How to Prepare Your Digital Life for Your DeathDeath is inevitable. Don't make it harder on those you leave behind. Here's how to let loved ones manage passwords, sensitive data, and social media profiles after you die.
How to Prepare Your Digital Life for Your Death
Death is inevitable. Don't make it harder on those you leave behind. Here's how to let loved ones manage passwords, sensitive data, and social media profiles after you die.only he knew the password.
There are a number of ways loved ones can request access to your accounts once you're gone, but they don't need that stress. Several online services allow you to designate legacy contacts or grant access after a period of inactivity. Here's how to make sure that those you leave behind are able to manage your affairs when you can't anymore.
States Seek Financial Relief for Family Caregivers States Seek Financial Relief for Family Caregivers Lawmakers in California and at least seven other states want to provide state income tax credits for families that need help with home caregiving.
Gloria Brown is the primary caregiver for her husband, Arthur, who was given a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease four years ago.
By Samantha Young, Kaiser Health News
Gloria Brown didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Her husband, Arthur Brown, 79, has Alzheimer’s disease and had spent most of the night pacing their bedroom, opening and closing drawers, and putting on and taking off his jacket.
So Ms. Brown, 73, asked a friend to take her husband out for a few hours one recent afternoon so she could grab a much-needed nap. She was lucky that day because she didn’t need to call upon the home health aide who comes to their house twice a week.
Paying for help isn’t cheap: The going rate in the San Francisco Bay Area, where the Browns live, ranges from $25 to $35 an hour. Ms. Brown estimates she has spent roughly $72,000 on caregivers, medications and supplies since her husband was given his diagnosis four years ago.
“The cost can be staggering,” said Jim Patterson, a Republican state assemblyman from Fresno who is the author of a bill that would give family caregivers in California a tax credit of up to $5,000 annually to help offset their expenses.
A 2016 study by AARP found that the average caregiver spends $6,954 a year on out-of-pocket costs caring for a family member. The expenses range from $7 for medical wipes to tens of thousands of dollars to retrofit a home with a walk-in shower or hire outside help.
AARP, a lobbying organization for people 50 and older, is pushing similar bills in at least seven other state legislatures this year, said Elaine Ryan, the group’s vice president of state advocacy and strategy integration. Arizona, Illinois, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and Wisconsin are considering legislation, and AARP expects measures to be introduced in Florida, Massachusetts and Ohio.
In Wisconsin, two Republicans and two Democrats are behind that state’s tax credit measure.
“We need a whole discussion about how we can best keep people at home and meet their needs,” said state Representative Debra Kolste, a Democrat who explained that most people know someone who is caring for a family member. She hopes the measure can make it through the Republican legislature and be signed by Wisconsin’s Democratic governor.
New Jersey approved a state income tax credit in 2017 specifically for caregivers of wounded veterans. However, efforts in other states have failed, including in Arizona last year and Mississippi and Virginia this year.
At the federal level, bills that would have created a federal income tax credit of up to $3,000 never got out of congressional committees last year.
“Whether I’m in Billings, Mont., or in Mississippi, the caregiver tax credit is something that people are asking for,” Ms. Ryan said. “All they’re asking for is a little financial help to offset these costs.”A tax credit, said Ms. Brown and other caregivers, would be welcome relief to the estimated 4.5 million family caregivers in California who care for a loved one with a chronic, disabling or serious health condition. Nationwide, the AARP estimates there are about 40 million people caring for family members.
The Browns, who have been married 51 years and live in San Mateo, Calif., have good medical coverage, but like most seniors, they live on a fixed income.
As her husband’s disease progresses, Ms. Brown expects costs to escalate. For instance, she wants to install bars in the bathroom to help prevent her husband from falling, and anticipates she will need more professional help.
“I think we’re just moving into that stage where I’m going to see the dollars going out for things that will help to make things easier for him at home and more comfortable,” Ms. Brown said. “It’s a cost you just hadn’t anticipated.”
Long-term caregiving has emerged as one of the major issues in California’s Capitol this year, with proposals ranging from naming a state “Aging Czar” to funding a new cash benefit for long-term care services. In his State of the State address last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom called for a master plan for aging.
“I’ve had some personal — and painful — experience with this recently,” Mr. Newsom told the joint session of the legislature.
Mr. Newsom, whose father had dementia and died last year, also has tapped former first lady Maria Shriver to lead a new Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, and has asked lawmakers to approve $3 million in state funds for Alzheimer’s disease research.
Mr. Patterson’s bill would provide up to a $5,000 state income tax credit to family caregivers for five years, starting in tax year 2020. They would be reimbursed for 50 percent of eligible expenses, such as retrofitting a home, hiring an aide and leasing or buying specialty equipment. The credit would be available to individuals who make up to $170,000 a year, or joint income tax filers who make up to $250,000.
Mr. Patterson, a Republican in the minority, is hopeful he can convince his colleagues that giving people a tax credit is financially sound because it would enable caregivers to keep their loved ones at home rather than relying on more expensive government services.
“If members of the legislature and the governor would look through the eyes of their own families, friends and neighbors … I think it can be passed and be signed,” Mr. Patterson said.
