Trying to Write Your Own Will May Result in Undesired Consequences

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Author: Charles F. Fuller

Most of us put off estate planning because it deals with circumstances we do not wish to think about. However, failing to address how you wish your assets to be distributed upon your death could lead to unintended consequences. A recent case in our office provides a good example why you should not delay having a will prepared.

We were recently retained to represent clients who were named as beneficiaries in the will’s residuary clause, or the clause that disposes of the remaining estate property after the satisfaction of any specific bequests. The will was self-authored by the decedent, who was not an attorney. The residuary clause that left the majority of the decedent’s estate to our clients was incomplete and ambiguous. The will arguably left the residuary estate to both the decedent’s grandchildren and to our clients, who were friends of the decedent. Under Maryland law, the decedent’s closest heirs were his daughters, and the next closest heirs were his grandchildren. An earlier provision of the will specifically excluded his daughters from receiving anything under his will but did not reference his grandchildren.  As a result, the personal representative of the estate petitioned the probate court to instruct him how to distribute the proceeds of the residuary estate and litigation ensued. Ultimately, the case settled, with the residuary estate being split among the decedent’s friends and his grandchildren; the wishes of the decedent were not fully accomplished, and his estate had to pay thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees. Had the decedent sought counsel in preparing his will, an appropriate will could have been drafted to carry out his wishes and save the estate the expenses associated with litigation. Further, an experienced estate planning attorney would have advised the decedent how to properly and clearly exclude certain individuals from his will under Maryland law.

A will is an important and essential document for anyone who wishes to pass assets upon their death. It should be prepared by a competent attorney practicing in the field. When done properly, the will can distribute the individual’s assets to the people of his/her choice, in accordance with any terms and conditions that the assets may be subject to, and in an economically reasonable fashion. When wills are self-authored in a legally deficient manner, or not prepared at all, extensive litigation can follow and the likely result is that much of the assets intended to be passed onto the beneficiaries are expended on unnecessary litigation. In order to avoid undesired consequences and to ensure your assets pass only to those you want to receive them, give us a call.

2014 Holiday Food Drive

McChesney & Dale, P.C.

hosts its

3rd Annual Holiday Food Drive

food drive

 

Your donations made a difference last year, now we are asking you to help us fill our boxes once again.

The holiday season is here and McChesney & Dale is sponsoring its third annual food drive from November 12 – December 19, 2014. All donations will be provided to the Bowie Interfaith Food Pantry, which will package and distribute holiday baskets to families in need.

We welcome you to join us in putting a smile on someone’s face this year by making a donation. Donation boxes will be on the first floor of the Omni building, located at 4000 Mitchellville Road, Bowie, MD 20716. The following non-perishable items will be accepted:

(Donations are not limited to those listed but please be sure that donation items are not expired.)

 

  • Canned food items

-soups                          -vegetables/fruits

-sauces                         -fish/chicken

 

  • Boxed food items

-mashed potatoes        -cake/pie mix

-stuffing                      -hot cocoa/cider mix

 

  • Packaged food items

-marshmallows            -hot cereal packets

-pasta/rice                    -snacks

 

The Bowie Interfaith Food Pantry is located at 2614 Kenhill Drive, Suite 134, Bowie, MD 20715.

 

Thank you in advance for your participation. Happy Holidays!

 

Update IRS Instructions for Reporting Employee Health Coverage

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Author: Johanna Montero-Okon

On March 5, 2014, the Department of Treasure issued final regulations on employer health insurance coverage information reporting. The information reporting relates to health insurance coverage that is offered by certain employers, referred to as applicable large employers, and reporting is to be provided by each member of an applicable large employer. A few months later the Department issued additional guidance announcing their decision to extend transition relief to employers for 2014 for the annual information reporting.

Generally, Code Section 6055(a) requires every health insurance issuer, sponsor of a self-insured health plan, government agency that administers government-sponsored health insurance programs, and other entity that provides Minimum Essential Coverage (MEC) to file annual returns reporting information for each individual to whom it was provided. An entity filing an information return reporting MEC must furnish a written statement to each individual on the return that shows the information that must be reported to the IRS. In addition, separate reporting requirements that apply to “applicable large employers” are provided under Code Section 6056. The final regulations provide general and alternative reporting methods to employers that are subject to the Code Sec. 6056 information reporting requirements. Large employers, those with at least 50 Full-time employees, are required to annually report to the IRS information on the health care coverage that they offer, or do not offer, to full-time employees and to furnish related statements to their full-time employees.

