Keston Law - Wilmington, NC

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ABLE Act -- Achieving a Better Life Experience Act

Posted May 1, 2018 by Joan Keston

The ABLE account is a new financial tool for individuals with disabilities created by the Achieving a Better Life Experience Act of 2014. It was adopted in North Carolina on August 11, 2015. The Act amended the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to create a tax-free savings account for individuals with disabilities. In addition, the funds in an ABLE account do not count toward the $2,000 cap on assets that is required to remain eligible for critical government supports.

Basically the account can hold up to $100,000, and a maximum annual contribution of $15,000 can be made to the account. An individual can contribute earned income into the account. Friends and family can also make a gift to an ABLE account, and this gift would not count as income to the individual. Most importantly, an individual can have an ABLE account and still qualify for SSI, SSDI and Medicaid.

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The Advantages of Planning with Revocable Living Trusts

Posted Apr 2, 2018 by Joan Keston

There are many reasons why using a revocable trust-based plan may be more
advantageous than planning with a last will and testament to distribute your estate at
your death. Many people are opposed to doing a trust, but the advantages can
greatly outweigh the burden of having a trust.

It is extremely important that you transfer your assets into the trust, which process is
called "funding the trust." Many people have a trust, but have not transferred their
assets into the trust, with the result that the trust is ineffectual.

These are some of the reasons why we might advise having a Revocable Living Trust:

  • Wills operate at death and can be changed by an individual at any time until then. Unless there is a trust within a will, called a testamentary trust, the will does not control distributions beyond the circumstances that exist on the day of death. Revocable trusts operate once executed, can be changed at any time until death ...

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Quick Tips to Prevent Senior Scams

Posted Mar 8, 2018 by Joan Keston

Scammers and hackers are constantly targeting seniors; every year, they use more sophisticated technology to steal our personal information. The scariest attack uses voice modulation software; the criminals have a friendly but recorded conversation with anyone, such as your Pastor. Then they use that conversation to create a false conversation-then you get a call from your "Pastor" asking for your credit card information to help with an emergency at the Church. Since you are familiar with your Pastor's voice, your guard is down and you are likely to give out the information. Fortunately, there are some easy steps you can take to increase your protection.

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Lessons I Have Learned From My Mother's Journey

Posted Feb 14, 2018 by Joan Keston

From being a totally independent person to living in a Skilled Nursing Home

By: Sissy Weisbrook

We are a middle class family and my Mom had some money, so we had no idea that government benefits might be available to folks in our situation. We now live in fear of running out of money. I started working for Keston Law and only then learned about benefits. I decided to write this article because I have learned so much about what many of us will face or do face with aging parents or other loved ones and how daunting the task can be. If you have never been in the world of nursing facilities it can be an overwhelming maze unless you have some prior knowledge or even know what to look for. The most important thing you can do is to be prepared, ask questions, and keep asking questions. That way you will make better, well informed decisions.

Lesson One:

Go see an Elder Law Attorney and get your affairs in order.

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PODs and TODs: To Sign or Not to Sign

Posted Jan 19, 2018 by Joan Keston

Pay on death (PODs) and transfers on death (TODs) can be helpful to a lot of families if used consistently with their estate plan. A POD is a beneficiary designation used by bankers for your bank accounts. It is a contract provision telling the bank to pay the amount in your account to someone (the beneficiary) when you pass away. A TOD is a similar tool that is used by financial institutions for investment accounts. It designates a beneficiary to receive payments from the investment after you pass away. They both avoid probate. On the surface, PODs and TODs seem helpful. But is signing a POD or TOD a good idea for your estate plan?

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Are My Out-Of-State Planning Documents Valid?

Posted Dec 27, 2017 by Joan Keston

Moving to the great state of North Carolina?  Do you already have estate planning documents in place? Will your estate planning documents be applicable in the new state? The great legal answer is, it depends. The bottom line is that anyone who moves to another state should have their documents reviewed. Under the U. S. Constitution, each state is required to give full faith and credit to public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of other states. So your documents should be valid—but that is not necessarily the case. Your Last Will and Testament is one such document that can be effected by moving to a new state.

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