Follow us
  >  Blog

Our commitment is to make sure that people are better off for having met with us – whether they hire us or not.

What Happens with Your Digital Assets When You Die?

Even digital assets need a plan. Living in a digital age has created the necessity to include digital assets in your estate plan. But what happens to your digital assets when you die, and how can you make sure they end up in the right hands? When you think of […]

National Disabilities Month What Are the Different Types of Special Needs Trusts in Virginia

If you are responsible for a family member with special needs, you must consider how you will provide for them after you are gone. Leaving an inheritance isn’t ideal, as it may disqualify them from need-based government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Instead, consider special needs trusts […]

Estate Planning for Blended Families (Stepchildren/Remarriages)

Estate planning for blended families involves unique challenges. The complexity of blended family structures, which often involve several children from previous marriages, often calls for more intricate estate planning. Drafting a comprehensive estate plan as early as possible will help protect everyone’s interests, reduce conflict, and avoid legal pitfalls. Why […]

Estate Planning for Divorced Families

If you’re divorced, you probably made sure your divorce agreement includes all the major financial aspects of property division, child support, and alimony. Now it’s time for the next step: updating your estate plan. Estate planning for divorced families involves unique challenges, and any mistake or oversight could have far-reaching […]

Digital Estate Planning: What Happens with Your Digital Assets When You Die?

In the past, estate planning used to be about deciding who will inherit and manage your finances and physical assets after you die. Today, a big part of our lives happens online, driving demand for a new service: digital estate planning. At Commonwealth Life & Legacy Counsel, our experienced estate […]

Why You Should Consider a Living Will and Advance Medical Directive

While most estate planning involves protecting your legacy for what you will leave to your heirs when you pass away, there’s another essential part to consider: who will make decisions for you during your lifetime if you are unable to make them for yourself? A living will and advance medical […]

What is a Revocable Trust and Do I Need One?

A well-written and fully funded revocable trust allows your beneficiaries to avoid probate while giving you control over your assets during your lifetime and managing their use and distribution after you die. While you are alive and have the mental ability to manage your affairs, your trust is completely subject […]

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do in Central Virginia?

Senior citizens 65 or older account for about 16% of Virginia’s population. These seniors often have complex legal needs that include estate planning, protecting assets from Medicaid, and planning for disability. Estate Planning in Virginia Our comprehensive estate planning services can help you manage your estate during your lifetime and […]

A Lawyer Can Help You Get SSDI Approval Faster

If you are applying for disability benefits, it makes sense to have a disability attorney represent your interests. Hiring a disability attorney can streamline the process for faster approval. Federal law regulates the fees when hiring a disability attorney to correlate to your date of entitlement or disability payback which is generally 25 […]

What You Need to Ask Your Elder Law Attorney

Planning for the future and considering financial matters can be a challenging and emotional experience. However, it is crucial to wisely manage your assets while aging and provide for the family members who will survive you. Your elder law attorney knows how to create an estate plan strategy that addresses these […]

Important Things to Know About Living Wills

Would you still be able to make decisions about your healthcare if you became seriously ill or injured? You don’t have to be old to become incapacitated. A living will, a component of an advance health care directive can outline your wishes so that your loved ones can make informed […]

Preventing Siblings From Fighting Over Their Estates

Sibling rivalry. There is no getting around it in most families. With the passing of a parent, old rivalries can become more pronounced depending on how your family members interact. Adult children who are emotionally upset and in the unfamiliar territory of an inheritance process can invent new problems or magnify […]

Planning Your Estate with Your Spouse or Partner

The process of estate planning requires thoughtful consideration and a discussion with your spouse. In order to present your ideas to an estate planning lawyer, it is best to discuss them beforehand. Conversations about your future and what you will leave behind can be challenging if you and your loved […]

The 4 Main Obstacles to Digital Estate Planning

In an age when our lives are intertwined with the Internet of Things (IoT), identifying and managing the digital properties we own is more important than ever. We’ve moved beyond emailing family and using social media to connect with friends to using smart home devices and online investments. Today, understanding […]

Keeping an Eye out for Elder Financial Abuse and Fraud

As reported by the National Council on Aging (NCOA), US elder financial abuse and fraud losses range from 2.6 to 36.5 billion dollars each year. Financial exploitation reported by elders is more common than all other forms of elder abuse, however, NCOA believes instances of elder financial fraud and abuse […]

Different Trust Types

Most of us are familiar with trusts, either as a reference to a beneficiary of a trust fund or as an entity itself. While some may think only wealthy people have trusts, trusts are common and useful tools for estate planning of all sizes. Assets are managed and protected, distributions […]

Planning Your Estate with Life Insurance

Your surviving loved ones shouldn’t be forced to inherit assets only to find they can’t access them to meet their financial obligations after you pass away. Homeownership and retirement accounts make up most retirees’ assets, so you need to sell them in order to get cash. In order to manage […]

Families With Blended Assets and Wills

Especially in American families today, stepchildren are not uncommon, and they are taken care of just like full biological children, even if they come from the same family. Stepchildren, particularly those raised in blended families, are especially susceptible to this. Siblings may have varied feelings about a stepchild inheriting something […]

Income From Charitable Trusts for Heirs

Charitable trusts, also known as irrevocable trusts, allow you and a charity to receive income from the trust. The establishment of a charitable trust can offer many benefits for all parties involved, especially for those with nonessential assets such as stocks or real estate. Even if you experience a financial […]

How To Understand Powers of Attorney

As part of your estate planning process, it’s important to implement Power of Attorney (POA) documents. Powers of attorney are recognized in all states, but the rules and requirements may differ from one to another. By signing this document, you are granted an individual or individuals the authority to act […]

Preventing Probate Litigation

The complexities of probate litigation can range from guardianships and conservatorships to will and trust contests, to real estate disputes, to using true intentions to make gifts. By planning for the future, one can greatly reduce or eliminate probate litigation risk. The creation of comprehensive estate plans that are routinely […]

How To Create an Online Estate Plan

Physical separation is essential to stop this virus, as you probably already know. Find out how we can help you complete your estate plan without having to leave the comfort of your home.   Traditionally, significant legal documents had to be signed in person in most states. As a result, […]

What Is the State of Your Financial Information?

