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Trusts and Estates / Probate
Session 1: Role of the Guardian - Examine the duties and responsibilities of a guardian under Texas law and guardianship administration, from initiation to closing, including the code requirements of selling and leasing property, ethical issues, and more.
Session 2: Role of the Ad Litem - An overview of the responsibilities of the attorney ad litem and guardian ad litem in guardianship proceedings with an emphasis on practical application of the statutes, conduct in uncontested and contested proceedings, and pointers on applications for fees. The materials include numerous checklists, comprehensive references, and forms.
Session 3: Alternatives to Guardianship Including Supports and Services - An examination of the twin concepts of the doctrine of ‘less restrictive alternatives’ to guardianship and the concept of ‘supports and services’ and how the two interact to limit or obviate the need to create a guardianship.
Session 4: Guardianship and Divorce - Learn when divorce is appropriate in a guardianship context, when a guardian is required for a divorce of an incapacitated person, and the appropriate court to hear a divorce action involving a guardianship.
Session 5: Ask the Experts - Hear a panel of seasoned practitioners respond to your frequently—and sometimes infrequently—asked questions including practice, professional and ethical issues in estate planning, probate, guardianship, and elder law. more »
Session 1: A Window into a Financial Institution’s World of Elder Financial Exploitation - There is not one industry worldwide that is prepared for the “Tsunami” coming down the pike when it comes to the millions of people who have already or are getting ready to roll into the senior category. Many services, including geriatric doctors, senior living and dementia/Alzheimer's’ facilities, and education resources to prepare seniors for changes coming in their life, are in short supply. Financial institutions are considered “first responders"—they have eyes and ears on senior customers most times long before anyone else. Learn about the red flags, the many variations of fraudsters that financial institutions see, the avenues that can be taken to help mitigate the exploitation, and the various ways of reporting exploitation to local, state, or federal agencies. Being PROACTIVE is everything in slowing down the tide!
Session 2: When Exploitation Allegations Make Their Way to Adult Protective Services - The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services – Adult Protective Services (APS) is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse, neglect, and exploitation in Texas. In 2018, APS received 16,490 allegations of exploitation of the elderly and disabled in Texas. APS validated a small percentage of these allegations. Identify and explore the reasons for APS exploitation investigations, the investigation process, and ultimate resolution of and ramifications resulting from exploitation allegations. more »
Session 1: Drafting for Incapacity Definition in Trusts and Powers of Attorney - Examine the commonly-used definitions of incapacity, individually-created definitions of incapacity, and the pros and cons of using common definitions versus creative language.
Session 2: Sex, Drugs, Guns, Cars and Dementia - Cover how the unique aspects of sexual consent, firearm possession, drug use, and driving are impacted as cognitive function declines. more »
Cover various categories of ethical issues facing elder law attorneys, using the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, where the answers are in the form of questions. Get ready to volunteer to play Elder Law Ethics Jeopardy! more »
Session 1: Estate Planning 101 - A very practice oriented nuts & bolts overview / how-to / to-do for basic estate planning, from the initial contact, planning conference & terms of engagement, to the signing ceremony, exit letter & beyond, with forms, options and insights for what is and is not appropriate depending on the circumstances.
Session 2: Financial Powers of Attorney: Do You Want Fries With That Will? - Drafting a statutory durable power of attorney used to be simple: You ask a couple questions, zap out the form, and bring it to the will signing ceremony with all the other documents. But these days we have to discuss compensation, co-agents, and hot powers. Even the location of the signing matters now. Can we design a form that works for all clients? more »
Get the latest legal insight on firearms in the workplace, including rights of employees and visitors vs. rights of employers; open vs. concealed carry; carry in offices/work areas vs. firearms in automobiles on company premises; enforcement issues pertaining to exclusion of firearms; and potential liability issues connected with either “carry’ or “don’t carry” rules. more »
THIS MONTH: Firearms in the Workplace • Lawyer Blogging: Ethical Issues and Practical Tips • View from the Bench: Trial Basics • In the Hot-Seat: In-House Counsel as Witnesses • Effective Client Communication Across Generational and Other Divides • Ephemeral Data and Other Emerging Technology more »
Session 1: Medicaid Update - Current status of the Texas Medicaid Program's policy of treating some (but not all) tax-deferred retirement accounts as exempt from counting as "resources"; and other recent changes in Medicaid law and policy that Texas attorneys planning estates of older clients need to know about.
Session 2: From Long Term Care Medicaid Policy to Fair Hearings - Hear a former Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) attorney, and current ALJ, give an overview of Medicaid Fair Hearings, including possible changes in the legislature and the implementation of such changes. Also, listen to a discussion about documentary evidence for the hearings.
