Blog

    Featured image for “What You Need to Know About Being an Adult with Disabilities”

    What You Need to Know About Being an Adult with Disabilities

     A comprehensive guide for Adults with disabilities spearheaded by PBWS Partner Margaret ‘Peggy’ Graham for the Special Needs Alliance (SNA). Navigating the complexities of adulthood can be challenging, especially for individuals with disabilities and their families. The newest SNA guide “What You Need to Know About Being an Adult with Disabilities: A Handbook for Self-Advocates, Parents, Guardians, and Their Loved

    Featured image for “A Visual Guide to FRAUD”

    A Visual Guide to FRAUD

    Look out for signs that you are being stalked by Fraud-sters. As technology advances, so do the tactics of scammers, making it essential to remain vigilant. While some communications are genuine, scammers are adept at exploiting these channels to defraud individuals. Here are some prevalent fraud attempts to watch out for and how they can be used to swindle money:

    Featured image for “Estate Planning for your Digital Legacy”

    Estate Planning for your Digital Legacy

    One aspect of your estate plan that you may not yet have taken into consideration is your digital legacy. Arranging what happens to your digital assets and information when you pass away has become an increasingly essential component of financial literacy — and comprehensive estate planning. According to Pew Research, the number of adults in the United States who say they

    Featured image for “Preparing Young Adults with Disabilities for College”

    Preparing Young Adults with Disabilities for College

    This post was authored by SNA member Beth C. Manes, Esq., Co-Founder and Partner at Manes & Weinberg Special Needs Lawyers, LLC. in Westfield, NJ, and Denise Gackenheimer Verzella, a Senior Associate with her firm. An SNA member since 2022, Beth focuses her practice on the areas of Special Education Law, Special Needs Planning, Guardianships and Estate Planning.   Every parent experiences some anxiety as

    Featured image for “Should I Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?”

    Should I Purchase Long-Term Care Insurance?

    Buying long-term care insurance is one way to protect against the high cost of long-term care. However, this type of insurance may not be for everyone, so consider all your options. Long-term care – care in a nursing home or at home — may be paid for in four main ways:  Out-of-pocket. If you have sufficient resources, you can pay

    Featured image for “Checklist: Hiring a Home Care Provider”

    Checklist: Hiring a Home Care Provider

    Most people prefer to be cared for in their home rather than a nursing home but finding a home care provider for you or a loved one can be daunting. The following are some things to keep in mind when looking for a caregiver. Level of care The first thing to consider is what level of care is needed. This

    Featured image for “What is the Difference Between Elder Law and Estate Planning?”

    What is the Difference Between Elder Law and Estate Planning?

    Elder law and estate planning serve two different—but equally vital—functions. The main difference is that elder law is focused on preserving your assets during your lifetime, while estate planning concentrates on what happens to your assets after you die. Elder law planning is concerned with ensuring that seniors live long, healthy, and financially secure lives. It usually involves anticipating future

    Featured image for “Annual Gift Tax and Estate Tax Exclusions Are Increasing in 2022”

    Annual Gift Tax and Estate Tax Exclusions Are Increasing in 2022

    The amount you can gift to any one person on an annual basis without filing a gift tax return is increasing to $16,000 in 2022, the first increase since 2018. The federal estate tax exclusion is also climbing to more than $12 million per individual. The IRS’s announcement that the annual gift exclusion will rise for calendar year 2022 means

    Featured image for “When Can Someone be Declared Legally Incompetent?”

    When Can Someone be Declared Legally Incompetent?

    If a loved one is experiencing memory loss or suddenly making poor decisions and they do not have a power of attorney in place, you may need the court to appoint a guardian, which requires a declaration of incompetence. Determining whether someone is incompetent to make their own decisions is a complicated process. If a loved one is unable to

    Featured image for “It’s Medicare Open Enrollment Time: Is Your Plan Still Working for You?”

    It’s Medicare Open Enrollment Time: Is Your Plan Still Working for You?

    Every year Medicare gives beneficiaries a window of opportunity to shop around and determine if their current Medicare plan is still the best one for them. During Medicare’s Open Enrollment Period, which runs from October 15 to December 7, beneficiaries can freely enroll in or switch plans.  During the seven-week period, you can return to traditional Medicare (Parts A and B) from a

    Featured image for “What is an Elder Law Attorney and Do I Need One?”

    What is an Elder Law Attorney and Do I Need One?

