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Live Webinar December 11th at 6pm! Now is the time to protect and plan!
Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe.

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 11th at 6pm

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 11th at 6pm

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 11th at 6pm

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about.

Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to
Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

December 4, 2022
Live Webinar December 10th at 10am! Now is the time to protect and plan!
Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe.

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 10th at 10am

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 10th at 10am

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 10th at 10am

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about.

Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to
Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

December 3, 2022
Live Webinar December 7th at 6pm! Now is the time to protect and plan!
Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe.

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 7th at 6pm

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 7th at 6pm

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 7th at 6pm

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about.

Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to
Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

December 1, 2022
Live Webinar December 6th at 10am! Now is the time to protect and plan!
Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe.

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 6th at 10am

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 6th at 10am

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 6th at 10am

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about.

Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to
Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

November 29, 2022
D4C Pooled Special Needs Trusts
A special needs trust is created to prevent a person who received government benefits due to a disability from losing the eligibility to continue receiving those benefits due to owning assets in excess of the qualifying requirements. A D4C Pooled Special Needs Trust allows a nonprofit organization to “pool” the funds from several beneficiaries under one Master Trust Document pre-approved by Social Security and Medicaid.

A special needs trust is created to prevent a person who received government benefits due to a disability from losing the eligibility to continue receiving those benefits due to owning assets in excess of the qualifying requirements. A D4C Pooled Special Needs Trust allows a nonprofit organization to “pool” the funds from several beneficiaries under one Master Trust Document pre-approved by Social Security and Medicaid. The purpose behind pooling these funds is to invest the assets for everyone’s ultimate benefit.

Who May Join?

Any person of any age with a disability:

- Who is currently receiving public benefits or may receive benefits in the future, AND

- Has received a lump sum of money (usually through either an inheritance or a personal injury settlement) AND

- Would like the benefit of having those funds invested and managed by a nonprofit organization.

The assets in the D4C pooled trust must be used in a supplemental manner. The purpose is not to replace government benefits but to provide supplementary income. A trust that is deemed special needs cannot provide food or shelter, that includes basic utilities such as gas, water and electricity. Utilities such as telephone and cable service are not considered basic and therefore can be paid out of the SNT.

All purchases made with SNT assets must be only for the beneficiary. For example, the assets may be used to purchase and maintain a vehicle, but only if it is used for the beneficiary. Personal use by the beneficiary is required.

Travel expenses, including a companion, can be paid out of a SNT, which may include travel, accommodation and meals.

Trustee Discretion

Sole and absolute discretion for distributions made from the SNT to the beneficiary reside solely with the trustee. The beneficiary cannot compel distribution from the trust. The beneficiary can request a distribution, but the trustee must make the decision. The beneficiary should seek prior approval before making any purchases with the anticipation of the debt being paid by the trustee. The trustee must make payments directly for all purchases and cannot distribute cash to the beneficiary.

For more information on the various types of special needs trusts, contact the experienced attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

November 28, 2022
Live Webinar December 4th at 6pm! Now is the time to protect and plan!
Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe.

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 4th at 6pm

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 4th at 6pm

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 4th at 6pm

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about.

Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to
Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

November 27, 2022
Live Webinar December 3rd at 10am! Now is the time to protect and plan!
Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe.

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 3rd at 10am

How to Protect your "Stuff" in 3 Easy Steps (Estate Planning Workshop)

This webinar covers frequently asked questions and common misconceptions regarding: Wills & Trust, Asset Protection, Nursing Home Issues, Medicaid Qualification, and Estate Taxes.

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 3rd at 10am

Our webinars are designed to be educational, interactive, informative and generate relevant discussion for attendees. Modern Estate Planning is more than just preparing a will and putting it in a safe. Find out how a comprehensive Estate Plan will protect your assets and your family. Our experienced attorney, Wilson McManus, will be sharing stories on how Estate Planning is beneficial and sometimes crucial. In an Estate Plan, you need to know the Rules: Who's "Rule-book" controls your Estate Plan? Yours? The Governments? Someone else? You need to know your Predators: Who's a Threat to Your Stuff? The Government? Long-term Care Costs? Your Family? You need to know your Options: What Plans are out there? Does a Will work? What about a Trust? Which kind of Trust?

