• Charlotte: +704.369.9977
  • Fort Mill: +803.594.4453
Consultation Request
Share

NC and SC Estate Planning and Elder Law Firm

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

The “Epidemic” of Insufficient Retirement Savings Among Baby Boomers


Will I have enough money to live on after I retire?

If you’re a Baby Boomer facing retirement and aren’t sure if you’ll have enough money to support yourself for the rest of your life once you stop working, you aren’t alone. In fact, even if you think you’ve planned well for retirement, you may have underestimated. No one likes to think about getting older, becoming disabled, or dying, but it’s imperative to have your financial and legal affairs in order before retiring.

Financial experts suggest that retirees will need to replace 70% of their pre-retirement income to live during their retirement. Retirement income sources may include savings, investments, 401(k)s, IRAs, social security benefits, pensions, etc.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Veterans Administration Inexplicably Cuts Benefits to Thousands in Need


In a dramatic and inexcusable case of administrative oversight, the Veterans Administration (VA) has allegedly suspended benefits for over 4,200 recipients in the past four years – all which were “presumed dead,” despite being very  much alive and well.

Late last year, a Florida lawmaker made an inquiry into the VA’s records, specifically seeking information on the number of terminations premised on “presumed demise.” The inquiry came after several of his constituents in the Tampa area complained about losing their benefits – and having to navigate a bureaucratic labyrinth to reinstate their rightful entitlements.

As a result of the inquiry, the VA revealed that over 1,000 terminations were occurring per year, all of which were erroneous. The highest number of errors occurred in 2015, 1,025 American veterans losing their monthly benefits after being wrongfully presumed dead.


Read more . . .


Thursday, June 16, 2016

How to Name a Trustee


What are the obligations of a trustee in managing an estate?

A well designed estate plan often requires putting a revocable trust in place which can help to avoid probate and specify how your beneficiaries will receive the assets. Once the trust is established, you will be named as the trustee so that you can continue to manage your assets during your lifetime. However, you will also need to designate a successor trustee who will be tasked with managing your financial affairs in the event you become incapacitated or distributing assets to your beneficiaries when pass away.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Using Estate Planning to Prepare for the Unimaginable: The Death of Your Spouse


Should you plan for a time when your spouse predeceases you?

You love your spouse so much that it causes you great pain to think about his or her death. But, this pain is nothing compared to the agony you will face should your spouse predecease you without an estate plan in place. Estate planning can make dealing with the death of a spouse significantly easier by limiting the stress that may come with being unfamiliar with the family finances and your spouse’s wishes. Here is how to being planning for the possibility that your spouse will die first.

It is most important to be organized when it comes to estate planning.


Read more . . .


Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Protect Yourself & Your Loved Ones from Elder Abuse


Have you ever seen the movie Happy Gilmore? It’s an Adam Sandler comedy about a wannabe hockey player that takes up professional golf in order to make enough money to save his beloved grandmother’s home from foreclosure. While Happy is out playing on the PGA tour, his grandma is placed in a nursing home with a manager that is verbally abusive, and runs a sweatshop in the arts and crafts room.

Elder abuse is such a taboo topic that the comical portrayal of it in Happy Gilmore is one of the only representations of it you will see in pop culture. It is a topic that is swept under the rug and ignored despite its growing frequency.

For example, last year alone, 21 people were convicted for scamming elderly North Carolina residents out of more than $91 million.


Read more . . .


Monday, May 16, 2016

Why Digital Assets Should Be Part of An Estate Plan


What happens to my social media accounts after I die?

Technological innovation is shaping many aspects of our lives as more of our affairs are conducted digitally. Through the widespread use of email and social media accounts, computer storage of digital pictures, online bank and investment accounts, many of us have acquired a portfolio digital assets. But what happens to these assets when we die?

Currently, there is no clear direction under the law in North and South Carolina regarding the legacy of digital assets. Elsewhere, only a handful of states have enacted laws concerning digital assets with respect to estate planning. In addition, the Uniform Law Commission, a group of attorneys across the U.


Read more . . .


Sunday, May 1, 2016

Shocking New Report on VA Benefits Makes National News, But Part of the Story is Missing


The New York Times has finally caught on to something we have known here in the Carolinas for quite some time - veterans are being denied benefits by the VA at an all-time high rate. This is a serious issue that is impacting a lot of young men and women from both North and South Carolina who bravely answered the call of duty after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

A Common Story

The Times article tells the story of Joshua Bunn, who was a rifleman in Afghanistan, but like so many recent vets, is being denied benefits by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Bunn, who the Times reports was suffering from suicidal thoughts and nightmares, went AWOL and after he was caught, agreed to take an other-than-honorable discharge from the Marine Corps because he was told he would be better off taking an other-than-honorable discharge than waiting years for a medical discharge to go through.

Unfortunately, because his discharge was not honorable, the VA does not consider him a veteran, and is denying him benefits.


