FREE “Ask a Lawyer” Event & Lunch – Wed., Feb. 19

Join us for a FREE “Ask a Lawyer” event, including fried chicken lunch, on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at the Flower Mound Senior Center from 12 noon to 1 pm. 

Travis Weaver, an attorney focused on elder law, will provide info and answer your questions on legal concerns for those 55+ and their loved ones (details below).

Enjoy a free lunch of fried chicken tenders, mashed potatoes, gravy, and cole slaw.

Seating is limited. Call 817-638-9016 to reserve your space!

Announcement Flower Mound Sr Ctr talk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, February 19 – Free event and free fried chicken lunch from 12 noon to 1 pm 

Event Location
Flower Mound Senior Center 
2701 W. Windsor Dr.

Seating limited! Please call 817-638-9016 to reserve your place

Answering questions and providing info about legal concerns for those 55+ and their families/caregivers including
–Qualifying for Medicaid-paid Nursing Home Care
–Wills & Probate
–Power of Attorney
–FAQ time for your 55+ legal questions

Can’t make it? Call Travis Weaver, attorney, at 817-638-9016 for a free 30 minute phone meeting about legal concerns for those 55+

New office in Flower Mound!
We’re proud to provide easy accessibility for clients needing an elder law attorney in Flower Mound, Bartonville, Lantana, Argyle, and the surrounding area. 

Flower Mound Office Location
4315 Windsor Centre Trail, #500
Flower Mound, TX
(Shared with Chenault Law Firm)

Bartonville Office Location
Bartonville Town Center
2648 FM 407, Suite 215 F
Bartonville, TX 

Wise County – Principal Office Location 
(about 15 minutes from Denton, Decatur, and Fort Worth)

101 W. First St.
Rhome, TX 

 

 

 

 

 

FREE “Ask a Lawyer” Event & Breakfast – Friday, Jan. 31 at 10 am

Join us for a FREE “Ask a Lawyer” event, including country breakfast, on Friday, Jan. 31, at Robson Ranch. 

Travis Weaver, an attorney focused on elder law, will provide info and answer your questions on legal concerns for those 55+ and their loved ones (details below).

Enjoy a free country breakfast with scrambled eggs, hash browns, bacon, sausage, biscuits, gravy, coffee, and juice at this educational event.

Seating is limited. Call 817-638-9016 to reserve your space!

Free "Ask a Lawyer" Event & Breakfast graphic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Friday, January 31 – Free event and free country breakfast
10 am to 11 am 

Event Location
Robson Ranch Clubhouse – Boardroom
9400 Ed Robson Blvd in Denton

Seating limited! Please call 817-638-9016 to reserve your place

Answering questions and providing info about legal concerns for those 55+ and their families/caregivers including
–Qualifying for Medicaid-paid Nursing Home Care
–Wills & Probate
–Power of Attorney
–FAQ time for your 55+ legal questions

Can’t make it? Call Travis Weaver, attorney, at 817-638-9016 for a free 30 minute phone meeting about legal concerns for those 55+

New office in Flower Mound!
We’re proud to provide easy accessibility for clients needing an elder law attorney in Flower Mound, Bartonville, Lantana, Argyle, and the surrounding area. 

Flower Mound Office Location
4315 Windsor Centre Trail, #500
Flower Mound, TX
(Shared with Chenault Law Firm)

Bartonville Office Location
Bartonville Town Center
2648 FM 407, Suite 215 F
Bartonville, TX 

Wise County – Principal Office Location 
(about 15 minutes from Denton, Decatur, and Fort Worth)

101 W. First St.
Rhome, TX 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Guide to Disability Planning

A temporary or permanent disability can affect anyone. Sometimes the disability is sudden–like a car wreck or heart attack. Sometimes a serious illness like Alzheimers’, advanced cancer, or ALS  causes a slow, but steady health decline. 

How Your Life May Be Altered By a Serious Disability

  •  You may be unable to work your normal job or unable to do any kind of work
  • You may be unable to make your own decisions, communicate your wishes, or manage your own affairs
  • If you have children, you may not be able to properly care for them on your own
  • You may not be able to create a will or change your estate plan if you are not of sound mind

Combating These Problems – The Basics

Create a Power of Attorney and Health Care Directive

The most important step you should take to plan for your incapacitation is to have a valid statutory durable power of attorney and healthcare power of attorney.

  • The power of attorney gives your designated agent the power to pay your bills, access your bank accounts, and keep your financial matters in order if you are unable to do so.
  • The health care power of attorney allows you to designate authority to a person of your choice to make medical decisions on your behalf.
  • You should also include a health care directive that states your wishes regarding certain treatments, such as whether you wish to remain alive on life support in certain situations.
  • These documents put financial and health care decisions in the hand of those you trust, if you cannot make decisions for yourself.

