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What is a Revocable Living Trust?


AlerStallings Attorney Stephen Berardino provides a comprehensive explanation of what a Revocable Living Trust is and what it does.


Wealthy Clintons Use Trusts to Limit Estate Tax They Back


Richard Rubin of Bloomberg discusses the various legal mechanisms that are being used by the Clintons in order to avoid paying the estate tax that they supported.

Paul Walker

The Estate of Paul Walker: What we can learn.


With the unexpected passing of actor Paul Walker, many young people realized how truly important planning can be. Read the latest post by Jeff Hall, which addresses this topic using Walker’s death.

Elder Abuse2

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day


For ideas on how to become involved on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, please read a guest blog post from Forbes’ contributor Bernard Krooks.

Why Estate Planning is NOT DIY


Attorney Ben Worsowicz explains why estate planning is not just another Do-It-Yourself project and what can happen if you treat it that way.

Estate Plan

Is it Time to Review Your Estate Plan?


Josh Sharp addresses several life events that prompt a review of your current estate plan.

Those Two Expensive Little Words: Under Observation


Attorney Liz Durnell discusses the two very expensive words “Under Observation,” and how their use can cost you thousands of dollars.

Elder Abuse

How to Recognize Elder Abuse


This week, AlerStallings confronts the difficult issue that many families are forced to deal with: elder abuse.

My Life as a Caregiver


This week we share a guest blog post by Dr. Nancy Snyderman of NBC News. In her post, Dr. Snyderman addresses an issue that many children of elderly parents are familiar with; being a caregiver.


I Have a Confession to Make


Guest blogger Jamie Menges of PDS Planning discusses the pros and cons of hiring a certified financial planner such as himself.

Last Will

Do I Need More than a Simple Will?


By: Steve Berardino

Most Ohioans don’t have a simple will, let alone a comprehensive estate plan.  What does having a simple will do? A will controls the distribution of your assets at your passing, allowing you to leave your assets to whomever you choose.  In addition, a will names an executor who manages the assets until they are distributed …


How to Select the Right Guardian For Your Child?


AlerStallings Associate Attorney Jeff Hall tackles the issue that every new parent must consider: who will take care of your child if something unfortunate and unexpected were to happen to you?


Who Packs Your Parachute?


Guest blogger Michael Schoedinger shares his insight on individual purpose as he answers the question of “Who Packs Your Parachute?”

Elder Hands

Help! My Parents are Going into a Nursing Home


AlerStallings Associate Attorney Ben Worsowicz discusses the difficult conversation topic of nursing home planning and avoiding the high cost of long-term nursing home care.

Two Big Openings: New Offices and a Move


We've packed, shuffled, painted, decorated, unpacked, and settled. Twice. Our new, larger offices have opened at 6025 Frantz Road in Dublin Ohio. We have expanded meeting spaces, classroom spaces, and more office to accommodate our expanding team. Many seminars, continuing education and relaxed get-togethers are in the works. Be sure to register for our newsletter to …

If You Love Someone, Plan Your Estate | Columbus Ohio Estate Planning


By Brittany Pace

No one wants their loved ones to worry about how to take care of their assets when they pass away. The task of administering an estate is stressful and time-consuming, especially for someone who has no prior experience with Ohio probate lawyers and the probate system. Even more stressful is determining what to …

Estate Planning For New Parents Infographic

Roll over

Time to consider a rollover?


By: Guest Blogger Erik Brown, CFP

This educational, third-party article is provided as a courtesy by Erik Brown, CFP® , Agent, New York Life Insurance Company. To learn more about the information or topics discussed, please contact Erik Brown, CFP® at 614-793-2121.

