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The 64%

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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 …

Fracking and Asset Protection

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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 …

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

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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

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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?

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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

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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?

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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?

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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?

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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?

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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

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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!

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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 …

End of Life Care

The Future Changes in Health Care and the Effects of End of Life Care

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Anyone who works in the healthcare industry knows we are in a constant influx of change that surrounds us. From billing codes, to new technology, it’s hard for even the savviest informed folks to keep up with all the transition. It’s hard enough to keep up with where our contacts in the industry work from …

The Costs of Long Term Care

Eldercare: It Cost How Much?!

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By this stage in our life we are all well aware that nothing in life is really free. I find it amusing that during this election cycle (like none before) that some of the presidential candidates are making promises of “free stuff” if you would only vote for them. Who doesn’t like free stuff but …

Non-Traditional IRA Planning

Un-Traditional IRA Planning

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Many Americans save money in a traditional IRA. If you’re one of them, you have a tax bill coming. Why? Because part of your traditional IRA dollars aresimply a loan from Uncle Sam.While you may not have thought about it, many advisorshave. Many advisorsare paid a percentage to manage that IRA money.Would they rather have …

Breaking Down Myths of Hospice

Breaking Down Myths of Hospice:

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In this blog, I’d like to break down the most common myths of hospice.

 

Hospice hastens death.

 

The fact of the matter is that most patients live on average 29 days longer on hospice service and have a better quality of life (article attached to provide research study information).

As I stated in my last blog, hospice is …

Where is your Will?

Where is your Will?

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Where is your Will? Simple question, right? But statistics show that when someone passes away, locating the original Will is often a difficult task. Not only are family members left with the devastating loss of a loved one, but they now have to conduct a scavenger hunt, often digging through boxes in the attic, bins …

Estate planning for small businesses

Estate planning for small businesses

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Introduction

As a business owner, you’re likely focused on running the business.  Planning for succession is far from your mind. A failure to focus on the future, however, can be disastrous when it comes time to relinquish control. There is no “one-size fits all” approach. Here is an overview of options for transitioning your business.

Ways to …

When Home is No Longer Home

Being Prepared vs. The Risk of Doing Nothing

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When first learning how to drive, my drivers-training instructor would play a game with

me during my time behind the wheel.  He called it the “What if” game and during my turn

to drive he would ask if I was ready to play?  Of course, I had no choice; if I wanted to

graduate I had to play …

How to Protect Your Nest Egg with Personal Umbrella Insurance

How to Protect Your Nest Egg with Personal Umbrella Insurance

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Matt Simon, CIC, CPCU, is Vice President at Hill & Hamilton Insurance and Guest Blogger at AlerStallings.  You can follow him on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthewtsimon.

 

Let’s face it, most of us are putting in long hours today, saving for our retirement, in hopes that our nest egg will be sufficient some day for us to enjoy …

Estate Planning For Retirement Plan Assets

Estate Planning For Retirement Plan Assets

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Victor J. Ferguson is a Partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP and Guest Blogger at AlerStallings.

 

Estate Planning For Retirement Plan Assets

Retirement plan assets – profit sharing plan accounts, 401(k)s and IRAs – account for a significant portion of many estates and frequently present unique planning issues and hurdles.

Perhaps the most significant financial aspect …

Mr. Cub did what? More drama in the battle over the estate of Ernie Banks

Mr. Cub did what? More drama in the battle over the estate of Ernie Banks

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What happens when a Hall of Fame baseball player dies and leaves everything to… his young caretaker? Finger pointing, accusations and questions abound, but perhaps this case can be resolved before the entire estate is gone. Or perhaps not. A settlement conference was held in late September between Banks’ estranged wife, Elizabeth, and his caretaker …

Do you have the “Special” Power of Attorney?

Do you have the “Special” Power of Attorney?

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As you may know, a Durable Financial Power of Attorney is a common and important estate planning tool. This document allows you to name someone, known as your Agent, to act in your place and handle your affairs when you can’t. Many people, however, believe that any ‘ol power of attorney will do. In fact, …

Threat of Identity Theft Doesn't Always Expire When You Do

Threat of Identity Theft Doesn’t Always Expire When You Do

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Identity theft protection services have become a big business in recent years. Many people are rightfully concerned about having their identity stolen and the resulting consequences and headaches. What many people don’t realize is that the threat of identity theft does not disappear when an individual passes away.

 

The recently deceased are a prime target for …

Donor Advised Funds Simplify Charitable Giving

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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 …

Hospice

Hospice

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Hospice. A word still many people in the United States cringe when they hear it spoken. As a world traveler and a professional in the hospice industry for quite a while, I am heartbroken to see some of the reactions to such a beautiful gift. It seems that other parts of the globe are more …

My Spouse Went to a Nursing Home – Can I keep his income?