    Elder law is a practice area defined by the people whose legal needs are served—senior citizens. It is an area of law which grew out of the need for estate planning attorneys to address legal problems facing older clients and their children. Elder law is a remarkably diverse area of practice. It encompasses issues affecting the lives of the “elderly,” a population

    Featured image for “How to Have a Financial Management Conversation with an Elderly Loved One”

    How to Have a Financial Management Conversation with an Elderly Loved One

    Guest Blog By SilverBills Having a conversation with an older adult relative about financial matters may be challenging. However, conversations such as these are essential as they provide an opportunity to talk about what a loved one may need help with as he or she ages. Starting these conversations can sometimes be problematic, as the idea of allowing others to help

    Featured image for “FDA Fast-Tracked New Alzheimer’s Treatment to Mixed Reviews”

    FDA Fast-Tracked New Alzheimer’s Treatment to Mixed Reviews

    Alzheimer’s is a debilitating brain disorder affecting memory and, eventually, language, reasoning, and social behavior. Diagnosed in nearly 6.2 million Americans, Alzheimer’s is a progressive, irreversible disease with treatments mainly focusing on symptoms, such as delaying memory loss, and not the underlying cause—that is, until now. In June of 2021—just in time for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month—the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

    Featured image for “President Biden Proposes Billions in Increased Funding for Home Health Care”

    President Biden Proposes Billions in Increased Funding for Home Health Care

    President Biden has introduced a plan to spend $400 billion over eight years on home and community-based care for the elderly and people with disabilities. The money would go to expand access to care and support higher-paying caregiving jobs.  As the elderly population grows, our long-term care system is becoming increasingly strained. The AARP found that in 2020, more than

    Featured image for “How You Can End Up in Medicare’s Doughnut Hole, and How You Get Out”

    How You Can End Up in Medicare’s Doughnut Hole, and How You Get Out

    Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plans can have a coverage gap—called the “doughnut hole”–which limits how much Medicare will pay for your drugs until you pay a certain amount out of pocket. Although the gap has gotten much smaller since Medicare Part D was introduced in 2006, there still may be a difference in what you pay during your initial

    Featured image for “The Passage of the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act”

    The Passage of the Elizabeth Whitefield End-of-Life Options Act

    While there are certainly wide-ranging views on this law, there are many who will find peace in having a lawful option for ending their suffering on their own terms.

    Featured image for “Do It, Teach It, Lead It: National Healthcare Decisions Day 2021”

    Do It, Teach It, Lead It: National Healthcare Decisions Day 2021

    Guest Blog By Jennifer O’Brien Photo by Lori Sparkman Originally published April 16, 2021 About a thousand years ago, I was the administrator for an otolaryngology department. The department put on a CME course on endoscopic sinus surgery, that attracted everyone from PGY1s to seasoned, community surgeons because it included a cadaver head lab and numerous didactic sessions, culminating with a

    Featured image for “If You Have an ABLE Account or Special Needs Trust Do You Need the Other?”

    If You Have an ABLE Account or Special Needs Trust Do You Need the Other?

    ABLE Accounts and Special Needs Trusts serve different purposes but can be used together to give the beneficiary the most freedom and independence possible. An ABLE Account is a tool that was created by federal law (the same part of the tax code where we find 529 Education plans) to help people with disabilities save some money and be as

    Featured image for “Finally Planning that Vacation? Here is the One Planning Checklist Item You Shouldn’t Procrastinate On ”

    Finally Planning that Vacation? Here is the One Planning Checklist Item You Shouldn’t Procrastinate On 

    Springtime and planning for the warm weather is here again, and this year it feels different. In spring 2020, plants were bursting with life as we humans hunkered down in effort to preserve our own in the face of a global pandemic. Travel plans, weddings, and birthday parties were cancelled or postponed, and life went on hold. One year later,

    Featured image for “Biden Administration May Spell Changes to Estate Tax Exemptions and Basis Step-Up Rule”

    Biden Administration May Spell Changes to Estate Tax Exemptions and Basis Step-Up Rule

    During the 2020 election campaign, President Joe Biden proposed certain changes to the Internal Revenue Code, which among other things, could change the current law on estate and gift taxation.  There are two possibilities you should be aware of: the lowering of the estate tax exemption and the elimination of the stepped-up basis on death. The first would affect only

    Featured image for “How to Spot the Signs of Elder Abuse”

    How to Spot the Signs of Elder Abuse

    Elder care can be challenging for families to navigate. Whether they arrange care at home or decide to move a loved one into a facility, families want to make sure their loved ones are well cared for. Unfortunately, elders’ social isolation, mental impairment (such as in instances when they are facing dementia), and reliance on others for care makes them

    Featured image for “PBWS Attorney Named to Special Needs Alliance”

    PBWS Attorney Named to Special Needs Alliance

    PBWS Attorney Named to Special Needs Alliance Albuquerque, NM —  January 6, 2021 — Attorney Margaret “Peggy” A. Graham of the law firm of Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman and Sale, PC (PBWS Law) has been selected as the newest member of the Special Needs Alliance. Established in 2002, the Special Needs Alliance (SNA) is a national, non-profit collective of many of

    Featured image for “Why Everyone Needs A Will”

    Why Everyone Needs A Will

    Between one-third and two-thirds of Americans do not have a will — a legally binding document that records your wishes about the distribution of your property and assets after your death. Wills are not just about your material things; they are also about people. Wills allow you to name a guardian for minor or disabled children. Wills also allow you

    Featured image for “Paying Family Members to Provide Care for Special Needs Individuals”

    Paying Family Members to Provide Care for Special Needs Individuals

    The Special Needs Alliance recognizes, paying a relative to care for a family member with disabilities can solve several challenges. This solution allows the individual requiring care to remain at home, where they likely feel most comfortable. As The Caregiver Space observes, paying a family member also acknowledges the important work they do and compensates them for the financial sacrifices

