Do I Need a Trust?

Clients ask me this question all the time. Do I need a trust? Some people mistakenly believe that a trust is somehow “better” than a will, or that everybody with significant assets needs to have a trust. Often, people want to avoid probate expenses, minimize estate taxes, or ensure a hassle-free process after they die. However, in many cases, we can achieve all …

Medicaid and the 5-year look back

Many people have heard that Medicaid has a 5 year look back period. But what does this mean? Clients often bring it up, but they rarely understand it.   The 5-year look back applies to long-term care Medicaid services Medicaid is a large umbrella that includes many different programs. The 5-year look back applies to Medicaid’s long term care programs. …

I’m Young and Healthy. Why Do I Need a Will?

Ah, estate planning. My grandparents are getting pretty old, so they should probably get that done. And my parents? They are pretty wealthy, so they should probably look into it as well. But me? I’m young! I’m healthy! And I don’t really have that much by way of assets, anyway. Clearly, I don’t need to worry about estate planning for …

Changes For The Gift Tax In 2017

Photo credit: Flickr user Asenat29. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/legalcode   The lifetime gift tax exemption has increased from $5.45 million in 2016 to $5.49 million in 2017. Married couples can stack their exemptions for a total shelter of $10.98 million. But what does this mean for you? And how does the annual gift tax exemption play into this?   The Annual Gift Exclusion – How …

2017 Changes in Laws Affecting Medicaid Eligibility

 Happy New  Year! With a New Year comes the implementation of new laws. The Virginia Legislature certainly wants to keep us on our toes! Read on to learn how the newly implemented Virginia Code § 64.2-308 et. seq. could affect your Medicaid eligibility. The Quick Answer A testamentary spousal Special Needs Trust (SNT) will no longer preserve a surviving spouse’s …

25th Annual Advance Elder Law seminar

On September 15, attorneys Susan Jean and Jennifer Kahl lectured to other elder law attorneys at the 25th Annual Advanced Elder Law seminar. Our subject was Crisis Medicaid planning with a specific emphasis on real estate.

Virginia Emergency Contact Program

When we are working with Estate Planning clients, we will often recommend that once we have finalized their documents, that they keep a copy of their Advance Medical Directive / Durable Medical Power of Attorney and their Authorization to Disclose Protected Health Information (HIPAA) in the glove compartment of their vehicle(s) so that if they are ever in an accident, …

Discharge Appeal Won!

Recently Susan I. Jean, one of the Partners at the Heritage Law Group, won an appeal of a nursing home discharge.  A local nursing home was discharging a resident without assuring that there was a safe place for the resident to go.  By knowing what the law requires of a nursing home before legally discharging a resident, she was able …