Author: gailk1

The Role of the Attorney-in-Fact

When a client becomes incompetent the person named as the “attorney-in-fact” in the Power of Attorney form must step in and assist with all components of the client’s financial life. An attorney-in-fact handles all money matters – paying bills, investing assets, ensuring safekeeping of valuables while maintaining detailed and accurate records of all transactions. The attorney-in-fact is the incompetent person’s…

You Have Your Way, but Where’s Your Will?

Clients sometimes tell me that their mom or dad died with a will, but it can’t be found. Not finding a loved one’s signed, original will is very frustrating. If the will cannot be found, then it cannot be used. Courts will not probate the idea of a will, so we actually need the signed original. In some circumstances, a…

How and When to Enroll in Medicare

Eligibility for Medicare begins on your 65th birthday. You can sign up for the program then, or delay doing so if you are still working. Failure to timely enroll will result in late-enrollment penalties – usually a substantial increase in your monthly Medicare premium price. You will be automatically enrolled on your 65th birthday if you have chosen to receive…

Disposing of Unwanted Medicine

When my clients move from their homes, they frequently leave unused medicines.  Of course, my assistants and I often find partially full prescription bottles when we help families clean out homes after a loved one dies.When my clients move from their homes, they frequently leave unused medicines.  Of course, my assistants and I often find partially full prescription bottles when…

Grandma Needs Groceries

Some of my clients live at home but can no longer physically manage a trip to the grocery store.  As a result, they often entrust an aide or a friend with money or access to credit.  Sadly, those arrangements have frequently led to betrayal, and my clients have had money stolen and their credit cards used for unauthorized purchases.Some of…

Winter Home Listings Equal Lower Prices

As a probate attorney for the past decade, I’ve been involved in somewhere between one and three home sales every year. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is not to list a home during snow and ice season! Here in Montgomery County, winter runs from Thanksgiving through the first full week in March. Few prospective buyers bother shopping during this season.…

A Joint Owned Bank Account Is not Yours Alone

Many people add friends or family members to their bank accounts for convenience or to avoid probate.  But, when circumstances change, and the original account holders want to regain sole ownership of their accounts, they are shocked to learn they cannot.Many people add friends or family members to their bank accounts for convenience or to avoid probate.  But, when circumstances…

Helpful Phone Numbers

When an older parent has sold a home or is preparing to move, who do you call to change services in the DC metropolitan area? Electricity: PEPCO 202-833-7550 or BGE 800-685-0123 Gas: Washington Gas 800-752-7520 Water: WSSC 301-206-4001 Verizon: 301-954-6260 Comcast: 301-424-4400 (Montgomery County) or 301-499-1980 (Prince George’s) Washington Post: 202-334-6100 When you are making these calls, have a recent…

Maximizing Your Social Security Payout

You can start drawing Social Security benefits any time between the ages of 62 and 70. The longer you wait to start, the greater your monthly benefit. If you start at age 62, you get about 75% of your retirement benefits; and if you wait until age 66, you get 100%. But if defer for the maximum period, until age…