11
A Year In Review

Every year we mail a holiday letter to stay connected with our past and current clients. This is a 23-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, and for some people it is the only correspondence that they receive from us all year.  


The holiday letter takes a lot of effort to get mailed.  This year we mailed 2,500 letters, which means that we had to purchase 2,500 stamps, mailing labels, sheets of holiday paper, and envelopes.  It takes many days to complete all of the activities required to mail the holiday letter, so it's quite an undertaking!


Although this email newsletter gets emailed to over 3,000 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 in the mail.  Read a copy of the letter  here and enjoy!
Need a Speaker For Your Next Event?
Nancy Roberson had a busy year giving speeches to various non-profits, clubs, civic organizations, and businesses every month this year.  Nancy spoke over twenty times this year on the importance of planning for death and disability, which often includes her heartfelt, personal story of the tragedy in her life that propelled her to pursue her practice area of law.  

A few of Nancy's upcoming speaking engagements include speaking to the Montgomery County Educational Service Center, the Alzheimer's Association, and the National Retired Teacher's Association. 

Rob Moyer, President and CEO of Rexarc, a business where Nancy spoke last Fall, 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 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.  
Helpful Hints: Sign Up for Organ Donation in 60 Seconds

Signing up for organ donation couldn't be made any simpler by using the free Health app that is installed on every iPhone.  

The non-profit organization Donate Life America has a shortcut link in the Health app where you can quickly and easily sign up for organ donation.  After filling out a few details about yourself on the app, there are no additional forms to send in or phone calls to make.  Signing up for organ donation is that easy! 

In order to get to the organ donation form on your iPhone, you must first go to the Medical ID link that is listed at the bottom of the Health app.  The app will be on your phone unless you deleted it.  If you scroll down to the bottom of the Medical ID page, you will see a link that says Organ Donation Registry.  After answering a series of questions to confirm your registration, you will be registered.  It literally took one of our employees only 60 seconds to go through the entire process!

We have written articles in prior newsletters about the iPhone Health app because of how impressed we are with the amount of personal medical information that can be stored in it, including data contained in your health care directives.  The information stored in the Health app could be very useful to a medical first responder, so it  is a useful tool that every iPhone user should utilize.  
Upcoming 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.  There is no cost to attend.

The topics for the February meetings are as follows:

Young Widows Support Group: "2017: New Beginnings: Moving Forward and Letting Go." The meeting will reflect upon the past year, inviting attendees to let go of something that may be hindering the grief process and to set a goal for something to assist with moving forward into the New Year and grief journey.

Widows Support Group: "My Valentine." The meeting will consist of attendees sharing pictures or other memorabilia about their husbands.
For more information about the Young Widows' Support Group, visit the website, call Pam Walker at 937.672.8810, or email
For further information about the Widows' Support Group, call Sherry Matsel at 937.878.9707 or email

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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 © 2017 by Nancy A. Roberson. All rights reserved.