Click Here to Learn How Morris-Hall PLLC is helping clients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Category

Life Care Consultants

Even-Steven: Another Reason Why Your Estate Plan Should be Reviewed Regularly

By | Estate Planning, Estate taxes, Healthcare documents, Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning | No Comments

I recently worked with a  trustee (I’ll call her Jane), in administering her Father’s Trust.  Jane has two brothers.  Dad spent his life trying to make sure all three kids were treated equally - that everything was “even-steven.”   Like many parents, Dad desired to divide his assets equally between his children.  In this case, Dad left several specific bequests to each child with the intent that each child receive an equal share. Under the terms of the trust, Jane was to receive two life insurance policies, Brother 1 was to receive a valuable piece of land, and Brother 2 was to receive Dad’s home.

Nobody saw the Alzheimer’s coming.  Dad quickly became ill, and within a year, he needed care around the clock.  Assets needed to be sold. Dad’s valuable piece of land was the first to go; the home was the second, but not before a mortgage was taken out to pay for care.

When Dad eventually passed, the estate was significantly depleted. Jane’s specific bequest was still intact -  she received the proceeds of both life insurance policies.  Brother 1 and Brother 2, however, did not receive the gifts contemplated in the trust; the property had to be sold to pay for Dad’s care.  Dad’s estate was utterly depleted and the resulting distribution was far from “even-steven.”  Had Dad reviewed his estate plan as assets were sold off, he could have amended it to ensure the equitable distribution of his estate..

Further, the family could have preserved a large portion of Dad’s estate had they sought help at the first sign of illness.  At Morris Hall, we are experienced in ALTCS Medicaid planning and the surrounding issues.  We can help preserve your estate and guide you through choices that will help ensure your estate will be divided as you wish.

Phoenix, AZ Estate Planning Attorney Andrea ClausContributed by MH Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney, Andrea Claus.

Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

 

 

Protecting the Estate Against Potential Predators

By | Elder Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning, Other | No Comments

I recently met with a client who lost her husband not long ago.  I will refer to this client as “Sally”.  Unfortunately, Sally has had to move into a care center, due mainly to significant memory issues.  While she is physically healthy, she is not able to handle her financial affairs, which involve significant assets.  Sally’s daughter lives out of state and has been helping with her mother’s care as well as she can from a distance.

 

Upon sitting down with Sally, the first thing she showed me was a picture of her new boyfriend.  She is quite tickled to have someone paying so much attention to her.  I was instantly concerned.  Unfortunately, we have seen too many instances where widows or widowers are preyed upon by unscrupulous individuals seeking to gain access to their funds.  This is most common when there are significant funds for the taking.  This is of additional concern when the widow or widower is not mentally capable of handling their affairs.

 

Thankfully, I happen to know that Sally’s assets are protected because she and her former husband had created a living trust with our firm.  This ensures that she will not be subject to financial exploitation by those with less than honorable intentions.  All of her husband’s portion of the trust assets are fully available for her support, and no one can take that portion from her.  As to her half, her daughter is now the trustee and will apply the funds as needed for Sally’s care, once again ensuring that no one else, including the new boyfriend, can get to her assets.

 

We never know what situations we may face in life.  It is vital to plan for the various possibilities that can occur.  A living trust provides protection for yourself, your assets, and your loved ones – protection that covers a myriad number of situations such as Sally’s.  Don’t put your future at risk!  Call 888.804.5340 today to schedule a free consultation and discover how MH can help you and those you love!

 

Mesa, Arizona Estate Planning Attorney Tim HallContributed by MH Mesa and Phoenix Estate Planning Attorney and Partner, Theron M Hall JR.

Morris Hall Can Protect You in Today’s Litigious Society:

We live in a litigious society, where over 1 million lawsuits are filed every year in America alone.  Financial predators are looking for ways to take funds from others and often use litigation as their means to do so.  At Morris Hall we provide your assets and your loved ones with important protections that can prevent financial predators from taking advantage of you.  We do this through proper and current estate planning techniques.  With an MH living trust, we can also protect your property, assets and loved ones from probate, estate taxes, gift taxes, creditors, Medicaid spend-down, conservatorship or guardianship proceedings, ex-spouses and more.  A living trust also keeps your asset and beneficiary information private and secure to avoid giving financial predators information to use against you and your family.  Without a living trust, this information will be made public.  For those living in Arizona, we serve the areas of Phoenix, Mesa, Gilbert, Fountain Hills, Scottsdale, Prescott, Flagstaff, Sedona, Tucson, Sonoita, Arrowhead, Avondale, Goodyear and Tempe.  In New Mexico we serve the areas of Albuquerque, Santa Fe, Las Cruces, Rio Rancho, White Rock, Alamogordo, Truth or Consequences and more.  Contact us today at 888.804.5340 to schedule an appointment with an attorney in your area!

