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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) December 15, 2014 – When a person becomes incapacitated and is no longer able to make medical, financial or legal decisions, it becomes necessary for another person to step in and make decisions on his or her behalf. Power of attorney and guardianship are two vehicles by which this may occur. A power of attorney is a legal document which a person uses to designate someone to act on his or her behalf if he or she is incapacitated. A power of attorney can be general, granting the agent power over all of the […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) November 20, 2014 – A study by Fidelity Investments found that 57 percent of retirees wish they had done more retirement planning before leaving the workplace. As retirement approaches, a checklist to be completed at key stages can help ensure that the process is as smooth as possible. “Retirement represents an immense change to a person’s lifestyle and financial situation,” said Andrew Hook, a Virginia elder law attorney with Hook Law Center, which has offices in Virginia Beach and northern Suffolk. “Having an actionable plan can make that transition easier.” Retirement savings should start […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) November 13, 2014 – Parents and grandparents who want to incorporate college savings into their financial planning can do so with a 529 college savings plan, a special savings account designed for higher education expenses. “In this era of ever-rising tuition, college savings should take higher priority than in the past,” said Andrew Hook, an estate planning attorney in Franklin, Virginia. “A 529 plan can be a part of that financial planning.” A 529 savings account allows account holders to save money over time, then withdraw from the balance tax-free for education-related expenses. Qualified […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) November 6, 2014 – Surviving spouses named as a beneficiary of their deceased spouse’s IRA should carefully consider their options for handling the account. The primary options are to assume the IRA, inherit the IRA, take a lump-sum distribution or disclaim the account. “How an IRA is handled after a spouse’s death can have major tax and financial consequences for the spouse beneficiary,” said Andrew Hook, a Virginia estate planning attorney with Hook Law Center. Assuming an IRA means transferring the assets into an IRA in one’s own name. For tax purposes, the IRA […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) October 29, 2014 – When a person is named as executor of an estate, he or she becomes legally responsible for protecting the assets of the decedent until the estate administration is complete. This can be a complicated, lengthy process, and organization is the key to keeping the process manageable. “Estate administration can be complex, especially if the estate planning is incomplete or there are disputes about the estate,” said Andrew Hook, a Virginia estate planning attorney with Hook Law Center. “Staying organized can help.” From the outset, the executor should understand his or […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) October 20, 2014 – Speaking to older parents about challenging subjects, including finances or the need for assisted living, can be stressful for both parties. Small disagreements can take on enormous significance, and overall communication can break down. Although there is no way to eliminate the stress inherent in such difficult discussions, good communication techniques can help parents and their adult children navigate their challenges effectively. “When adult children learn how to communicate with their aging parents, both the parents and children can appreciate one another and connect during the final stages of the […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) October 13, 2014 – President Barack Obama recently announced 19 new steps to expand veterans’ access to mental health care. The expansion follows a serious government scandal uncovered earlier this year. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) was caught hiding lengthy delays in health care access for veterans, including months-long waits for appointments. Eric Shinseki resigned as head of VA as a result. Last month, Obama signed a $16.3 billion bill to improve veterans’ access to medical care and other VA issues. “PTSD and suicide are monumental problems affecting the veteran population,” said Andrew […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) October 6, 2014 – Family-owned businesses face one of their most vulnerable periods when transitioning to the next generation after their founder’s retirement or death. More than 70 percent of family businesses do not survive this transition. But a transition plan can help preserve the business for generations to come. Planning for the transition should encompass both the legal aspects of the process, such as tax and estate planning, and practical discussions with the family members who will take over the business. “Neglecting to set up a transition plan is one of the biggest […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 29, 2014 – As the population ages and the cost of hiring in-home care booms, many Americans are stepping into roles as caregivers for loved ones who are aging or have chronic illnesses. However, caregivers should recognize that caring for an older loved one themselves also has costs. “Because the cost of providing care on your own does not appear on a single bill, it is easy to underestimate the real financial impact of caregiving,” said Andrew Hook, a Virginia attorney who specializes in the needs of seniors. A growing number of Americans […]


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Virginia Beach, VA (Law Firm Newswire) September 25, 2014 – On Saturday, September 27, 2014, the Hook Law Center will hold a free “Shred Day” event that will also be used to raise awareness and funds for the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Members of the public can bring old documents and records to the Hook Law Center in Virginia Beach, where they will be securely shredded on-site. During the event, the Hook Law Center will accept donations to the Alzheimer’s Association, and its legal team will invite anyone who is interested to join the Hook Law Center Walk Team for […]


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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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