Elder E-Letter: Spring 2019

Elder Law Askit Basket

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By, Jody Hudspeth, Paralegal for The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC

One of the many hats I wear as a paralegal is answering phone calls and emails from concerned loved ones and caregivers. This column, “The Elder Law Askit Basket”, features some of the scenarios we hear on a frequent basis. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, please email me at: jhudspeth@assistingseniors.com.

I’m a healthy 59-year-old man, but I know I won’t live forever. I was thinking about getting a Will drawn up, but my friends just got a Revocable Living Trust, and they are saying I should get a Trust instead. What do I need, a Trust or a Will?

That’s a good question. Both Wills and Revocable Living Trusts have advantages. Typically, Revocable Living Trusts are more expensive than Wills because there’s more work involved in preparing this type of instrument. However, a Revocable Living Trust may offer some advantages that outweigh the cost:

1. With a Revocable Living Trust in place, your estate may be able to avoid probate. This means your loved ones don’t have to spend time, money, and energy on probate when you die. A Revocable Living Trust can be especially handy if you have property in more than one state, as probating in multiple states can be especially onerous and expensive.
2. Financial institutions can be picky about accepting powers of attorney, making it difficult for appointed agents to make transactions. This can cause a lot of stress for someone who’s trying to help a loved one who’s become incapacitated. On the other hand, a financial institution must accept a valid Revocable Living Trust.

While Revocable Living Trusts can offer a less stressful way to deal with someone’s assets, there are some downsides:

1. First, if you have a Trust, you have to remember to title your assets in the name of the Trust. If you don’t, you may have to go through probate anyway. I’ve seen some people bring Trusts to our office after a loved one’s death, asking what they need to do next and we have to initiate a probate. If you don’t title your assets in the name of your Trust, your Trust is basically an expensive, useless instrument.
2. I find it surprising when someone with a small estate has a Revocable Living Trust. I liken it to shooting a bird with a cannon. If you are a Texan with a house and a couple of bank accounts, you really don’t need a Revocable Living Trust. Probate in Texas is a relatively quick and easy process, especially compared to some of the other states.

If you aren’t sure of whether a Trust or a Will would best suit your needs, I encourage you to talk to an elder law attorney, like Ellen Patterson or Carol Bertsch. For more information, please email jhudspeth@assistingseniors.com or call our office at (210)892-4555.

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Coming up

Apr. 16 – Carol Bertsch is speaking at the North East Independent School District Academy of Learning In Retirement about legal issues facing elders.

Apr. 23 – Carol will be volunteering at the Community Justice Program Wills Clinic to provide wills and other documents to folks who can’t afford a lawyer.

May 27 – The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC observes Memorial Day

Jun. 13 – Carol will be presenting at UT Caring for the Caregivers’ The Essentials of Caregiving: Legal and Financial Planning (June 2019)

Jun. 25 – Carol will be presenting To Probate or Not to Probate at Oasis at San Antonio Oasis

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Happenings

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Jan 19 – The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC celebrated the most important day of the year–Carol’s birthday!

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Jan 21 – The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC observed Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the annual Martin Luther King Jr. March

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Feb 14 – The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC celebrated Valentine’s Day

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Mar. 12 & 19 – Ellen Patterson and Neptune Society’s Diane Denning visited two independent living communities—Morningside at the Meadows and The Forum at Lincoln Heights—for an open discussion to answer questions and help people understand their options when it comes to final wishes. Click here to view the flyer and learn more

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Mar. 28 – Carol and Paralegal Nena Thomas attended the Women Business Owner Awards presented by San Antonio’s NAWBO chapter

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Mar. 29 – The Law Offices of Carol Bertsch, PC sponsored the Alzheimer’s Association Annual Education Summit. Paralegal Jody Hudspeth with Dr. Belinda Martin from Geriatric Dental Group and Carol Bertsch shushing Lisa Hurst from Improv To Grow

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Caregiver’s Corner

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UT Health: Caring for the Caregiver

Caring for the Caregiver is a great educational resource for caregivers. To view upcoming events visit the UT Caregivers Events Page.

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UT Health: Glenn Biggs Institute

The Glenn Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Diseases is another fantastic resource that hosts lectures about Alzheimer’s. Visit the Events Page for upcoming events.

Early Stage Suport Groups

Alzheimer’s Association

Click here for caregiver resources in Bexar County that are sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association.

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What’s Going on in Your World?

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We appreciate your feedback. Do you have a book or a topic you’d like to see featured in our newsletter? Please email your suggestions to jhudspeth@assistingseniors.com. All ideas are welcome.

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