Do you remember the Y2K “disaster” of twenty years ago? Tension was so high that TIME magazine ran a cover asking whether this was “The end of the world!?!” with bylines including “Y2K insanity!” and “Will computers melt down? Will society?”
About a month ago, Mike and Carol lost their long-time housekeeper, Alice, to retirement. In her absence, the house quickly fell apart. After a couple of weeks, to get things back in order, the couple set aside a weekend to get organized. As Carol dug her way through the home office, she ran across the couple’s family trust. Seeing the old binder brought back memories of why they had the trust prepared in the first place.
For Todd Whatley, the path began when he was a boy growing up in Benton, Arkansas. That’s where he learned to respect the older generation from one of the most influential people he ever met, his grandfather, “Bull” McKinnon. Bull died when Todd was 19, but he had plenty of time to dramatically impact Todd’s life. And he’s the one who planted in Todd the seed of a desire to become an attorney.
Like most of us, Todd didn’t take the most direct path in life, but he ended up in the right place.
On October 18, 2018, the rules for the VA benefit often called “Aid and Attendance” will be dramatically different. The Aid and Attendance benefit provides a monthly, tax-free income to veterans and their surviving spouses when they meet certain requirements. Those requirements fall into three categories.
Picture in your mind the traditional “reading of the will” scene. The camera scans the room of the stuffy lawyer’s office. Bookshelves filled with old dusty law books. A large group of family members seated around the table suspiciously eyeing each other, trying to guess who manipulated grandpa on his death bed to leave everything to them.
Remember the 1990 comedy Home Alone? Kevin thinks his wish has come true. On the eve of a family trip to Paris, and after a night of ridicule that only younger siblings understand, he wishes that his family will disappear. Through a series of unlikely events that night and the next morning, his family leaves in a rush for their Paris flight without him. He awakes to an empty house, and he is elated.
At my firm, we often harp on the idea that everyone needs a plan. We quote people like Benjamin Franklin, who taught, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” The thing is, though, having a plan isn’t enough. You need a good plan. You need a clear plan. You need a thorough plan that considers multiple contingencies. You need a plan written to ensure that your wishes are carried out and that your intended beneficiaries are protected.
I’m sure the writer of Ecclesiastes didn’t have the movie industry in mind when he wrote, “What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” But the 2008 box office seemed to prove him right.
Jimi Hendrix was only twenty-seven when he died in 1970. He left no will, no trust—no instruction at all—to direct his estate to the right person. Many people who knew Jimi believe he would have left everything to his half-brother, Leon, the only person he considered family.
It was hard for me to believe that one guy could have so many firmly held but outright wrong beliefs as the man who sat before me in my conference room. The clients I work with are usually some of the most interesting and friendly people you’d ever want to meet. Unfortunately, Joe did not fit that description.
The information contained on this website is intended to provide general information. It is not intended as legal advice, and it does not create any type of attorney-client relationship. Estate Planning and Elder Law are complex fields, and each case is unique. Do not rely on the general information contained on this website when making legal decisions. Seek professional advice. The information contained on this website is the property of The Elrod Firm, and cannot be reused or disseminated without the express written consent of The Elrod Firm.