RobRoy's blog

Long Term Care Benefits Available to Surviving Spouses of Wartime Veterans

There are over 9 million surviving spouses of veterans currently living in the United States. Many of these surviving spouses are receiving long term care or will need some type of long term care in the near future, and there are funds available from the Veterans Administration (“VA”) to help pay for that care. Unfortunately, many of those who are eligible have no idea that any benefits exist for them or that an attorney can help them become eligible.

Benefits Available. There are three types of pension benefits available that provide monthly cash payments to surviving spouses who either have low income, long term health care needs, or both. The pension benefit is referred to as “Death Pension.” Below is an overview of the three benefits, and more detail will be provided on each benefit in the following paragraphs.

Veteran’s Day Helps Us Remember

This week, my eight year old boy came home from school telling me all kinds of things that he had learned in school about the first two World Wars. With his eyes wide, he said that one of his friends had a grandpa who had been in WWII. It dawned on me that he didn’t realize that he too came from a family with a history of service in the military.

I had the opportunity to go grab a copy of one of my history books about World War II and together with my boys and my wife we spent a good deal of time talking about my grandpa, his service in the Army in Europe during WWII and about the incredible sacrifices made by so many for the freedom of not only our own countrymen, but of people throughout the world. It was a proud moment for me to be able to share with my children how their great-grandfather put everything on the line to defend innocent people and put down evil men. I saw the admiration and pride in their eyes and was grateful that we celebrate Veteran’s Day for that reason.

Can You “Hide” Your Assets Legally?

I’ve had a number of clients ask me if it is possible for them to “hide” their money legally. The answer is, of course, not a simple one. It really depends upon who you’re trying to hide it from and how you define the word “hide” in this context.

Can you conceal how much wealth you have from those whom you casually associate with on a regular basis? Sure. Why not? Don’t dress expensively, drive a Maserati, vacation in the French Rivera, or live in a palace on the mountain benches and you’ll probably be able to fly underneath the radar of most people.

The Dark Side of Longevity

Historical census data has shown that in the U.S. in 1900, 100,000 people were age 85 and over. In the year 2000, this age group numbered 4,239,587. In 2020, the number will be 6.5 million, and in 2050, it will have grown to 17,970,000!

Clearly, people are living longer today, in greater numbers, than they ever have (disregarding Methuselah of course!) throughout recorded history. Our medical care providers have succeeded in keeping us alive for much longer than they have in the past. As wonderful as this medical technology is, it has not come without costs. With that longevity comes a host of other problems.

Special Needs Planning Issues Following Divorce

Divorce can be complicated, frustrating, disappointing, expensive, along with a whole range of other emotions, as anyone who has endured this type of proceeding can attest. As difficult as the issues can be in a divorce proceeding, can you imagine what happens when divorce involves a child with a disability?

We will focus on one case study to illustrate how much more difficult the issues can be when a child with a disability is involved in the marital split, and how important it is to have someone knowledgeable in government benefits and special needs planning issues participate in the proceedings.

The Facts
Consider the following situation: Husband and wife divorce in 1996, when their child, who is disabled, was 4 years old. The husband was ordered to pay approximately $2,800 per month in child support (considered to be about three times an ordinary child support order based upon his assets and income) for the life of the child. While it is unusual to see lifetime child support payments, and the award was larger than is customary, the husband agreed to this primarily because of the guilt he felt around the divorce. He also knew that his daughter was disabled and would require as much help as possible.

What Riley Nelson Taught Me About Confidence

Last Friday night I attended the BYU vs. Utah State football game in Provo. I’ve watched with interest as the nation’s number one college quarterback recruit, Jake Heaps, has struggled game after game to live up to all the hype that has surrounded him.

Apparently, those who know say that Heaps is one of the most talented and promising quarterbacks BYU has ever had. And that’s saying a lot considering the great quarterbacks who have come out of BYU over the decades (Steve Young, Ty Detmer, Jim McMahon, etc.). However, Heaps just can’t seem to find it in him to move the ball all the way down the field and into the end-zone. Nor does he appear to have the kind of leadership to inspire his teammates to make things happen on the field as well.

Winehouse Had Her Legal House In Order

I’ve briefly discussed the case of the late Amy Winehouse before. She was young, very talented, and had found financial success and notoriety as an R&B singer. Here’s a great video of one of her performances in case you’re not familiar with her.

In the past, I’ve pointed out times when celebrities have really dropped the ball when it came to estate planning. And more often than not, when an estate plan fails big, it’s not that an estate plan was never done, it’s that an estate plan WAS done, but it was out of date or did not reflect the current wishes of the deceased individual.

Are Elder Law Attorneys Just Old Lawyers Who Won’t Retire?

Have you ever wondered to yourself "what does RobRoy mean when he says he is an 'Elder Law' attorney?" I am often asked this question by clients, friends, professionals and even by attorneys. Next week, I will be representing the Utah State Bar's Elder Law section at the Utah Senior Expo (at the Sandy Expo Center). The purpose of my being there is to educate the public about the legal specialty referred to as "Elder Law."

I thought it would be helpful if I shared with you my explanation of "Elder Law" that I wrote for the State Bar's publication that will be provided to the public at this Expo:

What is Elder Law?

"Elder Law" has developed as a legal specialty over the last two decades to help seniors and their family members deal with the unique and complex challenges facing them as they age. Elder Law attorneys are often sought out when a family member, due to advanced age, disability, or mental capacity, is no longer able to adequately care for themselves, or when they anticipate that they will no longer be able to do so within the near future.

How Not to Lose $45,000

I'll be the first to admit that today's financial times are a bit scary. And inevitably, when people begin to worry about their investments, I get lots of questions from clients about whether they should just pull all of their money out of the banks and buy gold and silver, or just bury the cash somewhere in their backyard.

Of course, I'm not a financial advisor so I typically will defer to the advice of my client's own advisors on matters such as these. However, being an estate planning attorney, I have had occasion to witness the sometimes disastrous results of people following this course of action. Two quick examples:

I Had Lunch With The Governor Today

It's true. I did have lunch with Gov. Herbert today. It's also true that about 50 other people had lunch with him. He spoke today at the Lehi Area Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon on the economic development of Utah. I've been a member of the Chamber for about a year now and I am very excited about the growth that is coming to the State of Utah, and specifically, the growth that is coming to North Utah County. Gov. Herbert recited a litany of encouraging statistics and rankings all supporting the idea that Utah is truly one of the most economically promising states in the nation.

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