Articles

Virginia Probate — Calculating the Executor’s Fee

Virginia Probate -- Calculating the Executor's Fee By Attorney Jennifer Kahl, July 13, 2021 One of the more nuanced aspects of estate administration is the calculation of the fiduciary fee. Most people refer to this as the “executor’s fee.” This isn’t precisely...

Estate Planning – Document Basics

By Attorney Jennifer Kahl September 24, 2019 What does it mean to “do your estate planning?” What does it mean to “do your estate planning?” Many people have this on their to-do list, but are unsure of what it actually means. In short, “estate planning” refers to the...

Virginia Probate – Estate and Gift Taxes

By Attorney Jennifer Kahl September 19, 2019 (Updated July 8, 2021) Many people are concerned about the potential of the “estate tax.” However, the vast majority of estates will not owe any estate tax. The Unified Tax Credit The Unified Tax Credit is the amount that...

Helpful Info – Beware of Scams!

Helpful Into -- Beware of Scams! By Attorney Robert T. Brooks      August 21, 2019 In the last 2 days I have personally received mail from a scam group and had two clients tell me about scam phone calls they have received.  In today’s world you must be suspicious of...

Virginia Probate – Shortcuts for Small Estates

Virginia Probate -- Shortcuts for Small Estates By Attorney Jennifer Kahl, August 19, 2019 (Updated July 8, 2021) When a person dies, the first step in the administration of the estate is to calculate the probate estate. Depending on the size of the probate estate,...

Virginia Probate – Inheriting Real Estate

Virginia Probate - Inheriting Real Estate By Attorney Jennifer Kahl, August 12, 2019 (updated July 8, 2021) What happens to real estate in Virginia when someone dies? It depends on how the real estate was titled and whether the person had a will. The titling of real...

Estate Planning – Why am I left in the waiting room?

Estate Planning - Why am I Left in the Waiting Room? BY ATTORNEY SUSAN I. JEAN July 19, 2019 It is common for family members to accompany their loved one to a legal consultation.  Attorneys are scary (no, not really), the situation is concerning, you want to be sure...

Virginia Probate – The Laws of Intestacy

Virginia Probate -- The Laws of Intestacy By Attorney Jennifer Kahl, July 16, 2019 (updated  July 8, 2021) What happens when a person dies without a Last Will and Testament? This is called dying “intestate.” The distribution of these estates is governed by the...

Estate Planning – Selecting your Fiduciary

Estate Planning - Selecting your Fiduciary By Attorney Robert T. Brooks July 3, 2019 Who should manage your funds?  The answer is simple… it should be you or a responsible individual/entity of your choosing.  I recently drafted a Trust and other estate planning...

Helpful Info – Just Walk Away

Helpful Into - Just Walk Away BY ATTORNEY SUSAN I. JEAN June 28, 2019 As an attorney my job usually is giving advice of what should be done.  But sometimes my best advice is to just walk away from a situation.  I met with a potential client recently.  She is very...

Virginia Probate – Titles of the Personal Representative

Virginia Probate - Titles of the Personal Representative By Attorney Jennifer Kahl, June 25, 2019 The term “personal representative” refers to the individual(s) or entity which has been appointed by the court to manage the estate of a deceased person. “Personal...

Virginia Probate – Who is the Commissioner of Accounts?

Virginia Probate - Who is the Commissioner of Accounts? By Attorney Jennifer Kahl, June 18, 2019 Let's suppose that, after consulting with an experienced estate administration attorney, you have determined that it is necessary to open a formal probate estate (click...

THLG News – Read about Attorney Jean’s Daughter, Lindsey

THLG News -- Read about Attorney Jean's Daughter, Lindsey BY ATTORNEY SUSAN I. JEAN June 14, 2019 On a personal note, my daughter Lindsey is an animal handler in Florida at Jungle Friends Animal Sanctuary.  She was recently featured on their website, and I’m proud to...

Virginia Probate – Consequences of Joint Ownership

Virginia Probate -- Consequences of Joint Ownership By Attorney Jennifer Kahl, June 10, 2019 When someone dies, the first step in administering the estate is to identify the decedent’s assets and determine how the assets are titled. The title of the assets plays a big...

