Attorney S. Lynn Bayes-Weiner Named to the 2018 Kansas Super Lawyers list

December 1, 2017

We are pleased to announce that S. Lynn Bayes-Weiner, an attorney at The Law Offices of Jay Thomas, P.A., has been selected to the 2018 Kansas Super Lawyers list. This is an exclusive list, recognizing no more than five percent of attorneys in the state. Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Attorneys are selected from more than 70 practice areas and all firm sizes, assuring a credible and relevant annual list. The annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes: • Peer nominations • Independent research by Super Lawyers • Evaluations from a highly credentialed panel of attorneys The objective of Super Lawyers is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys to be used as a resource for both referring attorneys and consumers seeking legal counsel. The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country, as well as the Kansas Super Lawyers Digital Magazine. Please join us in congratulating Lynn Bayes-Weiner on her selection. For more information about Super Lawyers, go to SuperLawyers.com

Protecting Deceased Loved Ones from Identity Theft

July 19, 2013

Losing a loved one is one of the most devastating emotional events that we go through in life. Unfortunately, there are individuals who will exploit such loss for their own financial gain. They target the deceased for identity theft, using personal information gleaned from obituaries and death certificates to obtain Social Security numbers, from which they open credit card accounts, apply for loans, file tax returns and collect refunds, and purchase goods and services.  To protect your loved one’s estate from deceased identity theft, consider following these helpful tips:

1.       Keep personal information, such as the deceased’s home address or mother’s maiden name out of his or her obituaries.

2.       Obtain about 12 death certificates to use in notifying various credit agencies of your loved one’s death. While some will accept copies, others do require an original.

3.       If there is a surviving spouse or other joint account holder, make sure you notify credit card companies, banks, loan/lien holders, stockbrokers, etc. of the death. Note: they may require a copy of the death certificate and/or authorization from the surviving account holder in order to register the death.

4.       Request a credit report of the deceased and make sure the report is flagged, “Deceased. Do not issue credit.”

5.       If closing an account, such as in the case of an executor transferring the funds to a separate estate account, ask the bank to list the closed account as “Closed: account holder deceased.”

6.       Contact the Social Security Administration to report the death.

7.       Contact all credit reporting agencies, credit issuers, collection agencies or other financial institutions that need to know about the death.

8.       Contact the Veterans Administration if your loved one gave military service, INS if they were permanent residents

9.       Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to notify of death and change registration of vehicles to new owners

10.   Contact any state licensing agency for which the deceased held a professional license, such as a state bar or health care licensing bureau.

For more detailed information on deceased identity theft prevention, as well as sample forms,  check out this terrific resource guide at the Identity Theft Resource Center, http://www.idtheftcenter.org/artman2/publish/c_guide/Fact_Sheet_117_IDENTITY_THEFT_AND_THE_DECEASED_-_PREVENTION_AND_VICTIM_TIPS.shtml.

Health Savings Accounts: Can I Put This in My Estate Plan?

May 10, 2013

Recently, during an estate planning session with one of my clients, I was asked the following question: if you have a health savings account, is that an asset that can go into a will or trust? The short answer is yes, with proper planning. For those of you who are unfamiliar, health savings accounts, or HSA’s are frequently offered as an option to employees who participate in high deductible health insurance plans, and they have become increasingly popular over the last five to eight years as insurance costs have soared. While this asset can be devised in a will or trust, like retirement plans, selection of appropriate beneficiaries can add continued tax benefit, while the wrong beneficiaries can accelerate income taxation. A great article that fully describes how HSA estate planning works and what elements you should consider in making this asset part of your  individual plan is located at www.americanbar.org/publications/probate_property_magazine_home/probate_2009_index/probate_nov_dec_2

 

Give us a call if you want to discuss HSA estate planning.  We’d be happy to help.