    Featured image for “COVID-19 Virus Concerns for a Law Practice”

    COVID-19 Virus Concerns for a Law Practice

    The legal needs of New Mexicans did not go away when COVID-19 came calling and disrupted everyone’s lives. In fact, the virus made legal issues more urgent, particularly for individuals who needed an estate plan or Powers of Attorney. Many of our clients are older adults, one of the most at-risk groups for the virus. Rather than delay addressing their

    Featured image for “Frauds and Scams Are Increasing Against Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities”

    Frauds and Scams Are Increasing Against Elderly Individuals and Individuals with Disabilities

    According to The Special Needs Alliance’s publication, The Voice, financial fraud is on the rise for those individuals with special needs or disabilities. Financial abuse can be devastating to anyone, but individuals with disabilities and elderly individuals are particularly vulnerable. If you have a loved one, you should be aware of the following types of fraud or scams currently on

    Featured image for “PBWS Law Hosts Free Webinar Series”

    PBWS Law Hosts Free Webinar Series

    Join our attorneys for a free webinar series! You can sign up for any of the webinars in the events section located here. 

    Featured image for “CARES Act: Required Minimum Distributions (“RMDs”) for 2020”

    CARES Act: Required Minimum Distributions (“RMDs”) for 2020

    The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act or “CARES” Act enacted by Congress and signed into law by President Trump on March 27, 2020, aimed to provide financial relief and incentives to American families and businesses.  The highlights many people may be familiar with are: Eligible taxpayers received $1,200 checks; Forgivable loans to businesses to maintain their employees and

    Featured image for “When Is It Time to Revise Your Will or Trust?”

    When Is It Time to Revise Your Will or Trust?

    When completing a Will or Trust, oftentimes people believe it will never need to be changed. But typically, life is filled with changing circumstances, and it is important to revise your Will or Trust following major changes in your life. There are several major changes in your life which should prompt you to update or revise your Will or Trust:

    Featured image for “A Lesson in Elder Financial Abuse: It Can Happen to Anyone”

    A Lesson in Elder Financial Abuse: It Can Happen to Anyone

    Larry was 84-years old when he passed away last year.  His wife of 62 years died in 2018.  His only child, David, lived overseas and he had no other living family.  Larry was fiercely independent and was reluctant to ask for assistance with anything despite being an elder.  Concerned for his well-being and knowing that he would never consider moving

    Featured image for “Why Now is the Time to Start (Or Refresh) Your Estate Plan – And How to Get Started”

    Why Now is the Time to Start (Or Refresh) Your Estate Plan – And How to Get Started

    There are any number of reasons why people put off their estate planning. We’ve heard it time and again: I do not need a will. I am young, I am healthy. I cannot afford it right now. I do not have that many assets. My family knows what I want. I trust my new spouse to take care of my

    Featured image for “PBWS Law Recognized as a “Best Place to Work” for 2020”

    PBWS Law Recognized as a “Best Place to Work” for 2020

    Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman & Sale, PC is pleased to announce that they have been named one of 31 finalists in “Best Places to Work 2020” in New Mexico by Albuquerque Business First.  As a finalist, PBWS Law is recognized for providing a comfortable job atmosphere for its staff and employees and going above and beyond to provide benefits and job

    Featured image for “Summary of the SECURE Act and Retirement Savings: What You Should Know”

    Summary of the SECURE Act and Retirement Savings: What You Should Know

    The most significant change to estate planning law in 2019 was the passage of the SECURE Act in late December. The Act is intended to increase and encourage retirement savings. Benefits of the SECURE Act to Retirement Savings The Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement, or SECURE, Act, is meant to address the fact that many Americans do not

    Featured image for “How to Make Life More Enjoyable Through Prolonged Quarantine”

    How to Make Life More Enjoyable Through Prolonged Quarantine

    As quarantine for COVID-19 continues, many people are wondering how much longer they can stand it. But there are ways that seniors, caregivers, and parents can help make the stay-at-home orders bearable for those that still need to stay home. Excitement as States Reopen The Governor of New Mexico recently announced that the state was lifting some restrictions that had

    Featured image for “Webinar: Planning Ahead for Dementia Caregivers”

    Webinar: Planning Ahead for Dementia Caregivers

    On Tuesday, May 19, 2020, PBWS attorneys Daniel J. Monte and Margaret A. “Peggy” Graham joined the Alzheimer’s Association of New Mexico to present a webinar to their Dementia Caregivers group discussing legal options for caregivers. If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s or are wanting to ensure you have your documents in

    Featured image for “Erin Wideman, PBWS Managing Partner, in Albuquerque Journal Regarding Wills”

    Erin Wideman, PBWS Managing Partner, in Albuquerque Journal Regarding Wills

    Many individuals are seeking to update their existing wills or start their estate plans due to the uncertainties around COVID-19. Erin Wideman, Managing Partner at Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman & Sale, spoke with The Albuquerque Journal about why the pandemic is driving people to update their documents, and the legal process involved. Read the story

