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Avoiding Probate and Protecting Your Family


Get Expert Help Navigating the Probate Process

Probate is the legal process for distributing assets, including paying outstanding debts or distributing assets to heirs. An estate is divided among creditors and heirs after someone passes away. The probate process can be lengthy, expensive, and frustrating for families, especially following the passing of a loved one. With …

Moving a Loved One to a Live-in Facility


Navigating long-term care and nursing home care for your family

As our loved ones age, they may begin to need assistance with everyday tasks, and help to remain safe and healthy. Many families turn to live-in facilities for the daily care of a loved one, and if your family is looking for a nursing home for …

Guardianship and Power of Attorney


What’s the difference? And how do I know what’s best for my family?

If you’re helping to care for a loved one who is unable to manage their own affairs, you have options in how you and your family can move forward. Someone who cannot make decisions or act on their own behalf becomes a “ward”; …

Estate Planning for Families


If you have children or stepchildren, estate planning is important to ensuring your family’s future.

You might associate estate planning with retirement, or with making end-of-life decisions that provide for your family members. It’s just as important to make a plan that provides for your family members if you’re just beginning to build your family, or …

New VA Lookback Rule


New VA Lookback Rule – Take a Second Look

Lookback or ‘lookback period’ is a term generally synonymous with Medicaid applicants and Medicaid benefits.  Unfortunately, times have changed and now the VA has implemented a similar “lookback” period to those applying for VA Aid & Attendance Pensions.

The purpose of Aid & Attendance pensions has always been …

What does “Community Spouse” Mean?


In estate planning and long-term care lingo, “community spouse” is the term that refers to a spouse that is NOT moving into or receiving long-term care in a long-term care facility.  In other words, a “Community spouse” is the spouse who is still living on their own.  This means they pay all expenses, healthcare and …

IRA Tax Planning for Retirement


Have an IRA? IRA Tax Planning for Retirement

An IRA (Individual Retirement Account) is a common retirement savings vehicle.  Many of us contribute to our 401, 403 or IRA accounts on a monthly or annual basis, while we work towards the ultimate goal of retirement!

Unfortunately, an IRA strategy does not end once you reach retirement age. …

Three Initial Steps of Retirement Planning 


Retirement! You’ve worked your entire life for this moment. The question is, have you secured your assets sufficiently to protect and fund your retirement for many years to come? 3 key steps to retirement planning, along with some expert help and support will ensure your retirement is ready for the long …

Can Probate be Avoided with a Will?


The answer is no! One of the largest myths surrounding probate is that designating the distribution of your assets and possessions through a will, avoids the probate process. Even if you have a will, your estate will still end up in probate.

What You Need to Know About the Probate Court Process

If you do not have …

Basic Asset Protection Plan


Do you have a basic asset protection plan in place?

You need to be prepared for the future. This involves having a basic asset protection plan designed for your specific needs. These plans are customized based on your situation and the goals you want to achieve. While many people believe a basic asset protection plan is …

IRA Protection Planning


Most people are somewhat familiar with the basics of an Individual Retirement Account (“IRA” for short). Essentially, you can save for retirement by putting money into the IRA. With a traditional IRA, you do not pay taxes on the money when it is deposited into the account, nor as it remains in the account accruing …

Protecting Assets from 3 Biggest Threats


Protecting Assets from “The Three Big Bad Wolves”

Many of our clients have worked tirelessly and saved for decades to ensure a comfortable retirement and a legacy to pass on to their heirs. Sadly, due to a lack of pre-retirement preparation, some have seen their nest egg depleted by the Three Big Bad Wolves: probate expenses, …

Why Is End of Life Financial Planning Important?


Nobody likes to consider that the day will come when they will pass on. Nevertheless, it is a simple fact, and it is important to make plans for that eventuality. Some people, when posed with this issue, may wonder why they should bother to plan for the end of their lives. After all, they won’t …

Estate Planning Vs. Financial Planning


How is an Estate Planning Attorney Different Than a Financial Planner?

As you approach the later stages of your life, it is important that you take steps to help preserve your assets. Far too many people put this crucial activity off, and then ultimately find that they have little (or no) assets left to pass on …

What is the Medicaid Look Back Period?


For those who think they may end up needing Medicaid in the future, proper estate planning is a crucial step in helping to preserve the assets belonging to you and your families. Unfortunately, someone who needs Medicaid cannot just transfer away significant assets before applying, as there will be a look back period once they …

Your Estate Plan


Some Things Never Change. Your Estate Plan Shouldn’t Be One of Them.

Humans are creatures of habit.  We try something once, like it, and pretty much stick to that same routine the rest of our lives – whether it be your favorite restaurant to visit or meal to order, favorite TV show to watch, or favorite …

Medicaid Eligibility for Seniors


Who Is Eligible for Medicaid in OH?