Like most people, you’re probably hearing a lot about rollovers these days. That’s because with so many …


5 Helpful Steps to Administrating a Loved One’s Estate


By: Nick Uzl

Someone close to you has just passed away, and you’re not sure what to do or where to start. The time immediately following a loved one’s death is filled with so many emotions, and quick decisions that it can be very overwhelming. Helping to administer a loved one’s estate can be quite stressful, …

Donor Advised Funds Simplify Charitable Giving


By: Guest Author, J. Bradley Britton, J.D., LL.M., Director of Planned Giving and General Counsel, The Columbus Foundation

Does the following sound like you?  You are a generous donor to charity, and each year, your accountant or financial planner tells you what you can afford to give away, and how much of a charitable income tax deduction you …

Back to the Future

Forward, into the Past: How the “Family Attorney” slyly gets a share of Mom and Dad’s Estate


By: Matthew Rinear

One of my favorite movies is Back to the Future.  While undeniably fun, clever, and deceptively sophisticated, the film also presents thought-provoking questions surrounding the story’s time-traveling theme:  What would it be like to travel back in time?  What would you do?  How would your first-hand view of the past change the way …


Valuable Farm Management Tools: Long Term Leases


By, Guest Author Robert Moore.

Robert Moore, an attorney with firm Wright & Moore, located in Dublin, Ohio, primarily focuses his practice on business organizations, real estate transactions, landlord/tenant issues, contracts, and Farm Service Agency programs.

His article, Long-Term Lease May Benefit Heirs, offers valuable information on how to use long-term leases to secure land ownership for the next …


A college degree pays. Paying for it is challenging.


By: Guest Blogger Erik Brown, CFP

This educational, third-party article is provided as a courtesy by Erik Brown, CFP® , Agent, New York Life Insurance Company. To learn more about the information or topics discussed, please contact Erik Brown, CFP® at 614-793-2121.

As parents, we understand the value of obtaining a college education in today’s competitive workforce. According to …

The Sandwich Generation: Caught between two worlds.


By: Guest Blogger Erik Brown, CFP

This educational, third-party article is provided as a courtesy by Erik Brown, CFP® , Agent, New York Life Insurance Company. To learn more about the information or topics discussed, please contact Erik Brown, CFP® at 614-793-2121.

The “Sandwich Generation” refers to the large number of adults who are dealing with both young children …

Retirement Baby Boomers

Some Baby Boomers Say They May Never Retire


A recent Gallup Poll shows that while the average age of retirement has risen steadily, it’s the youngest of the Baby Boomers who plan to work the longest. One in 10, of these younger Boomers, say they don’t plan on ever retiring. The strongest drive to work long into the Golden Years seems to be …

Quick Question: How often should you look at your estate plan?


By Tim Stallings:

A great answer to a common question:

How often should I look at my plan? We found this helpful information on revising your estate plan.


The Golden Parachute : An Exit Strategy for the Business Owner


By: Gregory Aler
From one business owner to another, we get it.  You put your blood, sweat and tears into your company over a lifetime.  It’s your legacy.  And the thought of walking away never crosses your mind while you have your nose to the grindstone.  For many business owners, this oversight can cause a sad …


My Mom has More Facebook Friends than You! A Facebook Guide for the Over 60 Set.


By: Timothy Stallings

I know the rest of you are on social media.  How?  Because according to a study from comScore, the Facebook user group with the biggest jump in recent years is those 55 and older. And if you’re one of the hip grandmas or grandpas using social media, you’re likely starting to consider your …


Funeral Planning as a Final Gift


We are pleased to introduce a handful of guest blogs from our professional partners at the Schoedinger Funeral & Cremation Services Blog. Several of the professionals at Schoedinger contribute regularly to their blog and we are excited to be able to share some of their insight with our readers.

Of particular interest, is a post from Julie …


Baby Boomers: “Take This Job and Shove It”


Retiring Baby Boomers are mucking up the Labor Department’s 2013 Jobs Report. The Labor Department estimates, about 76% of those leaving the workforce in 2013 last year represented people over age 55 who say they don’t want jobs.

As the tail-end of the Boomers leave the workforce willingly Wall Street and Federal Reserve economists are forced …


Could the Controversial Digital Currency Bitcoin Fund Your Golden Years?


You may have heard news stories about Bitcoin, but they may have been difficult to believe. Since its invention, as open source software in 2009 by pseudonymous developer Satoshi Nakamoto, Bitcoin has been shaking up the worlds of international bankers, global hackers, and multi-national crime loads. It’s the stuff of movies–almost too strange to be …

Death Dinners

Death Dinners: A New Way to Plan A Funeral


By: Ben Worsowicz

Death is an unpleasant topic. Of all the literature, music, poetry and art dedicated to the subject over the years, it still intimidates us and strikes us as an unseemly discussion topic, even with our closest family and friends. Perhaps it is fear of the unknown, perhaps an avoidance of uncomfortable conversations, or …


What Kind of Estate Planning Documents Should a New Parent Have?


