Steamboat Lawyers Blog

4 Financial Gifts Still Worth Giving


Valentine's Day may come to an end but we have put together 4 financial gifts that are still worth while to gift the one you love.

1. A Couple's Financial Consultation

In some instances, deciding you and your significant other need professional help isn't a good sign. In this case, getting professional help from a financial planner may be exactly the opposite. Scheduling a consultation with a financial planner and advisor you can make sure that both of you are involved in financial decision-making, and that you are on the same page when it comes to your bigger goals and how you'll reach them.

2. A Life Insurance Policy

Ensuring that your partner is taken care of in the event that something happens to you-and vice versa-offers the gift of peace of mind.

Life insurance is especially important if you have minor children or believe that meeting monthly expenses without your contribution of income may become an issue.

3. A Will

Your death or the death of your spouse isn't the most romantic dinner date topic. Creating a will is extremely important and being proactive about crafting a will can ensure that your money and belongings are distributed to the people you love.

Especially for those who are unmarried, making a will is all the more important. The laws in Colorado controlling the succession of your assets don't take into consideration cohabitation or domestic partners.

4. A Beneficiary Designation

Even if you've named your spouse or significant other in a will, you're not off the hook with important paperwork. You still need to name your significant other as a beneficiary to your retirement plans, financial accounts, trusts, and, obviously, life insurance policies. A beneficiary designation will supersede anything written in a will with respect to the asset with the designation - so it is important to establish that your designations actually provide for the individual that you intended to receive that asset.

Long Term Care Issues


The Commission on Long-Term Care was established under American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 in early 2013.

The Commission was tasked with developing a plan "for the establishment, implementation, and financing of a comprehensive, coordinated, and high-quality system that ensures the availability of long-term services and supports for individuals in need of such services and supports, including elderly individuals, individuals with substantial cognitive or functional limitations, other individuals who require assistance to perform activities of daily living, and individuals desiring to plan for future long-term care needs."

The Commission was to, within 6 months of the appointment of Commissioners, (by September 12, 2013) vote "on a comprehensive and detailed report based on the long-term care plan... [described above]... that contains any recommendations or proposals for legislative or administrative action as the Commission deems appropriate, including proposed legislative language to carry out the recommendations or proposals."

The Commission issued a report and made the following findings:


  • Proposed an improved focus on quality across settings of LTSS - with particular attention to home and community-based services. It suggested the promotion of services for persons with functional limitations in the least restrictive setting appropriate to their needs - building a system, including Medicaid, with options for people who would prefer to live in the community.
  • Advocated for new models of public payment that pay for post-acute and long-term services and supports on the basis of the service rather than the setting.
  • Suggested integration of LTSS with health care services in a person- and family-centered approach.
  • Proposed non-specific improvements in the working conditions for care workers.


For information check out NAELA.

Special Needs Trust Fairness Act Details: What Does the Law Say?


Information From the Sponsors of the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act:

What's the Problem?

  • Current law assumes a person with disabilities lacks the requisite mental capacity to enter into a contract.
  • An individual with disabilities who has the requisite mental capacity is not legally allowed to create his or her own (d)(4)(A) trust.
  • An individual with disabilities who has the requisite mental capacity is legally allowed to create his or her own (d)(4)(C) trust.
  • (d)(4)(A) trusts and (d)(4)(C) trusts are both exempt trusts under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 (OBRA '93) and there should be no difference in who can create such a trust.
  • The disparity in the law creates an equality/fairness issue.


One should have the right to contract if one has the requisite legal capacity.

What are Supplemental Needs Trusts?
  • Congress officially recognized the use of Supplemental Needs Trusts (sometimes called Special Needs Trusts) "SNTs" in OBRA '93.
  • SNTs allow assets to be held in a trust for an individual with disabilities.
  • These assets in SNTs are not considered countable assets for purposes of Medicaid or SSI - it therefore protects against risk of complete impoverishment.
  • (d)(4)(A) trusts can be used to supplement daily living expenses and care when government benefits alone are insufficient to provide for private, rehabilitative care


What Does the Law Say?