Organizing and preparing your financial information for the day when you are no longer able to do so will bring peace of mind to you today and relieve the burden on your loved ones in the future. A responsibly managed financial situation and a preserved legacy will ensure your financial […]

The Best Way to Deal with Unwanted Timeshare Interest

During the time with Mom and Dad’s purchase of a holiday timeshare, the resort agent recommended that they save the deed and leave it to their children so that when the parents passed, their children would be able to enjoy the property. When it was first proposed, it seemed like […]

7 Dangerous Reasons for Delaying Estate Planning

Neither my family nor I own much. Can’t we delay planning until we’re financially secure?   No, you shouldn’t. It is vital that you designate someone as your legal guardian in the event of your death. There is nothing worse than having your children become wards of the court or […]

Estate Planning Changes and the Build Back Better Act

As the House Ways and Means Committee approves the bill’s tax provisions, President Biden’s Build Back Better Act (BBBA) has taken a significant first step towards passage. With the draft proposal as it stands, high net worth individuals may not be able to use estate planning strategies to shelter assets […]

A Blended Family’s Estate Plan

An inheritance in a blended family can cause hurt feelings and inequitable distributions, as well as result in lengthy, costly litigation. While you cannot legislate from the grave, you can carefully plan your estate so as to minimize any conflict between biological and stepchildren. Making sure your assets will pass […]

The Future of Long-Term Care In 2022

Taking a look at your life and health care planning at the start of each new year is more critical than ever. As Americans continue to respond to COVID-19’s many iterations, we identify what is most important in our lives to preserve our health and financial future. For many, the […]

RESOLVED: Get Your Estate Plan in Order

The first new year’s resolution you need to keep is to visit your friendly elder-law attorney, who can guide you through the estate planning process. Sadly, the pandemic is not over yet. It’s important to prepare your papers in advance in case you become ill and cannot speak for yourself. […]

Surviving Spouses’ Estate Planning

It’s hard to consider more than just your grief after losing a spouse or long-term partner. There are, however, several important and timely decisions you need to make regarding your finances and personal estate planning. As marriages, divorces, and children and grandchildren are born, changing circumstances impact estate planning. Making […]

Should My Loved One in Need of Care Live with Me?

Increasingly, the concept of aging in place is becoming more popular. However, many of us face the issue of what to do when we notice an older loved one is having difficulty living safely at home. Signs such as a dirty home in poor repair, unpaid bills, piles of mail, […]

The Powers and Limitations of a Will

A will specifies who will receive your property after your death and is an essential part of a comprehensive estate plan. When you die without an estate plan (intestate), the state will distribute your assets and property according to state law and possibly against your wishes. Having a will allows […]

Trusts For Life Insurance and Wealth Management

As the federal estate tax exemption allowance could be lowered, you may want to rethink the way you plan to pass generational wealth to your heirs. The Senate Democrats are proposing to reduce the current estate tax exemption from $11.7 million to $3.5 million for individuals and $23.4 million to […]

The Farm Belongs to Whom?

Assume that mother and father have managed the family farm for many years. They are getting older now, however, and they are considering moving into a smaller place. One of the daughters and her husband run the farm, but the others have moved away and aren’t interested in returning. Now […]

Who Gets an Inheritance if the Beneficiary is No Longer Alive?

In the event that your beneficiary is no longer alive, what happens to your inheritance? You may be wondering what happens if you leave property to your brother Jim, but he dies before you do. Would his children inherit the property in his place? No, unless you explicitly mention it […]

Appointing a Legal Representative

Despite the widespread effects of the Coronavirus pandemic, life remains uncertain. Many aging Americans faced a life-threatening COVID-19 illness in 2020 without sufficient legal documents specifying who would make health care decisions for them in their absence. A family caregiver is generally assigned the responsibility of some medical and financial […]

Family Communication About Estate Plans and Goals

Creating an estate plan is the first step toward a successful transfer of wealth. However, many of us overlook the necessity of communicating our estate plans to family and heirs. Even if you have a thorough and current estate plan, your family may suffer emotional or financial turmoil. It is […]

The Process of Amending an Estate Plan for a Widow or Widower

The loss of a spouse can be extremely challenging emotionally, financially, and spiritually. In many cases, one spouse handles family tax and estate plans, and a widow(er) may be looking at a financially complex situation with more questions than answers. Upon the passing of a spouse, it is a mistake […]

The Need for Probate

Probate may seem complex and expensive, but it is a standard legal procedure that establishes how decedents’ assets can be passed to their chosen heirs. The type of property that you own and how you own it, as well as your state’s laws, determine whether you need probate. The probate […]

Here Are Five Mistakes People Make When Planning Their Estates

In your adult life, you spend the first half trying to achieve financial stability, followed by the second half trying to maintain it.  According to this adage, many people devote considerable time and effort to ensuring their wishes in their estate plan are carried out. Being able to provide for […]

Legal Guardianship of Aging Parents

As a guardian, you take on a significant legal responsibility to ensure the care of aging parents. The duties of a parent include their daily care, their medical care, and possibly making financial decisions on their behalf. A guardian is often an individual who was previously a caregiver, but now […]

To Avoid Estate Planning Mistakes, Utilize a Team of Professionals

It is important to assemble the right professional team for the creation of your estate plan in order to receive the best advice and legal documentation to protect your legacy. Besides an estate planning attorney, who often specializes in elder law, you will likely need the services of a certified […]

App That Stores Crucial Information That Can Save Lives

Now that we have reached the digital age more Americans than ever before are storing and providing information through digital apps on smartphones and tablet devices. Whether engaging in online banking, using a mobile plane boarding pass, or creating work calendars, shared in the cloud, the internet of things provides […]

Caregiving From A Distance

According to the National Institute on Aging (NIA), the defy long distance caregiving as providing care for a person who lives an hour or more away. This type of caregiving takes many forms – from arranging for in-home care, money management, bill paying, and information coordinator. You may also provide […]

When Are Equal Distributions Appropriate?