Estate Planning – Pet Trusts Revisited

BY ATTORNEY SUSAN I. JEAN, June 7, 2019      We love our fur-babies and they love us back …      We spoil our fur-babies and they spoil us back …      We protect our fur-babies … and sometimes they protect us back…  Being a responsible pet parents includes the...

Estate Planning – Are you Too Young To Have a Will?

Estate Planning -- Are you Too Young to Have a Will? By Attorney Robert T. Brooks June 6, 2019 Many people ask me, “when should I create a Will?"  My answer is, "As long as you are 18 years of age and of sound mind, you should have a Will."  Many people procrastinate...

Estate Planning – Get it Done Now!

Estate Planning - Get it Done Now! BY ATTORNEY SUSAN I. JEAN, May 31, 2019 Son came to see me about his mother.  She lives in the memory assist unit of a local assisted living facility.  And no one had talked with her about doing Powers of Attorney.  No one had talked...

Estate Planning – Are You Ready for Motorcycle Weather?

Estate Planning - Are You Ready for Motorcycle Weather? By Attorney Robert T. Brooks May 29, 2019 The cold weather has diminished, and we are now left with perfect motorcycle riding weather.  Typical motorcycle owners will make sure their bike is cleaned, properly...

THLG News – Three Generations of Representation

THLG News - Three Generations of Representation BY ATTORNEY SUSAN I. JEAN, May 24, 2019 Yesterday a gentleman came into the office.  He had questions regarding how best to take care of his mother.  I recognized his mother’s name.  I did indeed represent his mother in...

Estate Planning – Why Can’t I Just Write My Own Will?

Estate Planning - Why Can't I Just Write my Own Will? BY ATTORNEY SUSAN I. JEAN, May 17, 2019 I was sitting across the conference table from an older lady (“Clara” for purposes of this Article, not her real name) who has a very simple situation.  She has three...

Virginia Medicaid – Dealing with Timeshares

Virginia Medicaid - Dealing with Timeshares BY ATTORNEY SUSAN I. JEAN The saying about boats is: the happiest day of a boat owner’s life is when he or she takes the new boat out on the water.  The second happiest day of a boat owner’s life is when he or she sells the...

THLG News – Spring Fever

THLG News - Spring Fever By Susan I. Jean, March 15, 2019 So often we focus on the bad and ignore the good. We've (basically) survived another winter; spring is in the air. Daffodils are blooming, trees are just starting to get that spring green we love. Mark Twain,...

Estate Planning – What is a Beneficiary Designation?

Estate Planning - What is a Beneficiary Designation? By Attorney Jennifer Kahl, February 25, 2019 To put it succinctly, a beneficiary designation is a contractual agreement between you and the custodian of your asset that dictates where your asset will go when you...

Virginia Medicaid – Unclaimed Property

Medicaid Tip of the Week:  Unclaimed Property By Attorney Susan I. Jean on February 14, 2019  We (or our parents and sometimes their parents) may take out life insurance policies over the years.  But it is easy to lose track of these old policies.  Or to get a small...

Virginia Medicaid – How Does Medicaid Treat Life Insurance?

Virginia Medicaid -- How Does Medicaid Treat Life Insurance? By Attorney Susan I. Jean on Friday,  January 25, 2019 One of the most common reasons for a long-term care Medicaid denial is life insurance with cash value.  We don’t think of life insurance when we think...

Estate Planning – What is a Power of Attorney and Why Do I Need One?

By Attorney Robert T. Brooks on Wednesday, January 16, 2019 We all like to think that we will remain healthy and capable of handling our own affairs.  But what happens when the unexpected accident occurs, and your family is left dealing with the aftermath?  Who can...

Virginia Probate – Calculating the Probate Estate

By Attorney Jennifer D. Kahl on Monday, January 14, 2019 People often use the term “probate assets” to refer to any assets owned by a person when the person dies. However, in Virginia, only certain assets belong in the probate estate. Use the following analysis to...

