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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 2, 2014 – A report from the Nursing Home Report Card, a Families for Better Care project, ranked Virginia poorly on nursing home quality measures. The state received a grade of “D,” with an overall ranking of 33rd out of 50 states. “The fact that there are many nursing homes in Virginia that have problems means that it is that much more important for seniors and their families to engage in proper planning and research before choosing a nursing facility,” said Andrew Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with the Hook Law Center. […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 26, 2014 – Sometimes, one of the partners constructing a prenuptial agreement is a business owner. Typically, the document will then be designed to ensure that preexisting assets are completely protected in case of divorce. This often leads to restrictive prenuptial agreements that keep all preexisting assets separate. Unfortunately, that safe, restrictive prenup can prevent the surviving spouse from receiving assets upon the other spouse’s death. “A prenup is essential for protecting your assets in case of divorce, but it doesn’t always account for problems that may occur if you were to die,” […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 25, 2014 – Businessman’s $12.3 million gift for Arlington House fixes offers a lesson on estate planning. On July 17, billionaire and history buff David Rubenstein announced that he would be contributing $12.3 million toward the restoration of Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s home in Arlington, Virginia. The multimillion-dollar gift will restore Lee’s plantation site, which has been in need of major repairs, to its historical appearance. Charitable contributions like Rubenstein’s often make historic preservation projects and national park maintenance possible. Frequently, these projects struggle during times when government funds are strained. Such contributions […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 13, 2014 – Corruption charges against a former Virginian governor and his spouse could push their marital issues into the spotlight. As court-bound corruption scandals go, the trial of former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell that began July 28 seems a generally familiar tale. As usual, a once-promising politician’s career has been torn asunder by allegations of financial impropriety, but his wife’s alleged direct involvement has made the case both complex and unusual. Maureen McDonnel is also facing corruption charges, and the accusations could very well put the interests of each half of the marriage […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) August 11, 2014 – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) recently reported that, statewide, 92 percent of Michigan VA patients get appointments in less than a month. National data suggests that, nationwide, only 89 percent of patients are seen in less than 30 days. Not everyone regards the data as encouraging. “These numbers have been met with widespread confusion and disbelief,” said Jim Fausone, a Michigan veterans disability attorney. “Even if the numbers are accurate, this report makes it clear that there are still far too many Michigan veterans waiting for care.” According to […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) August 5, 2014 – With careful financial planning, many people are able to enjoy a comfortable retirement and leave a substantial estate to their heirs. But one often-unconsidered factor has the potential to add a large additional expense to the balance sheet: the possibility that one will require long-term care in a skilled nursing facility. According to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, most people over age 65 will require long-term care services of some type in their lifetime, and 40 percent will require nursing home care for some period of time. Many […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 29, 2014 – Employers who offer 401(k) retirement savings accounts are increasingly providing the option of a Roth 401(k). This presents workers with the same question that IRAs do: which to choose, traditional or Roth? According to a prominent Virginia estate planning attorney, the choice depends on individual circumstances, but Roth 401(k)s may generally offer greater tax flexibility. “When an employer offers the option of contributing to both a traditional 401(k) and a Roth 401(k), it can be wise to make at least some Roth contributions,” said Andrew Hook, an attorney with the […]


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Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) July 24, 2014 – In the decade after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has made more than $200 million in payments to settle nearly 1,000 wrongful death claims. According to VA data obtained by the Center for Investigative Reporting, the payments have been made to the families of veterans who died as the result of misdiagnoses, neglect, suicide, botched surgeries and other negligence. “It is a tragedy any time a person’s death is caused by another’s negligence, but the government has a special responsibility to provide care for […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 18, 2014 – Virginia child support laws are undergoing their first significant changes in nearly 20 years. Effective July 1, 2014, the Virginia Child Support Guidelines have been revised to account differently for higher levels of combined gross income between two parents. This change alone may allow some support recipients and payors to revisit child support judgments, even in the absence of other changes to their financial circumstances. A local divorce attorney explained the ways that the new guidelines differ from the old and the ramifications of the change. “Prior to these revisions,” said […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) July 8, 2014 – On June 28, 1969, members of the gay community spontaneously rose up in protest against a police raid being conducted at the Stonewall Inn in New York City. The ensuing riot is now considered one of the most important instigating events for the LGBT rights movement that followed. Though there is no set date for LGBT Pride events nationally, many cities center their events to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. Now, as June comes to a close with days or weeks of pride for the LGBT community, extra attention should be paid […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) June 16, 2014 – Attorney Andrew Hook of the Hook Law Center has been selected for the 2014 Virginia Super Lawyers list. Selection for the list is a recognition of excellence in the practice of law, and the honor is awarded to the top five percent of attorneys in the state. Super Lawyers has named Hook one of Virginia’s top attorneys since 2006. “I am honored to receive this recognition from my peers and from Super Lawyers,” said Hook. “At the Hook Law Center, we work hard to deliver the best possible service to […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) June 5, 2014 – Personal finance website Bankrate.com has ranked Virginia as the 10th best state in the country in which to retire. The top three spots went to South Dakota, Colorado and Utah. New York was ranked as the worst state for retirees. Bankrate based its rankings on a number of factors, including health care quality, cost of living, taxes, crime rates and amount of sunshine. Virginia’s relatively low crime rates, reasonable cost of living and moderate taxation earned it its high rank. “Virginia is a great state for retirees,” said Andrew Hook, […]


