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.

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Don’t Have Children? Here Are Five Tips for a Better Retirement

Looking ahead into your retirement years while not having children might give you some peace of mind because you may be able to better support yourself and your health needs. However, you could still end up an elder orphan. Roughly one third of people between the ages of 45 to 63 are currently single and most of those people never married or were divorced at the time that the study was completed. This study was published in The Gerontologist.

The study also found that less women are having children, so this means that baby boomers might have a smaller network than they anticipated to help with basic assistance, guidance and care which is often required by people as they get older. Furthermore, childless retirees could face additional obstacles or even some advantages in their retirement years, all of which are worth considering. Without children or a spouse, the odds of becoming isolated, either socially or physically, can increase dramatically.

Much of the care for today’s elders is provided by family. Those isolated older people who do not have a solid support system are more likely to have trouble completing activities of daily living. These same people are also tied to a higher rate of mental decline and a reduced ability to fight infections.

Did you know that rules surrounding Medicaid are state-specific? Your concerns about Medicaid should always be addressed directly by a lawyer who has experience in this area and one who can keep you informed about the best way to plan in advance and how to put together your application if and when the time comes. Overlooking Medicaid planning opportunities could compromise your retirement.

Getting appropriate support and considering your options in advance is extremely valuable. Since it is estimated that nearly 70% of people will require long term care but less than half of those people think that they need it, it’s good to look ahead into the future and consider tools such as long-term care insurance or advance Medicaid planning provided by an committed and understanding VA attorney to help accomplish all your goals.



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Dementia & Estate Planning: What to Remember

Experiencing something personally often has a much different feeling than reading about it, observing it, or talking about it.  Unfortunately, when people are increasingly becoming connected to how a diagnosis of dementia can impact estate and legal planning.  The progression of dementia can range from one patient to another.  However, while a plan for incapacitation may have worked from the outside, the development of the dementia can impede your plan and execution of that plan.  

Estate planning documents, such as a trust and a power of attorney can become increasingly important and should be crafted well in advance of a dementia diagnosis.  Although no one can sure anticipate an diagnosis of dementia. Having these documents in advance is significant for preventing problems. Although there may be no tax issues to worry about with regards to the estate, estate planning goes so much farther than just the taxes or death planning.

A power of attorney, for example, could be used by a caregiver to get the bank to tighten things up with financial affairs when someone faculties decline with dementia.  Since that person might have been the primary financial decision maker responsible for responding to new offers of personal loans, home equity loans and new credit card accounts, a caregiver with an appropriate power of attorney can get this to stop.

Furthermore, lowering limits on credit cards or shutting credit cards down completely, if this person is no longer able to make informed and reasonable decisions on their own, may be important.  But only an individual who has been empowered with the power of attorney is in a position to make these kinds of stipulations and to follow through on them. Schedule a consultation with your own estate planning lawyer to discuss what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones if you are concerned about a recent diagnosis of dementia or symptoms that might indicate a person could be developing dementia.

The investment portfolio of millennials is changing the face of the estate planning industry.  Estate planners have, for years, been focused on baby boomers who will pass on significant assets to future generations, but the way that millennials are saving and thinking about their own future is altering the industry as a whole.  The estate planning market has for many years handled the distribution of assets among the descendents of deceased wealthy individuals.

If you are concerned about a possible dementia diagnosis or just need your questions answered about your own potential incapacity planning, now is the time to talk to an attorney who has background and experience in this area.



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Discharges, Medicare, and Long Term Care Basics for Seniors

A new study identified that Medicare could save approximately $4.6 billion with no negative impact by disallowing discharges to long term care hospitals. The study analyzed different outcomes for patients between 1998 and 2014 for those patients who were discharged to long term hospitals.  

Do you have long term care insurance to help you plan ahead for your future? If not, do you have a Medicaid plan in place to ensure that you’ll be ready to tap into government benefits when you need them?

Markets with LTCHs tended to be bigger than those without and that made up nearly 35% of Medicare enrollees by the conclusion of the 16-year period. When compared with rates for time spent in a skilled nursing home, per day rates averaged $1400 in 2014 in comparison with $450 for a skilled nursing home. Don’t make the mistake of assuming that Medicare will pay for all of your advanced care needs- this misconception and the related lack of Medicaid planning costs families.

The skilled nursing home would have been the alternative for nearly all of the LTCH patients and the choice to use LTCH facilities, instead, represented a 33,000 increase in overall Medicare spending. Since many different policymakers are looking for ways to reign in the spending on health care, it is important for anyone who is planning for their own financial future to consider how best to protect their individual interests.

You need the support of a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to help you understand how Medicaid and Medicare may work together and may not work together in your future years as you plan for the possibility of long term care events that could disrupt your savings and your retirement. The support of a lawyer is instrumental in finding loopholes in your plan and helping you to articulate new strategies that consider the future.