By: Steve Berardino

You may have a stockpile of diapers, a dresser full of onesies and a shelf full of books ready for the arrival of your new baby, however, you and many new parents like you, have likely overlooked a very important tool in your parenting toolbox:  a proper estate plan.  Typically, young couples and …

Keep Calm2

How the Affordable Care Act Could Inspire Baby Boomers to Retire Earlier


By: Tim Stallings & Geoff Kunkler

The Affordable Care Act (or “Obamacare”) will undoubtedly affect all Americans as its provisions are rolled out for the next few years.  One particular group that will see numerous impacts are Baby Boomers.  Baby Boomers, who are the generation of Americans born between the years 1946 and 1964, are in …

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Asset Protection


By: Bryan Montana

Asset Protection is an important area of Estate Planning that, in a nut-shell, deals with preserving your hard-earned assets from potential costs such as Probate, Taxes and Long-Term Care costs.  Here are five tips about Asset Protection that every person should know.

1. Probate – Where Am I?

Why don’t more people complain about probate?  …

Affordable Care Act

5 Things Baby Boomers Need to Know About the Affordable Care Act


Do you love it or hate it?  Do you call it Obama Care or the Affordable Care Act?  Regardless of your thoughts, Baby Boomers need to understand this monumental program.  Most importantly, as with all government funded programs, it costs money.  In order to raise the funds necessary to pay for the Act, numerous taxes …

What it REALLY Means to be Named as Executor


You might feel honored at first when Aunt Betty tells you that she would like to name you as executor of her will.  After all, you are responsible and trustworthy.  Before saying yes, be sure that you know what is involved with serving as executor of someone’s will.  It is not an impossible job, but …


Check out our latest video – Who is AlerStallings?


Visit our homepage http://alerstallings.com/ to view our latest video and learn more about the faces and names behind AlerStallings.  Our partners, associates and staff talk about how we got our start and what we are all about.

Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers: Protecting Assets for a Peaceful Retirement.


Between 1945 and 1964, approximately 79 million babies were born in the United States.  Those born during this era are referred to as “Baby Boomers”.  The dramatic increase in births during the Baby Boom led to rises in demand for consumer products, suburban homes, automobiles and roads. The demands of the baby boomers …

Elder Abuse

Elder Abuse: Recognize it. Report It. End it.



Many seniors around the world are being abused, often by people who are directly responsible for their care. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, victims of abuse,neglect and financial exploitation have three times the risk of dying prematurely. In the U.S. alone, more than half a …

Mental Health

New Special Needs Federal Legislation


At AlerStallings, we help families plan for the needs of loved ones with disabilities.  For families with a loved one who has a mental health condition, planning for the future is critical because of the lack of resources and services people with mental health conditions have available to them.  AlerStallings applauds the Senate’s …




An extensive study regarding the costs of caring for patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease was recently published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The study which was led by the RAND Corporation produced findings that cannot be ignored by current and future generations. The number of new patients coupled with their …

Attorneys Offer Free Consultations to Seniors at Dublin Senior Citizens Day


AlerStallings took part in the Senior Citizens Day event yesterday at the Dublin Recreational Center.  Marketing Coordinator Nelly Sell and attorney Geoff Kunkler were in attendance at the event to talk with seniors and answer questions about Estate Planning and Elder Law.

The event, which was hosted by the Dublin Community Senior Citizens …


Affordable Care Act – Special Needs Benefit & Planning Changes in 2013


The new Affordable Care Act has important implications for special needs planning. The Act requires insurance companies to cover all applicants regardless of pre-existing conditions. Now that the option of obtaining private insurance is a reality, how will this affect special needs planning?