Tis' The Season To Look In On Your Loved Ones

By | Estate Planning, Holidays, Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning | No Comments

Since the holiday season is a time for family gatherings, you can and should use these visits to not only celebrate the holidays but to ensure your aging loved ones are doing well.

Take the time to assess the loved one you are visiting.  Are they properly dressed and groomed?  Are they doing their laundry and keeping the house clean?  As individuals age, it can become difficult to do tasks such as cleaning and laundry due to the amount of physical exertion necessary.  Talk to your loved ones to see if they are able to continue to do these tasks on their own.  If they need assistance, talk to them about what help they need and are willing to accept, as well as ways to provide such assistance.

If you visit the home of an aging loved one, check the surroundings.  Look to see if there is nutritious food in the home.  A lack of food or food that is past its expiration date can be a sign that a loved one needs some assistance.  Talk to your loved ones to see if they are able to go to the grocery store on a regular basis or if they would like assistance in setting up a grocery delivery system.

You can also check to see that the mail is being properly taken care of.  Your loved one should be going through their mail, discarding junk, and paying bills on a regular basis.  If someone is not doing this, it could be a sign that they need some help.  If you notice this behavior, discuss together why the issue exists and ways to assist.  Possible solutions are to use automatic bill pay or appoint an attorney in fact or trustee to manage the finances.

A final recommendation is to ask your loved ones if they have an estate plan and, if so, where it is kept.  Hopefully, your aging loved one has already taken the time to create an estate plan.  If not, talk to them about the importance of planning – how it allows the individual to decide how and when decisions are made on their behalf and ensures their estate is distributed how, when and to whom they want.  If you have a loved one who needs to create an estate plan or review an existing estate plan, please contact our office for a free consultation by calling 888.804.5340.

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Cave Creek, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Seminar in Tempe, AZ: The Before and After of a Living Trust - July 19th

By | Elder Care, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning, Seminar announcement, Trust Administration | No Comments

Thursday, July 19th, 2012
2:00pm-4:00pm
The Before and After of a Living Trust Friendship Village Tempe
2645 East Southern Avenue
Tempe, AZ 85282
(Click here for a Googlemap)

At this presentation we will discuss:

  • The ins& outs of the Medicare system
  • What options are available for your assistance as you age
  • Addressing elder care needs and incapacity
  • What steps to take after a death
  • How to put trust documents into affect
  • How an estate is administered and details your beneficiaries should know
  • The true value of your estate planning documents
  • The protections your beneficiaries gain from your estate plan

register

morris-hall-seminars-request-a-speaker

Getting Assistance With Financial Affairs - Scottsdale Attorney Gives Guidance

By | Life Care Consultants | No Comments

I recently met with a family friend in Glendale who is now in her eighties.  While we were catching up, the conversation turned to how my friend could use a little assistance with managing her financial affairs.  I was reminded that sometimes people need assistance with finances, not because they are incapacitated or unable to do so themselves, but because it can be overwhelming.  In the case of my friend, she is looking for assistance with bill paying.

There are several options for this situation where the individual can have assistance without giving up control of his or her financial affairs.  One option is utilizing the automatic bill pay system that several companies offer.  In the case of my family friend, she could set up her Glendale facility bill to be on automatic bill pay as well as her phone and cable bills.  This would relieve some of the burden of paying bills.  The biggest hurdle with this option is that not everyone is comfortable with automatic bill paying.  My husband and I still write monthly checks for all of our bills even though the majority of them offer automatic bill payment.

Another option is utilizing a private fiduciary.  A private fiduciary is a licensed and bonded individual whose job is to assist individuals with their financial affairs.  They are able to take on the role of bill paying as well as many other functions.  For my friend, this is the best option.  She does not like the idea that bills would be paid without someone first reviewing them for accuracy.  She can use a private fiduciary to reduce her monthly responsibilities and will receive reports on how she is doing financially.  If you are interested in learning more about what a private fiduciary can do to assist you or a loved one, please contact Life Care Consultants.