Please click to register for our webinar:

LIVE Webinar – Click Here to Register for December 3rd at 10am

Our workshops fill up fast, so please call (443) 470-3599 today to RSVP.

We can't wait to see you!

Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about.

Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to
Get Started on your New Estate Plan!

REGISTER FOR A WORKSHOP

November 26, 2022
Medicaid Crisis Planning
When a client acts proactively and seeks assistance from a financial advisor and elder law attorney, we refer to that as long-term care planning. This allows the team to review all the assets held by the client and create a strategy to pay for long-term care that minimizes as much as possible the depletion of assets that can be used by a spouse or later inherited by beneficiaries.

When a client acts proactively and seeks assistance from a financial advisor and elder law attorney, we refer to that as long-term care planning. This allows the team to review all the assets held by the client and create a strategy to pay for long-term care that minimizes as much as possible the depletion of assets that can be used by a spouse or later inherited by beneficiaries.

While it is highly recommended that clients tackle this advance planning, for various reasons, many find themselves instead in need of Medicaid crisis planning. This occurs when one spouse needs to live in a nursing home and the couple is distraught over the costs and what will be left for the healthy spouse.

One popular crisis planning tool is to purchase a Medicaid annuity in the institutionalized spouse’s name for the benefit of the healthy spouse. It allows the clients to convert countable assets into an income stream for the healthy spouse while not disqualifying the other spouse from Medicaid eligibility – assuming other factors exist for that eligibility.

When someone applies for Medicaid, the assets are viewed jointly with a spouse. Medicaid will allow a healthy spouse to keep up to $137,400 in assets (cash, investments, bank accounts) that will not be counted. Anything above that amount will need to be paid toward the long-term care costs of the spouse in need. Unless, the couple uses that amount to purchase an annuity that can provide income to the healthy spouse based on life expectancy.

There are some requirements of the annuity:

- The state must be named as the remainder beneficiary for at least the amount that Medicaid paid for long-term care. This does not impose limits on the healthy spouse’s ability to enjoy the income stream but means that if both spouses do not survive the Medicaid annuity payout period, the state will recover benefits it paid before allowing subsequent heirs to partake.

- The income payments cannot be deferred. The healthy spouse must start taking income immediately.

- The annuity it irrevocable.

We encourage clients to schedule a consultation long before they are in need of crisis planning. Whether you need long-term care planning or crisis planning, contact the experienced attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

November 25, 2022
The Acronyms of Estate Planning
Sometimes the estate planning legal practice area looks like a bunch of capital letters jumbled together. HEMS, QTIP, CRAT, and ILIT get thrown around with assumptions that everyone knows what the letters stand for. Sometimes clients get overwhelmed with the alphabet soup.

Sometimes the estate planning legal practice area looks like a bunch of capital letters jumbled together. HEMS, QTIP, CRAT, and ILIT get thrown around with assumptions that everyone knows what the letters stand for. Sometimes clients get overwhelmed with the alphabet soup.

The Popular Acronyms of Estate Planning

POA (Power of Attorney): A POA document is a legal instrument naming an agent and conveying powers to that agent to act in the grantor’s place. This can be immediate powers. It can be durable meaning that the powers last beyond incapacity. It can be springing which requires proof of incapacity to become effective. These are important incapacity planning documents that every adult over the age of 18 should have in place.

HEMS (Health, Education, Maintenance, Support): Many trusts are created using HEMS conditions which mean that the beneficiary can receive distributions of income for the purpose of paying items related to health, education, maintenance and support. This prevents frivolous spending.

