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  • February 24, 2017

    February 24, 2017   Elder Law

    President Trump Signs Financial Executive Orders

    By Valerie Peterson, J.D.

    On February 3, President Trump signed two executive orders aimed at rolling back stricter regulations in the financial sector that could negatively impact seniors who invest money.  The Dodd-Frank Act, signed into law by President Obama in 2010, is one of the regulations in the crosshairs of the Trump administration. The Dodd-Frank Act was enacted as a response to the Great Recession in an attempt to decrease various risks in the financial system, such as banks using customer funds for their own speculative investing, and engaging in risky mortgage lending. Dodd-Frank also established government oversight agencies for the financial system.   One of the agencies under fire is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) whose authority includes governing against predatory len... Read More


  • January 23, 2017

    January 23, 2017   Elder Law

    What to Expect From the First 100 Days of the Trump Presidency

    By Valerie Peterson, J.D.

    Repeal of the Affordable Care Act Prior to being elected, Donald Trump published a contract with voters  outlining what he would do during his first 100 days. One promise Trump made that has been getting a lot of attention lately and that could have significant impact on seniors and persons with disabilities is the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”).   In fact, the first executive order  signed by President Trump following his inauguration addressed the Affordable Care Act. In the order, relevant federal agencies to waive or defer provisions that “impose a fiscal burden on any State or a cost, fee, tax, penalty, or regulatory burden on individuals, families, healthcare providers, health insurers, patients, recipients of healt... Read More


  • January 17, 2017

    January 17, 2017   Elder Law

    Why Law Students are Choosing Elder Law

    A recent article published online by Private Wealth titled Law Students Increasingly Eye Elder Law noted that elder law is one of the fastest growing areas sought by graduating law students.  According to the article, law students are attracted to elder law for the money that can be made, but also because of the “interpersonal interaction” provided by elder law.   Compared to estate planning, a closely-related practice area, elder law is a relatively new specialty area.  It gained national recognition through the passage of the Older Americans Act of 1965. Now, over half of the law schools in the country offer some type of elder law courses, with a handful offering a Masters of Law (LL.M.) in Elder Law.   There are a few things that are certain: More and... Read More


  • December 16, 2016

    December 16, 2016   Announcements,   Elder Law

    Exciting new additions to ElderDocx®

    By Valerie Peterson, J.D.

    We are excited to announce the following additions to ElderDocx and our Knowledge Base:   1)     You now have the ability to choose the beneficiary as the person who establishes their own self-settled special needs trust, following the signing of the Special Needs Trust Fairness Act provisions last week.     2)     We have created two toolkits for you. One is for the Medicaid Asset Protection Trust (MAPT), and the other is for the Medicaid Family Protection Trust (MFPT).   The toolkit contains two new documents available in ElderDocx - a Concerns Assessment and a letter to the client after being hired. It also contains FAQs, tips for talking to clients about this type of planning, and sample marketing content you can... Read More


  • November 10, 2016

    November 10, 2016   Elder Law

    The need for elder law planning increases post-election

    By Valerie Peterson, J.D.

    Now that the election is over, what might the future hold for elder law planning? We may see some old proposals with regard to government programs revisited, and lots of conversation about tax and spending cuts. While we don’t know exactly what we can expect, one thing we know for sure is that this election reinforces the need for long-term care planning for all seniors and their loved ones.   Below is a look at what we may see in the months and years ahead, and opportunities that exist for elder law attorneys. Government eligibility programs post-election Earlier this year, House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, released a policy paper on health care reform. The paper outlined an alternative to the Affordable Care Act (arguing for its repeal), and dedicated a large po... Read More


  • October 24, 2016

    October 24, 2016   Announcements,   Elder Law

    Symposium 2016 Recap and Highlights

    Last week WealthCounsel & ElderCounsel hosted Symposium 2016 in Reston, Virginia. Attendees enjoyed 3 ½ days packed with robust education, valuable networking, dynamic presenters, and dozens of practice solutions featured in the exhibit hall. Symposium 2016 encouraged interaction in every session, as well as thought-provoking topics designed to help attendees become even more successful, despite a changing marketplace. This year was the first year we had a custom conference app available to attendees. This savvy app helped attendees know what events were taking place, granted access to session materials, and allowed everyone to stay connected, even if they weren’t in the same session. The app activity feed was lively—many shared photos and status updates. Throug... Read More


  • October 19, 2016

    October 19, 2016   Medicaid Planning,   Elder Law

    EC Medicaid Family Protection Trust™ FAQs

    On Monday, October 17, ElderCounsel released a new document set in ElderDocx, EC Medicaid Family Protection Trust™. This document set creates an asset-protected trust for the grantor's family. Below are a few frequently asked questions we've received. What is the EC Medicaid Family Protection Trust? The EC Medicaid Family Protection Trust is an irrevocable trust with certain options preselected to provide creditor protection for the grantor and the family, yet works for Medicaid planning. Many clients don't want to focus on their own need for care in the future, but they are concerned about passing a legacy on to their loved ones without interference from creditors—both known and unknown. The EC Medicaid Family Protection Trust addresses this concern, and makes draf... Read More


  • October 18, 2016

    October 18, 2016   Medicaid Planning,   Elder Law

    Design of the EC Medicaid Family Protection Trust™

    On Monday, October 17, ElderCounsel released a new document set in ElderDocx, EC Medicaid Family Protection Trust. In short, this document set creates an asset-protected trust for the grantor's family. We would like to take a little time and discuss the design of the new document set. The EC Medicaid Family Protection Trust is designed to protect the grantor's assets for the grantor's family. This is done by utilizing the Distribution Trustee technique and presetting or limiting some of the options that are found in the EC Medicaid Asset Protection Trust. You could create the same document using the MAPT, but the FPT makes it easier by preselecting and presenting only those options that give the best asset protection result. The general rule in an asset protection trust i... Read More


  • September 19, 2016

    September 19, 2016   Elder Law

    How you can benefit from elder law services

    ElderCounsel CEO, Valerie Peterson, J.D., was live on Fox 26 Houston on Thursday, September 15. She talked about common elder law planning misconceptions, long term care in Texas and what people can be doing now to plan for the future. Problems viewing recording? Watch it here: http://www.fox26houston.com/news/205845244-video Elder law is not for “old” people, but Texas are growing “older.” -According to the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services: 3.8 million people in Texas age 60 or older, making up 15% of the population in 2010. -The age 60 or older group is one of the fastest growing populations in Texas, and expected to triple by 2050, growing to 12 million and making up 22% of the population. Long-term care costs are a huge threat to the... Read More


  • September 14, 2016

    September 14, 2016   Elder Law

    The Impact of Caregiving on Women

    By Valerie Peterson, J.D.

    Women routinely serve as caregivers for spouses, parents, in-laws and friends. In fact, an estimated 66% of all caregivers are female. [1]  The value of the informal care women provide has been estimated as high as $188 billion annually. [2] While some men serve as caregivers, women spend approximately 50% more time caregiving than men. [3]   When it comes to caring for a loved one with dementia, a recent study showed the out-of-pocket cost for the patient with dementia were the highest of any other disease, in large part due to the need for caregivers – the cost of which is not covered by Medicare. [4]  In responding to the results of the study, Dr. Kenneth Covinsky, a geriatrician at the University of California in San Francisco stated, ‘It’s stunning t... Read More