Third Quarter 2010
Providing you peace of mind as we help pass your legacy to the next generation
Volume 2 Issue 3
Thoughts from Jerry really don’t need to have dessert. That is
The Bell Law Firm P.A.
when Mike looked at me with his piercing
7007 College Blvd.
Today was the first day of school at our
blue eyes, and told me …. Jerry if you want to
house, and the range of emotions varied.
have dessert, then don’t miss the chance to
You know the kids are growing up when
Overland Park, KS 66211
have dessert … order it and enjoy it while you
they ask you to NOT visit their classroom
Phone (913) 345-2323
on the first day. We finally got there with can! His message was clear, and his live-for-
the-day attitude was reflective in his
our youngest son, so we are officially old.
comments and his glare.
I was in Chicago recently, and I did my
best to put a dent in the pizza supply at Now I’ve used that memory to justify many
the fine Chicago pizza places. As I splurged a dessert over the years in memory of Mike,
and a few pounds later I still remember the
on pizza I tried to justify going out for pizza
Coming Events from commitment in his voice. He knew his days
one more time, and the story of my friend
were short, and he was living for the day. As
The Bell Law Firm, P.A. Mike, from Atlanta, came back to me.
CE Courses Planned:
time goes by I’ve learned that proper planning
Mike was a work friend who was leaving
can give us the peace of mind to live for the
the office because his AIDs would no
Planning with Hybrid Families
day, and also help our loved ones live for the
(1 hour Ethics CE)
longer let him continue. We were taking
day when we are gone. Whether we are
Sept. 24 – KU Edwards Campus
him out for a final lunch, and it was time
planning for our long-term care, our pending
Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 – Target
to order dessert. As I studied the dessert
marriage or our eventual death, these all help
menu Mike asked me what I was having
for dessert, and I gave my normal us, and others, to continue living for the day.
An Estate Tax Planning Update with
Try sprinkling some laughter in your day and
Applications for Farmers, Land &
response of I’d like to have dessert, but I
then we are really living for today.
Business Owners (2 hours Life &
Health CE) I’ve Been Named As Health Another key step is to have a detailed
Sept. 24 – KU Edwards Campus
Sept. 29 and Oct. 1 – Target
discussion with the principal on end-of-life
Care Power of Attorney. . .
medical decisions. The worst thing to do is to
What Do I Do Now? avoid this discussion. If you need an attorney
Proactive Medicaid and Veterans
or health care professional for the discussion,
Benefit Planning for Senior
So Mom and Dad just named you as their then get them involved. It is absolutely
Clients—Protecting Lifetime Assets
health care power of attorney, what steps
from Escalating Long-Term Care
critical for you, as the health care agent, to
should you be taking now? Do you really
Costs (3 hours Life and Health CE)
know what your loved one would want with
Oct. 29 – KU Edwards Campus
know what that means, or would you just any end-of-life decisions. This is not always
Nov. 3 and 5 – Target Insurance
prefer to find out later in a crisis? If you an easy discussion, but it is critical.
have been named as a health care power of
attorney, then NOW is the time to Here are a few simple questions you should
Inside This Issue
Thoughts from Jerry 1
proactively prepare for your future duty. discuss with the principal of the document:
I’ve Been Named As Health
As a health care power of attorney, • What are your perspectives on end-
Care Power of Attorney…
you’ve been designated to make health of-life medical treatments?
What Do I Do Now? 1
care decisions for your loved one (known • Who are your primary doctors and
Recent Headlines 2
as the principal) when they can’t make do they have a copy of this health
When Do You Need A
them for themselves. A key first step is to care power of attorney document?
Prenuptial Agreement? 2
be sure you have a copy of the power of
What’s New at the
attorney document, and be sure the • Do you have a Living Will showing
Bell Law Firm 3
principal’s key doctors have a copy of this your intentions for medical
Laughter – It Can Be The
document. This is not the document you treatment if you have a terminal
want to have locked up in a safety deposit condition?
Best Medicine 3
box where it can’t be found. Copies of the
The Bell Law Firm 4
• Where do you keep your medical
document are usually fine, so it isn’t critical
records and how are they updated?
that you have the original document.