Equal is Equitable, Most of the Time   We have a lot of choices to make in our lifetimes, especially when it comes to our children. When we are faced with the hard decisions on how to leave property to your children, the clear choice is to divide everything into […]

Planning For Family Members in Need

There are a variety of ways to help our loved ones who need a little extra help. These days, many people are struggling with a substance-abuse problem, living on the streets, or suffering from mental disability – or all three simultaneously. Many families want to assist family members struggling like […]

Cryptocurrency and How It Fits Your Estate Plan

Traditional estate planning has a whole new look. Most elements are mostly obsolete when it comes to digital assets. Crypto-assets may comprise a significant individual wealth in the forms of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and non-currency blockchain tokens. If you own any of these asset classes, addressing complex challenges to secure, […]

Estate Planning of Pet Trusts

You may have heard, back in 2007, of a Maltese pet pup named “Trouble” whose human, hotel heiress Leona Helmsley, left a trust fund of $12 million to pay for Trouble’s care. Unfortunately, pet inheritances ever since have enjoyed a dubious reputation.  The Value of an Animal Trust for Your […]

Understanding the Probate Process

The probate court is the legal process of validating a person’s will and ensuring an executor handles the decedent’s assets, debts, and final tax filings by law and according to the decedent’s wishes. To begin probate, a personal representative or executor must file with the county court where the decedent […]

State Laws to Further Protect Nursing Home Residents

The 2021 Fall flu season may see even more resurgent cases of COVID-19 on the heels of the summer Delta and Mu variants. Nursing home implementations of CMS protocols for resident visitation are becoming broader as lessons of isolation due to physical separation from loved ones and family has taken […]

Vacation Home Considerations for Estate Planning

Many families enjoy spending time in their family vacation home. Sharing time and creating memories is the hallmark of such properties, and often there is a desire to preserve the home’s ownership within the family system for generations to come. Yet, even seemingly harmonious families can experience discord and exasperation […]

Does Your Estate Plan Account For a Pandemic Like COVID-19?

COVID-19 will probably be with us humans forever, endemic in large swaths of the world in varying degrees of intensity. According to National Geographic, COVID-19 may eventually transition into a “mild childhood illness,” joining the four endemic human coronaviruses which contribute to the common cold. Three determining factors, human immunity […]

Act Now to Validate Aging Powers of Attorney

My uncle is in the hospital and needs me to pay bills on his behalf. In 2002, he named me as his financial power of attorney, so I could write checks for him when he couldn’t, like now. But the bank is rejecting the document. They say it’s too old. […]

Why It Is Essential To Make a Will

If you have loved ones, then creating a will for your peace of mind and their protection is the right thing to do. Your last will and testament communicates your wishes regarding your dependents and how to dispose of your property when you die. Though crafting your will can make […]

3 Things To Keep In Mind as Your Special Needs Child Reaches Adulthood

One of the most difficult challenges that parents of special needs children face is knowing how best to care for their children as they reach adulthood. There are many areas that need consideration when planning for the transition of a special needs child to adulthood. Let’s take a look at […]

Why is Probate Negative?

You may have heard that it’s best to avoid probate court if you can. But just because people may have heard that term, doesn’t mean they know exactly what probate means, why it can be a problem, or how to successfully avoid it. In this post, we will take a […]

The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act

The Elder Abuse Prevention and Prosecution Act was designed to combat the growing epidemic of the elderly being taken advantage of financially and abused physically. A study conducted by the National Council on Aging indicates that approximately 1 in 10 Americans aged 60 or older have experienced some form of […]

An Estate Plan Is Necessary to Make Sure Your Final Wishes Are Carried Out

To be sure your final end-of-life wishes are followed; you must prepare an estate plan. Many put off making these plans thinking there is always time. The sad reality is that none of us are guaranteed time. Others may be bothered by the thought of death itself and allow this […]

Take Your Social Security Benefits Early, This Is Why…

Your overall amount will be unaffected if you start receiving your social security benefits at an early age. Because you will be taking it at a younger age, your monthly payment will be smaller than if you had waited but the aggregate payout overtime will be the same amount. To […]

Court Rules the Fiduciary Rule Is No Longer Enforceable

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals found that the U.S. Labor Department’s fiduciary rule is no longer protected or able to be enforced. The fiduciary rule required financial advisors to act solely in their clients’ best interest as it related to investments into retirement accounts such as 401(k) and IRAs. […]

Advance Health-Care Directives for Important Decisions

Imagining how we may perish is probably one of the hardest things we will ever have to think about. Yet, if we want our dying to be meaningful and merciful, it is imperative that we think about it while we still can. Most of us want to die at home, […]

Is Elder Law and Estate Planning the Same Thing?

Elder law and estate planning are similar in concern, but they have significant differences. The Concerns are Similar No matter what age we’re in, life can deliver some hard knocks. Hope for the best, but plan for the worst. We can get into accidents, especially when we’re young and under […]

Digital Records Management Proven Successful

Digital technology continues to make our daily lives more efficient. Everyday smartphones, tablets, and other web-enabled devices allow us to communicate seamlessly. Technology applications have changed medical communities and systems, morphing them into an information-rich enterprise. Digital management of medical information is creating health care efficiencies and reducing unnecessary health […]

Workforce Opportunities for Older Americans

Many older Americans are willing and able to work, however, in April 2020 the unemployment rate for eligible workers 55 and older increased to 13.6 percent. COVID-19 restrictions and associated layoffs account for some unemployment increases, but so does the lack of employment opportunities among older Americans. A coexisting challenge […]

Medicaid’s Shift from Nursing Facility to Home Care

According to Forbes.com, about half of all long-term care insurance claims are from policyholders living with dementia. The federally run program Medicaid is the primary financing mechanism of LTC where most of the monies are spent on institutional care settings that are ill-equipped to handle an increasingly large and longer […]

The Importance of Clear End-of-Life Care Instructions

You would hope your living will was properly prepared and your resuscitation instructions or DNR (do not resuscitate) are in order. While your wishes in a living will may be appropriately documented, that does not guarantee the instructions will be carried out as you stated. The frightening truth is that […]

Elderly Americans Experiencing a Rise in Bankruptcy

A rising number of retirees and aging Americans are using bankruptcy as an option to get out of debt. While medical advances are keeping seniors alive longer, the associated healthcare costs in the quest for longevity are being off-loaded onto the older individual at a time when reduced income is […]