Virginia Medicaid – Transferring a Home to a Sibling

By Susan I. Jean, Attorney at Law, Certified Elder Law Attorney Although seldom used, an interesting exception to the Medicaid “five-year rule” is that a home may be transferred from a Medicaid applicant to a sibling of the applicant who has resided in the home for at...

Virginia Probate – Rights of the Surviving Spouse

By Attorney Jennifer D. Kahl on December 10, 2018 If your spouse has died you are probably experiencing a whirlwind of emotions. This are even more stressful if you are concerned about your rights to your spouse’s assets. It is not uncommon for creditors, children, or...

Helpful Info – “Tidying Up” Your Affairs

By Attorney Susan I. Jean on December 7, 2018 In this season, we often resolve to tidy up our personal affairs.  As part of this process, please consider whether you have up to date, complete and thoughtful estate planning documents.  This, as much as any other, is a...

Helpful Info – What to do With a Dementia Diagnosis

By Attorney Robert T. Brooks on December 5, 2018 Receiving a diagnosis of dementia is not only devastating for the person receiving that news, but also their family members.  Many Virginia residents have misconceptions about dementia that can lead to more fear or...

Helpful Info – Online Safety Tips

By Attorney Susan I. Jean on November 30, 2018 This morning I heard of the apparent breach of the Marriott data system.  Possibly over 500 million folks’ data is at risk. I don’t want this to happen to The Heritage Law Group friends and families. I’m not a computer...

Estate Planning – Who Should I Pick as my Executor?

Choosing the person who will be your executor is an important decision. You want to make sure that you pick someone who is trustworthy, conscientious, and hardworking. What does an Executor do? After you die, your executor will perform a number of services,...

Estate Planning – Pet Trusts

My daughters will swear that our dog, Maggie, actually raised them.  I still have pictures of them rolling Maggie around in a baby buggy; poor Maggie!  For many of us, our pets are family.  In fact, in the United States, there are four pets for every child.  For many...

Virginia Probate – Tips for a New Executor

By Attorney Jennifer D. Kahl on November 17. 2017 Congratulations! Dad trusted you and selected you to be the executor of his estate. But now, Dad has passed away and you are up to your ears in funeral arrangements, bills, and siblings pestering you for their...

Virginia Medicaid – Caregiver Burnout? There is Help!

In my practice, I counsel caregiver spouses and caregiver children; people who are caring for loved ones with dementia.  One fact has become obvious to me:  Caregivers do the very best they can.   Most embrace the caregiving challenge.  Someone they love needs them...

Virginia Medicaid – Why Consult an Attorney About Medicaid?

Many people are reluctant to consult attorneys for long term care planning because: the cost of consulting with an attorney is seen as significant. qualifying for long term care benefits is seen as a non-legal matter that should be straight-forward and not require...

Estate Planning – Do I Need a Trust?

Clients ask me this question all the time. Do I need a trust? Some people mistakenly believe that a trust is somehow "better" than a will, or that everybody with significant assets needs to have a trust. Often, people want to avoid probate expenses, minimize estate...

Virginia Medicaid – The 5 Year Look Back

Many people have heard that Medicaid has a 5 year look back period. But what does this mean? Clients often bring it up, but they rarely understand it.   The 5-year look back applies to long-term care Medicaid services Medicaid is a large umbrella that includes...

Estate Planning – I’m Young and Healthy. Do I Need a Will?

Ah, estate planning. My grandparents are getting pretty old, so they should probably get that done. And my parents? They are pretty wealthy, so they should probably look into it as well. But me? I’m young! I’m healthy! And I don’t really have that much by way of...

Helpful Info – Virginia Emergency Contact Program

When we are working with Estate Planning clients, we will often recommend that once we have finalized their documents, that they keep a copy of their Advance Medical Directive / Durable Medical Power of Attorney and their Authorization to Disclose Protected Health...

THLG News – Attorney Susan Jean Wins Discharge Appeal

Recently Susan I. Jean, one of the Partners at the Heritage Law Group, won an appeal of a nursing home discharge.  A local nursing home was discharging a resident without assuring that there was a safe place for the resident to go.  By knowing what the law requires of...