Taking Care of Mom – Making a Tough Conversation Easier


Earlier this week we celebrated Mother’s Day, one of our nation’s most precious holidays.  Your mom has been there for you during the happiest and the saddest times. She was your first love, your first friend, and even your first big fight. She was the cool hand on your forehead when you were …

Nursing Home

Assisted Living vs. Nursing Home Medicaid Process – What is the difference?


As many as 70 percent of people age 65 and older will need some form of a long-term care at some point in their lives.  With the costs of long-term care constantly increasing, it is important to understand some of the major differences between Assisted Living Waiver Medicaid and Nursing Home Medicaid.  This …

Tough Mudder

Tough Mudders of AlerStallings, LLC


Perhaps the most challenging, and certainly the muddiest event that team AlerStallings has ever been through took place last Saturday when the world-renowned race, Tough Mudder, hosted their first ever event in the state of Ohio.

The site of the race was Mansfield Lahm Airport, where the hosts of the event rolled out a …


2013 Estate Planning Checklist: Fact & Fiction When Planning For Your Future


Estate Planning isn’t just about tax savings or drafting trusts.  It’s about getting to know a family, understanding their goals, organizing their assets, helping them through the tough times, being an available resource and looking over their shoulder throughout their lifetime.  I don’t know about you, but a checklist helps me stay organized so here is your 2013 …

Disabilities Act

The Intersection of the disabled, Medicaid benefits, and the Americans with Disabilities Act


People with disabilities who receive Medicaid benefits and are at risk of losing those benefits have been using, in more frequency, a federal law to protect their benefits—the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Military Mom

Special Needs Trusts for Disabled Children of Military Retirees


A military retiree can leave up to 55% of his or her monthly retirement pay to surviving family members as a monthly stipend. This stipend is counted as income and, if the family member is disabled, it will eliminate or interefere with government benefits such as Medicaid.
Under the “Disabled Military Child Protection Act” of 2012 (HR 4329), military retirees with disabled children will have the option to participate in a Survivors Benefit Plan that permits monthly benefit stipends to be directed into a special needs trust for the disabled child.


All Along the… Estate Plan – Estate Planning for Jimi Hendrix


If somebody was surprised when Jimi Hendrix died at the age of 27 on September 18, 1970, it wasn’t Jimi Hendrix. In an interview he gave a little more than a year before he died, Jimi was already talking about his funeral, “I tell you when I die, I’m not going to have a funeral . . . I’m going to have a jam session. And, knowing me, I’ll probably get busted at my own funeral.”

Unintended Consequences: How Using a Life Estate Results in Gift Tax Liability


Using a life estate to transfer a house or other real property has been a planning technique used by many seniors. Many people who use this tool do so because it is quick and easy. In reality, what they are doing may result in a variety of unintended consequences. One of those consequences is that the person creating a life estate may unknowingly exceed their annual gift tax exemption.

Military Spouse

Can My Spouse Receive Any of My Veterans Benefits During Or After My Lifetime?


The spouse of a veteran can apply for help through the VA, but it is not through the Aid & Attendance program. Many people forget or are unaware that the Aid & Attendance benefit is actually made up of two components.


Timing is Everything for Veterans Needing Help with their Care


You have probably heard the saying that timing is everything. When it comes to receiving the VA Aid and Attendance Benefits, dates of service are very important. What’s also important, and often overlooked, is the timing of when to submit a VA Application. Submitting your VA application at the wrong time can result in a denial of your claim.


Conflict of Interest – Attorneys Selling Insurance??


Believe it or not, there are quite a few attorneys licensed in Ohio who “practice law” to facilitate insurance sales and have their insurance license. Whether it was the downturn in the economy or just plain opportunism, the temptation to cross over to the financial field was too much for many attorneys to resist. The result? Many people, who were just seeking out a “legal” plan, end up walking out the door with not only legal documents but a financial product too.

October–AlerStallings celebrates “Down Syndrome Awareness Month”


AlerStallings works with many families that have a member with special needs, such as Down syndrome. Since October is “Down Syndrome Awareness Month,” we cannot think of a better time to encourage families to consider a special needs trust to protect a child with special needs. A special needs trust is an estate planning vehicle used to protect assets for a disabled beneficiary without jeopardizing his or her benefits, typically Medicaid and SSI.