Elder Law and Prenuptial Agreements

As a married couple grow older, let’s use Ginny and George as an example, it is typical that they would like to leave their assets to their extended family when they pass. Unfortunately, Ginny was then diagnosed with cancer. She began to worry: What could happen if she died before […]

The Benefits of Having an Elder Law Attorney

As retired Americans grow older, their dependency on the family to handle financial and health matters increase. They often believe that their family members will be able to take care of any issues that arise. While consulting with loved ones about plans and wishes can be beneficial, relying solely on […]

Home Health Care Technology for Veterans

New developments in cost-effective, quality in-home care for veterans have been pioneered by The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Although the agency has long been mired in controversies surrounding its programs, particularly arbitrary caregiver dismissals, the home health services sector of the VA has long been touted as an overall […]

Evaluate Medicaid Benefits When Deciding on Caregiver

When a senior needs help in the home, should you pay an agency to assist or should you have a family member care for them? Or uprooting the senior into an institution? The family member can pay the bills, balance the checkbook, keep the house clean, shop and make meals, […]

It Is Critical to Have a Health Care Power of Attorney

For serious illnesses like Alzheimer’s, it is essential to have a strong power-of-attorney to bring peace of mind. Additionally, it is important to know that a good “basic” advance-directive document needs considerable supplementation when it comes to a dreadful illness like ALS – Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease. […]

Second Marriages and Medicaid

A new spouse’s possible future illness and how much it might cost is most likely the last thing you think about when you say “I do” for a second or third time. But that could happen. Current costs for long-term care facilities can run between $70,000 – $150,000 annually. Studies […]

A Will Does More Than You Think

It is an unfortunately common and scary truth that most people have not composed their Last Will and Testament. Care.com’s annual estate planning survey for 2019 found that 57% of U.S. adults do not have a will. The survey found that participants were more likely or less likely to have […]

Increase in Scams Due to Covid

When people are vulnerable or in need, it’s lamentable that criminals come out of the woodwork to scam the innocent. On top of that, nobody needs reminding, especially these days, how many of us are in such a vulnerable condition. The opportunities to exploit fear and need are especially rich […]

Keep an Eye Out for Arbitration Clauses

In the case that you or your loved one has been badly injured by a nursing facility’s negligence or abuse that you need to sue. You would want a jury of your peers to decide whether and how much the facility should compensate you for your loss.   However, you […]

Keeping Up With Your Mental Health During Covid

Since the Coronavirus infected the world, we have faced unprecedented challenges during this coronavirus crisis in America, and it has increased anxiety and fear levels in all of us.  The reactive part of your brain called the amygdala, a human physiological response when faced with fear, takes control of your […]

You Have a Will, is That All You Need?

It is said that roughly half of all Americans don’t have a will. If you’ve already taken this vital step to protect your assets and successors then congratulations are in order – you’re already ahead of the curve. While a will is a necessary document that every person who owns […]

3 Tips for Traveling with A Disability

For some, traveling with disabilities or accessible traveling can seem like an overwhelming task with many extra considerations. However, it doesn’t have to be if the right research, planning, and preparations are done ahead of time. There are even travel agencies that specialize in disabled travel. The most important thing […]

Breaking Down Misconceptions about Powers of Attorney

During your life, there are steps you can take to ensure that everything is in place in case of an emergency. A durable power of attorney is one of the most important estates planning documents you can have.  It allows someone who you appoint (your agent) to make decisions on […]

Aging is Not a Bad Thing

If you think about it, aging is the sign of a successful life. After all, when you think about the alternative to aging, your perspective about getting older shifts. You should start seeking self-sufficiency for your retirement years well before the age of sixty-five. But, even if you have not […]

Late-Life Anxiety is More Common Than You Would Think

Anxiety frequently occurs in older Americans. Some reports estimate between 10 – 20% of seniors have generalized anxiety. This number could be even higher, as many often deny having psychological issues when asked by their doctors, focusing more on the physical symptoms anxiety can cause.   In a recent article, […]

What it means to Become a “Fiduciary”

You may be asked to be a power of attorney for a family member or friend. Your person may be planning for when they might become unable to take care of their affairs. For example, they might become disabled or incapacitated, and they would need a trusted person to step […]

Your Personal Possessions: Make Sure You Have a Plan

Let’s say that your estate plan is all set. It will be taking care of your home, savings, and investments, making sure that your family will get those valuable estate items fairly and efficiently. Your plan will also protect your legacy from your children’s potential divorces or bankruptcies. What could […]

Big Tech In Health Care And Your Privacy

Today, the likes of Amazon, Apple, and Google are plotting to take over healthcare in the US. To a lesser extent, so are Microsoft and Facebook, which are also doubling down on entry into the healthcare market. Some of the businesses are underway, like storing medical records in the cloud […]

Tips to Know When Purchasing Special Needs Housing

There are some tips to consider before you begin the process of purchasing a home that will meet a physical or developmental needs of you or a loved one. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website lists state and local government agencies, along with other organizations, that […]

Do You Know Which Hospital You Will You Go To In a Medical Emergency?

While you have the right to ask to be transported to the hospital of your choice, either out of preference or to stay in your insurance network of doctors, you might not be permitted to do so. When you dial 911 for emergency medical services (EMS) your transport may route […]

Continuing Care Retirement Communities

Gaining in popularity across the United States, are continuing care retirement communities (CCRC), sometimes referred to as life plan communities. The goal is to provide a long-term care option for older residents. These residents prefer to live in the same community, though in different phase locations, during their aging process. […]

Alzheimer’s Prevention Gains Hope with New Drugs Therapy

The Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University found that pharmacological “chaperone therapy” can prevent Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in mice according to recent research. Alzheimer’s is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that currently has no cure. Abnormal clumps (amyloid-beta plaques) and tangled fiber bundles (neurofibrillary or tau tangles) create brain […]

What to do with an Unwanted Timeshare

When your Mom and Dad bought a timeshare in a holiday resort, the resort agent suggested that they sign a deed leaving the share to their children, so that when the parents passed, the kids could continue to enjoy the property. It seemed like a good idea at the time. […]

Dangers that Arise when Adding Owners to Accounts

I want to leave my bank accounts to my children when I’m gone. Can’t I just make the children joint owners? That idea sounds better than it actually is. Yes, you would avoid court proceedings when you pass. But you’d put yourself at risk, at a time when you might […]