    Featured image for “Estate Planning Signing Safeguards”

    Estate Planning Signing Safeguards

    With the world in disarray due to COVID-19, you may feel more pressure than ever to ensure your estate planning documents and powers of attorney are updated and in place. In times of uncertainty, it is the small things that help bring us piece of mind. Our attorneys are working diligently to ensure our clients are taken care of when

    Featured image for “PBWS Law Attorney Daniel Monte Speaks to Albuquerque Business First About Real Estate Issues During COVID-19”

    PBWS Law Attorney Daniel Monte Speaks to Albuquerque Business First About Real Estate Issues During COVID-19

    PBWS Law attorney Daniel J. Monte was interviewed by Albuquerque Business First regarding how Real Estate, tenants, and landlords can both approach issues of paying or collecting rent during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. You can read the article here.

    Featured image for “PBWS Attorney Daniel Monte Offers Advice to Business Owners Struggling to Pay Rent”

    PBWS Attorney Daniel Monte Offers Advice to Business Owners Struggling to Pay Rent

    On April 15, PBWS attorney, Daniel J. Monte, spoke with Kai Porter of KOB TV News in Albuquerque regarding what business owners who are struggling to pay rent during the stay-at-home order can do right now. You can watch the interview below.

    Featured image for “Where Should I Keep My Estate Planning Documents?”

    Where Should I Keep My Estate Planning Documents?

    Esther was 78-years-old when she passed away peacefully in her sleep.  She was a widow and the mother of four children.  Esther had always been a very private person who shared very little with her children about her finances, her end of life wishes, her funeral and burial wishes, and her estate plan.  Two years prior to her death, Esther

    Featured image for “5 Ways to Be a Better Caregiver When a Loved One Gets Sick”

    5 Ways to Be a Better Caregiver When a Loved One Gets Sick

    Did you know, more than 40 million Americans are caring for a loved one, whether it be an elderly parent or another family member. No one is ever prepared to become a caregiver. Caregiving is often a full-time job, yet many people who are caring for a loved one find they must continue to work to pay their own bills.

    Featured image for “Choosing Fiduciaries from a Litigator’s Perspective”

    Choosing Fiduciaries from a Litigator’s Perspective

    Fiduciaries, An essential part of estate planning is the selection of Fiduciaries—those persons who will carry out your wishes; your agent, personal representative, or successor trustee.  What is a fiduciary? A fiduciary is a person who has a legal or ethical relationship with another.  In estate planning, we choose a fiduciary to manage our assets, either during life or at

    Featured image for “What is a MOST Form and Do I Need One?”

    What is a MOST Form and Do I Need One?

    MOST is an acronym for “medical orders for scope of treatment” and is specific to New Mexico. A MOST form is a great tool for outlining patients’ wishes for medical interventions and end-of-life care when individuals have a serious or life-threatening illness. It consists of a set of medical orders which are integrated into the patient’s medical record and are

    Featured image for “What Happens to My Debt When I Die?”

    What Happens to My Debt When I Die?

    I have a classic lawyer answer to this question- it depends.  Here are some factors to consider when thinking about this question: Do you co-own the debt with another person? Is it a joint credit card with your spouse?  Did your parents co-sign the loan with you? If so, that person may continue to have an obligation to pay the

    Featured image for “Common Mistakes Made When Estate Planning Without a Legal Professional”

    Common Mistakes Made When Estate Planning Without a Legal Professional

    A close friend of mine and his wife obtained estimates from two contractors to remodel their kitchen. Shocked by the estimates, my friend somehow convinced his wife (and himself) that he had all of the necessary tools and the skills to undertake the project himself, and to complete it for nearly half of what the contractors were going to charge.

    Featured image for “Update on Special Needs Planning Seminar 2019 Video and Handouts (June 26 & 27, 2019)”

    Update on Special Needs Planning Seminar 2019 Video and Handouts (June 26 & 27, 2019)

    The Update on Special Needs Planning Seminar was held on Wednesday, June 26, 2019, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Thursday, June 27, 2019, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The seminar was hosted at the DoubleTree Hilton and New Mexico CPA Society from 3:00 p.m to 5:00 p.m. Presented by: Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman & Sale, PC (PBWS) First American Bank ARCA

    Featured image for “You Do Not Have to Wait Until You Die to Share”

    You Do Not Have to Wait Until You Die to Share

    Recently my dad relayed to my sister and I that after his death, he has a playlist of songs he wants all of us kids to have to remember him by. He went on to say that he has an individual song for all eight of us. As an estate planning attorney, I asked him if he had written this

    Featured image for “What is the DD Waiver and Why Does it Matter for Special Needs Families?”

    What is the DD Waiver and Why Does it Matter for Special Needs Families?

    The DD Waiver is the Developmentally Disabled Waiver in New Mexico. It is a Medicaid program that provides services to qualifying individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Often people ask what the “waiver” part means. One of the qualifying questions for the DD Waiver is whether the individual would otherwise qualify for nursing home level of care (NHLOC). If so,

    Featured image for “Is a Power of Attorney Right for a Person with an Intellectual or Developmental Disability?”

