Category: Ask Rob

May 9, 2018 admin

What things should be taken into consideration when hiring a financial advisor? Fees: Some charge an hourly fee, some charge a fee based on percentage of assets under management, some get paid commissions for products they sell. Only you can determine which is right for you or whether you feel a particular mode of compensation…

April 6, 2018 admin

While the execution of wills requires formalities like witnesses and a notary, the reality is that much property passes to heirs through other means that often lack the protections of a properly drafted will or trust.   Many bank and investments accounts, as well as real estate, have joint owners who take ownership automatically at…

January 23, 2018 admin

Difficult Assets in Estates or Guardianships Oftentimes when I am assisting a family in estates or with guardianships I often find that the decedent/incapacitated person owned unique or troublesome assets.   Difficult Assets in Estates or Guardianship Include: Timeshares: These are almost impossible to sell once they are issued. If they are premier companies with premier…

January 15, 2018 admin

What is a Special Needs Trust? A Special Needs Trust is a trust, authorized under federal law, that holds the funds of a disabled beneficiary and allows the beneficiary to qualify for means tested public benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Were those same assets owned directly by the disabled person, they would…

January 10, 2018 admin

Understand Decisional Capacity: Be aware that capacity is not an all-or-nothing thing. A family member may have some capacities at some times but are gradually losing others. Financial capacity and financial judgment often decline before other functions. So it is important to get help to evaluate capacity. It will help give you a clearer picture…

December 26, 2017 admin

Interested in Learning the New Tax Brackets? 1. Standard Deduction: The new tax law changes the standard deduction to $12,000 on single returns, $18,000 for head-of-household filers and $24,000 on joint returns … up from $6,350, $9,350 and $12,700 in 2017.  Individuals age 65 or older and blind people get even higher standard deductions. Two…

February 15, 2016 admin

Who Has Standing to Challenge the Actions of an Agent Under a Power of Attorney? This question is often asked to me when someone is concerned about abuse of an older adult who no longer has the ability to advocate for him or herself. The answer depends largely on whether or not the grantor of…

December 15, 2015 admin

Q: Rob, should I use one of those online legal services to do my estate planning documents? A:  Today, you can learn almost anything online. There are TV channels, websites, apps, programs and old fashioned classes devoted to DIY (Do It Yourself). LegalZoom and Rocket Lawyer, among other online services, attempt to streamline the process…

October 27, 2015 admin

Q: What is the Legal Significance of Scores in Mental Status Exams? A:  In a recent decision in a complicated and long-running guardianship case, an appellate court in Illinois highlights the tricky issue of how should courts value scores given by evaluators on mental status exams in guardianship cases. The opinion in Estate of Koenen, issued…

October 12, 2015 admin

Q  Do I still need life insurance after my kids are out of the house? A  The need for life insurance is very different depending upon your circumstances and so are the types of life insurance to fill those needs. The issue of needing life insurance is a long and drawn out analysis, however, the following…