Our Estate Plan recommendation includes all of the previously mentioned documents as well as a Last Will and Testament.

Prevent Financial Disaster Due To Disability

A disability could prevent you from working ever again. Here ways to strengthen your resources to help avoid financial issues due to a disability: 

  • Be aware of your disability insurance options, including employer-provided insurance, Social Security Disability benefits, and private disability insurance. Consider buying disability insurance to help replace your income, if this benefit is not offered by your employer.
  • Your existing insurance probably doesn’t cover long-term care. Long-term care planning should be considered in any estate plan, as the costs can be very high and deplete your assets quickly.
  • Medicaid planning to pay for nursing home care may be an option for some people, while others should consider long-term care insurance. Medicaid planning is one of our specialties at Weaver Firm – Attorneys. The average nursing home cost in 2018 is over $6,000 a month per person or about $72,000 per year. Our planning sessions cost less than $1,000. You do the math.
  • If you have minor children, you should already have a guardian designated to care for them. If you are disabled, you may not be physically able to care for your children and you may not have the mental capacity to choose a guardian at that time.
  • Even if you are healthy now, planning for disability can give you peace of mind and protect your family.

Consult an estate planning attorney to discuss your disability planning concerns or call  us at 817-638-2022 to schedule an appointment. At Weaver Firm – Attorneys, we focus on estate planning and elder law.  Rick Weaver, attorney, is board-certified in estate planning and probate, with decades of experience. Travis Weaver, attorney, focuses on helping families with legal planning for disabilities, Medicaid nursing home qualification, and setting up wills. 

817.638.2022 or RWeaver@weaverlegal.net

Are You Dead? Not Yet? How to Get Your Affairs In Order

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You may not be dead yet, but odds are it’ll happen. Setting up plans while you’re able helps make the situation after your death less difficult for those you leave behind.  And, your loved ones will thank you. 

How To Get Your Affairs In Order 

Collect all of your important papers in one place and tell someone where they are located. Preferably a trusted family member. Here’s a short list of important documents: 

  • Your Social Security card, living will, military records and other legal documents;
  • Contact information for your estate planning attorney, accountant, banks, investment firms and life insurance company;
  • Bank account info, safe deposit box key, vehicle titles, the deed to the house and last year’s tax return.
  • You may want to avoid probate by adding another person to titles and property—ask your attorney how to do this correctly;
  • Monthly bills, property tax bills, credit card companies, passwords for online billing, as well as passwords for PCs and electronic devices.

Go through your home with family members and/or friends and inventory items they hope to inherit after your death. Do this one-on-one to avoid hurt feelings and give you time to decide on how to handle sought after antiques, collectibles, memorabilia, etc. 

Put your inventory list with your important papers. Some people like placing labels on items to show who receives each specific dish, lamp, work of art, etc. In most cases, I like a written or typed and signed list because labels have the tendency “walk away” once you are gone.

Take steps for remaining alive, but unable to make decisions. Here are recommendations:

  • Give permission in advance through a durable power of attorney for health care and a regular durable power of attorney to someone you trust.
  • Choose someone you trust. Without your authority, your caregiver won’t be able to access information, consult with your doctor or pay your bills. Choose a person you believe will handle these responsibilities. 
  • An advance directive is used when you get sick. If you know what kind of care you want or don’t want, draft a living will so that your family won’t have to make the difficult decision to take you off life support. You will have made that decision in this document long before the situation arises. 

Make your own funeral and burial arrangements. This decreases the burden on your family and ensures your wishes will be followed after death. Pre-pay your burial and funeral expenses to lock in today’s cost.

Talk to a knowledgeable estate planning attorney about setting up your will or using a trust to avoid probate altogether and help avoid conflicts among loved ones. 

Need some help with these plans or other life-changing moments? Give us a call at Weaver Firm- Attorneys today at 817-638-9016 to schedule an appointment.

How to Prepare for Being a Widow/Widower in 2018

Among the risks that married couples face in retirement, the risk of becoming a widow or widower is unavoidable.

A recent Society of Actuaries report,

“Managing Post-Retirement Risks: A Guide to Retirement Planning.”

lists some troubling facts about losing a spouse:

►Some income may stop at the death of a spouse or former spouse.

►The death of a disabled person’s caregiver spouse may bring financial problems at a very difficult time.

►The surviving spouse may not be able or willing to manage the family’s finances.

►Inability to cope with a spouse’s death or terminal illness contributes to high rates of depression and suicide among the elderly.

To be sure, it’s difficult to predict which spouse will live longer in individual cases, according to the SOA. But, on average, women are widowed more often than men. 

