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A California appeals court has overturned a lower court ruling requiring the DNA test of Jason Freeman (who has alleged to be the only living descendant and heir of notorious “Helter Skelter” murderer Charles Manson) to determine if he is in fact a blood descendant of the despicable Manson (who died in 2017) in a battle over Manson’s estate. Normally an heir would want a DNA test to show heirship. However, this case was different as Freeman did not want the DNA test. Michael Channels, a memorabilia collector and prison pen pal of the infamous Manson and who has claimed…
IRS publication 590-B issued recently has surprised almost everyone with its erroneous proposal that designated beneficiaries (“DBs”) will need to take required minimum distributions (“RMDs”) of inherited individual retirement accounts (IRAs) in years one through nine following the year of death of the IRA owner. When the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (the “SECURE Act”) became effective in year 2020, it was widely thought there would be no requirement for a RMD since Congress ended the “Stretch IRA” (which permitted individual beneficiaries to stretch their inherited IRA over their life expectancy giving tax-deferred growth). Under the SECURE…
Usually the most valuable non-countable resource for a long-term care Medicaid recipient (whereby the government helps pay for care costs at a long-term care facility plus medications if the applicant/recipient has less than $2,000 of countable resources) is the homestead. Although there is no equity limit of a homestead if the Medicaid applicant is married (and the countable resources can be substantially greater), there is presently a $603,000 equity limit in Texas if the applicant is single. However, if the homestead is sold, then the cash proceeds would be countable (even if you had a Ladybird deed which avoids a…
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but actress Anna Strasberg (who some say Monroe never met or only met once) received much more than that from the legendary actress – even though that was probably not Monroe’s intention. Monroe, who died in 1962, left her personal effects plus 75% of her residuary estate (the balance after bequests to various individuals including $100,000 in trust for her mother) outright to her acting coach, Lee Strasberg, in her Last Will and Testament. Her estate was not settled for approximately 40 years for many reasons (a Will contest by Monroe’s former business…
A durable financial power of attorney (“POA”) is generally an essential part of any estate plan. In fact, it may be the most important document since it is often the most powerful as it often gives the agent the authority to deal with all of your financial affairs, assets (most people grant general powers – not limited) during your lifetime. Furthermore, although Texas law permits the POA to “spring” upon disability, it is generally recommended that the POA become effective immediately since it is often difficult to determine when there is mental disability. The mental capacity needed to sign a…
President Biden’s recent infrastructure package includes $400 billion for care services at home in addition to community services that would be covered by Medicaid. Although present laws provide for such type of home and community services, there is institutional bias as it is generally easier and quicker to get Medicaid coverage for a nursing home resident than one seeking coverage for care services at home. For example, the Texas Star+ Medicaid program (which generally provides 35 to 40 hours a week of care at home in addition to medication) had a wait list of over 18,000 as of the first…
Although Wills are often not difficult to probate in Texas, many times the probate process of determining that the Will is valid (so that the Executor can pay the debts of the estate of the deceased and transfer the assets in accordance with the Will) can be costly and time-consuming. As a result, many want to avoid the potential hassle, cost and delay of following the state laws required under the probate process when you have to validate a Will. Beneficiary designations supersede probate. So, for example, if you simply go to the bank and name a beneficiary to your…
Although not all online or store-bought Wills create legal problems, the following factual situation is an example of the potentially perilous path that an unwitting individual may traverse when doing their own Will. FACTS: Wife (hereinafter referred to as “Zsa Zsa”) has only a few months to live and is going through a divorce from her husband (hereinafter referred to as “Conrad”) who lives in a different state. The divorce is unlikely to be finalized due to her short life expectancy. Zsa Zsa’s sister, Eva (who resides and has her domicile in Europe) has come to Texas to assist Zsa…
As a result of COVID-19 and the new health problems resulting therefrom, President Biden signed an Executive Order for those either uninsured (around 29 million Americans) or under insured to get health insurance (Obamacare) for those in states served by marketplaces that use the HealthCare.gov platform. The special enrollment period to enroll in the coverage expires on May 15, 2021 (normally only open from November 1 to December 15). Enrollment can be done through a Marketplace call center, HealthCare.gov, direct enrollment channels or through agents and brokers registered with the Marketplace. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) has…
As a result of the February 2021 winter storm in Texas, the IRS has extended until June 15 business and individual tax returns filings and payments to be made by Texas taxpayers. This includes business tax returns for 2020 normally due on March 15 as well as business and individual tax returns due on April 15. This is only applicable to those affected by the February winter storm. The IRS identifies taxpayers in the covered disaster area (such as Texas) although others can all the IRS to request tax relief. The deadline of June 15 also applies to the first…