How Does a Pet Trust Work?

My daughters will swear that our dog, Maggie, actually raised them.  I still have pictures of them rolling Maggie around in a baby buggy; poor Maggie!  For many of us, our pets are family.  In fact, in the United States, there are four pets for every child.  For many people, a key concern is how their pets will be cared …

Caregiver Burnout? There is Help!

In my practice, I counsel caregiver spouses and caregiver children; people who are caring for loved ones with dementia.  One fact has become obvious to me:  Caregivers do the very best they can.   Most embrace the caregiving challenge.  Someone they love needs them and they want to help.  Along with that embrace, caregivers go through moments of sheer frustration. …

Why Should You Consult an Elder Law Attorney about Eligibility for Long Term Care Medicaid or Aid & Attendance Benefits?

Many people are reluctant to consult attorneys for long term care planning because: the cost of consulting with an attorney is seen as significant. qualifying for long term care benefits is seen as a non-legal matter that should be straight-forward and not require legal assistance. care facilities may offer to prepare benefits applications for residents for no charge. they have …

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.