    Is a Power of Attorney Right for a Person with an Intellectual or Developmental Disability?

    Not every person with an intellectual or developmental disability is unable to make health care and/or financial decisions. The impact and spectrum of disabilities varies widely from person to person and diagnosis to diagnosis. One person with Down Syndrome may be capable of decision-making while another may not, just as a person with autism may be capable of decision-making while

    Featured image for “Using Estate Planning to Prevent Family Conflict”

    Using Estate Planning to Prevent Family Conflict

    “My kids all get along great and would never fight or argue about the disposition of my estate after I’m gone.” This is a very familiar statement made by clients to their estate planning attorneys. Unfortunately, the reality is oftentimes very different from our perceptions and hopes. There is no question losing a parent is one of the most difficult,

    Featured image for “3-Part Vlog Series on Guardianship: Part III”

    3-Part Vlog Series on Guardianship: Part III

    Our firm is pleased to announce the final vlog, Part III in our 3-Part Series on Guardianship. In Part III, Kellie Knapp, talks with PBWS attorney, Bridget Mullins, to ask four final questions about guardianship in the state of New Mexico. The four questions are: 1) What does the Qualified Healthcare Professional report need to contain? 2) How long does

    Featured image for “Final Regulations Applicable to Eligibility for VA Needs-Based Benefits”

    Final Regulations Applicable to Eligibility for VA Needs-Based Benefits

    The U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) proposed new regulations in 2015 regarding net worth, asset transfers, and income exclusions for needs-based VA benefits. These regulations have been finalized and are effective as of October 18, 2018. A couple of the most significant changes are highlighted below: New bright-line evaluation of net worth; New 36-month look-back period for asset transfers.

    Featured image for “Swedish Death Cleaning”

    Swedish Death Cleaning

    A client of mine recently brought up “Swedish Death Cleaning,” which is a concept that is trending with the fairly recent release of a book entitled The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning: How to Free Yourself and Your Family from a Lifetime of Clutter by Margareta Magnusson. I had not heard of it, but I was curious because of

    Featured image for “3-Part Vlog Series on Guardianship: Part II”

    3-Part Vlog Series on Guardianship: Part II

    Our firm is happy to share Part II in a 3-Part Series on Guardianship. In Part II, Firm and Marketing Manager, Kellie Knapp, talks with associate attorney, Bridget Mullins, to ask four more questions about guardianship in the state of New Mexico. The four questions are: 1) Are there alternatives to guardianship? 2) What should someone expect at a guardianship

    Featured image for “The Attorney-Client Privilege: When Does It Exist?”

    The Attorney-Client Privilege: When Does It Exist?

    Much is talked about in the legal world about the “attorney-client privilege” and what exactly it entails.  The rules of evidence are lengthy and complicated.  Law students devote countless hours trying to figure them out and lawyers and judges routinely debate their applicability and relevance in the courtroom.  The attorney-client privilege belongs to the client.  Only the client can waive

    Featured image for “3-Part Vlog Series on Guardianship: Part I”

    3-Part Vlog Series on Guardianship: Part I

    Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman & Sale, PC presents a 3-Part Series on Guardianship: Part I. In Part I, Firm and Marketing Manager, Kellie Knapp, sits down with attorney, Bridget Mullins, to ask four basic questions about guardianship in the state of New Mexico. The four questions are: 1) What is guardianship? 2) What is the initial process in getting a guardianship?

    Featured image for “Summary of Senate Bill 19: Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Arrangements Act – Part II”

    Summary of Senate Bill 19: Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Arrangements Act – Part II

    This is the second part of a 2-part series about Senate Bill 19 in New Mexico. The second part will discuss the effect of the changes the new provisions of Senate Bill 19 has on the Guardianship and Conservatorship statute for individuals with special needs. Effect of the changes to the G&C statute for individuals with special needs: The changes

    Image

    Update on Special Needs Planning Seminar 2018 Video and Handouts (April 11, 2018)

    The Update on Special Needs Planning Seminar was held on Wednesday, April 11, 2018 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The seminar was hosted at the New Mexico Society of CPAs from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Presented by: Pregenzer, Baysinger, Wideman & Sale, PC (PBWS) Zia Trust, Inc. The Arc of New Mexico ARCA Presentors: Elaine Solimon, Community Relations Director of ARCA Bridget

    Featured image for “Summary of Senate Bill 19: Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Arrangements Act – Part I”

    Summary of Senate Bill 19: Guardianship, Conservatorship, and Other Arrangements Act – Part I

    This is the first part of a 2-part series about Senate Bill 19 in New Mexico. The first part will discuss the new provisions of Senate Bill 19. Senate Bill 19, sponsored by Senator White, passed and was approved by the Governor, but in a very different form than it began. The initial bill was based on the recently approved

    Featured image for “Care-Taker Roles Reverse”

    Care-Taker Roles Reverse

    Generally speaking we don’t plan on spending a Saturday afternoon in the local Emergency Department.  However, as parents age, we as their adult children find ourselves more and more in the care-taker role, which often means accompanying them to doctor’s appointments and sometimes to the Emergency Department.  As I sat with my mother and father in the Emergency Department on

    Featured image for “Who Should I Appoint As My Fiduciary?”

