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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 23, 2014 – Prospects for Medicaid expansion in Virginia got a boost in the recent gubernatorial election, but they are still far from definite. Democrat Terry McAuliffe won the November 2013 election after campaigning on a promise to support the expansion of Medicaid spelled out in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) or “Obamacare.” But his role will, for the most part, be limited to the bully pulpit, urging state legislators to adopt the optional low-income health care expansion. “Expanding Medicaid would greatly help many elderly and low-income individuals and families in Virginia,” said […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) January 16, 2014 – The Hook Law Center is proud to announce that elder law attorney Andrew Hook has been named one of the best lawyers in Virginia. Best Lawyers, a legal peer-review organization, recently released a directory titled “The Best Lawyers in America”. The book is filled with the profiles of outstanding attorneys in all practice areas and in all metropolitan areas throughout a state. Andrew Hook is the only elder law attorney in the Norfolk area to receive this distinction. “I am humbled by this recognition from my very capable peers in […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 11, 2013 – A recent survey indicates many U.S. veterans are uninformed about the advantages and disadvantages of delaying or hastening the start of their Social Security benefits. The survey, commissioned by financial publishing firm Kiplinger, found that more than 70 percent of veterans either underestimated the reduction in Social Security income incurred as a result of claiming benefits early, or admitted they did not know the costs. Moreover, nearly 90 percent did not realize the increase in benefits they could receive by delaying the onset of payments. Veterans’ law attorney Andrew Hook […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 4, 2013 – A senator and a prominent doctor joined together to call for a doubling of the amount the U.S. government spends on research into Alzheimer’s disease each year. Senator Susan Collins is the senior senator from Maine and Co-Chair of the Senate Alzheimer’s Task Force. Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at the Mayo Clinic. The pair co-authored an article on the disease in a recent issue of Parade magazine. Virginia elder law attorney Andrew Hook agreed with the senator and doctor’s recommendation. […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) November 25, 2013 – A new federal grant program is aimed to improve the long-term prospects of disabled children who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). The Promoting Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) initiative will provide assistance to SSI recipients and their families in order to help the kids complete high school, postsecondary education, and job training, as well as find good jobs. “Despite the support that Supplemental Security Income provides, children who receive the benefits nevertheless tend to lag behind in higher education and employment when compared with their peers,” said […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) November 18, 2013 – Workers may convert individual retirement accounts (IRAs) from traditional to Roth IRAs, but some who do so will later undo that conversion. Roth IRAs present certain advantages and disadvantages versus traditional IRAs, and each year, many people elect to make the conversion to Roth. When current circumstances or expectations for the future change, as they so often do, that conversion may be undone in a process called “recharacterization.” Estate planning attorney Andrew Hook explains why people convert or recharacterize their accounts and the rules governing the processes. “Contributions to traditional […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) October 14, 2013 – Two recent announcements show U.S. government agencies will differ in how they implement a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. In June, 2013, the Court struck down the portion of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that denied federal benefits to legally-married same-sex couples. As Virginia estate planning attorney Andrew Hook explained, that left those couples in a limbo between state and federal law. “In the eyes of the states in which they married, and other states recognizing same-sex marriages, those couples were legally wed,” Hook said. “But according to the federal […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) October 7, 2013 – Stiff penalties for careless Medicaid planning make it necessary for families to form a proper strategy many years ahead of time. Medicaid provides health care for those with little assets or income and is the most popular way to pay for long-term nursing home care. Long-term care is very expensive, making Medicaid the only option for many families who need it, but qualifying for Medicaid usually requires very low asset levels. As Virginia elder law attorney Andrew Hook explains, this can lead families to make missteps with severe consequences. “A […]


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