Read more . . .


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Avoiding a Family Feud After Your Death


What steps can you take to decrease the risk that your loved ones will fight over your estate?

It happens all too often. A person dies and their children go to war over the estate. One claims she was promised the silver and another stakes a claim for an antique piece of furniture and things spiral out of control.


Read more . . .


Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Keep Your Beneficiary Designations Up to Date


When should I update my beneficiary designations?

A well-designed estate plan is one that considers the changes that occur during an individual's lifetime, such as getting married, having children, or getting divorced. In addition to keeping your estate planning documents, such as a trust, a will, and powers of attorney, up-to-date, it is also essential that the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts are current.

Reasons to Update Beneficiary Designations

Because retirement accounts and life insurance policies are generally not included in an estate, it is important to update these documents so they match your overall estate plan, ensuring that your last wishes are fulfilled. Of course, if you do not specify these designations, federal or state law will make their own determinations.

By failing to update these designations in the event of divorce or remarriage, there is the potential that your heirs will become entangled in a lengthy and expensive litigation, and the court's determination may not agree with your wishes.
Read more . . .


Monday, April 25, 2016

The Use of QTIP Trusts in Estate Planning Involving Second Marriages


How should you protect the division of your assets after a second marriage?

In this era of second (or even multiple) marriages, stepchildren, and blended families, QTIP (qualified terminable interest property trusts) are extremely helpful in estate planning. When you have married for the second time and have children from your first marriage, making sure that all of those you love will be provided for after your death becomes increasingly complicated. A QTIP trust accomplishes the following:

  • Allows you to put limitations on your property so it doesn't all go directly to your new spouse
  • If one spouse dies, it allows the surviving spouse to decide what proportion, if any, of the deceased's estate should be held in trust to maximize tax savings

The latter is particularly helpful since estate tax laws are in a continual state of flux.

How does a QTIP trust work?

It is possible for each spouse to set up a QTIP trust, leaving his or her assets to the other. When the first spouse dies, the other spouse receives a "life estate" in the QTIP trust.


Read more . . .


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Hybrid Long-Term Care Policies

How can I plan for long-term care?

Given the fact that people are living longer, the cost of medical coverage during their older years is a matter for individuals to consider as part of their estate planning. Long-term care for nursing home patients can cost as much as $90,000 per year, according to some estimates so long stays can easily deplete a retiree's estate.

What is a hybrid life insurance policy?

Many individuals have traditionally planned for long-term care by purchasing stand alone insurance policies. However, these plans are expensive and it is common for premium costs to rise. In response to these shortcomings, financial and estate planning professionals are informing their clients of a relatively new option -- hybrid policies. Hybrid policies are essentially universal life insurance policies or fixed annuities that are bundled with coverage for long-term care. These policies provide for medical care by retaining a certain amount of cash which can then be used to pay for long-term care benefits.

For example, in a well-designed hybrid life plan, an individual can pay a single premium of $100,000 and be entitled to $400,000 in payments for long-term care after a certain period. These products not only provide life insurance and long-term care funding, but can also be tapped for other reasons (depending on the circumstances) and passed on to heirs. However, most hybrid plans have "surrender periods" that put the money off limits for a certain number of years and impose a penalty if funds are withdrawn during that time.

Who Can Benefit from Hybrid Polices?

According to the insurance industry group Limra, sales of hybrid insurance products have risen dramatically since 2008 to more than $2.4 billion in 2015. Stand alone long-term policies, on the other hand, account for $300 million in annual sales. Moreover, the number of insurers offering hybrid products is limited because of higher costs associated with these policies.

Hybrid insurance is not for everyone, especially individuals who do not have large assets, because insurance companies get a lot of money upfront, which they hold onto and manage. The surrender fees are designed to make it difficult to withdraw funds. Some advisors recommend these policies for clients with half a million to $2 million dollars in assets. This is because individuals above this threshold may be able to self-fund their long-term care, while those who fall below that asset level may be able to "spend down" their assets in order to qualify for Medicaid.

In the final analysis, hybrid plans are complicated and, require the assistance of an attorney with expertise in estate planning and long-term care.


Archived Posts

2019
2018
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2017
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2016
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
January
2015
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2014
December
November
October
September
August
July
June
May
April
March
February
January
2013


Monk Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Charlotte, Rock Hill, Fort Mill and the surrounding areas.



© 2019 Monk Law Firm, PLLC | Disclaimer
1701 First Baxter Crossing, Suite 101, Fort Mill, SC 29708
| Phone: 803-594-4453
13315 Carowinds Blvd., Suite Q, Charlotte, NC 28273
| Phone: 704-369-9977

Estate Planning | Elder Law / Medicaid Planning | Guardianships | Probate / Estate Administration | Special Needs Planning | Veterans Benefits | Business Law | Business Succession Planning

Law Firm Website Design by
Zola Creative