On July 24, 2014, the IRS released draft forms that employers may use to report on health coverage that they offer to their employees. Specifically, Forms 1094-C and 1095-C may be used by applicable large employers in compliance with Code Section 6056. The Purpose of the forms is for ALE’s to report offers of health coverage to, and enrollment in health coverage by, their employees. The forms are also used in determining whether an employer owes payments under the Employer Shared Responsibility Rules. Both forms must be filed with the IRS by February 28 if filing on paper, or March 31 if filing electronically, of the year following the calendar year to which the return relates.

Billing Announcement

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Author: Shameka Sterling

BILLING ANNOUNCEMENT: McChesney & Dale, P.C., now accepting credit card payments

In a continued effort to improve business with our clients and to provide more convenience, McChesney & Dale now accepts credit card payments.  All major credit cards are accepted and payments can be made in our office or by telephone.  If paying by telephone, we do offer the option of having your payment receipts sent to you by e-mail or by first class mail.

To make a credit card payment by phone, please call Shameka at (301) 805-6080.  We look forward to your continued business.

Long Term Disability Success Story, Post 1

 

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Author: Denise A. Martin

McChesney & Dale has advocated for many decades on behalf of short and long term disability claimants who have been denied benefits, both through the private administrative appeal process with the insurer and federal litigation.[1] The purpose of this blog is to share a recent success story of one of our clients. For privacy reasons, we will refer to the claimant as Jill.

Jill came to our office after years of struggling with debilitating illness. She had been diagnosed with Lyme disease almost a decade prior, but despite initial treatment with antibiotics, her symptoms continued to worsen over the years. Her symptoms became so severe that she had to begin working from home and ultimately ceased working entirely. She found a Lyme-literate physician and began an intensive antibiotic regimen and other treatments. Jill’s claim for long term disability benefits was denied by her insurance company, and she submitted an administrative appeal without the assistance of an attorney. This appeal was denied on the basis of lack of medical evidence of her disability.

Jill then retained the services of McChesney & Dale to assist her with a second administrative appeal to the insurance company. Of note, Jill’s Lyme disease resulted in significant cognitive impairments (brain fog, word-finding difficulty, impaired memory, etc.), and McChesney & Dale had her undergo a neuropsychological evaluation, which provided very helpful evidence of her cognitive difficulties. This was particularly important in light of the intellectually demanding aspects of her employment in the national security field. In a lengthy appeal letter to the insurer, McChesney & Dale’s attorneys highlighted the relevant medical evidence, brought in witness testimony of Jill’s severe symptoms and inability to perform even simple household tasks, attacked the arguments of the insurer and its peer review physicians (whose opinion the insurer had relied upon to deny the claim), and introduced legal evidence that the peer review physicians were not credible.

On the basis of the evidence introduced in the second administrative appeal, the insurer overturned its previous decision to deny Jill’s benefits and sent a large check for her retroactive benefits. Though Jill’s medical condition has unfortunately persisted, such that she remains out of work, she is able to make ends meet with the much-deserved disability benefits she is now receiving.

 

 

 

 

Disclaimer: This blog is meant only to provide information about the experience of our attorneys. It is not intended as a guarantee or prediction that the same or similar results can be obtained in other matters.

 

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[1] For more information about the long term disability appeal process, please see our Long Term Disability article.

Free Estate Planning Event in Bowie, MD

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Author: Shameka Sterling

Free Estate Planning Event in Bowie, MD

 Are you a police officer, firefighter, paramedic, correction or probation officer? Are you in need of a will, advance medical directive (living will), or power of attorney?  If so, this is an event especially for you.

WHAT:           Wills for Heroes Event

WHO:             First responders: police officers, firefighters, paramedics, correction and probation officers from Federal, state, county, city and town departments and agencies

WHEN:           Saturday, September 27, 2014

WHY:             The Wills for Heroes Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides wills, advance medical directives or living wills, and powers of attorney to first responders, free of charge.  As a first responder, you dedicate your lives to helping and saving others.  This event provides an opportunity for you to ensure that your family’s legal affairs are in order before tragedy hits.

McChesney & Dale will be volunteering at this upcoming event.  To participate in this event or to learn about other upcoming events, contact the Wills for Heroes Foundation at (301) 945-9245.  For more information on the Wills for Heroes program, follow the link to their website: Wills for Heroes.

 

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