World Alzheimer’s Day–September 21st


On September 21st of each year is World Alzheimer’s Day, when Alzheimer’s groups and organizations around the world focus their efforts on raising awareness about Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.


Don’t Bet the Farm – Using an LLC to Protect Your Family


A farm business or operation can take the form of any number of business entities. Traditionally, farms were either sole proprietorships or partnerships. A number of farms, both large and small, began incorporating (into either s-corp’s or c-corp’s) several decades ago. With favorable changes in the law with regard to LLCs in Ohio, many farmers have begun taking advantage of the many benefits that come with establishing a farm LLC.

Last Minute Tax Strategies for 2012


Tick Tock. Tick Tock.  

Summer is almost over and the 2010 Tax Act is scheduled to sunset at the end of this year.   The result is the end of the extremely favorable estate, gift and generation skipping (GST) lifetime tax exemption (currently at $5,120,000 per individual or $10,240,000 per couple).  As it currently stands, the rates will drop …


Top of the List: Estate Planning/Family Law Firms in Columbus


Great news!  The team at AlerStallings is proud to announce that Columbus Business First ranked us as the #3 Estate Planning/Family Law firm in Columbus in their May 18, 2012 edition.  We are  humbled to receive this honor and look forward to continued success.   We also want to give a special thanks to our clients …

Can a special needs trust or disabled beneficiary own a home?


Beneficiaries of special needs trusts often have disabilities that make owning their own home preferable because of the need for modifications, retrofitting, and renovating to accommodate a disability. Can a special needs trust, or disabled beneficiary, buy a home without jeopardizing receipt of government benefits?

The short answer is “Yes—with extreme caution.” To be successful, the …

You Die–What Happens to your Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter Accounts?



Do you have a Facebook profile? Twitter account? Are you on LinkedIn? Are you subscribed to a listserv? Do you have an ebay and PayPal account? Do you maintain a blog? Do you use web-based email such as Yahoo, Hotmail or Gmail? What happens to these accounts when …

Attention Business Owners: How to avoid a visit from the Department of Labor


The Department of Labor (DOL) has increased its workforce considerably.  What does that mean?  More investigators equals more investigations.  When you consider that 96 people were indicted in 2010 for violation of laws regarding company benefit plans and that nearly 75% of all investigations result in some sort of fiduciary, reporting, or disclosure violation, it's …

Congratulations Maureen!


AlerStallings is proud to announce that the National Business Institute selected Attorney Maureen Duffy as a featured presenter at the upcoming Fundamentals of Trust Administration seminar to be held on June 5, 2012.  Ms. Duffy will educate attorneys and other professionals on the “Non-Monetary Aspects of Trust Administration.”  More specifically, she will discuss the inventory …

Will The VA Force Me To Sell My Home?


Many people are familiar with Medicaid and how the Estate Recovery program will try to place a lien on a recipient’s home. It’s not surprising that VA recipients are worried that the VA has a similar plan. Good news! The VA works differently than Medicaid with this issue. Similar to Medicaid, VA regulations make the home …

Federal Estate Tax – 2013 and beyond


Unless changes are made, the federal estate tax will affect a much higher portion of Americans in 2013.

People who die in 2013 with estates in excess of $1 million may be subject to a federal estate tax. This may come as a surprise to many people, particularly given that …

Unauthorized Practice of Law – Financial Professionals & Medicaid Planning


The Supreme Court of Ohio issued an advisory opinion at the end of 2011 pertaining to the unauthorized practice of law as it relates to Medicaid Planning.  The Court outlines what financial professionals (non-attorneys) CAN and CAN NOT do when it comes to creating Medicaid plans for their clients.  

