FAMILY LAW /ELDER LAW

Recent Changes in Adoptions
By Kevin J. McGiness and Elisabeth D. Brin  [Fall 2016]
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell in the summer of 2016 was a change in how the U.S., as a whole, was to legally view same-sex marriages. As a result of this decision, the U.S. Constitution is now interpreted as requiring all states to recognize and uphold a marriage between people of the same-sex.  The logistics and overall impact of the Obergefell ruling are not easily apparent. The task of changing or reinterpreting legislation to reflect such a decision, and the case law to follow, provide a daunting task ahead for all involved. Included in that task is dealing with same-sex couple adoptions.
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Social Security Changes
By Brain R. Jenney [Fall 2015]
The recently enacted Federal budget made some significant changes to Social Security, and these changes will limit individuals from making use of a few “planning opportunities” that used to exist.
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Achieving a Better Life Experience Act (ABLE)
By Brian R. Jenney     [Spring 2015]
The ABLE Act (S. 313/H.R. 647) was signed into law by President Obama on December 19, 2014. The Act amended Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Service Code of 1986 to create tax-free savings accounts for individuals with disabilities.
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Reasons to get a prenuptial agreement and common myths debunked
By Brian H. Rolfe    [Fall 2013]
A prenuptial agreement (a/k/a “prenup” or “antenuptial agreement”) is an agreement between two people that generally addresses the resultant financial consequences of the end of their marriage. Without a prenuptial agreement, the parties are left with the sometimes uncertain and always stressful divorce law. Divorce law, standing alone, leaves the parties with little direct and unilateral control over their lives, financial and otherwise, leaving the ultimate decisions the parties will have to live with, possibly forever, in the sometimes unsteady hands of the government. Some situations in particular lend themselves to a strong consideration of entering into a prenuptial agreement.
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What happens to your monthly income if you go into a nursing home?
By Thomas V. Trainer and Brian R. Jenney    [Spring 2013]
Unfortunately, we face an increasing risk of spending some part of our lives living in a nursing home. Most of us now know how expensive nursing homes are, $90,000 a year or more, and we know that few people have the resources to pay this for long. Absent planning, what typically happens is that the person who moves into a nursing home quickly spends down all his or her assets, and then, once impoverished, is put on the Medicaid program. What most of us don’t know is what happens to one’s monthly Social Security and pension checks once the person uses up all of his or her assets.
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Protecting your children during international travel
By Amy A. Stawski    [Summer 2012]
With summer upon us, parents’ thoughts naturally turn to vacation plans and travel with their children. With everything going on in the world today, many cautious divorced parents wonder what – if anything – is in place to safeguard their children’s return from a foreign country after traveling with an ex-spouse on a vacation to visit foreign relatives. One such safeguard can be found in an international treaty.
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Medicaid and the death of a good estate plan
By Thomas V. Trainer    [Spring 2012]
Back in the misty old days of law school, we neophyte Estate Planners were taught the importance of drafting documents to help our individual clients develop an estate plan that kept them in full control during their lifetime, that provided for their spouses and children after their death, and that provided tax efficient ways to allow for the transfer of assets on to the next generation after death.
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Planning a Trip Outside the Country?
Don’t Forget Kids’ Passports!

By Amy A. Stawski    [Fall 2011]
The school year is upon us and with it comes the countless activities on the school calendar. If you’re already penciling in a potential vacation abroad for the long December holiday recess or 2012’s mid-winter and spring breaks, you’ll want to add something more than sunblock to your “must take” list – passports.
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Medicaid attempts to recoup nursing home care costs
By Brian R. Jenney    [Fall 2011]
Do you have a loved one in a nursing home? Is he or she on Medicaid? If yes, Michigan now requires its Medicaid program to try to recover the money that it paid for nursing home services from the estates of Medicaid beneficiaries who have died.
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New perspective on prenuptial agreements
By Amy A. Stawski    [Spring 2011]
When Kemp Klein began counseling businesses, families and individuals nearly 40 years ago, prenuptial agreements were considered to be against public policy if they addressed divorce. Today, prenuptial agreements are recognized in all fifty states, yet misconceptions remain.
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Think twice before spending retirement savings
By Thomas V. Trainer    [Winter 2010]
I’ve run into several situations (not created by me) where older people gave away money to their children, or grandchildren, and then needed nursing home care later on. The earlier gifts, if made within 5 years of entering a nursing home, created huge problems.
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