The Law Office of Angela N. Manz


Guiding elders, veterans and families by offering the experience and care clients need for thoughtful planning and peace of mind.

Blog Home | Website Home | Contact Us

Parents of Special Needs Children Must Incorporate Advanced Estate Planning

Having a proper plan for the purposes for your estate is critical for any family, but it is even more important for someone who has a special needs dependent. Any mistake made along the process could jeopardize the child’s future.

ThinkstockPhotos-495759142It is important to consult with an experienced attorney who has years of experience with special needs planning. Traditional planning is much different than helping a child with special needs. There are two different generations involved in the estate planning process and the financial plan for these families is about more than the education, car, marriage or house.

However, it also includes incorporation of the financial requirements over the child’s lifetime. Knowing that the child will likely outlive the parents, this planning has to go beyond the lifetime of the first generation involved. There are two generations to consider in the retirement planning process as well. The estate plan needs to incorporate a careful consideration of what funding opportunities will assist the child in continuing to qualify for government benefits. Certain trusts and other strategies can be identified with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

Turning to someone who has helped other families with special needs dependents helps to ensure that the child’s access to critical government benefits is not jeopardized and increases the chances that he or she will have peace of mind about their future. A special needs child requires a different type of planning approach than traditional estate planning.  Contact a Virginia estate planning lawyer today to learn more.


Posted in Estate Planning, Special Needs Children | Leave a comment

Why You Need to Maintain Communication in the Estate Planning Process

ThinkstockPhotos-95339977Even if you have taken the necessary steps to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney, and to keep all of your documents in one place with clear instructions, you could be making one of the biggest mistakes in the estate planning process by stopping there.

Most individuals fail to communicate their wishes and outlines to their children as well as their spouses. One of the major reasons for ignoring this step is the desire to avoid conflicts. It can also be uncomfortable to talk about your estate plan or about money but the downside of this is that your loved ones may not understand your intentions when you pass away and therefore may struggle with the best way to handle the estate. It is not uncommon for the children of a financially successful individual or that person’s spouse to have a limited understanding of how that wealth should be preserved.

If you do not intend to communicate direct details about your finances, one way to do this is to provide property through trusts. This means that a professional will still be responsible for managing the distribution of that property while your loved ones will still benefit from it. Another option to take is to introduce your loved ones to your financial advisor and your estate planner.

These professionals can help to communicate your goals as well as the various strategies that are being used. Remember, estate planning is a long-term process. A series of meetings with further details are often required to help bring your family members and beneficiaries up to speed with the entire process.



Posted in Estate Planning | Leave a comment

The Benefits of Having an Evolving Power of Attorney

A power of attorney is a basic instrument that is used to authorize another individual to act on your behalf in a business, legal or medical matter. Typically, a power of attorney only kicks into action when you become incapacitated and are unable to make these decisions by yourself. The powers that are conveyed within a power of attorney are something that you grant to another individual. They are often sweeping and broad, however, they can be tailored to a unique and specific situation. For example, in the event that you become mentally incapacitated you might wish to name another individual to take control of your financial affairs.ThinkstockPhotos-152173297

There are many different kinds of power of attorney documents and this is why it is essential to identify a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to assist you with this process. Your power of attorney may need to evolve over the course of time as your individual needs change.

In addition, the person that you have chosen to serve as your power of attorney agent may not able or willing to do so over the long run. For example, imagine that you have named your current spouse as your power of attorney agent to make legal, financial and medical decisions on your behalf. If you get divorced, however, it becomes all the more important to update your power of attorney document.

You may wish to flex things over time to provide greater or fewer powers to a power of attorney agent. This is why it is important to have an established relationship with an experienced estate planning attorney who can help you determine the power of attorney documents you need now and help you amend or create new ones in the future as your individual needs change.


