Nursing Home Arbitration Agreement May Not Be Enforceable

NOVEMBER 17, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 42 If you have recently signed a family member (or a friend, or yourself) into a nursing home or other care facility, you probably have been presented with an agreement to submit all disputes to arbitration. Such provisions are very popular among the facilities themselves, though most individuals who […]

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Medicare Eligibility at 65: What You Need to Know

NOVEMBER 10, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 41 Almost ten thousand Americans turned 65 today. Almost all of them will be eligible for Medicare coverage. Those who are new to Medicare will need to make some decisions about whether to sign up for Part B, what to do about Part D, whether to choose Medicare Advantage […]

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The Developing Law of Trust Decanting

NOVEMBER 3, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 40 We first wrote about trust “decanting” in this space three years ago. Since then we’ve had occasion to revisit the topic a handful of times — most recently about six weeks ago when we wrote about modifying trusts that no longer seemed to make as much sense, since […]

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Lawyer Has Responsibility to Monitor Conservatorship Administration

OCTOBER 27, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 39 Guardianship (of the person) and conservatorship (of the estate) cases pose special problems for lawyers. Usually, a lawyer involved in such a case will have responsibilities to several different persons. To name three obvious choices, the lawyer will have duties to: the guardian or conservator the lawyer represents; […]

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Even Lawyers Can Have Trouble Recognizing Undue Influence

OCTOBER 20, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 38 We often say that experienced lawyers can be pretty good at judging the competence of a client to make a will, sign a power of attorney or execute other documents. We (collectively) probably make better witnesses on those questions than even the doctors and medical staff attending to […]

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Advice for Trustees: When to Make a Requested Distribution

OCTOBER 13, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 37 Let’s imagine that you are the trustee of an irrevocable trust, and you are considering making a distribution from the trust. Perhaps the distribution has been requested by a beneficiary, or a family member. How do you make your decision? There is surprisingly little written direction for trustees. […]

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DIY Wills — Another Example Showing Why You Should Hire a Lawyer

OCTOBER 6, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 36 We occasionally relate stories about people who have prepared their own wills without the help of competent professional advisers (like, for a primary example, a qualified attorney). When we do, we intend to make several points: The cost of getting a lawyer to prepare your will (and trust, […]

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How Increased Estate Tax Exemptions Affect Existing Trusts

SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 35 A lot has changed in American estate planning in the last decade (as you may have already heard). Estate tax thresholds have increased to (as of 2014) $5.34 million. On top of that figure, there is a relatively new concept of “portability” of the estate tax exemption, so […]

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Managing Your Digital Assets With an Eye on Mortality

SEPTEMBER 22, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 34 For a while it was just an interesting academic problem: what would happen to your Facebook page, your Instagram photos, and your Pinterest collection if you died? And what about your e-mail account(s), your shopping login information and the passwords for all of those different online arrangements? It […]

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Arizona Guardianship and Mental Health Treatment

SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 VOLUME 21 NUMBER 33 A guardian (of the person) is often said to have all the powers over her ward that a parent would have regarding a minor child. In other words, if the court appoints you as guardian over your mother or father, you have (at least in a legal sense) […]

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