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Can’t Get Health Insurance? New Law Says You Can.

StethoscopeThanks to a new law, someone who couldn’t buy health insurance before can buy it now.  Guaranteed.   And this new law applies to virtually anyone who’s stuck.

Think of someone with a pre-existing condition who cannot get an individual policy or coverage under group health insurance.

Think of someone whose COBRA coverage has run out.

How about someone who doesn’t qualify for Social Security? Or someone 65 or older who doesn’t qualify for Medicare? Even a disabled person under age 65 who can’t get Medicare because he or she hasn’t been disabled long enough.

And really, a person’s age doesn’t matter at all. Or a person’s work history: even a person who’s starting a new business and who can’t get insurance because of a pre-existing health problem and doesn’t have enough employees yet to get a group policy.

What matters is they can’t get health insurance coverage.

Here’s the antidote: the “Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Program” (“PCIP” for short). Read more

Dealing with Email Frauds: Greetings from Kuala Lumpur!

The caller was so excited about the email: somebody in Kuala Lumpur had died with the same last name as hers! Who left a $10 million estate! And the email’s gracious writer was happy to help my caller in finding out what part of the $10 million would be her inheritance.

She asked my advice on how to handle this, and was crushed by my answer: “Just delete it.” She didn’t email much, and I told her this was just the first of many inheritances, lost accounts in foreign countries, et al. that she’ll hear about.

And then I thought she might be helped by a composite of the email cons which lay ahead.  And so . . .

Read more

George Clooney, Estate Planning and “The Descendants”

In the new movie, “The Descendants,” George Clooney is an estate attorney, husband, and father.  He’s also struggling with a conflict over land his family has owned for generations. As the trustee, Clooney must deal with his money-hungry relatives’ pressure to sell the valuable, unspoiled  property to developers.

The film has received great reviews, and it’s a wake-up call: family conflicts are easy to prevent, but expensive and time-consuming if you just ignore them.  You can’t wait until the owner is dead, or disabled and can’t communicate.

So enjoy the film. And come discuss your family’s inheritance and control-of-asset issues with us.

Who Will Make Your Financial Decisions if You are Unable to Make Them Yourself?

What good is having access to a safe deposit box if you don’t have the key and you’re not ont he signature card?

What if someone asked you to drive his car in an emergency but he didn’t give you the car keys?

What if a relative wanted you to handle financial matters for her, but the authorization she signed for you didn’t work?

In each case, you’re holding a firecracker but you’re missing the fuse. You have only half of what you need to do the job. Without the activation half — the “Launch Code” — you’re stuck where you are, and so is the person you’re supposed to be helping.

So, you can have very important-looking papers which authorize you to act if someone else is disabled. They have familiar titles, like “Financial Power of Attorney” or “Living Will.” They read right: you are to collect the income, pay the bills and do all the financial chores for that person. Read more

Deal with Inherited Real Estate Before Another Person Dies

houseIgnoring property to be inherited is a problem which never goes away. It inevitably gets worse. As a model, consider what happened in the family of T.L. Piggy, Sr.

In 1950, T.L. (short for “This Little”) went to market in East Cobb County. He liked some farm acreage and bought it for $30,000.     Read more

It’s Critical to Discuss Your Will with Your Children – Even if it’s Uncomfortable

Certain superstitions are silly: “Handling a toad gives you warts.” “Step on a crack, break your mother’s back.” “It’s good luck to find a horseshoe.” (Unless, of course, it’s still attached to the horse).

Other superstitions have intellectual issues: When Punxsutawney Pete looks for his shadow on Groundhog Day, how does he know what he’s looking for? Or does the shadow know?

Other superstitions come with directions: “Pull off the petals of a daisy one by one, naming a boy (or a girl as the case may be) at each one, thus: Jenny, Fanny, Jenny, Fanny, etc. The one named with the last petal is your sweetheart.”

Life and death have their superstitions. If you’re having thirteen for dinner in Brookline, MA, “the last one who sits down will not die.” In nearby Somerville, “the one who rises first from a table of thirteen will not live through the year.” So if you’re invited to dinner in New England, take your time showing up and chew your food really, really well.

Here’s a superstition which is both worthless and dangerous: “If you discuss your Will with your children, you die really soon.”

Read more

Protecting Your Aging Parents’ Assets

On the magazine cover, the cute but worried dog was staring at a man’s hand.  The hand was holding a gun to the dog’s head. The cover caption: “If You Don’t Buy This Magazine, We’ll Kill This Dog.”

This is not exactly a case of undue influence. Nobody has you in a chokehold, nobody is threatening to lop off your fingers one at a time, saying “Sign this or else!”  That’s what undue influence is usually about.

Aging adults, however, sometimes face the pressures of a different undue influence: being manipulated when they have diminished mental capacity. Who’s doing it? People – often relatives — who seek influence and financial control over the aged adult as well as financial benefit for themselves.   Read more