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Lack of Estate Planning Could Prove Problematic for Aretha Franklin’s Heirs

Numerous different celebrities have failed to engage in appropriate estate planning process and this information comes out in a very public manner after that person passes away.

Aretha Franklin’s estate is no exception to this. Early indications from court documents show that Aretha Franklin might not have had a will. This was revealed in court filings that were established August 28th.

This means that her estate will be left to the court system to sort out in what is likely going to be a very public process. These proceedings are complicated even for people who do not have massive wealth or who wouldn’t be classified as celebrities. This is because these proceedings can reveal private details to the public and can also lead to battles within the family, expensive litigation over who is entitled to what is left and lengthy delays. Furthermore, it is often the case that the outcomes of these types of cases are not in accordance with what the person who passed away wanted. This situation is common among not just rich and famous people but everyone else.

Dying without a will, often referred to as dying intestate, can cause financial and tax problems that amplify family strife during a difficult time and that could have been completely avoided. Seek professional help by consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney to verify that the documents you have from a previous plan are still in line with your best interests. The support of a knowledgeable lawyer is instrumental in developing an estate plan that addresses your needs now and well into the future.

As your life changes, you will need to adapt your estate plan in line with changes to your life and having a firm relationship with an estate planning professional who you can trust makes this situation that much easier. Don’t put off the process of estate planning any longer because you could only be causing more problems for you and your loved ones by doing so.

Your Virginia Beach estate planning lawyer is here to help.




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Understanding the Potential Challenges with Unrecorded Deeds

If your parents intend to pass property down to you but have not gone through the step of recording the deed, they could be putting you in a position to handle complex issues if they suddenly pass away. An unrecorded deed is an older estate planning tool that was used by attorneys years ago. However, while you can record an old unrecorded deed, this issue may have more risks than benefits. If you wish to transfer property to your loved ones in the future, sitting down with an estate planning attorney gives you the perspective on what is involved.

One important thing to remember with an unrecorded deed is that until the deed is recorded, the title of the property hasn’t changed. This means it is an uncompleted gift for gift tax purposes, and in the years that occur between the signing of the deed and the recording of that deed, the grantor still owns it. This means that they convey title to someone else or even choose to mortgage the property. You might not be able to get clear title to the property in the future if these steps are taken. Furthermore, the presence of an unrecorded deed can also cause estate issues after the grantor passes away.

If the decedent’s name is still holding the property when the person passes away, the property could transfer to someone else either through intestacy or a will. You might have to fight for a title to the property if someone else steps forward and appears to have grounds to obtain it. One of the easiest ways to prevent all of these problems is to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney who is thoroughly knowledgeable about and committed to helping you accomplish all of your individual estate planning goals. This can give you peace of mind and clarity about what to expect going forward.



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Be Prepared to Settle a Loved One’s Digital Estate

If you have been named as an executor or another person in a position of responsibility when a loved one passes away, you need to be prepared to schedule a consultation with an attorney.

The more items you own, including those that are shared or stored online, the more time you need to dedicate to determine what happens to those assets when you’re no longer around. Without carefully planning, your loved ones might not have access to materials that you intended for them to have. The right estate planning lawyer in Virginia will sit down with you to ensure that you’ve gotten everything you need in order.

Estates have gotten complicated in recent years largely due to the fact that people have plenty of digital assets. Despite the growth and popularity of digital assets, many people fail to take necessary plans to protect their digital assets, leaving this difficult task in the hands of a loved one when they pass away. Settling the estate of a deceased family member has long been complicated and emotional. However, people need to increasingly consider what happens to their digital estate, including personal memories, photos and sensitive financial details.

While many people know it’s something they should think about, very few people have taken the necessary steps to put a plan in place about how they will handle their digital assets. Some people who have put together a digital will, will make the process that much easier for executors.

An executor can more easily find this information when necessary. The digital will can include instructions about how to download pictures from a cloud service, whether a Facebook account should be memorialized or deleted, and more.

However, plenty of people have not put together a digital will. Most people don’t do anything with the decedent’s online accounts because they do not know where to begin. Many email providers and social media companies, however, have begun to put together terms to assist executors with settling a digital estate of a decedent.

Some have their own services and specific terms and conditions. If you are thinking about putting together information like this, you need the support of an experienced estate planning attorney to assist you with the process and to provide you with necessary guidance to ensure you haven’t missed any important details.


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Don’t Forget About Estate Planning for Your Pet

Are you concerned about how to protect your furry friend many years into the future, particularly if you are of older age and have pets that are relatively young? You may need to consider the possibility of estate planning for your pet.

Most people make the assumption that their loved ones will step in in order to care for a pet if something were to suddenly happen to you. But this is an assumption you might not be able to afford to make.

For many different types of reasons, your family members might not be able to step in and care for your beloved pet. During this difficult time of grieving for your pet and major transition, the last thing you want is for things to be more difficult for your pet than are necessary.