Session 3: The Medicaid Estate Recovery Program: What It Is, What It Isn’t, and How to Avoid It - A discussion about the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP), its rules, requirements, and exemptions. The presentation is geared to practical guidance for practitioners facing MERP claims. more »
Get an overview of the resignation process generally including how to “jump ship” when no successor is named or available. Also, hear a discussion of discharge and to what extent resignation and/or discharge affects liability. more »
THIS MONTH: The Opioid Crisis • Diversity and Inclusion Initiatives: A Priority and a Challenge • How Can We Persuade in Polarized Times • Technology in the Courtroom • Texas Auto Policies • Practical Ways for Guardians and Caregivers to Prevent Scams and Exploitation more »
Session 1: Special Needs Trusts Overview and Third-Party SNTs - An overview of Special Needs Trusts, defining the different types of SNTs and explaining how these trusts are used to benefit individuals with disabilities. Special emphasis is given to how Third-Party SNTs are utilized in both lifetime and testamentary estate planning.
Session 2: Self-Settled SNTs - Balancing the needs and managing the expectations of beneficiaries, courts, trustees, personal injury attorneys, ad litems and beneficiaries’ families, all while meeting the requirements of the Social Security Administration and HHSC can be a monumental task. Gain insight in the complexities of drafting self-settled trusts and navigating the relationships of the parties involved.
Session 3: The (c)(2)(B)(iii) Sole Benefit SNT - Learn what to look for when using this “cousin” of the (d)(4)(A) trust for sanction-free Medicaid transfer planning. more »
Session 1: Special Needs Trusts: Decision Tree Analysis - Learn how to utilize a decision tree approach to ask and answer key questions concerning a client's need for a special needs trust, and if one is needed, which type of special needs trust is the best choice.
Session 2: Maximizing Public Benefits - Make note of top tips for establishing and maintaining public benefits, especially SSI, Medicaid, Medicare Savings Programs, Disabled Adult Child; and an update on the latest and greatest recent changes in public benefits.
Session 3: Seven Timeless Principles of SNT Planning - While laws, regulations, and rules impacting public benefits and trusts change frequently, certain planning principles do not change. Learn steps in the SNT design process to address individual circumstances, including basic program types, budgets, grantor and beneficiary expectations, and distribution planning.
Session 4: Making Sense of Structured Settlements - Structured settlements are often used to fund court-created SNTs in the personal injury context. Drafting attorneys and trustees need an understanding of the fundamental concepts of a structured settlement annuity and the effects one will have on the funding and administration of a trust.
Session 5: Pooled Trusts: A Creative Solution for Thorny Problems - Situations come up where a traditional special needs trust isn’t the best option and Pooled Trusts can provide a beneficial alternative. Not sure if there is a trustee available? Too much for an ABLE account? No viable family members available to serve? Pooled Trusts can serve as a your solution! Learn about the creative solutions The Arc of Texas and other pooled trusts can provide.
Session 6: SSA Regional Trust Leads Presentation Regarding SSI Trusts - A discussion with the Regional Trust Leads on the regional centralization of the SSI trust review business process, including the effect of updated trust policy on trust reviews. In addition, hear about the types of trust cases that require second-level review, drafting errors, and statistics regarding the number of trust cases SSA processes.
Session 7: Working with SSA: Tips on How to Avoid the Appeal - Gain tips on how to submit your trust for review so that you can get it approved and avoid a need for an appeal.
Session 8: View from CMS - A discussion with a representative of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of current issues related to the Medicare Secondary Payer provisions. What's new, what's not. more »
Session 1: Medicaid-Friendly Estate Planning - Learn forms and strategies for preparing your clients (and sometimes their parents and children) to protect assets in case the need for long-term care arises. Forms will be provided and explained for Lady Bird Deeds, Transfer on Death Deeds, Revocable Trust as Grantee (of either type deed), and Medicaid-Friendly Contingent Trust.
Session 2: Durable Power of Attorney Update - Hear highlights of the new Statutory Durable Power of Attorney statute.
Session 3: Advising Clients Nearing 65 - Turning 65 can be a watershed event in our client's lives. They face many decisions about retirement, concerning Medicare, Social Security, and estate planning. Get tips to help you prepare to advise your clients about some of these important decisions.
Session 4: In Quest of the Perfect Medicaid Application - Although it may not be possible to guarantee that every Medicaid application will be accepted upon the first filing, learn time-tested tips to improve the odds.
Session 5: Role of the Guardian - Examine the duties and responsibilities of a guardian under Texas law and guardianship administration, from initiation to closing, including the code requirements of selling and leasing property, ethical issues, and more.
Session 6: Alternatives to Guardianship and Supports and Services - An examination of strategies on how to limit or obviate the need to create a guardianship.
Session 7: Practical Ways for Guardians and Caregivers to Prevent Scams and Exploitation - Hear a review of the most recurring scams targeting the elderly. Discuss legal recourses available for preventing an elderly individual from losing their entire estate to a scam.
Session 8: Defensive Case Management for Elder Law Attorneys - Learn a systematic approach to capturing data and using the system to defend against attempts by your clients' family members who want to involve you in disputes they have with other family members. more »