SCAM ALERT: Phone Scam Alleging Association with USDA Farm Service Agency

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It has been brought to the attention of USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) that a phone scam is being perpetrated on FSA customers.

The caller, who identifies themselves as a Farm Loan Services representative out of Washington, D.C. states that FSA “owes” you disaster assistance funds and proceeds to request your checking account information or requests a credit card number alleging that funds will be credited to these accounts.

SHOULD YOU RECEIVE A SIMILAR CALL, DO NOT, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, PROVIDE PERSONAL OR FINANCIAL INFORMATION TO THE CALLER. 

D-Day plus 70 years

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By Attorney Ted Brown

Today marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, Known as “D-Day” it marked the beginning of the Allied invasion of Europe during World War II. The invasion remains the single largest military operation in the history of the world and was undertaken not for the purpose of conquest but rather to liberate an entire continent from the oppression and terror of Nazi control. The message “Ike” shared with his forces the night before the invasion says it best:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force! You are about to embark upon a great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you.The hopes and prayers of liberty loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers in arms on other fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

-General Dwight D. Eisenhower, June 5th 1944

Ohio On The Verge of Marriage Equality? Maybe

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By Attorney Keith Stevens

Last year, Judge Timothy S. Black of the Southern District Court of Ohio (the federal trial court) ruled that Ohio must recognize a validly-performed out-of-state same sex marriage and list the name of a deceased man’s husband on his death certificate as his spouse. Obergefell v. Wymyslo, 962 F. Supp. 2d 968 (S.D. Ohio 2013). The holding was specific to that couple and did not apply to Ohio’s statutory and constitutional prohibitions on same-sex marriage as a whole. [Read more...]

New Data Shows Impact on Obamacare Cuts to Medicare Advantage

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By: Attorney Nathan Simpson

New data has been released showing the effects that the Affordable Care Act’s cuts to the Medicare Advantage Program will have on American seniors. In Ohio, we are expecting to see a $55-$65 decrease in benefits or premium reduction each month for members of the Medicare Advantage program. This is just the first of many negative impacts that the Affordable Care Act could have on Ohio Seniors.

For a more detailed breakdown of how the Affordable Care Act will affect Ohio and other states, see the following link: http://www.ahipcoverage.com/2014/03/11/new-state-by-state-data-show-impact-on-seniors-of-proposed-cuts-to-medicare-advantage/.

If you would like to learn more about how the Affordable Care Act and the rising cost of long term care may affect your estate plan, please call an Ohio Elder Law Attorney today.

 

Why A Trust Needs to Be Funded

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By Bethany Smith

Your trust has been signed so everything is now probated-protected and can be put in the drawer and forgotten – correct? False. This is one of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to the creation of a trust. A signed trust serves no purpose if there are no assets funded to it.When we talking about funding a trust what does that mean? Funding a trust involves retitling assets to the name of the trust in order to avoid probate. For example if a checking account is held in a your individual name with no beneficiaries identified, then it will have to go through the time consuming and sometimes expensive process of being probated with the court. However if the same account has been titled to your trust, then it will avoid probate and follow the distribution you set up in your trust.

Therefore if you have a trust it is important to remember when it comes to funding your trust is to properly title new assets to your trust so they are also protected from probate.

Leaving Money to Minors

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By Attorney Dan Vu

If you are a parent or a grandparent of a minor, and you wish to leave money to the minor, there are a few things you need to consider. First, a minor cannot manage their own inheritance. They will need a custodian or guardian appointed. If you have not chosen one, when the time comes, the courts will choose one for you. But like anything that goes through the court system, there are problems: you will likely end up paying a significant amount of attorney’s fees, and of course, the court-appointed guardian could end up being someone you would never have chosen. So if you wish to leave something to a minor, make sure you appoint the custodian that will manage the inheritance until the minor is of age. [Read more...]

If my mom is making really bad financial decisions, should I have her declared incompetent?

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By: Attorney Nathan Simpson

This is a questions that comes up routinely in the course of my practice. Many children feel that the best course of action is to have a parent placed under guardianship. While in many situations this is necessary, it is a drastic step that should not be taken lightly. Guardianship proceedings place your parent under the care of a court, which means that even if you are appointed as guardian, a judge will look over every decision that you make. Additionally, court records open you and your family up to public scrutiny.

Often, the best course of action is to talk to your parent. Through use of a power of attorney, you can manage your parent’s finances without court intervention. A properly written power of attorney will allow you to do everything that your parent can do with regard to property and bank accounts, while keeping your parent’s finances private.

While there may be times when a guardianship is necessary, talked to an experienced elder law attorney before making any decisions.

Why Does the VA Sometime Require A Fiduciary and What Does This Mean?

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By Steve Wright

Whenever the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) approves a claim for pension benefits, they send a letter called an award letter. Occasionally, in this letter, the VA will also propose to appoint a fiduciary for the pension funds. This usually occurs when medical evidence submitted with the application indicates or suggest that the applicant has some form of diminished mental capacity.

But, what exactly is a fiduciary? A fiduciary is someone the VA appoints to receive and use the VA pension funds on your behalf. The VA will give you the opportunity to choose who this person will be. You can even choose to appoint your spouse. However, the VA does not make it very clear to you that you may choose who this person will be, and if you do not indicate your wishes to the VA in a reasonable time, than the VA will appoint a third-party as your fiduciary. Usually this third party is a person employed by the VA.

If a third party is appointed, then you could face hardships such as unreasonable delays in receiving your much needed pension funds. That is why in all matters relating to your VA claim and overall estate plan, it is critical that you seek professional help before you unknowingly give up a valuable right.

The attorneys at Cooper, Adel & Associates are VA accredited attorneys who believe in helping Ohio’s veterans navigate through the complex and difficult VA process. We invite you to call our office for your free consultation.

Who Can Represent Mom in a Nursing Home Situation?

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By Jess LoPiccolo

There are a few different answers to this commonly-asked question. When it comes to admitting a loved one into a nursing home, the power of attorney normally has the authority to do that. You must read the actual document to make sure that the power of attorney is authorized to do so, however. Further, it is important that the power of attorney sign any documents as power of attorney. Signing under your name, rather than as power of attorney for Mom, can make you responsible for Mom’s bill!

When it comes to applying for Medicaid for an individual that is in the nursing home, you can represent your loved one, but you may find it best to go with a professional who has experience in making these applications. Consider working with an experienced elder law attorney to represent your loved one. Here at Cooper and Adel, we have a team dedicated to nursing home planning and Medicaid. Please give us a call for a free consultation to learn more about what we do.

 

The History of Memorial Day

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By Attorney Ted Brown

Today Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season and a long weekend to relax or travel with friends and family. However, as you are enjoying your family road trip or backyard cook-out, I urge you to take a moment to remember the original meaning of Memorial Day.

Originally known as “Decoration Day”, the first observance was held on May 5, 1868 to honor the hundreds of thousand of soldiers who fought and died to preserve the Union. The holiday was first established the Grand Army of the Republic, an organization of Union Veterans, to decorate the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers. The month of May was chosen since flowers were in bloom across the country and would remain for the remainder of the summer.

Decoration Day was became known as Memorial Day in 1882 but was not made an official government holiday until 1967. In 1968, Memorial Day was moved to the last Monday in May, creating the three-day weekend we know today.

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is working to get our veterans the VA benefits they rightfully deserve.