So, what can you and your spouse do to manage the risks associated with becoming a widow or widower?

Set aside time to talk 

Talking about money matters together is a great gift couples can give each other, says Kathleen Rehl, author of Moving Forward on Your Own: A Financial Guidebook for Widows. “Start by saying, ‘Honey, because I love you so much, I want us to talk about some important money issues together—that are really important to know about for the time one day when one of us is gone.’”

Others agree. “First and foremost, spouses – especially women – need to know about the household’s finances, including where all accounts are held,” says Cindy Levering, a retired pension actuary and volunteer for the Society of Actuaries. “In particular, it is very important that they know what benefits might be available from employment-based plans — pension, 401(k), life insurance, and medical for example — and how to contact the appropriate human resource people to access any benefits that may be due.”

If you avoid these conversations, Rehl says, “a surviving spouse may be in a double whammy — hit with grief and emotions of widowhood plus not having many clues about their money situation.”

Levering also suggests sharing financial information and contacts with children, not just their attorneys. “I know a lot of people don’t want to talk about their finances with their children but it is important that someone know what to do if necessary,” she says.

Run what-if scenarios 

Determine whether your financial plan will provide enough lifetime income to the surviving spouse. Note that expenses don’t necessarily decrease by half after one spouse passes away, says Levering. Also note that the surviving spouse may have less to live on if he or she has to spend down assets to take care of the spouse that passes away, says Levering.

If, after running your what-if scenarios, there’s a shortfall, consider increasing your savings, trimming your expenses, investigating a reverse mortgage and/or downsizing, and buying life insurance.

Delay Social Security 

If you’re the higher earner, consider delaying Social Security until at least full retirement age (FRA) or better yet until age 70, if there’s a good chance that your spouse will outlive you, says Betty Meredith, president of the International Retirement Resource Center. Why so? “The surviving spouse collects a higher lifetime benefit based on the primary earner’s benefit,” she says.

Also consider, if you have traditional defined benefit pension plan, choosing the joint-and-survivor annuity instead of the single life annuity.

Check all your beneficiary designations 

Make a list of every place you have ever worked and contributed to employer-sponsored retirement plans. “When a person divorces and remarries, old beneficiaries stay in place until they are changed by the account owner,” Meredith says.  “It happens all the time where an ex-spouse or other parties receive retirement funds upon the workers’ death instead of the current spouse.”

Do the same for all life insurance plans, bank and credit union checking and savings accounts, titling on real estate, and the like, says Meredith.

Make sure credit cards and other accounts are set up so both spouses have access, says Levering.

Consider long-term care. Think what would happen if one or both spouses needed long-term care. “Purchasing coverage sooner rather than later may be prudent,” says Levering.

Hire a financial team 

Put in place a trusted team of financial advisers, including an attorney, certified public accountant, and certified financial planner, that, Meredith says, “the surviving spouse will feel comfortable working with and trust to help them transition to a life without you, especially if they have typically not been involved in the financial side of your marriage.”

Estate plan up to date?

Create or update your estate-planning documents, including wills, trusts, advance directives, living wills, durable powers of attorney for health care, physician orders for life-sustaining treatment.

 “Consider filing a ‘do not resuscitate’ or DNR order with your local hospital and have readily available if needed,” says Meredith. “Many people want to avoid aggressive attempts to prolong their life, but medical culture and practices often do not support these wishes. This can help prevent racking up large medical bills for the surviving spouse to pay.

For her part, Anna Rappaport, chair of the Society of Actuary’s retirement task force, recommends reviewing all property with your attorney and making sure you understand what is individual and joint names, and how it might be disposed of. 

Also consider planning your funeral arrangements in advance. 

Relocate

Meredith also recommends moving to a home where a surviving spouse can more easily manage upkeep, taxes, have social network, and the like.

For More Information about planning for Widows or Widowers, please contact our office today at 817.638.9016

Estate Planning for Millennials

 

This is an article adapted from the personal finance website, Nerdwallet.

As a Millennial myself, this article really touches close to home. Everyone needs an Estate Plan and many Millennials are starting families, creating businesses, investing in real estate, etc.

Ask people to write down a list of their plans and it’s likely to be chock-full of career accomplishments and vacation experiences. Graduating, getting a great job, getting married, starting a family, buying a home, and traveling are likely to be high on the list.

Odds are Estate Planning isn’t high on the list.

It’s not a surprise that people in their 20s and 30s wouldn’t have estate planning at the top of their mind.

The creation of legal documents such as living wills, last wills and testaments, powers of attorney for medical and financial well-being, and potential trusts is a foreign concept to many people, especially those who aren’t married or don’t have children.

Many people assume you don’t need to work on those plans until your 50s or 60s.