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Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) May 23, 2014 – On February 19, the Social Security Administration (SSA) announced a new policy to expedite some high-priority disability claims. Hopefully, these changes are already helping former members of the military who are awaiting a determination on benefits eligibility. The new policy went into effect in March. Under it, SSA will accelerate the claims process for veterans who have been classified as fully disabled by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Fully disabled veterans, or those with a 100 percent disability rating, will be prioritized, as will other groups, including service members who were […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) May 22, 2014 – The Social Security Administration (SSA) owes thousands of Americans higher benefits, amounting to millions of dollars in total. SSA’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) – the agency’s internal watchdog – recently conducted an internal audit that revealed failures to increase some retirees’ benefits properly. “The problem lies with some retirees’ receipt of spousal benefits,” explained elder law attorney Andrew Hook. “These retirees initially claimed spousal benefits, but they later became eligible for higher benefits based on their own employment. Social Security failed to notify them of that fact.” The […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) May 8, 2014 – It is increasingly important for comprehensive estate plans to account for assets managed online. “Traditionally, when someone died without a comprehensive estate plan in place, heirs could use paper records to piece everything together,” said Andrew Hook, a Virginia Beach estate planning attorney. “But now, that is not always the case. Many people are opting to manage checking accounts, retirement accounts and investment accounts online. If those assets are not properly documented, it may be difficult for rightful heirs to gain access to them or even to become aware of […]


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White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) April 30, 2014 – The process of applying for Social Security disability benefits is to be expedited for some veterans. Under a new initiative, veterans who have a 100 percent Permanent and Total disability compensation rating from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will be able to apply for Social Security disability benefits on an expedited basis. Social Security is to handle these claims on a high-priority basis, similar to the way claims from service members wounded in combat are processed. Carolyn Colvin, the Acting Commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), said that […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 28, 2014 – Rachel Lambert Mellon’s will was carefully written to encompass all her wishes. When Mellon died at the age of 103 on March 17 at the Upperville, Virginia estate that had been her principal residence for decades, the Old Dominion and the nation lost a great philanthropist and patron of the arts. And on March 26, when her will was filed in Virginia’s Fauquier County Circuit Court, the document provided some insights into the financial and estate-planning affairs of the late heiress. Mrs. Mellon, who was also known as “Bunny,” was the […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 24, 2014 – A custody fight over a young girl ended in a deal, but designation of a guardian in her parent’s will would have averted the entire crisis. Ever since the mother of a five-year-old girl was stabbed to death, a custody battle involving a renowned sports broadcaster and the family of his son’s late girlfriend has raged in the courts. Boston Red Sox broadcaster Jerry Remy fought for guardianship of his granddaughter. Now, a deal appears to have been reached. He and his wife will have visitation rights, but the girl’s maternal […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) April 22, 2014 – The Social Security Administration recently announced an expedited approval process for disability claims filed by disabled veterans. The new process was announced in a statement from Acting Commissioner of Social Security Carolyn W. Colvin. It applies to veterans with a disability compensation rating of 100 percent Permanent & Total (P&T) from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). These veterans’ applications for Social Security Disability Insurance will be treated as high-priority and be decided on an expedited basis, similar to those under the Wounded Warriors program. Hampton Roads veterans attorney Andrew […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 17, 2014 – Legal news outlet JD Supra recently asked attorneys to describe common, costly mistakes people make when preparing estate plans and the best ways to prevent or fix them. Hampton Roads estate planning attorney Andrew Hook weighed in with his take on some of the top issues reported by JD Supra. Procrastination. Too many people, perhaps unwilling to face their own mortality, wait until the very end of their lives to consider any sort of estate planning. Many will never get around to it at all. “The earlier estate planning begins, […]


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