Top 3 Tips to Protect Your Loved Ones in the Wake of the Rebecca Fierle Guardianship Scandal

By: Melody Lynch

Per AARP, an estimated 1.3 million American adults are under guardianship, with approximately 85% being over age 65.  In the wake of revelations that professional guardian, Rebecca Fierle, signed Do Not Resuscitate orders for a plethora of elderly wards in her care without knowledge or approval by family members, you may be wondering how to protect your family in the event that guardianship is necessary or appropriate. read more

Choosing Guardianship for Seniors – Five Factors for Consideration

By Melody Lynch

A guardianship is a wonderful vehicle to assist seniors and their families in certain difficult situations. Filing a petition for appointment of a guardian over a loved one is a difficult decision that involves discernment and guidance.

Five factors for consideration prior to filing a petition for guardianship include:

(1) Whether the senior has adequate estate planning documents in place such that a less restrictive alternative to guardianship exists?

(2) Whether the existing estate planning documents are subject to challenge for lack of capacity, undue influence, or lack of proper execution?

(3) Whether the senior has a valid power of attorney and if so, whether that POA is sufficient to address the present needs?

(4) Whether the senior experienced recent or worsening cognitive decline as a result of dementia or other illness?

(5) Whether a family member, neighbor, or other person is taking advantage of the senior?

Depending on your answer to the above questions, guardianship may be the right arena to address the needs of your family. Once you decide to proceed with a petition for guardianship, the next step is to determine which type of guardianship is appropriate for your situation. Check back for future posts to learn more about the types of guardianships and call us if we may help guide you regarding a possible guardianship action.

Treasury Plans to Pull Unpopular Discount Regulation

By:  Amanda Wilson

As discussed earlier this summer, Treasury and the IRS identified as a burdensome regulation the Proposed Regulations under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code, which regulations would severely impact discounts on gifts made to family members.  (Our prior discussion can be found here.)   Today, Treasury issued a report announcing that it proposes revoking the proposed regulations.  This is good news for taxpayers.


Proposed Regulations Limiting Discounts on Family Gifts Targeted for Reform

By:  Amanda Wilson

Last summer, we discussed the IRS’s issuance of new Proposed Regulations under Section 2704 of the Internal Revenue Code, which regulations would severely impact discounts on gifts made to family members.  (Our prior discussion can be found here.)   Earlier this year, the Trump Administration issued an executive order instructing the Treasury Department to review all significant tax regulations issued after December 31, 2015 and identify any regulations that impose an undue burden on taxpayers.  The Treasury Department and IRS have completed this review, and have identified eight burdensome regulations that should be reformed.  The good news for taxpayers is that the Proposed Regulations under Section 2704 are on this list.

The next step is for the Treasury Department and IRS to recommend their proposed reform for these regulations, which could range from modification to outright repeal.  We will have to wait and see what they propose, but for now, the fact that the Treasury Department and IRS targeted these Section 2704 regulations for reform is a big step in the right direction.

We will keep you updated as this process moves forward.

End of life care…who cares?

By Julia Frey.  When meeting with people to discuss estate planning for themselves and their families, often some of the hardest discussions are about “end of life”.   Now, we all hope that at our end of life we will go without any health concerns, without any lingering illnesses etc. but we just don’t know.  I recently read some statistics posted by “The Conversation Project” that stated that 90% of people think it is important to talk with their loved ones about their own wishes for end of life care —- but only 30% of people have actually had those discussions.  Similarly, 82% of people believe that they should put their wishes in writing — but only 23% have actually signed documents that deal with end of life care.  You don’t want to leave these decisions to chance, or to the government or to health care professionals who don’t know what you would have wanted.  So, I urge you to talk to your estate planning attorney and get your life-time documents (which include your end of life documents) in place.  I also urge you to talk to your parents and encourage them to do the same.  Take a look at as well and see if that helps you get the conversation started.