    Who Should I Appoint As My Fiduciary?

    As part of a comprehensive estate plan, each one of us should appoint fiduciaries to act on our behalf in the event that we are no longer able to do so during life or at our death.  Simply appointing a spouse, child, sibling, or good friend may not be the right choice in all situations. What many people do not

    Featured image for “What is a Fiduciary?”

    What is a Fiduciary?

    A fiduciary is an individual or an entity in whom someone has placed significant confidence and trust to manage his or her financial and/or personal affairs either during their lifetime or after their death.  The fiduciary has a legally enforceable obligation and duty to act in the best interest of the person(s) the fiduciary serves.  Common examples of fiduciaries are:

    Featured image for “PBWS Tenth Anniversary”

    PBWS Tenth Anniversary

    Pregenzer Baysinger Wideman & Sale is approaching an exciting milestone—our tenth anniversary!  Our firm opened for business on August 4, 2008.  You may remember 2008, the year that the U.S. economy almost collapsed.  In September of that year, when our firm was operating out of a small office in the basement of our building, using camp chairs and boxes for

    Featured image for “Intra-Family Conflict After Death – It Can Be Expensive”

    Intra-Family Conflict After Death – It Can Be Expensive

    We all hear horror stories about siblings becoming estranged after the death of a parent because they couldn’t agree about who should get their mom’s teapot.  Unfortunately, most estate planning and probate attorneys can tell you these stories have a basis in fact.  What you might not realize is that those family conflicts can also become incredibly expensive.  It is

    Featured image for “Serving the Public Good”

    Serving the Public Good

    Lawyers have an ethical responsibility to provide pro bono services to indigent or other deserving clients.  Rule 16-601 says that a lawyer should aspire to at least 50 pro bono publico (“for the public good”) legal services per year.  “For the public good” means undertaking professional work voluntarily and without payment. Recently in Albuquerque, the guardianship and conservatorship community was

    Featured image for “People’s Motivation to Do Estate Planning”

    People’s Motivation to Do Estate Planning

    There are many reasons clients are motivated to do their estate planning, but the two I hear most are they are going to be travelling, usually overseas, or they have an upcoming surgery. Nothing like flying across the ocean or going under the knife to get you thinking about your mortality. Along those lines, my observations suggest people equate estate

    Featured image for “3 Simple Tips for Enjoying the Holidays with Special Needs Kids”

    3 Simple Tips for Enjoying the Holidays with Special Needs Kids

    Tis the Season- Holidays can be a stressful time in general, but particularly for children with a disability such as autism, Asperger’s or a sensory processing disorder. All of the hyped-up energy, excitement and new adventures is multiplied by ten for them, and can be really difficult to handle. I have seen how the holidays can overwhelm my typically developing

    Featured image for “Reverse Mortgages – What Are They and Are They Right For You?”

    Reverse Mortgages – What Are They and Are They Right For You?

    What is a reverse mortgage? Created in 1989 by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, a reverse mortgage is a home-equity loan for homeowners that are aged 62 or older. A reverse mortgage allows a homeowner to access the equity in their home, by turning equity into tax free cash. The homeowner does not have to make a

    Featured image for “What Are the “Powers” in Powers of Attorney?”

    What Are the “Powers” in Powers of Attorney?

    What are the “powers” in Powers of Attorney? It is very common for clients to say to us, “My mom/dad/friend/sister/etc. just made me their Power of Attorney.  What does that mean?” Here are some general rules to keep in mind if you find yourself in that situation: Read the forms In New Mexico, there are two types of Power of

    Featured image for “7 Things You Don’t Know About a Special Needs Parent”

    7 Things You Don’t Know About a Special Needs Parent

    About 6 million kids in America are Special Needs and receive special education, according to the U.S. Department of Education. One out of every 10 children under the age of 14 has some type of special need, which includes any physical, cognitive, or medical disability, or chronic or life-threatening illness. Raising a child with any disorder, condition or special need,

    Featured image for “Giving Myself Elder Law Advice”

    Giving Myself Elder Law Advice

    There is a saying that when a lawyer represents themselves they have a fool for a client.  Giving myself elder law advice as I navigate the aging process with my elderly parents is proving it. How many times have I sat at a conference room table and given sage advice to adult children of parents with dementia about where their

    Featured image for “How can an attorney help you with probate?”

    How can an attorney help you with probate?

    When a loved one passes away, families often face a huge amount of logistical hassles and tasks in the midst of their grief.  The last thing you want to deal with on top of all the other arrangements are court systems and unfamiliar procedures.  That is one of the reasons many people turn to an attorney for help with probate. 

