Hooper Law Office,LLC Estate Planning Blog

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

What is HIPAA?

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) was passed about fifteen years ago to ensure that people’s health care information remains private.  It prevents health care providers from releasing your private information to unauthorized individuals. However, one unfortunate consequence of this law is that oftentimes loved ones are unable to obtain necessary information when an emergency arises.  A proper estate plan will incorporate a HIPAA-compliant release of information that allows key individuals to speak with health care providers.  There are no requirements regarding who can be named in an authorization and that decision should be made according to your individual circumstances.  

Monday, March 28, 2011

Is This All About Taxes?

Estate planning has much less to do with taxes and much more to do with making sure your wishes are known and honored. Families change, needs and interests change, and sometimes your plan should change accordingly. The changing tax landscape acts as a reminder that you should revisit your estate plan regularly.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Long Term Care Insurance

Genworth Financial’s 2010 average Wisconsin prices for long term care: 

Assisted Living $40,725

Private nursing home room $82,125 

Many couples facing these annual costs ask “How can we afford care if one of us needs medical help?”  People have several options: Some do nothing with the hope that they die without ever requiring long term care.  Others plan ahead by divesting assets and/or establishing trusts.  Still others look into acquiring a long term care policy.  We recommend that you schedule a meeting with an elder law attorney to discuss your options and how you can coordinate your estate plan.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

VA Benefit Planning Seminar

Foss Hooper & Peter Harbach will be presenting a VA Benefit Planning seminar on Thursday, March 17 from 9:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. at Ross Estate Planning in Sturgeon Bay.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Estate Taxes in 2011

Just a couple of months ago, few estate planning professionals were willing to offer predictions regarding where the 2011 estate tax was headed.  We now have answers and opportunities. The 2011 estate tax exemption amount is $5 million, and its sister tax on lifetime gifts is also $5 million.  These exemption increases offer excellent current opportunities to plan charitable bequests.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Estate & Income Tax Law Seminar

Tomorrow, March 15, from 9:00 a.m. to noon, we are holding a seminar:  Recent Developments in Income Tax Law and Recent Developments in Estate Tax Law.  This will be held at our office at 2 Systems Drive, Appleton.

Monday, March 7, 2011

What is a Financial Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a document that authorizes an individual, called the Agent, to act on behalf of another (the Principal).  It can be drafted to give the agent broad discretion or very limited, specific powers.  The major benefit of this document is that it allows the Principal to choose who will act on their behalf in case they become incapacitated, and helps avoid costly guardianship proceedings.  Generally, a power of attorney is either immediately effective or a “springing” power, which becomes effective only upon the incapacity of the Principal.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What is a Trust?

A trust is an agreement that certain property should be managed by one person (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary).  There are three basic trust types: revocable, testamentary and irrevocable. 

A revocable trust is often used as the centerpiece of the family’s estate plan.  Upon creating the trust, the Trustmaker(s) place property into the trust, which then protects that property from the probate process.  Normally with a revocable trust, the Trustmaker is also the trustee and beneficiary of the trust, and retains all the same powers of ownership including changing or terminating the trust.

A testamentary trust is directions for the creation of a trust contained in an individual’s will.  Essentially, the individual is requesting the probate court during probate to create a trust for certain assets. 

An irrevocable trust is often used to plan for estate taxes or long term care.  It operates with the same general principles as a revocable trust; however, it cannot be changed as readily.  It allows people to retain control over their property while positioning their assets in a manner that prevents medical costs from depleting their life savings.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Heritage Planning Seminar

For Financial Advisors:

We are offering a Heritage Planning seminar on Thursday, February 24, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. at our Appleton office.

Heritage Planning is becoming an important component of the services offered by the planning and professional communities, but many people do not yet have a clear understanding of how heritage planning works or what it accomplishes.

The concepts, content and benefits of heritage planning that you will learn about during this fast-paced event will be explored through the perspective of your own business, so you can see why heritage planning is becoming the norm, and understand what it looks like in practice.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Choosing A Trustee

The trustee is responsible for carrying out the trust instructions, which may provide a great amount of discretion for that individual or entity to make decisions regarding investment and distribution of the trust property.  The trustee also manages the trust’s assets for the benefit of the beneficiaries.  Therefore, selecting the right trustee is a crucial aspect of estate planning.  In most cases when establishing a revocable living trust, it is appropriate for the person making the trust to serve as the initial trustee.  However, when the Trustmaker becomes incapacitated or dies, it is important that the right successor trustee is in place to control the trust.  A discussion of possible successor trustee candidates with your estate planning attorney will help you appoint the appropriate family member, friend or professional trustee.

Monday, February 7, 2011

VA Pension Plan Progam

On Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 9:30 a.m. attorney Peter Harbach will be a guest on WTAQ (97.5FM and 1360AM) to discuss the benefits available to wartime veterans who are facing increased medical expenses or require long term care.

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Serving Outagamie County, Brown County, Winnebago County, Fond du Lac County, Manitowoc County, Calumet County, Waupaca County, Kewaunee County, Brown County, and Oconto County. Cities served include: Appleton, Green Bay, Clintonville, Oshkosh, Greenville, Hortonville, Fond du Lac, Shiocton, New London, Freedom, Sherwood, Seymour, De Pere, Kaukauna, Kimberly, Shawano, Pulaski, Oconto, Fremont, Stevens Point, Wautoma, Winneconne, Omro, Berlin, Ripon, Green Lake, Waupun, Beaver Dam, Lomira, Mayville, West Bend, Oostburg, Sheboygan, Plymouth, Manitowoc, Two Rivers, Kewaunee, Algoma, and Sturgeon Bay.

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| Phone: 1-800-794-5548
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| Phone: 920-993-0990
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| Phone: 800-794-5548

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