How to Empty a Home After the Death of a Loved One

April 10th, 2013

The death of a loved one is one of the most emotionally devastating circumstances that we face as we go through our lives. The task of emptying that loved one’s home in the wake of their death can be an overwhelming endeavor, and often it’s difficult to know even where to begin, particularly if that person has never gone through the process of downsizing. Organizing by the ultimate destination of the item, be it personal keepsake, sale, donation, or disposal is a good starting point. To learn more, check out http://efuneral.com/how-to-approach-the-job-of-emptying-a-home/, and for help in planning for your own estate, give us a call. Good planning makes the task of closing out your estate that much easier for your loved ones after your passing.

Creating a Safety-Net for a Child with Special Needs

March 14th, 2013

It is a great privilege in our practice to work with the parents of special needs children, as it is a genuine pleasure to help protect the future care and well-being of a vulnerable child. When a child with special challenges is born, special needs asset planning is often the last issue parents contemplate, but it can also be one of the most important. As this wonderful article notes, careful planning, from the time the child is born, helps families balance saving for continuing care of a special needs child while still providing for another child’s future.  A good plan maps out available government benefits and potential out-of-pocket costs for care over a  lifetime, and a Special Needs Trust is crucial to its ultimate success.

To learn more, read http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444025204577544903956302684.html, and if you need assistance with a Special Needs Trust for your child, call us. We’d love to help.

Online banking and social media: does your estate plan account for them?

February 15th, 2013

So, you have an estate plan, you’ve had numerous conversations with your partner about his or her wishes regarding after-death plans for property and person. You’d think that would be enough, but many surviving spouses are finding there are headaches galore in untangling banking accounts and on-line bill pay, internet user names and passwords, and estate tax questions. Losing someone you love is hard enough. No one needs to suffer through this aggravation. A thorough, modern estate plan considers digital assets such as these, and our firm is on the cutting edge of this kind of planning. Give us a call for assistance in creating an estate plan that meets all of your needs, or to help you in untangling online and digital assets issues following the death of a spouse. The Wall Street Journal had an excellent article that provides clarity on this complex issue, http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10001424127887323644904578272352355489198-IMyQjAxMTAzMDAwMjEwNDIyWj.html?mod=wsj_share_email&goback=%2Egde_158792_member_21056637

 

Let your heirs take to the air when you pass along frequent flier miles

February 1, 2013

Have you ever thought about what happens to your frequent flier miles after your death? Believe it or not, frequent flier miles are an estate asset, just like your house or bank accounts, and they often can be bequeathed to another person in an estate plan.

Although not all airlines accept this transfer, many do, so we encourage our clients to considering passing on those miles in a will or trust.

A great article to learn more about the afterlife of frequent flier miles is located at http://travel.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/travel/the-afterlife-of-your-frequent-flier-miles.html

Mickey Rooney’s Cautionary Tale

November 17, 2012

Just finished reading an article in the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys website about movie and Broadway great Mickey Rooney, who was fleeced of his fortune by his own son. So sad, and unfortunately, becoming increasingly common. It is important to understand that elder abuse is more than physical or emotional abuse; it can also be financial abuse. Think carefully and discuss with your attorney when choosing a power of attorney or trustee, or when thinking about joint titling your accounts.  For someone who might be experiencing elder financial abuse, speak with an attorney. Click here  to read more about Mickey Rooney’s Cautionary Tale: http://www.aaepa.com/blog/2012/10/mickey-rooneys-cautionary-tale/?inf_contact_key=7c1a2532e4c9d4798626093ac1309bf5f498a0cca97ebf836c6aad7dd1b62967

 

Good news for Seniors with Special Needs

October 27th, 2012

The Third Circuit Federal Court of Appeals recently held that Special Needs Pooled Trusts are indeed available to individuals 65 and older. The court also held that a charity which sponsors such a trust may retain 100 percent of the remainder of the trust once a beneficiary dies. This means no Medicaid payback is required after the death of the beneficiary. As this is the only Special Needs Trust that can be created for a disabled person 65 and older, this is great news for disabled seniors who would otherwise qualify for Medicaid. See Pooled Trusts: Third Circuit Decision of Note, available at:  www.aaepa.com/blog/12/10/pooled-trusts-circuit-decision-note/?inf_contact_key=7d2e6d2442d83555d1d9c005211c240a71cb6efba130a93388706e406f4216092