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Six Things that The Law Office of Scott D. Bloom is Thankful For

In our professional life, the words “thank you” are not said often enough. We would like to take some time to say “thank you” to the people and things that make our lives and our firm more fulfilling. Here are six things that we at the Scott Bloom Law Office are thankful for.

1.  The Ability to Help Clients Plan Before a Crisis Happens

The Law Office of Scott D. Bloom, cares greatly for our senior clients and we like to see things go smoothly for them, especially as difficult issues arise, such as finding and paying for long-term care. Clients who understand the need to plan early are more likely to find a smooth path into these transitions.

While typical estate planning includes planning for incapacity during one’s lifetime as well as distribution of one’s assets upon their passing, Elder Law attorneys have an added focus of planning with long-term care in mind. Often a traditional estate plan will have the same documents that an Elder Law attorney puts in place, like a Revocable Living Trust; a Pour-Over Will; a Durable Power of Attorney; a Health Care Power of Attorney; and a HIPAA Authorization. However, the provisions within the documents vary significantly depending on the focus of the attorney drafting them. Because one focus of the Elder Law attorney is to help clients plan for the possibility of needing long-term care while protecting the home and other assets, our planning documents often include an irrevocable trust designed specifically for this purpose. Other documents, like the Durable Power of Attorney, will include enhanced powers that allow the agent to engage in Medicaid and/or Veterans Administration (“VA”) pension planning.

Adding enhanced provisions to existing planning documents enables those trusted persons to pursue additional planning strategies if and when the time comes for the senior to utilize long-term care. When the time comes for Medicaid planning or VA pension planning, it is imperative for the trustee and/or the agent to have the authority to take specific actions on behalf of the elderly person, like the authority to establish and fund an irrevocable trust, file a Medicaid application or prepare a VA pension application. The grant of authority must be clearly stated within the documents yet these powers are not normally found in general estate-planning documents.

Having clients in our office long before they are in need of long-term care allows our office to successfully and efficiently assist clients when they need it. We are all thankful when we have such a client – though we are thankful for all of our clients.

2. Other Professionals

An Elder Law attorney’s office is much more than a place where legal analysis is conducted or where legal documents are prepared. It is also a place where seniors are heard, encouraged to express all of the issues they are facing, and where connections are made.

We are thankful to have ongoing relationships with other professionals that are compassionate about the elderly. Our clients are much better off because of these other professionals. For example, many times a Placement Specialist is needed to help a client find the best facility to meet their long-term care needs. Sometimes a family needs a Care Manager for a variety of reasons including to act as an advocate or to oversee care provided to a loved one. Professional Fiduciaries can be an amazing resource for families as they can alleviate stress from family members allowing family to just “be there” for the senior. CPAs, Financial Advisors, other Estate Planning attorneys, Real Estate agents, Insurance agents and a plethora of other senior-centric professionals are invaluable to the Elder Law attorney devoted to their clients.

These relationships are not only personally fulfilling, but also allow us to comprehensively serve our clients.

3. Non-Profit Organizations

There are many non-profit organizations that are dedicated to making life better for the elderly and who support Elder Law attorneys and for that we are thankful. These organizations keep us up to date on the issues facing the elderly, give us a heads up on changes in the laws across the country and continue to provide new ideas on how to best serve our clientele. The National Association of Elder Law Attorneys, the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Council on Aging are a few of the organizations that Elder Law attorneys can connect with to better serve our clients. We are all in this together and working toward a common goal to serve seniors and their loved ones the best way possible.

4. Trustworthy and Committed Family Members

Although we occasionally serve an elderly client who has no family members or close friends, we are thankful when trustworthy and committed family members are available to the client.

Many of the strategies we have available to us only work when a client has trusted people to assist in the strategy. Many thanks go to adult children who are committed to their parents. Spouses who are still devoted to your ill spouse after “how-many-ever” years of marriage are also greatly appreciated by Elder Law attorneys! Without you our work would be much more difficult. Without you, the strategies we employ would fail to work the way they are meant to work. You are vital to the health and welfare of your elderly loved one.

It is often the family member who finds the Elder Law Attorney for the elderly client. As technology changes, the older client sometimes has a difficult time finding the necessary resources. We are very grateful to those family members who seek out an Elder Law attorney and bring us together, and who know when to ask for help.