But the measure faces competition for a slice of California’s $21 billion surplus, from proposals by the governor and lawmakers to increase funding for education, health care, housing and dozens of other programs.
For Pam Sogge of Oakland, Calif., a tax credit would allow her to hire a home health aide for an additional three hours a week.
Her husband, Rick Sogge, 61, has early-onset Alzheimer’s and becomes frantic when left by himself. Sometimes when she leaves him alone in another room of their home, he searches for her every two minutes.
Because Mr. Sogge is still physically healthy, most of the couple’s caregiving expenses are for part-time help to take him on outings so his wife can work, run errands or go to the doctor’s office.
“You have a very uncertain financial future. You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know how long it’s going to take. So you’re very conservative,” said Ms. Sogge, 56, who has been caring for her husband for five years. “A tax credit, in a way, it’s permission and encouragement to get some help.”
This story was produced by Kaiser Health News (KHN), which publishes California Healthline, an editorially independent service of the California Health Care Foundation. KHN is not affiliated with Kaiser Permanente.
Small Law Firms
A Fetus’s Estate: Administering The Affairs Of One Who Was Never BornNews outlets have reported that this is the first estate ever opened for an unborn aborted embryo.By Cori A. Robinson
Mar 26, 2019 at 1:17 PM
91SharesProbate Judge Frank Barger of Madison County, Alabama, recently ruled that a father of an aborted fetus can be named a “personal representative” in accordance with the state’s probate laws. Judge Barger referred to the fetus as “Baby Roe,” and with his order essentially created an estate for an individual who was never born.
Baby Roe was aborted by Ryan Magers’s ex-girlfriend at the Alabama Women’s Center in February 2017. Magers was opposed to the abortion and pleaded with the mother to not proceed. Magers plans to use his status as personal representative to sue the Alabama Women’s Center and the manufacturer of the abortion pill the mother took to terminate the pregnancy. The cause of action will likely include wrongful death. The fetus was six weeks old upon termination.
Judge Barger’s ruling was supported by a November amendment to the Alabama State Constitution which states that that Alabama’s public policy is to recognize and support the importance of unborn life and the rights of unborn children, including the right to life. In deciding the application, Judge Barger reasoned that Baby Roe died without a last will and testament or any testamentary vehicle. Further, he stated that the father is the appropriate individual to serve as personal representative and to receive Letters of Administration. News outlets have reported that this is the first estate ever opened for an unborn aborted embryo.
As a citizen, this case raises serious questions as to the fundamental rights not only of aborted fetuses, but those of the mother and father. The Alabama Women’s Center has already argued that the ruling seeks to undermine a woman’s right to abortion and such a decision is harassing and intimidating to women considering abortion. As a trusts and estates practitioner, my concerns are much more personal. I question whether the mother petitioned to serve as personal representative and would the court consider her for the role of estate administrator. I am bothered by the prospect that the father as personal representative could have the authority to sue the mother for the abortion. I ask whether the pill manufacturer and the medical clinic will implead the mother into the lawsuit. I worry of the possible use of this very personal experience imbedded with layers of emotion and intrapersonal relationships for a political and legal agenda.
Trusts and estates law applies to every individual and the law exists to provide a guide for people in the wake of death. Often it is these cases, the ones involving families, life, and death that become the landmark cases that shape our legal system. A ruling like that of Judge Barger’s is sure to be considered in several courts and make its way through the appeals process. This is reminisecent of other trusts and estates cases that made it to the Supreme Court and eventually changed the law. In Trimble v. Gordon, 430 U.S. 762 (1977), the Supreme Court declared the State of Illinois’s ban on the fraternal inheritance rights of illegitimate children invalid as it violated equal protection. More recently, in United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675, 2682-84 (2013), New York residents Edith Windsor and Thea Spyer were two women married in Canada. While New York did not issue marriage certificates for same-sex marriages at that time, it did recognize marriages from other jurisdictions. In 2009, Spyer died and left her estate to Windsor who sought a marital exemption for federal estate tax. The exemption was denied because of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Windsor challenged the law and the case made its way to the Supreme Court where DOMA was declared unconstitutional.
Depending on the development of Magers’s case and similar ones which are bound to arise, practioners will have to start contemplating new issues involving untraditional estates. The ramifications of such a ruling will affect penal codes in addition to tax, health care, and inheritance laws. Perhaps more importantly, rulings like Magers’s affect human interaction and family relationships, much like Trimble and Windsor.
Cori A. Robinson is a solo practitioner having founded Cori A. Robinson PLLC, a New York and New Jersey law firm, in 2017. For more than a decade Cori has focused her law practice on trusts and estates and elder law including estate and Medicaid planning, probate and administration, estate litigation, and guardianships. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Jeff Sodoma, MPA, Esq. is a lawyer based in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Hello, there! Welcome to my blog. I will use this blog as a platform for my writing. I will write about topics in the legal world, certainly, as well as everything else under the sun, because I have many interests (and viewpoints). All views expressed in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are mine alone. One of my interests is music--my wife believes that I should go on "Beat Shazam" because I know so many songs--and I will be, from time to time, analyzing song lyrics and how they relate to the legal world.