SRT (Stand-Alone Retirement Account Trust): As a public policy regulation, creditors are prevented from accessing funds in a person’s Individual Retirement Account (IRA) or 401(k); however, this does not apply to an inherited retirement account. If a beneficiary has debt, then an SRT can be created and funded by the inherited retirement accounts to prevent access from creditors. Under the new SECURE Act, the funds must be distributed out within ten years.

ILIT (Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust): An ILIT is created and funded with a term or permanent life insurance policy or policies while the insured is still alive. It directs how the death benefit will be distributed upon the owner’s death. It is irrevocable and cannot be modified. Because of its irrevocability, the proceeds are not included in the decedent’s gross estate and therefore not subject to estate tax liability.

QTIP (Qualified Terminable Interest Property Trusts): These types of trusts can be beneficial for second or subsequent marriages when a spouse wants to provide income for the new spouse for his or her life, but then ensure that the trust principal is distributed to the children from the previous marriage at death.

QPRT (Qualified Personal Residence Trust): A grantor can reduce the size of his or her taxable estate by transferring a primary residence or vacation home into a trust. The value of the home is frozen from the date of the transfer. All appreciation on the residence is kept out of the taxable estate. The grantor can continue to reside in the home for a specified period rent-free.

GRAT (Grantor Retained Annuity Trust): Another strategy to remove assets from a grantor’s taxable estate is to fund a GRAT. The grantor continues to receive fixed payments on a regular basis based on a percentage of the fair market value of the asset at the time of the funding.

For more information on all the complex estate planning tools available and help deciphering the acronyms, contact the experienced attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

November 23, 2022
Determining Testamentary Capacity
In Maryland, the statutes lay out certain requirements that must be met to create and execute an estate plan. For someone to execute a will, he or she must be 18 years of age, of sound mind and sign the will in the presence of two witnesses and a notary.

In Maryland, the statutes lay out certain requirements that must be met to create and execute an estate plan. For someone to execute a will, he or she must be 18 years of age, of sound mind and sign the will in the presence of two witnesses and a notary. He or she must be free from duress and undue influence.

It is the responsibility of the estate planning attorney to ensure all of these requirements are met during the signing meeting.

Majority Age

This requirement is easy to verify by reviewing a valid photo identification.

Testamentary Capacity

To be of sound mind and have the mental capacity to execute a will in Maryland, the testator must prove to the attorney that he or she has the ability to know: (1) the nature and extent of his or her property ownership; (2) the disposition being made by the instrument; and (3) evidence that the connection is made between the property and its distribution through a coherent plan. Experienced attorneys know to focus on the decision-making capabilities during the interview, drafting and revising stages of estate planning. Most attorneys know to overlook personality quirks, oddities and such.

For questionable testators, it is often recommended that a letter of competency be obtained from either an attending physician familiar with the patient or a specialist who conducts cognitive testing. This letter of competency should be stored alongside the will.

Undue Influence

Undue influence is excessive persuasion that causes another person to act or refrain from acting by overcoming that person’s free will. This will involve a combination of factors including the vulnerability of the testator, the tactics of the influencer, the authority exerted and the potential of benefits to be received by the wrongdoer. There are many opinionated adult children that attend will signings with their aging parents who do not rise to the level of undue influence. It is a clear distinction that must be assessed by an experienced attorney.

Free of Duress

Duress rises to another level above undue influence in that it occurs when a wrongdoer uses threats, violence, or constraints to bring about the testator’s actions. This would not likely occur in front of the estate planning attorney but would need to be assessed from interviewing the testator and other family members.

For more information on the Maryland requirements to ensure the valid execution of a will, contact the experienced attorneys at Stouffer Legal in the Greater Baltimore area. You can schedule an appointment by calling us at (443) 470-3599 or emailing us at office@stoufferlegal.com.

November 21, 2022
We can't wait to see you!
Today is the right day to take your first step. Click below to register for our next free workshop and learn what everyone is talking about.

Attending our next free Workshops is the best way to
Get Started on your New Estate Plan!
REGISTER FOR a WORKSHOP