5. Our Own Support System

Advocating for a senior can be stressful for a variety of reasons. While it is one of the most fulfilling jobs we can think of, it brings with it concerns for our clients that can creep up at all hours of the night. As with any professional whose heart is a big part of their service, our support systems are essential to our well-being.

Our support systems include our family members, professional colleagues, neighbors and our friends. Without our supporters, we would be unable to continue doing what we love.

6. You!

We at the Law Office of Scott D. Bloom are most thankful for you. Every connection, every client, every professional relationship and every contact. Because of you, our community and our team, we are able to educate and assist Seniors and Families through the Financial, Logistical and Legal aspects of their care needs. We are who we are, because of you. Thank you.

If you or someone you know could benefit from the assistance of our office, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always happy to hear from you and your clients.

The Law Office of Scott D. Bloom offers complimentary consultations and many times, services are delivered directly to where you are.

To schedule your free consultation,
email us, or call 1-215-364-1111
or 1-855-992-6337 (Toll Free)

(Some information taken from Elder Counsel)
Weblink: https://blog.eldercounsel.com/five-things-that-elder-law-attorneys-are-thankful-for
This has been modified.

What is a Trustee vs an Executor?

A TRUSTEE IS APPOINTED IN A TRUST.

  • A trustee performs an oversight role for the assets in your trust.
  • If the trust is a living trust, then the trustee’s role may be quite similar to an executor, except a living trust is not subject to the oversight of a probate court. In this case the trustee may be empowered, for example, to liquidate the trust’s assets and to distribute the proceeds to the beneficiaries.
  • A trustee is accountable to the beneficiaries, not to a probate court.

AN EXECUTOR IS APPOINTED IN A WILL.

  • The executor will shepherd the will through probate, which is managed by a court process.
  • A judge will oversee the probate process and will ensure the Will is carried out per its terms.
  • The executor is required to pay estate taxes (if applicable), pay creditors and distribute to the beneficiaries listed in the Will.
  • The probate court may request specific reports and statements from the executor; the executor needs to produce these in a timely, accurate fashion.
  • The executor is accountable to the probate court.

Contact Scott D. Bloom law for more information about the role of trustees and executors in your estate planning.

To schedule your free consultation,
email us, or call 1-215-364-1111
or 1-855-992-6337 (Toll Free)

 

Choosing a Trustee

CHOOSING A TRUSTEE

Since the role of a trustee carries significant financial and administrative responsibilities careful thought should be put into choosing who will perform that role for you.

THESE ARE SOME OF THE SKILLS AND TRAITS TO LOOK FOR IN A TRUSTEE:

  • Intelligence. Your trustee needs to be able to handle a variety tasks–financial, healthcare, administrative, legal–to name a few. So, choose someone who has the intellectual ability to handle such tasks.
  • Trustworthy. Well, the word “trust” is in trustee for a reason. This individual is someone you trust to carry out the terms of your trust–per your wishes. You view them as an ethical, honest individual who will keep faith with how you want your trust to be administered.
  • Responsible. Your trustee needs to have broad shoulders. They will be handed a significant list of duties so you should feel confident that they can do tasks in a timely, effective manner. The fiduciary aspect of being a trustee means your trustee needs to be good at handling money and record-keeping.
  • Impartial. Your trustee can’t play favorites. A trustee’s personal beliefs as to who gets what are immaterial.
  • Caring. Your trustee is not only in charge of assets, they may also be in charge of the welfare of others. A trustee needs to be someone who understands the needs and circumstances of people they are looking after–and to make sound decisions about their well-being.
  • Organized. As we look at the myriad of tasks a trustee may be asked to perform, good organizational skills will be essential to the timely execution of the trust’s terms. Your trustee should be someone who can wisely manage time while performing multiple tasks.

Contact Scott D. Bloom law for more information about the role of a trustee in your estate planning.

To schedule your free consultation,
email us, or call 1-215-364-1111
or 1-855-992-6337 (Toll Free)

 

What Does a Trustee Do?

WHAT DOES A TRUSTEE DO?

A trustee is responsible for many tasks in administering a trust including personal involvement, managing money, record keeping and, in some cases, healthcare decisions.

  • A trustee becomes familiar with and understands the terms of the trust.

