Calling all Generous Gift-Givers!

Calling all generous gift-givers!

Are you considering gifting cash, stocks, or property to loved ones this holiday season?  If so, then you’ll definitely want to know that the annual gift tax exclusion for 2018 is rising from $14,000 (where it has been for the past five years) to $15,000.

This means that anyone who gives away $15,000 or less to anyone other than their spouse doesn’t have to report the gift or gifts to the IRS (though you’ll still have to file a gift tax return).

With the increase in the gift tax, the amount you can give to an ABLE account. (INvestABLE Indiana) is also increasing to $15,000. ABLE accounts allow people with disabilities and their families to save money in designated accounts for disability related expenses without jeopardizing their eligibility for Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and other government benefits.

There are so many ways to create a legacy of generosity.

Let us know if we can help.


 

News/Community Involvement

As an extension of her law practice, Stasia regularly performs at musical events benefitting local organizations who support elders and individuals with special needs.

“Pam’s Party: A Joy’s House Open House” will be held on the evening of Thursday, July 27th @ 6:30pm at Joy’s House in Broad Ripple Village. It’s a celebration to honor caregivers and Guest/potential new Guests.

This open house is free to attend, but you may wish to bring cash for supper and activities, which will be available for purchase.

Hope to see you there!

 

Signed, Sealed Delivered-the Future of Executing Estate Planning Documents

Signed, sealed, and delivered.

One of our wonderful clients just presented us with a new sushi pen for our ever-expanding collection when he signed his estate planning documents this week.

Signed,Sealed,Delivered

But will we always need our fancy and fun pens for this job? Maybe not.

The Indiana Legislature is currently considering a bill that would allow the electronic signature of estate planning documents.

This bill is the topic of hot debate at the moment. Online legal providers such as LegalZoom are focusing on the convenience aspect.

Other practitioners (us included) see some potential benefits, but are concerned with the very real possibility of undue influence and potential difficulties with ensuring proper and personalized drafting/witnessing/execution of documents, especially for our most vulnerable clients..

What do you think of electronic execution of estate planning documents? Opportunity? Headache? Or both?

March is Disability Awareness Month

Did you know that slightly more than 19 percent of Indiana’s population is represented by adults and kids with disabilities?

March is Disability Awareness Month in Indiana and we’re especially appreciative of this year’s campaign theme- “I’m Not Your Inspiration.”

Often, people with disabilities who are successful, athletic, employed, or simply good neighbors are put in the spotlight as inspiration to others.   This year’s campaign theme emphasizes that people with disabilities are people first-people who want to be fully included in their communities, just like everyone else.

You can learn more about Disability Awareness Month here.

Questions about planning for your loved one with disabilities?

We can help.

disability awareness month

Calling all Collectors!

Stamps.  Snow globes.  Clocks.

Many of our estate planning clients collect all sorts of curious and wonderful things!

We have worked with clients to make gifts of antique train sets, beloved comic books, or artwork.

Some of these items have significant monetary value or are historical artifacts that eventually end up in museum collections.  Others are priceless because of the stories and sentimental value behind them.

What is precious to you?  How can we help you to create a legacy of generosity?

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The Wisdom of the Aged (and why we love what we do.)

One of the best things about elder law is that it gives us the opportunity to forge relationships (and learn valuable lessons) from some very wise elders.

While some of our conversations do center around planning for the eventuality of illness, death, or loss, an equal amount of time is often devoted to the legacies of love, connection, accomplishment, and meaning.

We learn so much in the process of helping.

We love this quote from this recent New York Times article:

” A paradox of old age is that older people have a greater sense of well-being than younger ones — not because they’re unreservedly blissful, but because they accept a mixture of happiness and sadness in their lives, and leverage this mixture when events come their way. They waste less time on anger, stress and worry.”

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Speaking of Grief . . .

Much of our practice is devoted to elder care planning, estate planning, probate, and guardianships.  This means that we are regularly invited into tender conversations about transitions, grief, and loss.

We are well-equipped to help with the legal implications that accompany these transitions.  But we are also grateful to be able to offer other resources to families.

Have you ever wondered what to say to a person who is grieving?

Therapist, Brooke Randolph, LMHC, recently shared this blog post with us, which offers some practical insights into ways that you can support a friend or loved one who is grieving.

No one is intended to navigate these types of hardships alone and, while a team of loved ones might provide emotional and spiritual support and nourishment, a thoughtfully assembled group of professionals can help too.

Showing up for a friend who is grieving is vitally important, even if you’re not quite sure what to say.

grief

 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Here’s to eating clean, moving more, being more intentional with time, and getting those little ducks in a row.

We usually get a deluge of estate planning inquiries in January as people make good on those resolutions.

Let us know if we can help.

happy new year

A Voice for the Vulnerable

Do you have an elder family member, loved one, or neighbor who is struggling with managing their home, finances, or personal care?

Almost all of us know someone who is vulnerable in this way.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, together with the Securities and Exchange Commission, has issued a consumer advisory and investor bulletin to help you plan for your own future and to provide tips on helping older loved ones who may need help managing their money.     You can read more about it here:

http://www.consumerfinance.gov/blog/planning-for-financial-decisions-as-you-age/

Check out the blog and the advisory to learn tips on getting your documents in order and watching out for financial exploitation. It also has many suggestions on ways to help your elder relatives and friends with their finances. Working together across generations can help our elder neighbors have a safe and secure financial future.

We can all be voices for the vulnerable

Tools of the Trade

One of our clients is an accomplished visual artist. His tools are paint, canvas, brushes, and perspective.Today, we are drafting bequests in an estate plan. We are searching for just the right language to best accomplish our client’s creative and generous intentions.

Words and nuance are our tools.

And this wonderful quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes reminds us that there is artistry in this too!

“A word is not a crystal, transparent and unchanged; it is the skin of a living thought and may vary greatly in color and content according to the circumstances and time in which it is used.”

Tools of the Trade