If you live in Ohio and you are struggling to pay for medical care in your senior years, you might want to consider whether Medicaid could help you. Medicaid is available to help pay for certain types of care, subject to income limitations, which can be particularly helpful to …

Can Power of Attorney Be Revoked?


Any time you grant someone else the power to act on your behalf, you should understand the legal ramifications of that decision. You should also understand the requirements to reverse that choice if it proves to be the wrong one for you and for your family.

What is a Power of Attorney?

When you designate someone to …

What Is an Advance Directive?


An advance directive, also called a living will, is a document that formally and officially dictates your wishes when it comes to certain medical treatments and care. Without one of these documents, your doctors are required to do everything they can to keep you alive, even if you wouldn’t want such care. Your advance directive …

Estate Planning IS for You


Picture this: it’s Saturday morning, you and your family are on your private jet, flying to a tropical paradise to spend a week island hopping on your yacht.  Not your reality?  That is more than okay, as it isn’t our reality either.  Nor is it the reality of the thousands of Ohio families we have …

Medical Power of Attorney


Why Is Having A Medical Power of Attorney So Important?

As you enter your senior years, one of the options you will face is whether or not to name someone as your medical power of attorney. Given the breadth of the decisions you have to make in your golden years, this one can sometimes fall through …

Is It Necessary to Have A Durable Power of Attorney?


As you age, you will eventually be faced with the choice of whether to have a durable power of attorney. This arrangement can assist you with some of the challenges of your senior years and provide peace of mind for yourself and your family. But, is it absolutely necessary to have a power of attorney? …

Protecting Your Assets from Medicaid


How Can I Protect My Assets from Medicaid?

As you reach your golden years and begin to consider the possibility of using Medicaid to pay for long term care arrangements, you will absolutely want to consider how to protect your assets. Medicaid will not come into play until you have virtually exhausted your assets. Although the …

What is a Living Will?


When it comes time to discuss estate planning options, one of the most important aspects is a living will, also commonly called an advance directive. Most people know what a will is: a legal instrument used to direct the disposition of assets after death. However, a living will is a slightly different type of document.


A …

The 64%


Worth as high as $80 million, the Queen of Soul died intestate. In short, she never got around to putting together a will or trust. Shocking, right? Not quite. According to Forbes, Aretha is joined by a whopping 64% of Americans who have no will.

Many Americans put off estate planning as something they will eventually …

Fighting for Veterans & Families


When a 93-year-old widow needs help, we listen. Millie, the widow of a World War II veteran, had been on her own since 1999, when her late husband passed away. In 2006, when Millie could no longer take care of herself, she moved into an assisted living facility near her hometown of Fostoria, Ohio. For …

Fracking and Asset Protection


As our practice has grown and we are covering most of Ohio, we have come across a unique issue in the eastern part of Ohio, Hydraulic Fracturing Drilling or simply “fracking” for shale gas deposits.  This phenomena has created a significant amount of wealth for land owners with shale deposits under their land with a …

What to Consider with the Family Farm


The family farm is a business that goes beyond providing income and support.  It transcends generations. It’s a way of life. When it comes to keeping it that way, family dynamics matter. Do any of the children help with the farm? Do they live off the farm income? Do you want to make sure the …

Gave It Away and Can’t Get It Back = Medicaid Trouble


Most Medicaid applicants quickly realize that giving away assets can get them in trouble. To receive help paying for the nursing home through Medicaid, you must disclose your financial transactions during the last five years, referred to as the “look-back period.” Ohio has a five-year look-back period. If you gave away an asset or sold …

Keeping Good Records


Have you ever wondered, “The older I get, does it really matter if I continue to keep good financial records?” Absolutely it does. We don’t know what the future holds. But for those Americans who need skilled nursing help, keeping good financial records matters — and could even impact future generations of their families.

Long-term care …

Why do I need an Elder Law Attorney when applying for Medicaid benefits?


Many people ask, “Why do I need an Elder Law attorney to help me apply for Medicaid benefits for a loved one entering a nursing home?”

The simple answer: because Elder Law attorneys focus on this specific area of the law. They understand the rules of Medicaid so they can employ the best strategies to help …

Selling the home when a spouse received Medicaid


Ohio’s laws on Medicaid estate recovery are among the most aggressive in the country. Following the death of a Medicaid beneficiary, the state must seek reimbursement for the cost of benefits paid on behalf of a beneficiary during his or her lifetime. While most states limit reimbursement only to the assets of the Medicaid beneficiary’s estate …

Should I Get Married in my Golden Years?


Typically, significant life events are driving factors for individuals to evaluate or re-evaluate their estate plans. Whether these events include getting married, having children and grandchildren, retiring or needing long-term care, lives change. And it is crucial to accommodate for these changes in your estate plan. However, what happens when you don’t have an estate …

How Estate Tax Changes Could Affect Farmers


In August 2016, the IRS proposed a new regulation under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code that could greatly affect farmers. This long-awaited proposal would take away the ability for family-owned farming businesses to apply the valuation discounts they have used for so long. The change would cause a significant tax hit, discouraging further …

Planning for the Surviving Spouse


So much of estate planning and Elder Law revolves around uncertainty. Nobody knows how long they will live. Will they end up in a nursing home? Will the federal estate tax change? Will Ohio bring back the estate tax? While we may not know the answers, we all know for certain that one day we …

When is an Asset Protection Trust Right for Me?