Posted in Estate Planning, Power of Attorney | Leave a comment

Why You Need to Have a Plan in Place for Long Term Care

Since the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shared that nearly 70% of Americans who are turning 65 will need long term care at some point, there is a good opportunity for planning ahead for your own future. The costs associated with long term care are not limited to medical care alone, as you could need support with basic activities in daily living like dressing, eating, using the toilet and transferring to and from your bed. This frequently means requiring custodial care, which means people who can help you with medications or help preparing meals or even a skilled care professional such as treatment by a licensed nurse or therapist.ThinkstockPhotos-491815290

The cost for these services vary tremendously, depending on where you are currently living and how you are receiving care. But the national median rate for a home health aide was $20 per hour. One day at an adult daycare center was $68. Spending one month in an facility for assisted living costs more than $3600 and a private room in a nursing home was $253 per day. If you expect that Medicare or Medicaid will automatically step in to pick up the tab for your long-term care services, you need to do some research.

If you have a high level of assets, these could be decimated by having to pay for long term care expenses and you are unlikely to qualify for Medicaid without a plan in place. Purchasing long term care insurance and taking advantage of other opportunities can give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to leave behind assets for your beneficiaries.

Speak with your Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer to learn more.


Posted in Estate Planning, Long-Term Care | Leave a comment

High Net Worth Families More Comfortable Revealing Information About Their Money

A recent study conducted by Wilmington Trust identified that individuals with high net worth who are older today are more comfortable sharing the intentions of their estate with the beneficiaries. The study included nearly 60 families with at least $20 million in assets but nearly three quarters of the study participants had at least $50 million in assets.ThinkstockPhotos-462163435

According to the results of that project, 48% of the individuals who currently hold wealth shared financial details with their heirs while only 33% of those same individuals got such information from their own benefactors. Part of this sharing of information may have to do with the fact that there’s a legacy benefit of protecting a family’s wealth.

The survey confirmed that wealth holders had a desire to protect the family’s assets for multiple future generations. 30% of those individuals who did not share information with those who would inherit the funds were concerned about demotivating their inheritors. If you have questions about the estate planning process, a lawyer can help you.

Have you made the decision not to share information about your estate plans with your loved ones? If so, this might have been the right decision at the time, but there are benefits to revisiting this concept with the help of the right estate planning lawyer. You may wish to empower your attorney by sharing these details and by appointing a knowledgeable executor to help manage your estate after you pass away.

Talk to your Virginia estate planning attorney about all your concerns regarding your future plans and your legacy.


Posted in Asset Distribution, Estate Planning | Leave a comment

Tips for Choosing an Executor

An executor is the individual who has the legal responsibility to ensure that your wishes for your estate plan are carried out as well as any taxes, debts and bills are paid. You need to identify someone who is competent as well as trustworthy and someone who can recognize that they might not have all of the answers to the puzzle and will need to ask for outside help from a professional.ThinkstockPhotos-501223220

The key to the executor selection process is choosing someone that you could trust to get the job done. It is a job rather than necessarily a reward to be chosen as an executor. Don’t make the mistake of thinking too far ahead into the future and trying to determine who might be the right person to serve as the executor two or three decades later. You can always change your executor after naming one initially, as this just requires updating your will, but you need to choose someone who is the right choice now because you can never anticipate what may happen to you.

If you are not comfortable with coming up with anyone in your friend or family circle who can handle the executor duties for you, consider appointing someone who can serve in this role as a professional. This can help to minimize family arguments and to ensure that you have the peace of mind provided by an attorney, trust, company or a bank. Usually these individuals will charge a percentage of the estate’s assets. You need to have a consultation with a professional in this case to determine whether or not they are interested in taking on this role.

Talk to your Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer to learn more about what you need to do to protect yourself and your future.


Posted in Estate Planning, Executor | Leave a comment

Why Even Millennials Should Be Considering Saving for Retirement

It’s far too easy to push off the prospect of saving for retirement when you are young and relatively healthy.

It’s actually probably at the bottom of your priority list for any 20-something who is worried about paying student loans, paying the rent and trying to manage additional funds for travel and entertainment. However, opening a retirement account while you are still in your twenties can have significant financial benefits.Retirement planning written on a notepad.

Even if you are able to set aside just a little every single month, you will give your money a better chance of being able to grow in the stock market over the course of time. Although investing does come with risks, long term goals such as retirement give you plenty of opportunity to make up losses that you might see in the short term.

It is okay to start small, but it is more important that you consider starting right away. As a twenty something, you are probably adjusting to a new job after graduation, but this is no excuse to push aside your paperwork for a 401(k).

