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.

 

What happens to you if something happens to your attorney?

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By Kathy Cooper

How many attorneys work in your attorney’s law firm?

We see many clients who are left in the lurch when their attorney gets out of the law business due to death, disability or retirement. Your attorney may have a plan to sell their business to another attorney. How do you know if you will click with this new attorney? Do they have the experience you expect? Worse yet, your attorney may have no plan at all. Where does that leave you?

At Cooper, Adel & Associates, we have had a succession plan for several years. We believe that it is your right to have the peace of mind that comes with a firm that has a plan to support you in the future. We know – and you have the opportunity to know – who you will be dealing with in the future. You can meet them now – it won’t be a surprise if something happens to Thom or Mitch so that they are unable to continue working on your case.

So, don’t worry, we won’t leave you in the lurch. We have a plan to be here for your future.

 

What is a TOD deed?

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By Tricia Applegate

Using a transfer-on-death deed is a lot like using a payable-on-death (POD) designation for a bank account. You name one or more beneficiaries now, who then inherit the property at your death without the need for probate court proceedings.

To name a beneficiary, you use a special kind of deed, one that’s tailored to the law of your state. The deed looks pretty much like any other real estate deed; it names the current owner, describes the property exactly, and names the person the property will be transferred to at your death. But a TOD deed contains an additional statement, making it clear that the deed does not take effect until the current owner’s death.

The beneficiary you name to inherit the property doesn’t have any legal right to it until your death—or, if you own the property with your spouse or someone else, until the last surviving owner dies. The beneficiary doesn’t have to sign, acknowledge, or even be told about the deed.


In the deed, you can also name an contingent beneficiary who will inherit the real estate if your first choice isn’t alive at your death. If you don’t name an alternate, and your first choice doesn’t survive you, state law determines who will inherit the property – usually this requires a probate proceeding.
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Hearing Aids – There’s an App for That

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By Kathy Cooper

Do you have a loved one who is suffering from a hearing loss? A recent New York Times article discusses the benefits of new hearing aids that are almost invisible and adjust to your surroundings, making your hearing even better than normal hearing. The controls are in your iPhone. They are not cheap, but they do have the benefit of keeping your or your loved one engaged in life. Thom’s grandmother suffered from a hearing loss that worsened as she aged. The problem was that she would not use her hearing aids. They were hard to use and big. She just did not like them. Unfortunately, it also meant she was more and more isolated. It is a shame to have our loved ones withdraw when there is a simple an effective way to help them rejoin the world — spread the word!

 

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Interesting Times at Cooper & Adel

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By Angela Hall

In my seven years of working for Cooper, Adel and Associates, I have met a variety of interesting people. I have been given the opportunity to meet and work with clients who have led very interesting lives – from the woman who was attacked by a dolphin, to the couple who travelled Ohio selling homemade ice cream. The thing I enjoy most about my job is getting to know my clients beyond the business part of what we do here. It’s always a learning experience for me as well.

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Are Veteran’s Benefits Available To Those Who Served But Not In a Combat Zone?

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JM Megail Gaumer

The answer is YES!

Few veterans take advantage of the Veteran’s Administration Aid & Attendance Benefit, often referred to as A&A benefits. This program can provide benefits to the Veteran or their surviving spouse of up to $2,085 per month to pay for expenses such as, long-term care, assisted living or even in home care. [Read more…]