    Featured image for “Charitable Giving and Tax Benefits”

    Charitable Giving and Tax Benefits

    Do you have a charity that is close to your heart? Maybe your church, your favorite animal shelter, or your alma mater. Consider including them in your estate plan and/or in lifetime gifts. If you don’t have a particular charity you want to support, but there is a cause that is important to you, like homelessness, animals, kids, education, arts,

    Featured image for “Medicare Eligibility After Hospital Observation Status”

    Medicare Eligibility After Hospital Observation Status

    Hospitals must now give Medicare recipients notice when they are in the hospital under observation status. The notice requirement is part of a law enacted in 2015 but that just took effect. Signed by President Obama in August 2015, the law was intended to prevent surprises after a Medicare beneficiary spends days in a hospital under “observation” and is then

    Featured image for “Probate – I’m Scared of Probate, Is It Necessary?”

    Probate – I’m Scared of Probate, Is It Necessary?

    Scared of Probate?! First of all, you probably shouldn’t be.  Probate in New Mexico is not that expensive or overly drawn-out process that you might have heard about in other states.  The cost of opening probate in New Mexico is small, and without complicating factors, can be completed in between four and six months. However, there are options for people who

    Featured image for “Powers of Attorney – What They Are and Why You Need Them”

    Powers of Attorney – What They Are and Why You Need Them

    Do you have financial and healthcare powers of attorney? Most people equate estate planning only with dying, but there are other important components of an estate plan that are relevant while you are alive, one of those is powers of attorney (POAs). In New Mexico, there are financial and health care powers of attorney. There are many benefits to having

    Featured image for “Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (SNTFA)”

    Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (SNTFA)

    The Special Needs Trust Fairness Act (SNTFA) was signed into law by President Obama, after being approved by the House and Senate, in 2016. While Special Needs Trusts have been since the Omnibus Reconciliation Act was passed in 1993, there was an oversight when the Act was drafted. Before the SNTFA was signed into law, individuals with disabilities who had

    Featured image for “Special Needs Children – Know the Types and Know Your Rights”

    Special Needs Children – Know the Types and Know Your Rights

    18.5% of American Children under age 18 are Special Needs Children.  That doesn’t mean that they aren’t smart, talented or capable.  Just that they have specific challenges that a “normal” student would not face. There are four major types of special needs children: Physical – muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, chronic asthma, epilepsy, etc. Developmental – down syndrome, autism, dyslexia, processing

    Featured image for “The Alzheimer’s Association Report – Increasing Costs and Impact”

    The Alzheimer’s Association Report – Increasing Costs and Impact

    The Alzheimer’s Association released a report on March 7, 2017 with updated statistics related to the number of Americans with Alzheimer’s dementia and the growing cost and impact of the disease on families and the economy.  Some startling findings: Unless a cure or improved treatments are discovered, the number of people age 65 or older with Alzheimer’s dementia may nearly

    Featured image for “Do You Need A Trust?”

    Do You Need A Trust?

    Many clients come to us because they have heard they should have a trust. The usual reason for this is to avoid probate. Although trusts can accomplish the purpose of avoiding probate, if this is the only purpose to be served by establishing the trust, then in New Mexico, it is not that important. Probate is the process of transferring

    Featured image for “When Should You Review Your Estate Planning Documents?”

    When Should You Review Your Estate Planning Documents?

    First, let’s clarify what your estate planning documents are. Of course, they include your Will and any Codicils, and perhaps your trust or trusts. But they also include any powers of attorney (both financial and health care) as well as all beneficiary designations for life insurance, retirement plans, annuities and transfer on death accounts. A thorough review of your estate

    Featured image for “Is There an Age Limit for Special Needs Trusts?”

    Is There an Age Limit for Special Needs Trusts?

    For Special Needs Trusts, as usual, the answer is, it depends. Special Needs Trusts (SNTs) are a way to save money for disabled persons that do not risk a person’s eligibility for government funded programs, such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). There are three (3) types of Special Needs Trusts. They are: Self-Settled Special Needs Trust Third-Party Special

    Featured image for “Five Truths and One Lie About Guardianship”

    Five Truths and One Lie About Guardianship

    Guardianship and conservatorship is the process where a court authorizes another to make decisions for someone who is incapacitated; i.e., someone who is partially or completely functionally impaired to the extent that he is unable to manage his/her personal and/or financial affairs. A guardian has authority to make personal decisions for the person who is incapacitated, including medical decisions and

    Featured image for “When is a trust necessary or helpful?”

    When is a trust necessary or helpful?

    There are many causes of mental and physical incapacity and there are many people who are very bad a managing money, and for one reason or another, should not be left in charge of their own investments.  In these cases, a trust may be a good idea.  It can be a revocable trust or it can be an irrevocable trust.

    Featured image for “Having Difficult Conversations with Your Aging Parents”

    Having Difficult Conversations with Your Aging Parents

    When Elder Law is a primary focuses of your law practice, you often have clients come to you to discuss their aging parents. They start seeing the signs: the yard is not being cared for the house is in disrepair and is not the neat and tidy home you are used to seeing the refrigerator is full of food that

    Featured image for “Should I Create a Trust to Avoid Probate?”

    Should I Create a Trust to Avoid Probate?