A TRUSTEE HAS PERSONAL INVOLVEMENT

  • A trustee is personally involved with the actions related to the trust’s assets and administering the trust’s terms.
  • While it’s certainly permissible (and often advisable) to consult with professionals (such as financial advisors, attorneys, CPA’s) in carrying out the trustee role, ultimately the legal responsibility lies with the trustee and the trustee must be personally involved with administering all aspects of the trust.

A TRUSTEE MANAGES MONEY

  •  A trustee makes financial decisions about the trust’s assets. This can include:
    • Investment and divestment
    • Managing liabilities and debts
    • Buying and selling real property; stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
    • Trustees may manage checking and savings accounts and pay bills that the trust incurs.

A TRUSTEE MAY MAKE HEALTHCARE, WELL-BEING DECISIONS

  •  A trustee may make decisions about the well-being of others – as the trust dictates.
  • If a beneficiary of the trust is incapacitated or a minor, the trustee may be tasked with decisions about healthcare, housing, education and the personal care of that individual.

A TRUSTEE ACTS OF BEHALF OF BENEFICIARIES–DIRECTED BY THE TRUST

  • A trustee acts on behalf of the trust’s beneficiaries, and acts impartially on their behalf.
    • If a trust dictates that three beneficiaries receive an annual check of equal amounts, then the trustee sees to it these three receive their equal amounts. There is no deviating from what a trust says the trustee must do for the beneficiaries.
  • The trustee must keep loyalty to the trust itself and to the beneficiaries.

A TRUSTEE KEEPS RECORDS, MAY FILE TAX RETURNS

  • A trustee keeps records of their actions related to the trust. A trustee may file tax returns, keep records of acquisitions and sales, and the trust’s liabilities. The trust’s beneficiaries may also receive information about the trust—as long as the trust says they are to have access to such information.

WHY DO I NEED A TRUSTEE?

A trustee will take the reins when you no longer can. If you become sick and can no longer handle everyday tasks or decisions, your trustee will be there to handle things for you.

For example:

Charles is a 62-year-old, single man who has a history of Alzheimer’s in his family. Both of his parents suffered through the stages of Alzheimer’s before it caused their deaths. He’s beginning to forget where he parks his car, he can’t always recall the names of life-long friends and is having a bit of trouble with handling his checkbook. Charles is going to see his doctor for evaluation and, regardless of what the doctor says, Charles knows he’s at an age where he needs a plan for his eventual decline.

Charles wants to make sure his two adult children, Brian and Angela, will be involved in overseeing his care when he can no longer care for himself. He is also thinking about how to set himself up with an arrangement for his long-term care, which will involve his kids.
Charles made a call to his attorney, Scott Bloom, to discuss his options. Scott advised him to set up a trust, and went over the trustee role with Charles—assuming his children would become trustees.

Charles, Brian and Angela then sat down as a family to discuss Charles’ situation. It was not an easy conversation to have with his kids, but it was clear from the start that this was already on everyone’s minds: Brian and Angela had noticed things were happening with their father and the two of them had talked privately about their dad’s forgetfulness. They didn’t know Charles was having trouble with the checking account until their father told them. The kids were glad that their father was thinking about setting up a legal arrangement like a trust, well before any dire health emergency occurred.

Charles wanted to name Angela as his trustee. Brian was designated to follow Angela as the successor trustee, in case Angela could not fulfill the trustee role.

Charles, Brian and Angela talked specifics with Angela as the trustee. Angela would be making healthcare decisions (involving her father as long as he could understand what was happening to him) and managing Charles’ finances. They also talked about where Charles wanted to live when he becomes more incapacitated. Charles expressed his wishes to live in his home until he dies, with professional care-givers looking after him. They also talked about how to pay for all of this and agreed it would be best to set aside funds in the trust for Charles’ care, housing and other expenses. Angela will also be handling the health insurance aspect of Charles’ care. Then they talked about setting up a checking account for the trust. The account would be used for all of Charles’ expenses. Angela would become a person (along with Charles) who could sign checks.

During this long and difficult meeting a few tears were shed. They all agreed to set up an appointment with Charles attorney, Scott Bloom and went to meet with the Scott as a family. Scott went through every detail of setting up the trust. None of this was easy to discuss or to think about, but they all agreed that facing this together and having a plan in place gave all of them newly-found peace of mind.

Contact Scott D. Bloom Law for more information on the role of trustees in your estate planning and choosing a trustee.

 

To schedule your free consultation,
email us, or call 1-215-364-1111
or 1-855-992-6337 (Toll Free)

What is a Trustee?

