Category Archives: Legal

Does the client have the capacity to contract?

Every day, people leave this firm with documents in hand that leave another person in charge of their health care or finances or transfers title to their property to someone else on their death. While that’s an oversimplification of what occurs in any law office, whether the document is relatively simple or it took hundreds…

Protecting your heir’s digital inheritance

When I was a kid, my aunt worked at the only bank in my hometown. The classy décor included wood paneling, large windows and a quiet usually associated with libraries. In fact, that bank resembled Gringotts Wizarding Bank from Harry Potter fame (though not as large and unfortunately missing the fabulous underground passage containing the…

A Will prevents you from leaving your stuff to the wrong people

A survey conducted in 2013 found that 70 percent of Americans with children under the age of 18 didn’t have a Will.  A 2014 Forbes article reported that 51 percent of Americans 55 to 64 didn’t have Wills.  Without a Will, who will inherit your fabric collection, care for your pets or take down your…

Who can serve?

Either you have drawn up a Will or you should have drawn up a Will.  One thing you’ll need to do is choose someone to execute your Will, after all you won’t be there to do it.  It might not seem so difficult to choose one.  Many people choose one of their children for instance. …

If advance directives take guesswork out of care, why don’t more people use them?

Terry Pratchett, famous for his Discworld series died last week at the age of 66.  Pratchett, one of England’s most-loved authors was diagnosed in 2007 with early onset Alzheimer’s disease, the “embuggerance,” as he called it.  He became an outspoken advocate for assisted dying.  He once wrote, “I would live my life as ever to the…

Incorporating financial planning into the divorce decree

Gray divorces, that is divorce between retirement age spouses with long-lasting marriages requires careful consideration and planning by both spouses.  Generally, older couples aren’t worried about custody of the kid or kids but instead they need to worry about things like pensions.  Roughly 1 in 4 divorces in 2010 occurred to people 50 and older…

My aunt helped me with the purchase price of my home. Will that hurt her ability to get benefits?

This is a recent question from Elder Law Answers. My aunt lives with me and contributes to paying for bills, maintenance etc.  She gave me $35,000 to help me buy the house initially.  How do I protect her from losing benefits if she needs help with services and care down the road? Annie As long…

Family fighting can make even the most well-thought out estate plan a failure

Robin Williams’ full estate was left to a trust for his three children and as part of his trust, he set up another trust to support his wife in the event of his death.  So, why are they all in court?  Because families fight.  And sometimes they fight over the ridiculous.  And maybe it’s not…

Pennsylvannia may repeal filial support laws

I’ve written about this a couple of times so I wanted to follow up.  Pennsylvania has some filial support laws on the books that can cause the adult children to be held responsible for their parent’s care costs.  The law has been used recently to sue children for the cost of care in a nursing…

New Delaware law may make digital assets more available for beneficiaries

Delaware passed a law last summer that allowed executors access to online accounts without a court order unless the deceased has instructed otherwise.  Several states are considering similar legislation (to date only a few states have addressed this issue in any degree).  As it stands now, estate executors often have to seek a court order…