I never thought that I would have a son with Autism, but I do. It has given me new perspective and more compassion for those children, adults and families that are struggling with this and other mental disabilities.
On May 27th 2010, Katherine Webster filed a class action lawsuit in Los Angeles iSuperior Court against the online legal document service, Legal Zoom.com. In her lawsuit, Ms. Webster alleges that the online legal website prepared estate planning documents that banks and other financial institutions would not recognize upon the death of the testator, her Uncle, Mr. Anthony Farrantino.
Most people consider life insurance valuable primarily early in life when children are young, income is generally lower, a debt is high. It is true that, generally, a family’s need for life insurance decreases as children get older and the family accumulates assets, but there are other ways to look at the role and value of life insurance that fall outside the need for immediate liquidity in the event a family’s income is interrupted by death.
Many people think that estate planning is a one-time thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. For most people, their financial, social, familial and health related issues, challenges, concerns change dramatically between the ages of 30 and 60. What was a sound estate plan in your 30’s may not be sophisticated enough for you 50’s.
The third and final phase of Washington state’s 2005 Mental Health Parity Law took effect July 1, 2010. With this final phase of the law, insurance carriers must remove from state-regulated insurance plans any limits on the number of office visits or inpatient hospital days to treat mental disorders, unless the limits also apply to other health services covered under the plans.
As an estate/special needs planner with an autistic child of my own, I know first hand the stress and heartache every parent of an autistic child experiences trying to figure out how to ensure that their child will be safe and cared for even after they’re gone.
In case you did not know, the federal estate tax disappeared in 2010. That means that the estate of anyone who passes away this year will pass to that person’s heirs tax free. While that is a wonderful thing for the accumulated wealth of those fortunate enough to pass away this year, the rest of us face an uncertain future regarding the federal estate tax laws.
Families caring for a child with autism often have some health insurance, but most of these plans explicitly exclude coverage of the treatments their child needs. Since 2007, Autism Speaks has been working with grassroots partners on autism insurance reform in states across the country with the goal of enacting legislation that would end marketplace discrimination on the basis of an autism diagnosis.
Under the current law, the federal estate tax will rise from the ashes on January 1, 2011. Only $1 million will be exempt from a 55% tax, meaning that many more families need to start planning.