The truth is . . . planning now saves you time and money later on.

The Millennial view of money

Many Millennials have embarked on parenthood, care giving and other stressful responsibilities. But they tend to view money from an entirely different perspective from preceding generations. Growing up in the shadow of the recession and under the weight of sometimes crippling student loan debt, many Millennials are responsible with their finances, contrary to sky-is-falling reports. As we juggle student loans, young family expenses, and startup or freelancing jobs, our estate plan changes and the need for a plan grows.

Being good with money, though, isn’t enough. Part of being fiscally responsible is planning for the long-term. More than 60% of Americans don’t have a will, according to a 2015 Harris Poll

Most Americans don’t have long-term care insurance. Good news for Millennials, the premiums are cheap now.

The benefits of estate planning

No matter where you are in your financial life, you need an estate plan. 

Will. Medical Power of Attorney, Financial Power of Attorney, Physician’s Directive.

Those are the big four.

For those with children, a good estate plan lets you appoint a guardian for your children should something ever happen to you.

 

Come see us with your estate planning questions. 817.638.9016.

Four Things to Think About When Hiring an Estate Planning Attorney in Texas

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas, Y’all! AAA estimates that over 100 million Americans will travel this holiday season. 100 MILLION. Planes, trains, and automobiles, oh my! Much like planning a trip well in advance helps you avoid long lines, expensive hotels, and crowded airports (some with no power), having a good estate plan in place helps you avoid expensive court proceedings, lengthy trials, and generations long family feuds (see Heath Ledger). If you plan on traveling, plan on seeing our firm for estate planning first. Here are four things to think about before you visit an estate planner:

  1. How much does it cost? While many legal services are charged by the hour, estate planning work including a Last Will and Testament is often charged at a flat fee rate, so that you will know exactly what you can expect to pay before you sign on with a firm to prepare your documents. Hourly rates can introduce uncertainty into the process, so be sure to find out how much you should expect to pay, and whether the fee will be due up front or at the signing. A complete quote may be contingent on determining on the complexity of your will, but by the end of an initial consultation, you should know what costs to expect for this process.
  2. What all is included? Most attorneys are capable of turning your wishes into a lawful Last Will and Testament. However, a will should be interwoven into your entire plan. Does the fee include a general estate planning discussion? In addition, wills are often packaged with other essential documents everyone should have in place – not to plan for their death but for the contingencies of life: a medical power of attorney, a physician’s directive (or living will), and a statutory durable power of attorney. You can typically execute all four (4) documents for only slightly more than a will alone. Many firms offer package deals for couples. A good estate planner will give you several different options for completing your personalized estate plan.
  3. How Experienced Are the Attorneys? Many attorneys and firms will agree to prepare your will but it is only a small part of their regular practice. Attorneys whose exclusive focus is estate planning and probate will have more experience with a variety of circumstances that could better anticipate and prepare for life’s complexities and uncertainties. Successful will drafting can involve precision and nuance in the language that is used. Find a firm that will take the time to ask important questions, and will customize your will to meet your specific needs. Will one or more of your heirs need trust protection for their inheritance? Do you need to take action to prepare for Medicaid or VA Aid and attendance eligibility? Will a revocable living trust help your family avoid the expense of probate after your death?
  4. What Happens if I Die Without a Will? However you decide to proceed, be sure you take action to have a lawful will in place, and seek the help of a qualified estate planning attorney. Without a will, the distribution of your estate will be determined by state law and not by you. Likewise, the person named to be in charge of administering your estate will be appointed by a court. Most importantly, be sure your will is prepared and executed under the guidance of an attorney. Websites that offer DIY robo-wills cannot guarantee that your will is lawfully executed or that it addresses all that it should. The most common mistake we see is an improperly executed Last Will and Testament.

If you have questions, please contact our office at 817.638.9016 or email us at RWeaver@www.weaverlegal.net. For more exclusive content, please join our monthly email list here.

Estate Planning for Entrepreneurs

Forbes published a great article showing 9 out of 10 entrepreneurs have out of date Estate Plans. What exactly is an “out of date estate plan”? Basically a plan (i.e. Wills, Power of Attorney, Living Will) that hasn’t been looked at in more than five years.

Here are five reasons to update your Estate Planning documents regularly:

  • changes in the law: tax laws change yearly
  • changes in your family: births, deaths, divorces
  • changes in where you live: did you move to Texas recently?
  • changes in your Estate: did you win the lottery or purchase a home in another state?
  • changes in your life: were you diagnosed with an illness?

Check out the article and understand that it is never too late for Estate Planning…until it is too late

h/t to Professor Beyer and his blog at http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/trusts_estates_prof/ for the article

817.638.2022 or TWeaver@www.weaverlegal.net