The Bell Law Firm P.A. Third Quarter 2010 Page 2
In July two 45 anniversaries went
Recent Headlines A summary of the health care reform largely unnoticed. On July 14, 1965,
law will be posted on our website since President Johnson signed the Older
Health care benefits for Veterans of there is not enough space in the Americans Act. Sixteen days later he
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, newsletter. The summary will be signed legislation creating Medicare and
including National Guard personnel and posted at www.jbellLawFirm.com. Medicaid. Although often under attack,
reservists, were expanded when the **** these three programs continue to
President signed The Caregivers and Looking for answers to questions provide economic, health and social
Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act regarding U.S. government benefits and support for millions of Americans.
of 2010 on May 5. services? Try www.Answers.usa.gov.
The law provides assistance to family There are 134 pages of categories from
caregivers, expanded mental health which to choose. We tried a few and
services, expansion of health care thought the information and links were
services for women veterans, and more helpful. We did not try the phone
support for homeless veterans. number which is 1-800-333-4636.
When Do You Need A Reasons For A Prenuptial Agreement - Prenuptial Planning Risks – So why are
Prenuptial Agreement? What are a few key reasons you might prenups considered one of the more
consider a prenuptial agreement? litigious areas of the law? The
Prenup is really not a dirty word. emotional state of the divorcing parties
Although prenups are often the source • To define joint property and creates explosiveness with any dispute,
of marital humor, prenuptial agreements protect separate property so it is very important to follow a few
serve a very useful planning purpose. acquired before the marriage key guidelines with prenuptial
They are usually not found in romance and/or after the marriage (i.e. planning.
novels, but they are increasingly inheritances).
• To agree on terms of the 1. Plan Early – prenups should
common with couples of all ages. Baby-
marriage including earnings, be drafted months in advance
boomers are becoming more aware of
retirement, insurance, medical of a wedding. One of the
their shrinking financial assets and their
expenses, disability, taxes, common reasons prenups are
resulting planning gaps. Additionally, as
debts and many other items. not upheld is a party shows
hybrid families become the norm, the
• To clearly define rights with a the agreement was done in
interest in prenups continues to grow.
divorce including spousal haste or under duress or at
maintenance, division of the last minute without
Prenup Use Grows - Approximately 30%
property, use of residence, proper understanding.
of all people who have been married
have also been divorced according to attorney fees and more.
2004 Census data. For baby-boomers, • To define rights upon the death
this number rises to about 40% who of a spouse including statutory
have been divorced. Additionally, rights, life insurance proceeds
seniors will remarry later in life or they and/or joint property plans.
will co-habitate in an arrangement that • To agree on how to handle
could be considered a marital enforcement of the prenuptial
equivalent. So the use of prenuptial agreement including arbitration
agreements is growing. Nevertheless, plans, legal expenses and other
2. Independent Attorneys – both
parties should be represented
prenuptial agreements continue to be administration priorities.
by their own attorney.
one of the more litigated areas of the
law, and the parties involved usually Items Not Included in a Prenuptial
3. Full and Fair Disclosure – both
have plenty of firepower to pursue Agreement - There are two areas that
parties must reveal all their
litigation when there are disagreements. should not be included within a
asset information and be
Prenuptial planning should be handled prenuptial agreement. Generally the
informed of their rights as part
carefully, and there are certainly risks. court will not support terms for child
of the agreement. Any
support or child custody within a
evidence of hiding assets or
prenuptial agreement. Instead, the
information from a spouse can
court will make those decisions based
create significant problems.
upon the best interests of the child at
the time of any divorce. Additionally, a Prenuptial planning can be very
prenup can’t contain anything that effective, and when done properly it
violates state law or public policy. becomes an integral part of a family’s
overall estate and long-term care plan.