Phoenix Attorney, Estate PlanningContributed by MH attorney and partner Katherine A. O'Connell 

Why Choose Morris Hall:
You have a number of options when it comes to estate planning, so why pick Morris Hall?  First off, estate planning and asset protection are a very complicated endeavor and you should only trust someone who focuses exclusively on those matters.  Also, MH is a proud member of The American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys (AAEPA) which provides us additional support, advanced training, tools and information that is not available to others – which means that we can better protect your assets and your loved ones.  We are one of only two firms in Arizona that belong to the AAEPA and are the only firm in New Mexico that has been granted membership.  If you have assets and loved ones that you want to protect, you are in good hands with MH.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Alzheimer’s at 59? Tucson Attorney Asks, "What Would You Do?"

By | Celebrity Estates, Estate Planning, Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning | No Comments

Pat Summit, Women's Basketball Coach, Alzheimer's DiseaseThis week, Pat Summitt, the head women’s basketball coach at Tennessee, and the coach with the most wins in college basketball history, announced she is stepping down. Ten months ago, Pat was diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s disease. After 38 years as head coach, Pat will continue to be involved with the Lady Vols basketball program as “head coach emeritus,” but has officially turned over the coaching responsibilities to her long-time assistant coach.

So, what’s in store for Pat and her family as they deal with Alzheimer’s? That’s hard to tell, but there are a few things that are certain. First, Alzheimer’s is a progressive condition, which means Pat’s condition will worsen over time. Already, Alzheimer’s has affected Pat’s personal and professional life: Where she was once able to manage the high pressure and quickly changing responsibilities on game day, Alzheimer’s has made it impossible for her to function in that responsibility. In the future, she will most likely need assistance with even some of her day to day activities, such as dressing and bathing, preparing her food, and managing her finances.

Second, Pat fortunately has a strong support system of family and loved ones who are able to help as needed. Unlike many Americans, she also has the financial resources to pay for the services and assistance that her family and friends can’t provide.  Those of us without those funds need to find other resources to cover the expensive costs of long-term care.

Early onset Alzheimer’s makes up approximately five percent of those 4 million Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. What if you, or someone you love, were part of that 4 million? Are you prepared?

You can start preparing now by going through the questions listed below.  Take the time to thoughtfully answer each question, and share your answers with your family. If you find the answers lacking, start today to find the resources and assistance you may need in the coming months and years.

  1. Am I being treated by a physician who is knowledgeable about Alzheimer’s disease and who treats me and not my disease?
  2. Do I have a supportive network of family members and/or friends who are willing and able to assist me with managing my personal, legal and financial matters?
  3. Have I arranged for someone to have the legal authority to manage my personal needs and care once I am no longer able to make those decisions?
  4. Do my family members know my desires regarding care treatment that I do or do not want as my disease progresses?
  5. Do my family members know what resources are available in my community to help them manage my care and allow me to have the best quality of life?
  6. Have I made arrangements for someone to have the legal authority to handle my financial affairs without costly and difficult court intervention?
  7. Do I have the financial resources to pay for my care without depriving my family of resources they need?
  8. Have I planned for family members to take advantage of all resources, public and private, which will help provide and pay for services I will need through the progress of my disease?
  9. Do I have contingency plans in case the people I depend on for care are unable or unwilling to help when needed?

At Morris Hall, our hope is that you will never know the pain and uncertainty that comes when you or a loved one are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, or any of the other debilitating chronic diseases. We know the reality is that many of our clients and their families will have to face these serious medical conditions head on. That is why we have experienced elder law attorneys, case managers and other professionals with years of experience helping clients and their families navigate the complex maze of legal, social, financial, medical and personal choices that will inevitably arise. Talk to us if you have questions or need direction, but don’t wait. Start preparing today!

 

What the Attorneys of Morris Hall Can Do For You:
The attorneys at Morris Hall have 100’s of years of combined experience ensuring that families’ assets are protected from probate, unnecessary taxes, creditors, ex-spouses and Medicaid spend-down.  The attorneys also help those in Arizona and New Mexico to apply for and receive Medicaid assistance and Veterans Benefits.  Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead.  Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe.  Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

This blog should be used for informational purposes only.  It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice.  If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Trust - The key to Picking your Agents

By | Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning | No Comments

Whether you live in Arizona, New Mexico or any other state, having the right people and making the right decisions, is key to a properly executed estate plan.

One of the critical decisions you need to make during the creation of your estate plan is who to designate as your agent(s)? Who do you want to make financial decisions on your behalf? Who do you want to make health care decisions on your behalf? This is not an easy decision, nor is it one you should take lightly.

The people you pick to act on your behalf are called "Agents" - they work for you, for your benefit. The legal documents that grant the agents their power is what defines how much or how little power each agent has. The attorney drafting the documents will work to meet your needs and wishes in the grant of power, but the selection of the agent is a personal decision that rests with you.