This requires taking a position years in advance and protecting your animal by using something known as a pet trust. A pet trust can be used to outline the type of care that you want provided to your pet and to allow for the funds to be stored in that manner so that another person or animal sanctuary can step in to provide that care when necessary.

This can give you a great deal of peace of mind that no matter what happens to you, that your beloved pet will be taken care of. You should not have to worry about what will happen to your animals, but all too often, estate planning for pets is overlooked and this can mean that your pet is put in a dangerous and precarious situation should something suddenly happen to you. Thankfully, this situation can be avoided by advanced planning with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer.



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Clients Express Fears About Long Term Care Needs

Most people recognize that the rising costs of long term care will certainly impact their retirement planning abilities and their lives in older age. However, approaching long term care planning is notoriously difficult, especially when many clients are concerned or scared to discuss it to begin with.

Many consumers simply need to come to terms with the fact that they need to plan. There are many different options available when it comes to long term care planning but waiting until it is too late can expose the patient as well as family members to unnecessary stress and financial problems. Many different approaches can be used to help broach the topic, but a recent study found that clients are not receiving appropriate LTC advice.

Among widows and widowers, one out of every five participating in a recent study indicated that long term care planning advice was included as one of the services provided by a financial advisor. Long term care insurance is not the only option available for people considering looking ahead to their older ages and protecting themselves and their family members.

However, because of the many misconceptions associated with long term care planning and many people’s beliefs that only expensive long-term care insurance can cover it, far too many people put this decision off until it is too late and make it difficult for their spouse or their loved ones to receive the assets and support intended.

Scheduling a consultation with an experienced long-term care planning lawyer is strongly recommended for anyone who is contemplating protecting their own interests and assets for many years to come. A consultation with a lawyer can clarify many of the misconceptions surrounding long term care planning.

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

More Seniors File for Bankruptcy Amid Limited Long-Term Care Funds

Do you have a plan for your retirement that includes long-term care? More seniors than ever are questioning whether they have enough support to live into older age, especially with the risk posed by long-term care costs. Most people know that rooms in a nursing home or at-home care can be extremely expensive, but those same people are not sure where to start with the planning process. They frequently get overwhelmed and confused and decide not to take any action at all.

But failing to include long-term care could lead to serious problems and issues. It could cause some seniors to file bankruptcy after just one major medical event.

A new study completed by the Consumer Bankruptcy Project indicates that seniors report that they are struggling with unmanageable costs of health care and inadequate income to match. A rising number of older Americans are filing for bankruptcy, since long term care costs are one of the leading factors of rising costs in older ages. The rate for seniors aged 65 and over, filing for bankruptcy has more than doubled since 1991, according to researchers. The percentage of elders in the bankruptcy system has also quintupled. Seniors say that the rising cost of health care is a leading reason why they are forced to consider filing for bankruptcy. The median bankruptcy filer reported a negative wealth of higher than $17000. Non-bankrupt counterparts, on the other hand, had around $250,000.

More seniors are covered by low paying Medicaid and more seniors are less likely to pay their own bills. Many companies are phasing out retirement plans, which has corresponded with the significant drop in retirement benefits across the country, putting the elderly at risk.

Combine this with increasing longevity numbers that are also followed with a high chance of having to pay for long term care at some point during retirement and this puts your elderly loved ones at risk for significant consequences and problems when it comes time to pay for health care costs that are unexpected. Even one health care event for an elderly couple could expose the other spouse to significant financial issues.

Hire an estate planning lawyer who is there to answer your questions.



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Study Shows Patients Not Prepared for Long Term Care Costs

Are you assuming that you won’t need the support provided by long term care? That could be a significant mistake and one that could cost you and your loved ones for many years. A new study has shown that plenty of patients are not prepared for the out of pocket costs of long term care.  

Patients underestimate the financial responsibility connected with starting long term care, meaning that they are willfully unprepared for the out of pocket costs linked to a long-term care facility.

A new survey of more than 2000 family caregivers and patients reveal that patients greatly underestimate their long-term care needs and approximately 70% of all patients end up needing some form of long term care but only 46% of those patients predicted that they would need long term care.

Patients also overestimated the point at which they might need to begin long term care support. Most assumed that the common age for these facilities or care types was at age 79, despite the fact that the national average for beginning this sort of treatment is 73. The cost of a nursing home can be significant. A semi-private nursing home room costs an average of $85,775 per year, whereas an assisted living facility cost $45,000.

Approximately 64% of the survey’s respondents had not saved anything for long term care, putting them at serious risk of losing their financial assets and not being able to recover quickly enough to pay for their remaining years or to pass on assets to their loved ones. Before you face these significant challenges, schedule the time to talk to an attorney you can trust. A lawyer in VA Beach will help you put together an estate plan that keeps your best interests in mind.



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