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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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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 12, 2014 – The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently extended a tax break for married couples. The ruling, announced in Revenue Procedure 2014-18, extends the deadline to take advantage of an estate tax break known as “portability.” The break went into effect on an interim basis in 2011, and it was made permanent under the American Taxpayer Relief Tax Act of 2012. “The IRS grants every U.S. citizen a “basic exclusion,” which is a lifetime exclusion amount from estate and gift taxes,” Andrew Hook, a Virginia Beach estate planning attorney, explained. “For 2014, […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) March 4, 2014 – The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has proposed that veterans use standardized forms to submit disability claims. This is an idea that would seem in step with the desire to streamline and modernize the process. However, the proposal has veterans groups concerned that many former members of the military will not be able to navigate the new system. Traditionally, veterans have been able to submit claims in a variety of ways, including through simple, handwritten notes. The claim becomes the initial point for retroactive pay reference when and if the filing […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) March 3, 2014 – Virginia Social Services has mandated that Dwayne Parson, 34, must pay back child support even though he is not the child’s biological father. Child support normally follows an equitable, straightforward formula. But simplicity is not always guaranteed. At least one Virginia man would make a strong case that belies an expectation for a cut-and-dried process as he begins to pay thousands of dollars in back payments for child support for a child he did not father. Parson, of Chesterfield, signed a birth certificate for a child he believed to be his […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 28, 2014 – A part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands treatment for people with developmental disabilities, but some states may leave insurers with ways to sidestep the new requirement. The ACA, commonly called “Obamacare,” requires health insurance plans for individuals and small groups to include coverage for “rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices.” Most insurance plans already cover rehabilitative services, which help people regain skills, such as walking or talking, after a debilitating injury or illness, such as a stroke. “But habilitative services are often excluded,” explains Virginia special needs attorney […]


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Florida confab of lawyer, accountants, etc. discuss new law’s implications. Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 28, 2014 – As the annual Heckerling Institute on Estate Planning reconvened in mid-January in Orlando, Fla., the eagerly anticipated conference of some 2,900 attendees was particularly interested in discussing the impact of recent changes in tax law. And the major engine for change in how lawyers and accountants will approach estate planning is the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The buzzword for estate planning since the passage of the new law is so-called portability, which allows widows and widowers to carry over […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 19, 2014 – Projections show that within 20 years, typical retirees will rely mostly on 401(k)s and other private retirement accounts to meet financial needs. “That may be alarming to some, but the industry is evolving to help meet that challenge,” says Virginia estate planning attorney Andrew Hook. “A number of trends are increasing the effectiveness of 401(k)s and workers’ utilization of them.” Hook identified the following six trends in the retirement investing industry. Increased use of Roth 401(k)s: Like Roth IRAs, Roth 401(k)s are funded with after-tax contributions. Workers pay income taxes […]


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Fairfax, VA (Law Firm Newswire) February 6, 2014 – A new bill in Virginia would institute a new, costlier child-support payment schedule. The new year could see a significant increase in Virginia’s child-support payment guidelines if a bill, introduced January 8 in the House of Delegates, becomes law. The measure has some policy advocates grousing that unmerited costs will be imposed upon non-custodial parents if it is enacted. The bill, HR 933, was crafted based on recommendations from the Child Support Guidelines Review Panel and would raise the basic child-support obligations of non-custodial parents. The amounts mandated by its new […]


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Northville, MI (Law Firm Newswire) January 31, 2014 – Beginning January 2014, veterans are covered for five illnesses tied to traumatic brain injury (TBI). Veterans will now find it easier to obtain health care and compensation for five illnesses linked to traumatic brain injury. On December 16, 2013, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) decided to loosen its previously restrictive eligibility policy on providing and covering care for the conditions. The new, more inclusive regulations took effect on January 16. Under previous regulations, veterans who suffer from Parkinson’s disease, dementia, hormone deficiencies related to the hypothalamus, pituitary or adrenal glands, […]


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