Things to Consider Before Hiring in-home Health Care Services

From daily household tasks to medical care, there is a wide range of home health care services available. Before identifying a health care service for information, get a clear idea of what you are in the market for, be it recovery from surgery or long-term care for a chronic illness. […]

Finding the Silver Linings Amidst a Global Pandemic

Record unemployment rates related to COVID-19 closing business have effected business owners and their workers, many of whom are 50 years and older. Though workers of all ages have felt the effects of unemployment or reduced working hours, older workers will fare worse upon re-entering the workforce. Research shows the […]

New Social Security Changes Coming with the New Year

Every October, The Social Security Administration (SSA) publishes upcoming changes to its social security program that take effect on January 1 of the next year. These changes can make a difference in how you plan for or live during your retirement years. It is good practice to create what is […]

How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help you And Your Family

As the baby boomer generation ages and the influx of international migration continues, the senior citizen population of the United States is increasing rapidly. Although the US average life expectancy has seen a slight three-year decline, many Americans, men and women, live well into their 80s, 90s, and beyond. An […]

Useful Tips to Utilize When Choosing a Continuing Care Retirement Community

Continuing care retirement communities (CCRC) are gaining in popularity across the United States. Sometimes referred to as life plan communities, the goal is to provide a long-term care option for older residents. These residents prefer to live in the same community, though in different phase locations, during their aging process. […]

Estate Planning Checkup Article

You should check your estate planning documents every so often, to make sure they’re still good, especially with big life changes like births, marriages, divorces, and moving to another state. Children grow up, marriages dissolve, property gets sold, residences change. That’s why we recommend that you consult us for an […]

Useful Technologies Which Help Seniors Combat Loneliness

  For those in long-term care facilities, now that visitation has ceased, the only human contact is with the facility staff and doctors who present themselves wearing full personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks, gowns, and gloves. The minimal contact is with staff that no longer looks familiar and […]

How COVID-19 Has Influenced Seniors to Change Their Living Wills

Kaiser Health News is reporting the coronavirus pandemic is prompting seniors to create or modify their living wills. Specifically, intubation is the topic that has many seniors crafting or rethinking their strategies amidst a wealth of disparate COVID-19 information that makes forming reliable conclusions for decision making, dubious at best. […]

Why an Advanced Healthcare Directive is Important During COVID-19

In light of Coronavirus, a wrenching question especially demands an answer: if you or someone you love is taken down into life-threatening illness, how far would you want extreme life-prolonging measures to be tried? For us who are particularly vulnerable – seniors, those with compromised immune systems, those already struggling […]

The Pitfalls of Adding Your Children to Bank Accounts

I want to leave my bank accounts to my children when I’m gone. Can’t I just make the children joint owners? That idea sounds better than it actually is. Yes, you would avoid court proceedings when you pass. But you’d put yourself at risk, at a time when you might […]

How to Address Your Family’s Inheritance

Discussing wealth with children can be uncomfortable for many families.  Talking about how much money or property you have is usually viewed as taboo.  Asking someone else about what they have is often considered impolite. But failing to talk to kids about how much they may inherit could leave them […]

How Elder Law Attorneys Benefit Senior Citizens

Many aging Americans depend on family members or friends to help manage their financial, health, and other affairs during retirement and beyond. They often believe that their family members will be able to take care of any issues that arise. While consulting with loved ones about plans and wishes can […]

How Does Estate Planning Protect Your Family and Assets?

Estate planning may sound like the domain of the very wealthy, however, in the eyes of the law, an estate is simply the aggregate of property an individual owns, and most everyone owns something. Property ownership includes individual as well as jointly owned bank accounts, stocks and bonds, retirement accounts, […]

How Does Medicaid Impact Your Family’s Inheritance?

Mistakes can be made when it comes to inheritances and Medicaid. Those mistakes can be costly. When a person is drawing Medicaid benefits and inherits money or property, that inheritance jeopardizes the benefits. The inheritance must be handled carefully to minimize expensive penalties. What “careful” means, though, can be misunderstood […]

The Importance of Advanced Directives During a Crisis

During the Covid-19 epidemic, a wrenching question especially demands an answer: if you or someone you love is taken down into life-threatening illness, how far would you want extreme life-prolonging measures to be tried? For us who are particularly vulnerable – seniors, those with compromised immune systems, those already struggling […]

How the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is Responding to Covid-19 in Nursing Homes

Nursing homes, one of the smallest population sets in the US, account for the largest demographic percentage of COVID-19 deaths. Statistics vary, but most accept that elder Americans in nursing homes account for at least 40 percent of all US coronavirus deaths. This tragic statistic is, in part, attributed to […]

4 Important Tips to Assist You In Choosing a Nursing Home

Choosing a nursing home for a loved one is an important decision and should be carefully considered. It is important for families to take the time to explore nursing home options and to carefully assess the nursing home facilities in order to choose the best care for the loved one. […]

5 Essential Things to Include In Your Estate Plan

Estate planning is important for people of all ages, but as we age, the need for planning becomes even more critical. Many people avoid estate planning, because they do not want to think about the end of life, failing health or disability. Others believe that an estate plan is only […]

Isolation During COVID-19 May Increase the Risk of Elder Abuse

As some of the most vulnerable Americans to the COVID-19 pandemic, older adults are staying at home to lower their risk of infection as the coronavirus spreads throughout communities. The American Bar Association (ABA) reports that an unfortunate outgrowth from this isolation is an increase in risk factors for elder […]

Important Things to Consider While Preparing For Retirement

Most people dream of the day they can retire. The problem is that many do not move beyond dreaming to planning. Planning can be done no matter what your age, but experts encourage people to start as early as possible. Retirement planning can seem like a daunting endeavor for many […]

Bankruptcy Among Senior Citizens Is an Increasing in America Today

The golden years are turning into bankruptcy red for many retired and aging Americans. While medical advances are keeping seniors alive longer, the associated healthcare costs in the quest for longevity are being off-loaded onto the older individual at a time when reduced income is a hallmark of senior living.  […]

Make Your Health Care Wishes Known: Artificial Nutrition or No?

