All of these legal devices essentially do the same thing: Setting a set of directions, to an agent, that you as the principal set forth so that somebody knows what your choices are for your end of life and after life decisions.
There is federal law that governs Advance Directives known as the Patient Self Determination Act (1992). This Act requires that all providers of services give written information to each individual concerning:
Rights to make decisions under State Law
Right to accept or refuse medical treatment
Right to formulate an advance directive
Every institution must provide you with information about advance medical directives, including the right to make your own decision, under the applicable state law. Under federal law, if any institution (including hospitals and health care agencies) wants federal funding they need to abide by this.
Estate Planning Attorney KC Marie Knox was invited by the National Business Institute (NBI) to serve as a faculty member for their Elder Law: Start to Finish seminar. The Health Care Decisions and Advance Medical Directives Webcast will take place on September 7, 2016 and will cover:
This legal course is designed for attorneys. It will also benefit nursing home administrators, financial planners, trust officers, accountants, social workers, geriatric care managers, and other professionals working with elder clients on estate planning issues.
Tom was fairly successful in life and had a love for travel. To maximize his options, Tom was enrolled in several different programs which generated reward points. These points could then be redeemed for travel, hotel stays, car rentals, etc. Tom assumed that when he passed away, his accumulation of reward points would simply pass on to his kids, or whomever else he designated as part of his estate plan. Despite Tom’s intended plan, the reward programs had a different plan in mind.
Tom was enrolled in three specific reward programs, each of which was linked to a specific credit card:
The task of a fiduciary (e.g. executor, trustee or attorney in fact), when you are no longer around or able to provide guidance, can be a difficult one. He or she is charged with the job of gathering/marshalling all your assets. Effectively he or she is taking your place when you are unable to act or are no longer with us. To make that task easier, there are a number of things you can do. Here are some suggestions:
Non-Legal Records. There are documents, in addition to the legal ones, that may also assist your legal representative. Consider adding a section called “Records” and include the following:
Any information on pre-paid funeral or cemetery arrangements;
A list of valuable assets (such as stocks/bonds, artwork, jewelry, collectibles) and their location (such as closet safe, freezer, lockbox under bed);
Deeds for real estate holdings (residential, commercial or timeshares) with copies of related insurance policies;
As many estate planners anticipated, The Internal Revenue Service has raised the limit on tax-free transfers during life or at death. Beginning in 2015 that amount, known as the basic exclusion, will increase to $5.43 million per person, up from $5.34 million this year. This announcement, in Revenue Procedure 2014-61, indicates there will be no change in the annual exclusion, allowing you to give $14,000 in cash or other assets each year to as many individuals as you want without using the basic exclusion. The annual exclusion gifts don’t count towards the lifetime gift exemption. Another tactic is to fund a Continue reading →
This following article titled “In Support of Sensible Legislation on Digital Assets” is featured in the October 2014 issue of the San Fernando Valley Bar Association‘s Valley Lawyer Magazine (view pdf):
For the past ten or so years, new articles have abounded regarding the difﬁculty in accessing the digital records of the dearly departed. Famous examples include:
Justin Ellsworth, the U.S. Marine who was killed while serving in Fallujah, and his father’s desperate pleas to access his Yahoo account, which were denied.
Karen Williams, whose 22-year-old son was killed in a motorcycle accident, and her desire to access his Facebook account, which was also refused.
Both parents were faced with bureaucratic roadblocks during a time when emotions were already being pushed to their limits.
Continuing from our Blog series on Digital Assets, here are a couple ways you can protect you and your family:
Identify your digital assets
You can break them down into broad categories (email, domain, storage, finances, banking, stocks, bonds, securities, taxes, retirement, insurance, credit cards, debts, utilities, businesses, social, media, loyalty and other) and for each asset identify the username, password, account number and any other identifying information necessary to access the asset.
There are many sites to store this information or you can store it to a tangible media source (such as a DVD, portable hard drive or flash drive) or Continue reading →
Continuing from last month’s post (The Care and Preservation of Your Digital Assets), digital assets do not necessarily have to have monetary value. Many people store their modern day diaries i.e. blogs or similar writings on their computers, along with photographs and other matters of sentimental value. In a famous but tragic case, a young marine deployed in Iraq wrote regularly on his Yahoo! account (email and blog) about his experiences. He was killed in action and his mother wanted access to his account so she would have a record of his writings about his service. Yahoo’s policy was to delete the accounts of a deceased user. Without a plan for dealing with his digital assets, his mother had to go to the probate court, which while it ultimately ordered Yahoo to turn over copies of the emails, did not give the family access to his account.
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