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Why Everyone Should Have an Estate Plan

Lavelle & Finn


Do you have a will? A durable power of attorney? A health care proxy? If so, no reason to read on. If not, why not? Failure to create an estate plan risks causing discord in your family for generations to come. The following are four often stated reasons for not having an estate plan: Just […]

Passing Assets to Grandchildren Through a Generation-Skipping Trust

Lavelle & Finn


Passing assets to your grandchildren can be a great way to ensure their future is provided for, and a generation-skipping trust can help you accomplish this goal while reducing estate taxes and also providing for your children.   A generation-skipping trust allows you to “skip” over the generation directly below you and pass your assets […]

What Is a Directed Trust and What Are Its Benefits?

Lavelle & Finn


Directed trusts can be a useful estate planning tool, allowing you to place your family’s assets in a trust but benefit from the expertise of an advisor who knows more about the handling of certain trust functions than you may.  The benefit of a directed trust is it allows you to retain control while appointing […]

What Happens to Your Online Content When You Die?

Lavelle & Finn


More and more of the music, movies, and books we own exist only online, in digital form. What happens to these collections after the owner dies? Surprisingly, while you may want your heirs to have access to the books, music and films that you loved, without a physical copy these items cannot be easily passed […]

The Need for Medicaid Planning

Lavelle & Finn


One of the greatest fears of older Americans is that they may end up in a nursing home. This not only means a great loss of personal autonomy, but also a tremendous financial price. Careful planning can help ease the financial burden. Depending on location and level of care, nursing homes cost between $40,000 and […]

How You Can End Up in Medicare’s Donut Hole, and How You Get Out

Lavelle & Finn


Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plans can have a coverage gap—called the “donut hole”–which limits how much Medicare will pay for your drugs until you pay a certain amount out of pocket. Although the gap has gotten much smaller since Medicare Part D was introduced in 2006, there still may be a difference in what you […]

Thousands of Elderly and Disabled SSI Recipients Accused of Owning Property That Isn’t Theirs

Lavelle & Finn


In December 2018, the Social Security Administration (SSA) had a nasty surprise for Laura Marshall (not her real name), a 74-year-old woman just scraping by while living in senior citizen housing in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood: The agency demanded that she repay more than $10,000 in benefits, claiming that she owned two properties — […]

Dual Eligibility: How Qualifying for Both Medicare and Medicaid Can Help With Costs

Lavelle & Finn


Qualifying for Medicare hardly means free health care — there are still premiums and deductibles. However, people who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid (called “dual eligibility”) receive help paying their out-of-pocket costs.  Medicare is a federal program available to anyone 65 or older. It consists of four major parts, each of which have premiums […]

Court Case Illustrates the Danger of Using an Online Power of Attorney Form

Lavelle & Finn


A recent court case involving a power of attorney demonstrates the problem with using online estate planning forms instead of hiring an attorney who can make sure your documents are tailored to your needs.   Mercedes Goosley owned a home in Pennsylvania. In 2013, she named one of her six children, Joseph, as her agent […]

How an Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Can Be Used to Avoid or Reduce the Estate Tax

Lavelle & Finn


With the federal estate tax exemption possibly about to be lowered, it may be time to think about steps you can take to keep your estate from being taxed. An irrevocable life insurance trust allows you to pass on money to your heirs while avoiding both the federal estate tax, as well as any applicable […]