Legal-Ease: What to do when facing a nursing home decision

When the time arises to make a decision about long-term healthcare, three steps should be taken. First, be sure that the family member facing care has an updated power of attorney and living will. Second, develop a financial plan with an attorney. Finally, work closely with the attorney regarding bills and asset transfers. 

Legal-Ease: Basic functioning of trusts

When reading about trusts, it makes sense to replace “trust” with “rulebook.” The trustee of a rulebook is the manager of assets that have been made subject to the rules in the trust. The owner of the assets subject to the rules in the trust is called the beneficiary. Trusts can have multiple beneficiaries or successor beneficiaries. For most trusts, there is no rule that the trustee and beneficiary must be different people. 

Legal-Ease: Plan and prepare, but don’t overdo it

While it’s difficult to warn against overpreparing, the issue with super-detailed planning is that any slight change in the situation can make the plan obsolete. The need to plan for our future should be balanced with the recognition that the future will be different from the present. 

Legal-Ease: Four planning frameworks

A good lawyer’s advice is important for good outcomes in life, business and death. There are four primary frameworks to begin to prepare for life changes. 

First, identify the special financial gifts you want to give upon your death. Second, percentages can be used to distribute assets. Third, specific assets can be earmarked for certain people. Finally, many people will mix and match the frameworks, so good organization is key. 

Legal-Ease: Caring for adult children with special needs

When children with intellectual and developmental disabilities become adults, unique challenges can present themselves.

If the adult with a disability is mentally competent as a matter of law, he or she may be able to sign powers of attorney that name family and friends as agents. If the adult is not legally competent mentally to sign powers of attorney, parents or other members of the family should undertake a formal guardianship proceeding.

Legal-Ease: More than one way to avoid probate

Contracts are typically enforceable in courts if they’re not honored. Generally, a property owner may have a contract that explains what happens to property when the property owner dies. Each properly prepared contract will provide oversight and enforceability in regards to property ownership changes. 

However, without a contract there is no oversight between the people involved in changing the property’s ownership. Without a contract, the court must provide oversight. 

Legal-Ease: Three tools to use five years before nursing home

Financial obligations for someone who needs to live in a nursing home or assisted living facility can be immense. Even in-home care can cost hundreds of dollars per day. 

The average time of a stay for a person in a nursing home is 835 days. That would translate to a total cost of $250,000, so for many people, it’s necessary to plan for the cost of long-term care. 

Typically, planning for long-term care expenses involves planning to become eligible for institutional Medicaid. 

Legal-Ease: Magic and miracles of Christmas

For Christians, celebrating Christmas can be a time to recognize the magic of the season. For example, people who have items on layaway for the Christmas season may discover that a stranger has anonymously paid their bill. They might feel like they experienced a miracle.

But to the person who paid the bill, it was just something they do every day. Magic or a miracle to one person might be a simple act to another person.

Similarly, we can make magic or miracles happen in our own lives by making the good decision to plan ahead.

Legal-Ease: Safety deposit box law in Ohio

Traditionally American families had a safety deposit box, often called a lockbox. Lockboxes were physical, metal-box drawers in locked vaults or at local banks. 

Many families kept important documents and heirlooms in their lockboxes. Families would also store some monetary proceeds in lockboxes with their important documents. 

Lockboxes were a major focus for taxing authorities in Ohio before 2013, when Ohio still had an estate tax. As a result, Ohio law dictated a process for opening lockboxes when its owner died.