When selecting your agents, some factors to consider include:

  • Ability of the person to act for you, when you need them to
  • Comfort that the person will act in the way you want
  • Is that person willing to be your agent?
  • How well do you know you the person?
  • How well does the person know you?
  • In financial matters, how good is the person with figures and calculations?
  • In health care matters, can the person balance the emotions of the situation with adherence to your desires?
  • Are there other influences (such as a sibling or spouse) that would impact the person's ability to adhere to your desires?

The bottom line is: Do you trust the person to act in your best interest, when you are unable to act for yourself?

When you select a person who you trust to be your agent, you will have the peace of mind that the plan you have put together will be executed in your best interest!

About Morris Hall:
At Morris Hall, we have focused our legal practice on estate planning for over 40 years. Along with estate planning, our attorneys help clients and their families with matters of probate, trust administration, wills, powers of attorney, business planning, succession planning, legacy planning, charitable gifting and other important legal aspects. We also have divisions in financial, real estate and accounting to help you incorporate all of your planning together, ensuring that everything works perfectly for your needs and situation. Our Arizona offices are located in Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, Tucson, Prescott, Flagstaff and Arrowhead. Our New Mexico offices are located in Albuquerque, Las Cruces and Santa Fe. Contact us today at 888.222.1328 to schedule an appointment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Contributed by Attorney James P. Plitz

If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy:

Essential Documents for Mental Disability Planning

Alzheimer's Disease - What Is It and What Can Be Done About It?

Plan for the Unexpected Today, for Tomorrow May Be Too Late

Terri Schiavo and the Need for a Living Will

Living Will - Why Every American Should Have One

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.

Alzheimer's Disease - What It Is and What Can Be Done About It

By | Life Care Consultants, Life Care Planning | No Comments

Alzheimer's disease is a progressive and degenerative disease which affects the brain, causing difficulties with memory, behavior and the gradual loss of multiple mental functions and abilities. It is estimated that as many as 5.1 million American's currently suffer from Alzheimer's disease, making it the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

The disease is the result of the destruction and death of nerve cells, causing memory failure, personality changes, problems carrying out daily activities and other symptoms. Biopsies of those who have died from Alzheimer's show amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles in the brain as well as the loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) - all of which explain the degeneration of the brain's capabilities to function properly during the course of Alzheimer's disease.

Common Signs and Symptoms

- Memory Loss

- Difficulties with language and communication

- Misplacing items

- Getting lost at familiar places or on familiar routes

- Personality changes and diminishing social skills

- Loss of interest in favorite hobbies and activities

- Difficulty with common and familiar tasks

- Poor judgment

- Difficulty with daily activities

Prevention and Treatment

So far, knowledge on the treatment, cause and prevention of Alzheimer's disease is very limited. Currently there is no cure and no definitive known cause. Generally treatments focus on attempting to slow the progression of the disease, manage behavior problems and symptoms such as confusion, sleep problems and agitation.

As there is no known cause, methods of prevention are highly speculative. It is always recommended that one eat healthy, exercise and avoid habits that negatively affect ones health in order to lesson the odds of later developing Alzheimer's. However, there is no concrete proof that these methods or any other methods will prevent the disease.

What to Do Now?

If you or a loved one are suffering from Alzheimer's, there are some important steps to take.

1. See your physician for an official diagnosis. Be sure to ask questions and get as much information as you can from your practitioner.

2. Make a plan for the future that entails who will serve as a caretaker; would in-home assistance or a nursing home be preferred; how to pay for care; who to designate for important legal, financial and healthcare decisions.

3. Get all legal affairs in order.

Getting Legal Affairs in Order

During the course of Alzheimer's, mental functioning continues to deteriorate, creating an ever increasing need for support and assistance. It is imperative that one or more persons are selected to handle financial, medical, healthcare and other important decisions on the behalf of the individual suffering from Alzheimer's.

Setting up a Power of Attorney (POA), Healthcare Power of Attorney (HPOA) a Living Will and a HIPAA document are imperative. For superior protection of a loved one and their assets, a living trust should also be created. These various documents are crucial for ensuring that your loved one is taken care of and that trustworthy individuals are legally designated to handle important affairs.

Morris Hall (MH) has focused on estate planning for forty years and can help guide you and your loved one in the direction that will best help you prepare for the road ahead. Our attorneys and our life care specialists can help you with everything from legal planning, financial assistance, help for caregivers, additional resources and more.

Find out more information and schedule a free consultation by calling 888.222.1328 or visiting us online at morristrust.com.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney in your community who can assess the specifics of your situation.