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This blog section of our site is provided to give our membership access to the site for posting information that they believe will be of value to visitors to the site. Opinions expressed herein are those of the author only.

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  • 04 Dec 2014 7:40 AM | Thomas McCulloch

    So many prospective clients that we meet come to our office because they or a loved one has exhibited signs or been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease.  We hear a great deal about what our client families think to be true about coping with Alzheimer’s Disease in relation to legal planning and medical decisions.


    Myth #1:  You can’t sign a will if you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia.


    Not true.  In the State of Texas and many other states, a competent adult can make legal and financial decisions if they have brief or extended periods of lucidity.


    Myth #2:  You can’t make legal or financial decisions about your family business if you’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia.


    Not true.  You must be declared incompetent before your decision-making power can be removed from you.


    The threat of Alzheimer’s Disease, dementia or other disabling disease or sudden disability is an excellent reason to meet with an estate planning and elder law attorney to clearly outline your wishes and desires should you become disabled.  You’ll want a clearly-defined succession plan and you’ll want to communicate your plans so that your family and business partners are clear about your wishes.


    Myth #3:  Your long-term care is paid for by Medicare if you have Alzheimer’s Disease or other dementia.


    Not always true.  Medicare is designed for acute care needs and skilled nursing care needs.  Often, an Alzheimer’s patient requires costly long-term care that may not be covered by Medicare.  Unfortunately, many families may find their financial nest egg threatened by the ongoing costs of at-home care and other expenses during the course  of this devastating disease.

     

     

    Myth #4:  Alzheimer’s Disease affects the elderly and I’m not old enough.


    Not true. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, younger-onset or early-onset Alzheimer’s affects up to 5 percent of the more than 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s – more than 200,000 people.  Many patients facing early onset Alzheimer’s are diagnosed in their 40s and 50s --- the decades when many families accumulate or earn the most of their retirement income!


    Compounded with loss of potential earnings and the costs of day-to-day care, early-onset Alzheimer’s can be financially and emotionally devastating for a family.  Securing an estate planning strategy that couples with a comprehensive life-care plan may help families maintain their long-term security.


    Myth #5:  My spouse and my adult children know my wishes and they will take care of me.  We agree on everything all of the time.


    Yes.  We all have loving families and all of our children want what is best for us.  However, circumstances that may be out of our family’s control may cause children or spouses to act in a way that is abnormal.  Perhaps a divorce, failing business, or other legal or tax complications may make our families make decisions that are not in our best interest.


    Or, it may be difficult for our children to accept that we are not acting as decisive parents.  The realization that there is a need to step up and make decisions on our behalf may come to late to our children.  


    So many of life’s fates can be out of our control….seek control now so that your plans and wishes are cemented in a solid estate plan that maps out your estate planning and care wishes.  If you wish to begin the process by attending a complimentary elder law workshop, visit my website to reserve your space.

  • 25 Nov 2014 3:36 PM | Thomas McCulloch

    It's a busy time of year and business owners and operators are focused on year-end tasks while families are planning for holidays and gatherings.  Take a deep breath and think about the health of your family's estate plan or your own business succession plan.


    Here are five key estate planning items that you should review before New Year’s Eve:

     

    #1:  Have there been changes in federal or state laws or regulations that may impact your planning strategy?

     

    For instance, are you aware of this summer’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling, Clark v. Rameker, and the impact that this ruling may have on inherited IRAs?  There may be other changes that could impact your existing plan.

     

    #2:  Have you experienced a significant change in your lifestyle?  Or have other loved ones such as aging parents noted significant lifestyle changes? 

     

    Have you experienced a divorce or death of a spouse this year?  Have your adult children experienced divorce or remarriage?  Have you shared in the joy of the birth of a child or grandchild this year?

     

    Or, do you plan on a change in your employment status that could have an impact on your current retirement accounts?  Are you required to begin taking a Required Minimum Distribution or RMD?  What is your plan for managing tax consequences?

     

    #3:  For your insurance policies, retirement accounts (401K and IRA), and annuities, are all of your designated beneficiaries the same as they were last year?  Ten years ago?  Twenty years ago?

     

    Are you sure?  Have you checked your employment benefits records?  Your financial institutions’ records?  Do all the beneficiary designations reflect your estate planning, will and trust directions?

     

    #4:  Are there significant financial changes in your portfolio?

     

    Did you inherit money, land or other assets anytime this year?  Do you anticipate an inheritance in the near future?  What does this mean to your estate planning strategy?

     

    #5:   Have you scheduled a year-end review with your tax or estate planning attorney? 

     

    Your estate planning attorney or tax attorney keeps abreast of changes in tax and estate planning laws that may have an impact on your existing plan.


    If you would like to read similar daily blogs, please visit www.houstonelderlawyer.com to check out today's topic.


    Or, we invite you to follow us on our Facebook page and Linked In page.

  • 08 Oct 2014 9:36 AM | Mark Madeley (Administrator)

    I have a client who needed to implement a retail Point of Sale system (bar codes, scanners, and cash registers) for their store. They were using QuickBooks Online Edition and ordered Intuit (QuickBooks) Point of Sale system. They found the Point of Sale system would not talk with the online edition of QuickBooks despite both being built and supported by Intuit.


    The Cloud had become The Fog.


    Then they tried to convert their data and migrate off of QuickBooks Online to QuickBooks Desktop to be able to use the Point of Sale system. It was a disaster. How would you feel when hundreds of thousands of dollars of your money disappeared from your accounting records along with over half of your transactions?


    Not to fear. When they called me, I was able to convert them completely in two days. Several considerations had not been addressed the first time they tried. I researched the support documentation, developed a careful plan to prepare the data for migration, used the proper version of the desktop software to receive the converted data, and then converted the file for use in their own version of QuickBooks.


    Please keep me in mind whenever you hear "QuickBooks" and "problem" in the same sentence.


    Cover Your Assets homepage

    LinkedIn: Cover Your Assets

    Twitter: @CYA_Tweets

    Facebook: CYA for QuickBooks


  • 26 Sep 2014 10:49 AM | Anonymous

    After further investigation, we have discovered that it is possible to allow members to get access to and post to this blog. You must be logged in to your account to post something, but, otherwise, it is now available for the use of any member who wants to place information out on the Internet.


    Please let me know if you have any questions about how to do this or what kind of information might be appropriate for this resource.

  • 25 Sep 2014 9:48 AM | Thomas McCulloch

    If you haven't signed up for one of the many Houston-area Walk to End Alzheimer's events, now's the time!


    More than 5 million Americans have been diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease and other forms of dementia, according to the Alzheimer's Association.  Almost every family has someone they know coping with Alzheimer's Disease, or providing care for a loved one.  We hope that you'll join us in one of the area Walk to End Alzheimer's events.


    For more information, please visit Weiner & McCulloch's website or phone our office at 713-624-4294 to inquire about area walks.


    Thanks.

    Tom McCulloch

    Weiner & McCulloch, PLLC


  • 18 Sep 2014 11:42 AM | Anonymous

    Reminder: Texas Sales Tax is due this week for monthly filers. Avoid that pesky $50 fine by filing and paying now. Sep 22 is the official deadline.


    Go here to get into the TxComptroller eSystem.

     

    Mark Madeley

  • 14 May 2014 5:00 PM | Anonymous


    This blog tool has been provided on our website to give our members an opportunity to communicate directly with our visitors about matters that they, our members, believe may be of interest or benefit to our readers.
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