The Bell Law Firm P.A. Third Quarter 2010 Page 3
What’s New at leaders in these fields to share updates
and new planning ideas. Jerry invested
The Bell Law Firm his time in sessions on new planning
techniques for elder clients, practical
Personal Financial Planning Workshop asset protection planning with Wyoming
for The Kansas Society of CPAs – Jerry LLCs and domestic asset protection
presented an Estate Tax Update to trusts, enhanced veterans benefits
attendees, and he shared the evolving planning, new business succession
changes with the 2010-11 tax laws. The planning services, creating value-
annual, day-long conference provides Planning for the Generations oriented client maintenance programs
CPE credit for CPAs in multiple topic Conference – Jerry attended this and useful planning techniques for
areas, and CPAs attended from across Chicago event in early August. This physicians and high-net worth clients. In
the state. The estate tax laws continue event is one of the nation’s premier addition, he did not miss the
to create confusion and misinformation symposiums for estate, elder law and opportunity to partake in Chicago’s pizza
with clients, and Jerry is planning financial professionals. The conference options. This annual conference is
additional fall education events for is presented by WealthCounsel and invaluable for staying abreast of new
advisors in this area. ElderCounsel, and it brings together ideas and networking in our business.
The mental benefits of laughter include:
Laughter – It Can Be The Adds zest to life Bring humor into your
Best Medicine Eases anxiety and fear conversations. Inquire
Relieves stress about funny things others
As the talk about our struggling Improves mood have recently experienced.
economy continues and the oil in the Enhances resilience
One essential characteristic that
Gulf has spread its toxic tentacles over
The social benefits of laughter include: helps us laugh is not taking ourselves
pristine beaches and into marshes, we
Strengthens relationships too seriously. Here are some ways
all feel the need to relieve our anxiety.
Attracts others to us to lighten your life:
The good news is that not all stress-
relief medicine comes in a bottle with Enhances teamwork
Laugh at yourself. Share
an expensive price tag. One such Helps defuse conflict
“medicine” is laughter. The benefits of Promotes group bonding
Laugh at situations rather
a good “belly laugh” have now been than bemoan them. Look
identified not only anecdotally but also Now we know that laughter is good for
our health. But laughter needs a for the humor in a bad
in scientific research. situation.
stimulus—a funny movie, a riotous
play--or does it? Here are some helpful Surround yourself with
Like exercise, laughter can reduce reminders to lighten up.
stress, improve our tolerance to pain, tips on jumpstarting the idea of putting
more humor in your life: Keep a toy on your desk or
and even alter blood pressure, heart in your car. Put up a funny
rate, muscle activity and stomach poster. Frame photos of
Smile. Smiling is the beginning
acidity. Dr. William Fry, an associate family and friends having a
of laughter. Like laughter, it’s
professor of clinical psychiatry at good time.
contagious. When you see
Stanford University, who has studied Keep things in perspective.
something even mildly
the effects of laughter for 30 years, Ask yourself if it is beyond
pleasing, practice smiling.
compares laughter to “inner jogging.” your control. Ask if its
Count your blessings. Literally
Dr. Fry claims that laughing 100 times a worth getting upset over.
make a list. The act of
day is the equivalent of 10 minutes of Emulate children. They are
considering the good things in
rowing. the experts at playfulness!
your life will distance you from
negative thoughts that act as a
The physical benefits of laughter
barrier to laughter.
When you hear laughter,
move toward it. Generally,
Lowers stress hormones
people are very happy to share
something funny because it
gives them the chance to laugh
Prevents heart disease
Spend time with fun, playful
The Bell Law Firm P.A Third Quarter 2010 Page 4
Services Available at The Bell Law Firm
Asset Protection Planning
Trusts and Estate Planning
Licensed to practice in
Kansas and Missouri
Business Exit Planning
Business Services and Formation
Trust Administration and Probate
Medicaid Asset Protection Planning
Long-Term Care Planning
Veterans Benefits (Accredited by the VA)
The Bell Law Firm P.A. Special Needs
7007 College Blvd. Prenuptial and Postnuptial Planning
The Bell Law Firm Is a Member of
Overland Park, KS 66211
Phone (913) 345-2323
We look forward to
seeing you soon and
hearing from you at
WealthCounsel, LLC ElderCounsel, LLC
The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA)
Directions to our Office
From I-435 and Metcalf Area, go South on Metcalf,
pass through the 110th street stoplight, then at the
second light (College Blvd.), turn left (East) on
College Blvd. Take your first right off of College
Blvd. into the Renaissance/Van Eyck Building or
7007 College Blvd.
The visitor parking is on both sides of the building
and there is a large parking lot on the East side of
the building. We are on the 4th floor in Suite 480.