    Avoiding probate is a common reason for creating trusts. One thing to note is that only a funded trust will avoid probate. Meaning, only assets that have been transferred and titled in a trust will avoid probate.  When properly funded, the trust document and not a Will controls the disposition of the assets and avoids the necessity of opening a

    Featured image for “Reflections on a Law Firm”

    Reflections on a Law Firm

    A little over eight years ago four lawyers of diverse background and experience decided to open a law firm. Each of us had personal reasons for making a change but important to all of us was a belief that we could find a way to practice law differently, in an environment that encouraged collaboration and mutual trust.  We wanted a

    Featured image for “Medical Treatment for the Elderly – Less Can Be More”

    Medical Treatment for the Elderly – Less Can Be More

    Sometimes, what may be considered “best medical practices” is not in our elderly family members’ best interest. I’m not talking about the so-called “death panels” used to frighten the public about universal health care. Rather, I’m talking about the toll that hospitalizations can take on our elderly population. A recent study showed that about one-third of patients over 70 years

    Featured image for “How is a revocable trust funded? Should all assets be transferred to a revocable trust?”

    How is a revocable trust funded? Should all assets be transferred to a revocable trust?

    Revocable Trusts are funded by re-titling or transferring title by deed or assignment of individual assets to the revocable trust.  Assets may include stocks, bank accounts, real estate, timeshare interests, or business interests. Once assets are transferred into the trust, a schedule of assets should be attached to the trust document as this assists the trustee in the management of

    Image

    Moving to a New State Can Get Complicated

    Posted on July 5, 2016 by The Arc. To read the original article, please click HERE.  By Wendy H. Sheinberg, CELA written for The Arc in partnership with the Special Needs Alliance.  Moving to another state is a challenge for most families. If a family member has disabilities, that challenge is even greater. State benefit programs vary, and states administer federal programs at

    Image

    What does a Will do and why should I have one?

    A Will, also known as a “last will and testament”, is a legal document that gives instructions to an agent, known as a personal representative in New Mexico, about how to distribute your assets at your death to people and/or charities named in your Will. A will can help you protect your family and property by allowing you to: -Have

    Image

    What is the criteria for a legal Will in New Mexico?

    Each state has different criteria for Wills to be legal or valid.  It is important to understand your state requirements when executing a Will. For a will to be legal in New Mexico: -You must be over the age of 18 years or an emancipated minor -You must be of sound mind -You must have 2 witnesses present who watch

    Image

    Proud to be a Certified Elder Law Attorney

    Last week I received an email from the new President of the Board of Directors of the National Elder Law Foundation (NELF). As a Certified Elder Law Attorney (CELA) myself, his words struck a chord with me. As CELAs, we take pride in the fact we are uniquely trained to work with the elderly, their families, and special needs clients.

    Image

    Do I need a trust?

    Just yesterday, I was asked by a friend “Do you think that I need a trust?” “Well,” I said, in my usual lawyerly fashion, “it depends.” In our law firm, we draft many trusts for many different reasons. We also discuss with clients whether or not they should have a trust of any sort. There are many types of trusts,

    Image

    Preparing for Cognitive Decline – Powers of Attorney and Moving to a Protected Paradise

    Dementia is a frightening disease, the last thing you want to feel is scared, isolated, and restricted. Ever wonder if there is a better, more creative way to provide care for a loved one diagnosed with dementia? It seems that the tiny village of Hogewey, located outside of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, has figured out a way to provide a

    Image

    Organ Donation – Best to Include in Advanced Health Care Directive

    Organ donation can be a difficult subject to discuss with family members, and can be an even more difficult subject when family members are faced with the decision after a loved one’s death.  However, donating an organ or even a whole body for scientific study, medical education. or to save the life of another can be an important part of

    Image

    Committed to Community Service

    I attended the Alzheimer’s Association New Mexico Chapter’s Dancing Stars Gala on Saturday night. As a member of the Board, I am sure I am somewhat biased, but this organization does great work. The Gala showcases members of the community who volunteer to work with a professional dancer and participate in a dance contest at the event. The dancer must

    Image

    Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month: 3 Ways to Recognize, Celebrate, and Support People with Special Needs

    March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month! While many advances have been made for people with developmental disabilities, there is still a long road ahead. In the Special Needs Alliance article, Robert B. Fleming, discusses advances and setbacks surrounding developmentally disabled people from 1987 to present. How can we recognize, celebrate, and help support those with Developmental Disabilities? Here are a

    Image

    It’s All About Perspective – A Different Perspective From My Special Needs Daughter

    How often are we sitting in traffic, running late, hitting every red light, and becoming more and more frustrated?  Or maybe waiting in a line that never seems to move, or in a doctor’s office waiting room well past your appointment time?  We all experience these frustrations, but we all know that getting angry or frustrated or having a melt-down

    Image

    Elevator Pitch

    It happened again last Friday, at a Starbucks. Someone asked me what kind of law I practice. No matter how many times I am asked that simple question, I panic. I’ve never been able to come up with an effective elevator speech (a clear, brief message about what one does for a living, typically about 30 seconds, the time it