WHAT IS A TRUSTEE?

A trustee is legally designated to administer and manage a trust.

A TRUSTEE IS APPOINTED BY A GRANTOR

  • A trustee is appointed by the person(s) creating the trust, called the grantor(s).
  • Co-trustees may also be appointed, so there may be multiple persons, with equal legal responsibility, managing a trust.
  • A trustee works on behalf of the trust’s beneficiaries, while ensuring the trust’s terms are honored.

A TRUSTEE IS A FIDUCIARY

  • As the custodian of a trust, a trustee has the fiduciary responsibility to manage the trust’s assets. As the guardian of a trust, a trustee’s financial responsibility is significant.
  • A trustee has the authority to make investment and divestment decisions and may also have the role of disbursing funds per the terms of the trust.
  • As a fiduciary, a trustee also keeps records and may file taxes.

A TRUSTEE MAY BE RESPONSIBLE FOR OTHERS’ WELL-BEING

  • A trustee may oversee the trust’s assets for the benefit of those whose age or mental capacity or other individual circumstance precludes them from carrying out a trustee role.
  • A trustee may be involved in healthcare decisions, as directed by the trust

TRUSTEE VS EXECUTOR

Some may use the term trustee and executor interchangeably, but there is a distinction between the two.

  • An executor is named in a will and not in a trust.
  • A trustee is not designated in a will, only in a trust.
  • An executor’s main responsibility is carrying out a will’s terms–which typically results in liquidating and disbursing estate’s assets–and will do this with the supervision of a probate court.
  • In carrying out their duties a trustee and an executor may eventually perform similar tasks but their guidance comes from different legal instruments.
    • A will guides what an executor does.
    • A trust guides what a trustee does.

DO I NEED A TRUSTEE AND AN EXECUTOR?

The answer to this question needs to be determined after you review your situation with a legal professional.

  • A trustee and an executor can be the same person; this is fairly common practice and can be an advantage if it makes sense for your situation.

We trust our first blog post gives you an introduction to the trustee role. Contact Scott D. Bloom Law to learn more.

 

To schedule your free consultation,
email us, or call 1-215-364-1111
or 1-855-992-6337 (Toll Free)

 

Annette B., Allentown, New Jersey

Scott Bloom is one of the most caring, responsive, elder law attorney you can find in central New Jersey. He has been a great support not only for my parents but also for me and my siblings. We are deeply grateful for everything he has done over the past 3 years. I am thankful ever day that he came into our lives. In the past year, we lost our father to the terrible disease of dementia, but we are relieved to know that our mother is still in good hands with Scott by her side. Our entire family highly recommends Scott Bloom and his team!

Elder Law – The Law Office of Scott D. Bloom Always Puts the Client First

The Law Office of Scott D. Bloom prides itself in creating a family relationship with it’s clients. Elder Law is important and home visits are also very important. We meet with families in Assisted Living Communities, Skilled Nursing Facilities or anywhere they feel comfortable. We want to meet with all parties involved with the senior(s) in question so as to get a thorough understanding of all issues involved. While the senior is our client, we recognize the needs of other family members to be involved, to the fullest extent possible in the decisions and choices being presented. Initial consultations are always free, we charge nothing to discuss a potential client’s situation . We feel this is very important and our way of showing that we truly care and take a stake in the client’s situation.

The Firm covers both Pennsylvania and New Jersey and since we go to the client – distance is not an issue. The firm specializes in all aspects of Elder Law, including but not limited to, Medicaid Planning, Wills & Trusts, Estate Administration and Probate, Estate Planning. Scott Bloom is credentialed with the Veterans Administration to help with VA Pension Applications. The firm also prides itself in helping with transitioning services, including downsizing and moving services.

The Law Office of Scott D. Bloom also handles other types of law cases – Real Estate, Divorce and Family Law, Criminal Defense, Personal Injury and Traffic and Drivers License Issues.

We would welcome an opportunity to meet and discuss how our Firm can possibly help your clients and their families. Many issues-one firm. We strive to provide the best service. Our clients are our top priority. Allow us to show you what “putting the client first” truly means.

CLIENT Testimonial

Dear Scott - Thank you for a job well done. I've settled the estate with my siblings. I also remitted my executor's fee to the children of my deceased sister. Thanks again for all you do!
- Estate of Fay B., Cranbury, New Jersey

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