By now, many of us have witnessed the slow and dehumanizing death by Alzheimer’s of friends and loved ones. In the final stages of this and other dementia diseases, there comes a time when the person can no longer speak, recognize loved ones, or move purposefully. With that poor quality […]

Crowdsourcing Site Age Friendly Offers New Way to Find Your Retirement Location

While aging in place is very popular among the baby boomer generation, about one-third of those retirees would choose to live elsewhere. The family remains the most significant factor when deciding where retirees live, followed by the general livability of an area and desirable weather conditions. The decision about where […]

Comparing Medicaid and Medicare – What’s the Difference?

Medicaid and Medicare are two programs that people often confuse, so what really is the difference between them? Most people who work in healthcare may recognize the acronym LASA, which stands for “look-alike-sound-alike” and is usually seen when referencing medications.   When it comes to federal programs, Medicaid and Medicare, in […]

What You Should Know About Gift Taxes

The gift tax is a tax on the transfer of assets, cash or property, to another without receiving something of equal value. The asset has to be of a certain value for the tax to apply; otherwise, it falls under the gift tax exclusion, either annual or lifetime. If the […]

Legal Planning with Alzheimer’s Disease

There is currently no cure for the more than 5 million Americans who have Alzheimer’s disease. Projections by the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org) are that by 2050 more than 14 million Americans will suffer from this disease. What can you do if you are medically diagnosed with Alzheimer’s? Aside from following […]

Aging in Place Presents Physical Challenges

According to AARP aging in place is a goal for 3 out of 4 Americans aged 50 or more. These seniors and near seniors are willing to employ alternative solutions to facilitate this. The alternatives include home sharing (32%), building an additional or accessory dwelling unit (31%) and locating into […]

The Autism Cares Act

Much attention over the last ten years has been given to the research for causes and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder, also known as ASD.   The Combating Autism Act became a law in 2006,  was reauthorized in 2011, then again reauthorized and renamed to Autism CARES Act in 2014 (Autism […]

Who Ultimately Pays for Elder Care?

The astronomical expense of long-term nursing care is no longer news. Costs can run around $7,000.00 or more per month, depending on location. Hundreds of thousands of people presently need that kind of care and the numbers are rising. Ten thousand “baby boomers” a day turn 65, and it’s projected […]

How Life Insurance Figures into Estate Planning

Recent events have made many of us think about our mortality and how to make sure our loved ones are taken care of especially if we die unexpectedly. Life insurance can be an affordable way to provide for our children, a spouse, a sibling, aging parents, and other loved ones. […]

Coronavirus Causing All Ages to Look into Wills

There has been an explosion in the numbers of Americans rushing to make their will online. Understandably, the coronavirus pandemic has created the scramble to set up wills and end-of-life-directives. However, online do it yourself (DIY) wills are often deemed invalid as they do not comply with all of the […]

Completing Your Estate Plan Online

There is no doubt you have read or heard from medical professionals that keeping a safe distance from others can reduce the spread of the Coronavirus. Call or email us to find out how we can help you complete your estate plan without taking a single step outside your safe […]

COVID-19 Causing Stress and Anxiety

Many of us are facing unprecedented challenges during this coronavirus crisis in America, and it has increased anxiety and fear levels in all of us. The reactive part of your brain called the amygdala, a human physiological response when faced with fear, takes control of your actions, and you enter […]

Speaking with Your Parents About Estate Planning

It is essential that as your parents’ age, you have conversations with them about their finances. To broach the topic, you might bring up current events like the coronavirus pandemic, its effect on economic conditions, and how it relates to the security of their financial future. The conversation should come […]

How to Write a Letter of Intent for Your Special Needs Child

Writing a letter of intent (LOI) for your special needs child can help bring them family continuity and comfort after you are gone. As a parent, the most valuable asset your child has is you and your ability to care for them. You, like no other, fully understand the nuances […]

COVID-19 Pushes Adoption of Telehealth

Through the use of videoconferencing over wireless devices and remote health tech monitoring, telehealth can connect patients to vital health care services. According to the American Hospital Association (AHA), fully 76 percent of US hospitals are using some form of telehealth for their patient groups. During this COVID-19 pandemic, the […]

Helping Seniors Adopt New Technologies

You are a caregiver to your parent, but you live 4 hours away and can’t be there to help with everyday activities. Technology can help, but only if you and your parent(s) are able to understand and use it effectively. Each year in Las Vegas the Consumer Electronics Show offers […]

Use These Tips When Purchasing Special Needs Housing

If you or a loved one is in the market for a home that will meet a physical or developmental need, there are some tips to consider before you begin the process. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) website lists state, local government, and other organizations that […]

Fraud in the American Hospice Care System

A newly released Inspector General Report from the Department of Health and Human Services exposes the vulnerabilities in the Medicare-funded hospice program. The report consolidates patient and Medicare payment data back to the year 2005 and concludes that some hospice care providers are neglecting patients and defrauding Medicare. The report […]

COVID-19 Closes VA Regional Benefits Offices

All Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA) Regional Offices are closed to the public for veteran walk-in claim assistance, counseling, scheduled appointments, and other in-person services in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The offices will remain open to essential personnel as services will be provided to veterans through the Veterans Administration website […]

What This Decade Holds for Baby Boomers

The baby boom generation is comprised of those Americans born 1946-1964, and according to the US Census Bureau (Bureau of Census), their numbers are estimated to be 73 million strong. This number represents nearly 20 percent of the American public. As they enter their 60, 70, and 80th decades, their […]

D.C. Court Affirms Ban on Medicaid Work-Rules

The Trump administration has failed once again to engraft into Medicaid an Arkansas requirement that before low-income adults up to age 49 can receive health-care benefits, they must work, attend school, or volunteer.[1] In a stinging opinion, a unanimous panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that the […]

New Tech Revolutionizing At-Home Medical Care

The silver tsunami of Americans aging into 65 or more years puts additional strain on an already overtaxed US health care system which is running low on doctors, nurses, and caregivers. The surge in baby boomer seniors and near-seniors has put a focus on Telehealth and mHealth technology platforms which […]

Passing on Your Family’s Values

Successfully addressing and legally formalizing inheritance of family values and assets can be challenging, especially if parents wait too long to begin instilling family values. Undoubtedly the best time to teach and empower your children as eventual inheritors of your family legacy is during childhood, then continuing throughout adulthood. Waiting […]