  • Individuals with disabilities are treated differently when creating a (d)(4)(A) trust and a (d)(4)(C) trust.
  • USC §1396p(d)(4)(A): the trust must be established by a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of the individual, or a court.
  • The individual cannot create his or her own (d)(4)(A) trust even if he or she is mentally competent.
  • USC §1396p(d)(4)(C): the trust must be established by a parent, grandparent, legal guardian of such individual, the individual, or a court.


Reason for the Disparity

  • There appears to be no apparent reason why "by the individual" was left out, but it could be a legislative drafting error during the writing of OBRA '93.


Inequity this Mistake Creates

  • This omission has created a presumption that a disabled individual lacks the requisite mental capacity to create his or her own (d)(4)(A) trust.

  • Not all individuals are lucky enough to have a living and willing parent or grandparent to create their (d)(4)(A) trusts..


Having to petition the court results in unnecessary legal costs for the individual with disabilities and a significant amount of time spent in petitioning the court.

Example: 62 year old client who was a victim of medical malpractice. She is paralyzed and is living in a nursing home that charges more than $100,000 per year for her care. She was a key witness in her own lawsuit and has the mental capacity to create a trust. She is legally prohibited from creating her own (d)(4)(A) trust and must petition the court to authorize the trust because she does not have a living parent or grandparent.

Unnecessary expenditure of money in legal fees and court costs (depending on location, approximately $1,500) and time spent.

In some cases, if the individual does not have the funds to hire a lawyer, then said individual loses his access to necessary government benefits.


October is Special Needs Law Month


The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA) established October as National Special Needs Law Month in an effort to educate people about legal options in dealing with guardianship and conservatorship, Medicare, Medicaid, and other important elder law issues. Read More Here: Elder Law Weblog

Introduction to Steamboat Lawyers Group PLLC


Steamboat Lawyers Group is a dynamic new law firm in Steamboat Springs, Colorado serving all of Routt County, Moffat County, Jackson County, Grand County and other surrounding areas. Steamboat Lawyers Group is comprised of Sherri Sweers, Janne Siegel, Jason Lacy and Anne Zoltani. Sherri, Janne, Jason, and Anne are hardworking, passionate, driven attorneys who have joined forces to open their own law firm! As partners in Steamboat Lawyers Group, Sherri, Janne, Jason, and Anne are determined to make their firm different in the Yampa Valley by treating their clients with value and responsibility. They care about their clients, and the situation that has brought him/ her to seek legal counsel. The firm brings over 35 years combined legal experience to the table. The areas of law that Steamboat Lawyers Group primarily focuses on the following practice areas:


Natural Resources

  • oil and gas
  • mineral rights
  • water rights
  • intestate-succession


Real Estate

  • contract review
  • real estate purchase/ sale
  • Home Owners Association (HOA)
  • general real estate and land matters
  • foreclosure
  • short sale
  • deeds in lieu


Business

  • Employment issues
  • contracts
  • general business law
  • company formation
  • limited liability company (LLC)
  • Corporation (C and S)
  • company dissolution
  • litigation


Estate Planning

  • will
  • trust
  • medical power of attorney
  • durable power of attorney
  • living wills


Probate

Banking


Steamboat Lawyers Group understands and respects their clients needs regardless of the issue. These attorneys strive to make quality legal assistance affordable, and as stress free as possible! When it comes to communication with their clients, Sherri, Jason, Anne and Janne are open and honest about every step they will take on your behalf. They strive to ensure their clients understand their legal options and the costs of pursuing those options. Steamboat Lawyers Group makes recommendations that work with their clients' goals, both from a legal outcome and cost standpoint. They view relationships with clients as a team, and believe that maintaining honest communication is critical to the success of any team. There will never be any hidden costs, and they keep clients updated on fees and costs throughout their course of representation. Steamboat Lawyers Group is happy to serve as attorneys for all of Colorado as well as Wyoming, and Arkansas, but they pride themselves in local representation in the Yampa Valley.