As Elder Law Attorneys, we are often asked this question. The simple answer follows.

If you have something you don’t want to lose to the nursing home, an Asset Protection Trust is right for you. Just make sure you set it up and fund it at least five years and one day before you need long-term …

QIT 101


More and more, people are hearing they need Qualified Income Trusts — a QIT — to stay on or receive Medicaid benefits at home or in the nursing home. It’s just another in a long line of recent changes to Ohio Medicaid laws.

Unfortunately, many of these changes affect thousands of elderly Ohioans and have made …

Does your estate plan still work?


Change is inevitable. And when it occurs, your estate plan must change as well. Most of us have been told that we should go to the doctor once a year for a checkup. We know the car oil needs changed every 3,000 miles or so. However, unlike our health and our cars, few of us …

Are you Uninformed About Estate Planning?


Do you have a plan in place if you can’t make health and financial decisions for yourself? What about a plan to protect your loved ones in the event you become injured or die? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Many Americans don’t have proper estate plans in place.

It is absolutely necessary that everyone has …

How to Avoid a Common IRA Mistake


If you’re like many people, you’ve probably invested in an IRA for retirement. But one piece of advice I can give you is to always make sure one thing is in order: your beneficiary forms. Here’s why.

Many clients we encounter set up trusts to accomplish their personal goals, whether it be to avoid probate or …

Farmers and the Proposed Federal Estate Tax Changes


2016 is a great year to die. Personally I’m hoping to spend quite a few more years on this planet, but from an estate tax perspective now would not be a bad time to go. Many states, including Ohio, currently have no state estate tax. The federal government exempts the first $5.45 million of your …

Bait and Switched? Get Long-Term Planning Without Expensive Long-Term Care Insurance


Is long-term care insurance enough to protect your assets and family when faced with a nursing home crisis?

For many people, the idea of long-term care insurance is a great way to protect their estate from a devastating hit due to the rising costs of long-term care. Based on Ohio statistics, the average stay in a …

Ohio Medicaid Estate Recovery


Has anyone ever told you that they lost their inheritance because Medicaid took what was left after their parents passed away? Ever wonder how something like this can happen? It just doesn’t seem fair.

In Ohio, Medicaid Estate Recovery is a program that collects on estates of those who received long-term care support.  When Medicaid recipients …

Six Important Questions to Ask When Choosing a Nursing Home


Whether it’s you, a spouse or a parent, deciding to move to a nursing home can be a stressful situation, especially if you don’t know the right questions to ask. You may read the fancy brochures and tour the facilities, but they begin to blend together and the search can feel overwhelming. Before you make …

What is a CCRC?


CCRC stands for Continuing Care Retirement Community. A CCRC delivers a wealth of options for senior housing and services. These options include guidance and attention through the spectrum of long-term care — from independent living to skilled nursing care.

It is comforting to many people to know they can start out completely independent, with the option …

Why You Need a New Powerful Power of Attorney in 2016


Think a spouse or child can simply step in and make financial and health decisions for you in the event you are incapacitated? Not so fast. Compliance departments at financial institutions are developing increasingly stringent policies regarding with whom they share information. If you’re incapacitated, you better have a properly drafted power of attorney. Without …

Long-term care premiums going up? Find out how legal planning can help!


If you are among the 8 million Americans with long-term care insurance, you may have noticed your premiums climbing higher and higher. You’re not alone. Long-term care insurance premiums have been rapidly increasing for seniors across the country.


What options are available if you can’t afford these premiums? How can you still protect your assets? While …

Required Premium Distribution

Time to take RMDs. Time to understand taxes.


An IRA can be a beautiful thing.  You can contribute money to a retirement account and it grows tax deferred until you withdraw it.  Many folks leave their IRAs in place, still growing through retirement until they have to start withdrawing funds from these accounts.  If you have an IRA and you are approaching your …

Fiduciary vs. Suitability

Suitability vs. Fiduciary


As an attorney, I’m often interacting with other professionals in my clients’ lives. In reflecting on these interactions, I sometimes wonder if my clients’ financial professional is doing what is in their best interest.

In looking in to it, I discovered that the rule governing financial professionals for quite some time has been to recommend investments …

Long Term Care Coverage

Will Medicare pay for my long-term care?


Many Americans don’t consider the cost of future long-term care. Those that do, often grossly underestimate the actual costs. Long-term care consists mainly of custodial care or assistance with daily activities such as eating, bathing, dressing, walking, and using the restroom and management of medications. According to the Ohio Department of Aging, the average monthly …