Keeping Your Home While on Long-Term Care

Homeownership is the American Dream. People work hard all their lives to own a home, and it is often their most valuable and significant possession. So when health begins to fail and the need for long-term care arises, we often get this fear-filled question from our clients: will they take […]

Social Security Disability Income and Qualifications

Anyone can become either temporarily or permanently disabled. Some projections are estimating that Americans in their 20s today have an approximate 30 percent chance of experiencing a disability profound enough to cause them to miss three or more months of work before retiring. Despite the risks, most Americans do not […]

Seniors Who Lose Hearing Can Suffer from Depression

The findings from a ten-year study by the Journal of the America Medical Association (JAMA) reports of a link between hearing loss and health risks. The risks include a 50 percent greater risk of dementia, a 40 percent greater risk of developing depression and nearly a 30 percent higher risk […]

Hybrid Policies on the Rise

You have probably heard about the astronomical costs of nursing-home care if you become seriously ill or injured. You might also know that Medicare would cover only a minimal amount of those costs. Private insurance doesn’t seem like a good bet either if you’ve heard horror stories about skyrocketing premium […]

Why is a Living Will Important?

A living will lays out your preferences for life-sustaining medical treatment.  It is often accompanied by a health-care proxy or power of attorney, which allows someone to make treatment decisions for you if you are incapacitated and the living will does not have specific instructions for the situation at hand.  […]

The 3 Ps of Long Term Care

Americans are facing an escalating long-term care (LTC) crisis. Industry driven, massively underpriced policies are playing fiscal catch up with hefty premium rate increases. This price increase is forcing some aging Americans to abandon their policy while others struggle to reduce their amount of LTC coverage to keep their rates […]

Congress Passes the SECURE Act of 2020

Congress has passed a bipartisan appropriations bill. In the contents of this spending bill is a piece of legislation known as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE), the first significant change in retirement legislation since the Pension Protection Act in 2006. The President signed the Act […]

Seniors Suffering Financially from Gray Divorce

Americans aged 50 or more are experiencing gray divorce more than ever. The term gray divorce generally refers to the baby boomer generation and affects all classes and education levels. Research shows that splitting during middle age is particularly damaging to your financial well being. According to Bloomberg News, the […]

Not Adding Your Kids to Your Bank Account

Although it can be useful to have another party available to keep track of bills when you’re sick or away, adding a child’s name to a bank account may be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Doing so may have unintended consequences for both you and the child. First […]

Health and Financial Questions to Answer Before Turning 65

In the United States, turning 65 years of age is a milestone on many levels, but before this birthday, there is a hefty checklist that you need to address to continue aging successfully. Overall the most crucial thing to do before turning 65 is to invest your time wisely crafting […]

Is Bacteria Responsible for Other Diseases?

Health experts have been advising people for years about unhealthy habits being the cause of “lifestyle” diseases that are increasing across the US. These lifestyle diseases become more common with age and include heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, and Alzheimer’s disease. Around the globe, these diseases account for […]

Google’s New Evolution of Medical Records

When Google Inc. became a publicly-traded company in 2004, its founders wrote a letter that said, in part, Google and its employees are “committed to significantly improving the lives of as many people as possible.” Google is famously known for its search engine and is part of many inter-related technology […]

Genetic Testing Fraud on the Rise

An alert has been issued by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General about a fraud scheme that involves genetic testing. The warning is for Medicare beneficiaries across the nation, and the federal government is working with law enforcement to put an end to the […]

Dealing with Abuse in Senior Living Facilities

If you have an elderly family member or friend living in an assisted living or skilled nursing facility, it is imperative that you stay attuned to the signs of abuse to your loved one. The National Center on Elder Abuse reports the most common types of abuse include physical (29%), […]

Rethinking Your Retirement Investments

Kiplinger.com is suggesting it is time to rethink your financial retirement portfolio. You may have built up a significant nest egg in a 401(k) plan, but it does come with serious baggage during your golden years. It is impossible to argue against the early stages of a 401(k) when employers […]

The Benefits of Inter-generational Living

Master plans for inter-generational community living models are changing the shape of the aging experience from the ages of 8 up to 80 years of age and beyond. Dubbed “new urbanism” it is the belief that a living environment with high standards can have a positive effect on the quality […]

Hospice Providers Have a Lack of Oversight

When a loved one enters hospice care, the whole point is to provide peace of mind and comfort to the patient and the family. And yet a lack of regulation, oversight, and available information means that isn’t always the case. The HSS Inspector General has found that, between 2012 and […]

Seniors Affected by Recent Data Breaches

Data breaches have been one of the hot topics this year in the wake of the Capital One data breach which compromised nearly 100 million Americans. But what hasn’t been receiving much major media coverage are the recent breaches affecting seniors. One such breach occurred last year in May, and […]

Do You Know Which Hospital You’ll Go To?

When you dial 911 for emergency medical services (EMS) your transport may route you to a hospital that is not near your home. While you have the right to ask to be transported to the hospital of your choice, either out of preference or to stay in your insurance network […]

Protecting Your Spouse from Poverty

30 years ago, Congress put in place protections for the savings of married couples using Medicaid. These protections prevent husbands and wives from bankrupting themselves trying to fund care for their loved ones. They originally required states to allow spouses of nursing home residents to maintain a certain amount of […]

Wealthy Retirees are Holding on to Their Money

While the US economy is in a cycle of more than ten years of economic growth, its citizens, even the “wealthy” ones, are worried about running out of cash and are scared to spend. Bloomberg.com is reporting many retirees, and near-retirees are sitting on their wealth in much the same […]

How Can I Benefit From an Elder Law Attorney?

According to the US Census Bureau, more than 51 million Americans are currently aged 65 or older, and the number is steadily increasing while medical and technological advancements are allowing seniors to live longer and better lives than ever before. The expanding needs of the US aging population are contributing […]

Your Guide to Advance Directives

Kevin stands at the door of Winnie’s nursing home room, tears streaming down his face. The medical staff just finished inserted a feeding tube into Winnie – an act Kevin knew she didn’t want. Unfortunately, Winnie couldn’t express her wishes due to advanced dementia, and she had no legal documents […]

Will Social Security Be Funded in the Future?

