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

Guest Blog By Jennifer O’Brien 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 world renowned cranial base … Read More

When Is It Time to Revise Your Will or Trust?

Couple relaxing on bed in their new home

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: … Read More

Choosing Fiduciaries from a Litigator’s Perspective

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 our … Read More

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 … Read More

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: … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

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 … Read More

Is There an Age Limit 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 Needs Trust and Pooled … Read More

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. … Read More

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 … Read More

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

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 the … Read More

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, … Read More

How 529 Plans are Opening Doors to the Disabled

When you think of a 529 plan, you probably think of the 529 college-savings plan. Well, there’s a new 529 plan available now – the 529 ABLE (“Achieving a Better Life Experience”) account. The 529 ABLE account will provide eligible disabled people a savings vehicle that offers the same tax-free growth as a 529 college-savings plan provides. In December 2014, … Read More

Where Should I Keep My Estate Planning Documents?

Good question! You’ve thought through your estate plan and you’ve gone to your attorney to prepare a Will or Trust just how you want it. Then what? You lock them up in your home safe, put them in your safe deposit box, or you hide them where no one can find them. If you die and your documents are not … Read More

Estate Planning- Not Just for the Rich and Famous

Estate Planning- Is It for Everyone? Estate planning is not just for the rich and famous.  Ask yourself this – -Do you have now or have you had a spouse/partner? -Do you have children or grandchildren? -Are they under age 18? -Are they adults that behave like children? -Do you own your home? -Do you own a vacation home or … Read More

Special Needs Resources – A Parents Best Friend

There are many resources available for parents help their special needs children in many areas. There are resources for obtaining equipment such as walkers, wheelchairs, adaptive strollers, car seats, swings, high chairs and more.  There are resources for obtaining therapies and various specialized medical services.  There are resources for adaptive activities and entertainment such as bowling, horseback riding, kayaking, soccer, … Read More

Special Needs Planning – For You and Your Child

Just like parenting a typically developing child, parenting a Special Needs Child is full of challenges and rewards.  Milestones are anticipated and often met, but many times much later than the typical age and often with much therapy, intervention and work.  While there are many books and articles about parenting children with various special needs, every child is different and … Read More

What is a living trust and should I have one?

Many people in New Mexico have what they call “living trusts.” Although there are many seminars offered on living trusts, many people who have them do not need them. On the other hand, our office does prepare these trusts for our clients, but only in circumstances where the trust will solve a present problem or a future one. The use … Read More

Special Needs Trusts

Special needs trusts can enhance the lives of disabled individuals that receive Medicaid or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The purpose of the trust is to improve the quality of the beneficiary’s life without disqualifying him or her from public benefits. The rules for administration of a special needs trust and the form of the trust agreement itself vary depending upon … Read More

Charitable Trusts

Charitable trusts are effective estate planning tools for providing benefits to charitable and non-charitable beneficiaries. Because the benefits of charitable trusts are split between these two types of beneficiaries, they are referred to as “split interest trusts.” There are two primary types of charitable trusts, remainder trusts and lead trusts. Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs) provide an income stream to non-charitable … Read More

Why Can’t I Have a Trust?

When you open your newspaper and a pink flyer falls out telling you to come to a seminar about trusts, does that make you wonder why you do not have one too?  It seems like everyone has trusts these days.  Should everyone have trusts, as the flyer seems to imply?  Maybe I should have one and my lawyer just forgot … Read More