This opinion should …

Don’t send your child off to college without…


…a HIPAA authorization form.  Every year a college students get hurt and every year parents are refused any information from the hospital about their injured child.  The reason: the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996….aka HIPAA.  This law prevents healthcare administrators from disclosing health information about anyone who is 18 or older.  Your …

World Down Syndrome Day — March 21st


Today is the very first World Down Syndrome Day. Down syndrome is a set of medical and physical symtpoms caused by presence of all or part of an extra chromosome, and is associated with possible cognitive and or physical delays. World Down Syndrome Day is recognized for the first time by …



America.  Where anyone, from anywhere, with any background, can start their own business and be the next billionaire tycoon.  The reality is that most start-ups aren't born in a boardroom, but around some friends at a bar or maybe in a garage or basement.  And while these great ideas gain momentum and the businesses that result begin …

Columbus City Schools Resource Fair for Children with Special Needs


AlerStallings would like to let our friends know of a Summer Resource Fair hosted by Columbus City Schools for children with disabilities. The Fair will take place on Tuesday, March 27th, from 6-8pm at the CCS Northgate Center, 6655 Sharon Woods Blvd. in Columbus. Several groups will have booths …

Five Detrimental Mistakes When Planning for a Child with Special Needs


Special Needs Planning has one goal: To preserve assets for a child with disabilities without jeopardizing his or her benefits. Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other government benefits provide basic medical care, housing and food…the bare necessities. Advance planning by parents can supplement these bare necessities and greatly improve the …

TOD & POD Designation Downfalls


We see it every day.  A couple walks in and tells us that they already have an estate plan and they want us to give it a quick review and stamp of approval.  They bought an "I Love You Will" on-line or had their neighborhood Jack-of-All-Trades attorney fill out a couple page Will …

February is “Responsible Pet Owners Month”


February has been designated Responsible Pet Owners Month. Responsibility for your pet extends to planning for its care if you are no longer capable. According to the Humane Society of the United States, about 500,000 pets are euthanized in shelters each year because their owner died and …

Julie Mills’ Estate Planning Blog


AlerStallings wants to extend a special thanks to Julie Mills. Julie Mills acts as Of Counsel for our firm and specializes in Estate & Special Needs Planning and has also developed a niche in the area of Pet Planning. Julie is the architect behind the launch of the AlerStallings' Blog and all content …

Selecting a Trustee


In choosing an executor (named in a will), that person's responsibilities typically end within 13 months of their appointment by the court.  In choosing a trustee of a trust, that person's responsibilities can last for years.  What characteristics do you look for in someone when you are considering designating him or her as trustee of …

Second Marriages and Estate Planning


I have seen many couples who had prior marriages and children from prior marriages with the typical mirror wills:  everything to my spouse, then to my children.  This is a huge mistake.  Bob and Jane–second marriage for both–have one child each from their previous marriages.  Bob dies and all his assets go to Jane; Jane …

When Your Relative Dies with Debt


Typically you are only responsible for the debts of your spouse if he or she dies.  I liked this post in the Wills, Trusts & Estate blog regarding what you should know, and do, if you have a relative (parent, usually) who dies with debt:  http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/2010/09/what-to-do-when-your-relative-dies-with-debt.html.

Tips for Avoiding a Fight Over Your Estate


Many estate planning clients fear fighting among heirs, which causes anxiety when making tough decisions regarding choosing an executor, distribution of assets, and other decisions.  There are ways for estate planning clients to minimize any fighting among heirs.  Thank you to Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog for posting the following November 27, 2009 U.S. …

You are the Executor: Now What?


The following is a guest post by Matthew W. Gibson, attorney.  Note that the following information is specific to Ohio.

            One of the first questions a person
who has been named as an Executor in a decedent’s Will should ask is whether
probate is actually necessary.  If a
decedent has no assets that need to be transferred through …

Retirement Accounts and Beneficiary Designations–Myths and Misconceptions


The following is a great post from "You and Yours Blawg" about myths and misconceptions regarding designating a beneficiary for your retirement plans.

At the start of the new year, many people take a
look at their qualified retirement plans (IRA, 401(k), etc.) as they
plan savings goals for the new year. …

Financial Planning for a Special Needs Child


Financial planning is essential to estate planning for a special needs child.  Local financial planning expert Judd Clark wrote an excellent post for the Autism Puzzle blog.  Click here to read his article.