Social Security benefits, which are funded through 2 trusts, may not be available for much longer. The US Social Security Administrations funding trusts are known as the Old-Age and Survivors Insurance (OASI) Trust Fund and the Disability Insurance (DI) Trust Fund. In their annual report to Congress, the Board of […]

Battling Dementia with New Technologies

A study by The Lewin Group of Falls Church, VA for the Alzheimer’s Association is predicting a skyrocketing number of Alzheimer’s incidence and prevalence. By the year 2040 more than twice as many baby boomers will have Alzheimer’s disease as compared to 2015; 10.3 million as compared to 4.7 million […]

The Newly-Appointed Property Guardian Checklist

Your grandfather Martin can no longer make decisions on his own. A court appoints you to be Martin’s guardian of property, to help Martin manage his money. You become Martin’s “fiduciary.” The law now requires you to act to a high standard of good faith and honesty. There’s a lot […]

Seniors Continue Spending Billions on Tech

It isn’t just assisted living and nursing home workers employing the latest technology to improve caregiving for elder Americans. According to an AARP survey upwards of 84 billion dollars will be spent annually on technology products for personal self-care use by the 132 million Americans aged 50 or more by […]

How to Manage a Loved One’s Benefits

You have been appointed to help your seven-year-old nephew Roberto manage his Social Security benefits. In the Social Security system, you’ll be called Roberto’s “representative payee.” The situation is similar if you’re appointed to help your elderly father, who has dementia, manage his Veteran’s benefit checks. In the Veterans Administration […]

New Service Helps Seniors Pay Bills

If you are a senior or have a loved one who is struggling with the process of paying their household bills, Silver Bills can eliminate the task and alleviate the worry about proper handling of monthly bills. As many baby boomers continue to opt for aging in place, home administrative […]

The Internet of Things Comes to the Medical Field

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services are looking to the future of the US health care system, and it is projected to be overloaded with seniors needing medical care. In 2010 the US elderly population accounted for about 13 percent of the US population yet accounted for 34 percent […]

The Real Risk to Social Security

According to a recent government report, available here, Medicare and Social Security are at risk of insolvency. Unless action is taken, Social Security will exceed its income by 2020, whereas Medicare is projected to exceed its hospital insurance fund by 2026. Social Security will have to start spending down, potentially […]

Assisted Living is Going Through a Change

With changes in medicine, technology, and socioeconomics, it’s no surprise that assisted living is changing, too. The rising cost of assisted living means that some families are looking to new alternatives, while those who consider traditional assisted living have new options to consider. Alternatives to assisted living include multigenerational housing […]

Your Guide to the Senior Safe Act

The Senior Safe Act, signed into law by President Trump earlier this year, is designed to protect our elders from financial abuse from either within a family or support system or by scam artists preying upon them. Tens of billions of dollars each year are illegally taken from US seniors […]

What to Discuss with Your Aging Parent

Your parent is getting on in age, but you don’t have a clear idea if there is a plan in place for their care.  It is a difficult topic to broach; no one wants to talk about death and the financial realities that come with aging. Instead of having a […]

A Dementia Diagnosis May Tell You Where to Live

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released a report acknowledging that from 2000 to 2017 deaths in the US that have dementia as an underlying cause has more than tripled. Underlying Alzheimer’s disease accounts for more than 46% (261,914) of those deaths in 2017. The trend is […]

Digital Afterlife: An Estate Plan For Your Facebook Account

Did you ever wonder what happens to your digital footprint when you pass away? Well you should, particularly if you are part of the 77 percent of Americans who go online every day. As the internet has become more of an integral part of our lives, our information — pictures, […]

Retirement Planning for Business Owners

For many employees, saving for retirement is usually a matter of simply participating in their employer’s 401(k) plan and perhaps opening an IRA for some extra savings. But, when you’re the owner of a business, planning for retirement requires proactivity and strategy. It’s not just the dizzying array of choices […]

Finding the Right Fit: Questions For Prospective Wills and Trusts Attorneys

It goes without saying that estate planning is incredibly important and is more than just having a will or a trust. Estate planning offers a sense of security for you and your loved ones that your wishes will be carried out. With such an important and personal endeavor, selecting the […]

What to Do with Your Beloved Collection

Whether your beloved collection consists of artwork, books, cars, music, or other significant items, you should not forget about this valuable asset when estate planning. You have likely spent quite some time — whether years or your entire life — building your collection; you should not leave its fate to […]

Steps For Starting the End-of-Life Conversation

No one likes to talk about death and dying, at least not their own. And yet, it’s a critical time in everyone’s life and we know we need to prepare for it. While many people would like to share their wishes, something always seems to keep us from openly communicating […]

Protecting Your Children’s Inheritance When You are Divorced

Consider this story. Beth’s divorce from her husband was recently finalized. Her most valuable assets are her retirement plan at work and her life insurance policy. She updated the beneficiary designations on both to be her two minor children. She did not want her ex-husband to receive the money. Beth […]

Powers of Attorney in Virginia Explained

Powers of attorney ordinarily form an important part of a comprehensive estate plan, whether in the form of an Durable General Power of Attorney or an Advance Medical Directive. Virginia adopted the Uniform Power of Attorney Act, effective July 1, 2010. Read the text of the Act here: https://law.justia.com/codes/virginia…

Wills, Trusts & Dying Intestate: How They Differ

Most people understand that having some sort of an estate plan is, as Martha Stewart would say, a “good thing.” However, many of us don’t take the steps to get that estate plan in place because we don’t understand the nuances between wills and trusts – and dying without either. […]

What if Treating Your Children Fairly Means Unequal Inheritances?

When planning their estate, most parents express the desire to treat their children equally out of a sense of fairness.  However, sometimes being fair or doing what’s right by your children may not mean equal or the same inheritances. The Key Takeaways Treating children fairly does not always mean equal […]

Is a Payable on Death Account Right for You and Your Family?

Payable on death accounts, or “POD accounts” for short, have become popular for avoiding probate in the last decade or so. What is a POD Account? A POD account is a type of bank account authorized by state law which allows the account owner to designate one or more beneficiaries […]