Make sure that when you are choosing a health plan or accomplishing other critical work related tasks that you consider setting up a retirement account as well. This way you can easily adjust to having those contributions taken immediately from your paycheck. If you are only earning $40,000 or so, someone who starts saving 6% of his or her paycheck could have a 75% chance of having enough money set aside for retirement, according to a recent study by Employee Benefit Research Institute.

Waiting until age 40 when that person is earning just over $70,000, however, the person would have to save twice as much; up to 14.5% of that pay, in order to have that same chance of setting aside enough money and making it to your retirement.

Since even younger people can benefit from retirement planning now, it’s a good chance to incorporate putting together an estate plan, too. Don’t wait to get help from an experienced estate planning lawyer.



Posted in Retirement Planning | Leave a comment

Tips for Choosing an Executor

When approaching the estate planning process, your executor is the individual who has the legal responsibility to ensure that all of your estate planning intentions and plans are carried out to pay out any debts, bills and taxes, and to ensure that your assets are transferred properly. When identifying the right person to choose as an executor, you want to look for someone who is competent and trustworthy to carry through your wishes.

ThinkstockPhotos-99780257This person should also be aware of your intentions to name them as an executor so that they can accept. People often default to choosing a person in their family as their executor. However, it is important for that individual to understand all of their responsibility associated with this role as well as what will happen if this person were to suddenly pass away before you.

Trust and bank companies may also allow you to use them as your executor and attorneys can also serve in this role. Selecting someone who is geographically close to where you live may be beneficial. It is very important to determine the right person to serve as your executor.

If you’re not sure where to start, schedule a meeting with a Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer to get your questions answered.


Posted in Asset Distribution, Estate and Trust Administration, Estate Planning, Executor | Leave a comment

Planning for Your Future Healthcare Decision-making: What Are Superagers?

Some elders will retain a significantly sharper memory and cognitive ability than their peers. In a recent study, it was identified that these people all carry a very unique trait.

The natural process of brain decline regarding memory begins in the late 20s and early 30s, however the average ager, according to a recent study indicates that memory is atrophying at twice the rate of someone who is classified as superager. Atrophy progression seems to blocked by superagers.

One of the most important connections for you to make is that you may struggle with a cognitive decline at any point in time, particularly after a major health care event or a car accident, for example.ThinkstockPhotos-71036988

Paying attention to your health at all ages is important, but you might not always be able to make decisions for yourself. If you’re incapacitated but have clear wishes about your medical care, another person should know these concerns and be legally allowed to make them on your behalf.

Having critical legal documents in place such as stipulating who is eligible to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf can make a huge difference for your loved one’s ability to step in and articulate your wishes for you. No one expects to be a victim of an accident but taking the necessary planning steps now can help to minimize the chances that you and your loved ones will be confused and unsure of next steps.    Contact a Virginia estate planning attorney today to learn more.


Posted in Aging, elderly, Long Term Planning | Leave a comment

The Connection Between Your Estate Plan and Your Real Estate in Virginia

Elegant new villa with backyardMost people don’t like to think about the prospect of estate planning, but it is also a necessity that needs to be dealt with. What will happen to your home when you pass away?The final wishes for a loved can become extremely messy and even controversial with your loved ones if you have not made these necessary decisions well in advance.

Many people may question whether or not you need a will to pass down real estate. You do not necessarily need a will to pass on real estate, but it is still a good planning tool. The intestate statute within your state will automatically pass your assets and your land to your closest relatives along with the laws within your individual state. However, if you wish for the land to stay together and go to a specific person than you need to put together a will.

Aside from specific plans you have about where you want certain property you go, you might also feel strongly about certain beneficiaries not receiving real estate assets.

Without a will, you will be unable to allocate where you want the property to go in lieu of individuals that you do not want to receive it. If you do not plan to have any children and do not currently have any children, you can select siblings, nieces, nephews or a charity as a beneficiary, but make sure that you identify primary and continued beneficiaries.

Want to talk about your property in Virginia and how to plan for it properly? Contact a Virginia Beach law firm today.



Posted in Estate Planning, Real Estate, Uncategorized | Leave a comment