Why You Need a Properly Executed Will


Most people have heard of Byrd and Melanie Billings, the Florida couple who were murdered in their Florida home, and left behind 12 special needs children.  Byrd Billings left no will or trust, but Melanie Billings left a will. Unfortunately, the Court found that the will was invalid under Florida law because it was not executed properly (it was …

Estate Planning with Limited Liability Companies


Thank you to Powell, Ohio attorney Matthew W. Gibson for today's guest post:

liability companies (LLCs) are typically thought of in the context of business
formation, but they can also be a valuable tool in estate planning.  To understand how the use of an LLC might
work in estate planning, consider the following hypothetical:

      A 55-year-old
individual, who we …

What to Take to the Hospital


Going to the hospital is usually stressful, and when we are stressed, we often do not think clearly.  This is why I really like–and want to share–this blog post from Massachusetts attorney Leanna Hamill. 

Are You considering Naming a Trust as a Beneficiary of your IRA?


In “Trust as Beneficiary of IRA is Popular” (Wall Street Journal, August 29, 2009), this question is

    "My wife and I are both over 65 and are
doing some estate planning. Can I transfer funds from a traditional IRA to a
trust without immediately being …

How to Choose a Guardian for your Children


No parent wants to think of not being around for his or her
children.  But, dare I say, that being a
responsible parent means planning for your child’s future if you die or become

Every parent of a minor child should designate, preferably
in a Last …

What Every College Student Should Have


A smartphone?  An
ipod?  A laptop?  No!  A
HIPAA authorization form!

It does not sound fun but it is necessary.  Every year a college student gets hurt and
every year a parent is refused any information about their hurt child because
the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability act …

Clarifying Donor Intent


Leona Helmsley left money in her trust for the care of her
dog.  She apparently also wanted her trust to
provide for the welfare of dogs.  If, in her will and, or, trust, she
did not leave money to a specific dog welfare charity, then a court could
determine her intent based on …

Five Estate Tax Myths


Liz Pulliam Weston from MSN Money lists these five estate
tax myths that won’t die:

    Myth #1:    Lots of people face the federal estate tax.

    Myth #2:    Average families are taxed twice.

    Myth #3:    The tax can be …

Ohio Parents Win Another Round in Autism-Medicaid Case


Ohio parents of children with autism won another round last week in their lawsuit to prevent Medicaid from refusing to cover Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) services to their children.  The Parents League for Effective Autism Services sued the Ohio Department of Mental Health and the Department of Job and Family Services to block the state from implementing new Medicaid rules that …

What is Special Needs Planning?


Parents or grandparents often leave money to their child or
grandchild, perhaps in a will or trust, or they set up an account payable to
the child once he or she reaches the age of majority.  Many times, well-meaning parents or
grandparents are particularly interested in leaving money to their child or
grandchild …

Your “Online Estate Plan”?


The following Wall Street Journal article raises a great
issue—if you were to die or become incapacitated, how would your executor or
attorney-in-fact access your on-line accounts? 
Would you want your Facebook page updated?  It might be time to review your estate plan,
and bring your instructions for your executor up to …

Pooled Trusts–One Option for a Special Needs Beneficiary



Do you want to leave money for your child with a disability
but fear jeopardizing his eligibility for certain benefits?  Pooled trusts are trusts allowed under
Medicaid and Social Security Income (SSI) law for beneficiaries with special
needs.  A pooled trust is managed by a
nonprofit organization, which serves as trustee.  A beneficiary’s …

Letter of Intent–Memorializing Your Hopes and Desires


We don’t like to think about our own death, or becoming
incapacitated, much less the impact that would have on our children.  But, if that should happen, it would be so
much more difficult for a child with special needs if his or her daily life and
routine was thrown into upheaval.  …

The Importance of a Will for Families with a Special Needs Beneficiary


Special needs planning requires specialized knowledge to help families plan their legacy for a special needs child (or beneficiary), without jeopardizing the child’s eligibility for certain, necessary benefits.  In this post, I am pleased that my mentor and friend, Candace Pollock, agreed to guest post on Ohio …

Ohio’s New Pet Trust Statute


[Welcome to my blog, Ohio Estate and Special Needs Planning.  The inaugural post is about Ohio’s new pet trust statute.  I love animals, and belong to the ranks of pet owners who consider their pets as members of the family.  I originally wrote this post for Laurie Kadair Redman, author of the blog Louisiana …