Do’s and Don’ts for Grandparents Saving for College

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Do’s and Don’ts for Grandparents Saving for College

 

The birth of your child is not just the big day when you become a parent, but also the big day when your parents become grandparents! Grandma and Grandpa may want to spoil their little ones in every way possible. And if you are lucky, spoiling includes saving …

A Himmerlick

Amy Himmelrick is our Featured Attorney of the Month!

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I was born and raised in Wayne, WV.  I went to Marshall University where I earned a double major in criminal justice and psychology.  My husband and I both came here for law school.  I went to Capital and he went to Ohio State.  We have a black lab named Buddy who rules …

NAELA Conference

AlerStallings Celebrates Elder Law Month

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It’s that time of year again! The Annual National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) Conference is taking place in Orlando, Florida. AlerStallings will be well represented, as Greg Aler and Tim Stallings are in attendance. They will listen to insightful speakers, engage in dialogues with Elder Law professionals from all over the country, and …

Estate Planning Checklist – Making Sure You Have the Right Tools in Your Estate Planning Toolbox

Estate Planning Checklist – Making Sure You Have the Right Tools in Your Estate Planning Toolbox

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Whether you’re starting your first job, trying to decide who to name as guardians for your kids or trying to plan for retirement, it is important to make sure that your Estate Planning toolbox is properly stocked with the right tools for the job.  As life happens that plan needs to be reevaluated and occasionally …

What Not To Do: Common Long-term Care Mistakes

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We’ve seen almost every mistake imaginable. Transfers of property, questionable financial products, botched applications for Medicaid or Veterans’ benefits.  From the best outcomes to the worst and everything in between. When people are confronted with a long-term care emergency, they panic. They’ll take advice from anyone and everyone and often further complicate their problem by …

Don’t Leave a Mess: How to Avoid Disputes When You Aren’t There to Settle Them

Don’t Leave a Mess: How to Avoid Disputes When You Aren’t There to Settle Them

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Whether you die a prince or a pauper, disputes can arise among those left behind.  Conflicts between your children from a prior marriage and your current spouse; arguments among your kids; disputes between your executor and your beneficiaries – all of these can happen and often do.

In the event you die with no estate plan, …

How Does an ABLE Account Work?

How Does an ABLE Account Work?

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In December of 2014, the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act was signed into law. The Act provides a new tool to care for disabled loved ones, relieving stress for millions of families. Caregivers often spend sleepless nights worrying how they can ensure that the disabled person is cared for after the caregiver can …

Controlling the Uncontrollable Situation

Controlling the Uncontrollable Situation

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“My dream is that every terminally ill American has access to the choice to die on their own terms with dignity.” That is Brittany Maynard, who you probably heard a lot about last year.

In the spring of 2014, Brittany Maynard, age 29, was given startling news.  She had terminal brain cancer. Instead of feeling helpless, …

AlerStallings Greg

Greg Aler is our Featured Attorney of the Month!

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A little bit about Greg:

Greg was born and raised in Bellefontaine, Ohio, home of the oldest concrete street in America and Mad River Mountain. Greg graduated from Miami University and majored in finance, moving across Ohio after college to Case Western Law School in Cleveland.  Chicago was the next stop where he worked at two of the largest firms …

Estate Planning – A Great Last-Minute Special Event Gift

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Forgot about Valentine’s Day?  It’s not too late.  Make an appointment with an AlerStallings attorney to discuss an estate plan.  Seriously.  Sure, it’s not dinner and roses, but a good estate plan is one of the most thoughtful gifts you can give your sweetheart.  Your gift won’t avoid future heartache, but it will help avoid …

Do I need a trust?

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As an Estate Planning and Elder Law attorney, I get asked regularly if the person really needs a trust. First, you need to know there are lots of different types of trusts. So the answer depends on your problem. A trust may be the right solution, but we first have to determine your problem.

 

What if …

Will vs. Trust: What’s the Difference?

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Will vs. Trust: What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between a “will” and a “trust”? Both are common estate planning tools, however many Ohioans do not know the differences between the two documents.

A will is a legal record of who will receive your property at your death, who should act as a legal representative to …

Advanced Planning Trusts: Does It Make Sense For You?

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Advanced Planning Trusts: Does It Make Sense For You?

Okay, so you finally decided to look into estate planning. You researched wills and trusts, and read a lot about the differences between revocable and irrevocable trusts. But I have bad news for you. While revocable and irrevocable trusts are the two “main flavors,” there are several …

Revocable Trusts vs. Irrevocable Trusts

Revocable Trusts vs. Irrevocable Trusts

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Revocable Trusts vs. Irrevocable Trusts

Many people know a Will says where your stuff goes. But far fewer understand how a trust works. Some even have a trust of some sort but don’t really know how it works. But what kind of trust is right for you? That depends largely on your goals. First, all trusts …

Do you have a plan for long-term care?

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Isn’t medical technology amazing? New medications and devices have helped extend life expectancies significantly, allowing us to care for our aging parents and grandparents for years to come. Yet for many people, a discussion of our family member’s wishes or planning for our long-term care (LTC) doesn’t happen until it’s an emergency. Long-term care of …