Elder Law – More than merely documents?

The world of aging is complex and you have a lot of decisions to make and an avalanche of information to process.  Your​ trusted advisors (you have some, right?) need to help you along the way.  This week, I was at lunch with a financial planner who was talking about meeting clients and closing sales.  My new friend was developing​ a vision for “relationship” planning.  When a planner, or an attorney, or anyone, has a “transactional” mindset, the process is pretty much how many clients and how many sales.  The client’s, or customer’s, needs can be lost too easily  in that process.

Instead, the better approach seems to be to connect with YOU, understand YOUR needs, and look at ways to work together to solve the current (and future) needs.  The best relationships we have are based on mutual trust and respect, and not on the sale.  Of course, the sale is important too, but it isn’t the starting point.

There is more than a document to your estate plan, more than a Will or a Trust.  There is more than the mere application for Medicaid.  Your child with disabilities is not just a Trust beneficiary.  You need to be heard.  You might want to talk about your fears in transition, or wonder if you are making the right decisions for your parents or your children.  You might have property that needs to be sold, but it is the family home … For these, and more, you need someone who will listen and work with you as your family addresses planning or crises.

What would you prefer to experience?  Merely documents, or caring professional advisors who coach you through the information and decisions?  Yes, we do prepare documents, sometimes a lot of them.  But, more importantly, we develop a plan.  And, it is YOUR plan, they are YOUR documents, and it is all for YOUR family.

Isn’t that a better relationship?

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Veterans Day thanks

Today is the celebration of Veterans Day.  It hasn’t been all that long that this day has been dedicated to honor our nation’s veterans … only since 1954.  It was originally celebrated as Armistice​ Day following WWI and expanded over time to honor veterans from all wars.

My dad was a Naval aviator and officer and often told me stories of his trips, flying submarine hunters, and hair-raising take-offs and landings on carriers.  As a child we visited his ship once, CVS-18 / USS Wasp, and I could imagine the terror I would feel at sea but deeply awed by the heroics of those who would engage in such dangerous service.  I miss my father on these kinds of days and I wish that I could have shared more stories about his service to me and to our nation.  His service is one of the reasons why I serve veterans today in my practice.

When you think about your veteran family members and loved ones today, and all days, remember to thank them for serving, and consider how many stories there are to be heard.  Take time to listen!

​​Thank you, Veterans!  And God bless America!

North Carolina Tax implications for married Same Sex couples

On October 24, the NC Department of Revenue issued a new tax ruling, based on the recent Fourth Circuit decision overturning the ban on same sex marriages.  Simply, this directive allows NC to recognize the right  of same sex couples, legally married anywhere, to file both NC and federal tax returns with the same filing status. (e.g., “Married filing jointly”, or others).

The directive also allows couples to file amended tax returns for prior tax years (under the existing limitations) if they were legally married in a different state in a prior tax year.

Finally, the directive requires married couples to furnish a new Form NC-4 (withholding​ allowance certificate) completed as a married couple to their employers.  This would affect same sex couples, both married in another state but now recognized in North Carolina, as well as newly married couples in NC since the decision.

Be sure to contact your tax preparer or attorney for more information specific to your case.​​  To read the directive, please look here​.

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