Plan Your Journey.

Begin the Begin – Once you begin, you are closer to the end than had you not begun at all.  You may wonder from where the name of this blog originated as it is not the R.E.M. song.  It comes from the above-referenced phrase I remember reading in the eighth grade that my teacher had posted on the wall.  I do not recall the author (and have tried to track that information, but to no avail).

It is clear that this simple phrase has stuck with me throughout the years. And, it is a good place to start when addressing estate planning, business planning, incapacity planning, special needs and elder law issues as well as winding your way through the administration of an estate or trust.  All of these subjects can be sensitive and difficult topics to discuss, a discussion many choose not to start. However, as simply stated once the conversation about these subjects has begun, you will be closer to finishing your plan (and be better prepared) than had no conversation been started at all.

To begin your planning, please contact me at 703.218.2175 or email me at  See Disclaimer.   

Now let’s Begin the Begin!

Latest Blog Posts

  • The ABLE Act and Nursing Home Arbitration Provisions – Update An earlier article discussed the ABLE Act that was signed into law in 2014, which permits disabled individuals to create savings accounts and set aside monies for their needs without disqualifying them from public benefits.  Three different pieces of legislation were then proposed in the House to modify some of the provisions of the ABLE Act.  Corresponding legislation was introduced in the Senate and referred to the U.S. Senate Committee on Finance.  The Senate Finance Committee has approved two of the bills, but the third bill, which would raise the age of eligibility to 46 from 26, was not discussed.  ... Read more
  • District of Columbia Considers Death with Dignity Act The District of Columbia is considering enacting the Death with Dignity Act (the “Act”) that would allow terminally ill individuals with six months or less to live the ability to receive a lethal dose of medication and end their life.  Several procedural steps lie ahead for the Act now that the D.C. Council has voted to place the Act on the legislative agenda for an upcoming meeting.  However, it is unclear whether there is sufficient support for the Act to be made into law.  Arguments in favor of the Act revolve around giving an individual control over how and when ... Read more
  • Use of Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements Restricted in Nursing Home Admissions Agreements The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently issued a final rule banning the use of binding pre-dispute arbitration agreements by nursing homes that accept Medicare and Medicaid patients.  Such arbitration clauses are typically found in the admissions agreements between a new resident (or their family) and the nursing home, but are very often overlooked.  The result of this new rule is that families who have an issue with a nursing home regarding care, abuse, and the like, can now sue in court to have their case heard versus having to go through a binding arbitration process.  The original ... Read more
  • October is National Special Needs Law Month The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (“NAELA”) has designated October to be National Special Needs Law Month in an effort to educate individuals with disabilities, families and caregivers about what is encompassed in the realm of special needs.  For example, topics such as guardianship, conservatorship, powers of attorney, Medicare, Medicaid and special education will be addressed by professional advisors throughout the country.  Local resources such as Commonwealth Community Trust and The Arc of Northern Virginia and more national resources such as Special Needs Alliance may hold special awareness events and have resources available for review.  Designating a month is ... Read more
  • Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act Passes House On September 20, 2016, the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act (H.R. 670) (the “Act”) passed the House of Representatives.  This bill corrects an omission in Section 1917(d)(4)(A) of the Social Security Act created in 1993 when first-party or self-settled special needs trusts were first recognized by Congress.  Under  42 U.S.C. 1396p(d)(4)(A),  an individual under age 65 who is disabled, may have assets, which are deemed to be theirs (such as assets received from an inheritance or as a result of a personal injury settlement), set aside for their benefit in a trust that is created by a ... Read more
  • Proposed Legislation Addresses Thorsen Case An earlier article talked about the Virginia Supreme Court case of Thorsen, et al. vs. Richmond Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) that was decided in June of this year.  Thorsen involved an error in the drafting of a Last Will and Testament that resulted in the intended beneficiaries receiving a fraction of what they would have otherwise received.  Those intended beneficiaries sued for legal malpractice.  The Virginia Supreme Court found that a third-party beneficiary who is ‘clearly and definitely’ the intended beneficiary of a contract (even one where no written agreement exists) may sue to enforce ... Read more
  • Changes to Maryland Laws Impacting Estate Planning and Elder Law On October 1st (unless otherwise noted) a number of new laws will take effect in Maryland that may have an impact on you or those with whom you work.  Below is a summary of a few key pieces of legislation of which you should be aware. HB 507 – Maryland Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act:  This Act authorizes a person with digital assets to direct the disclosure of information relating to those assets in certain circumstances.  A previous Article provides the details. HB 541 – Upon divorce or annulment, certain provisions of a revocable trust  that relate to the spouse ... Read more
  • National Grandparents Day Since 1978 the United States has celebrated grandparents on National Grandparents Day.  The day falls on the first Sunday after Labor Day.  This year, National Grandparents Day will be celebrated on September 11th, a day when many will pause to reflect on the terrible and tragic events that occurred 15 years ago in New York, Pennsylvania and outside Washington, D.C.  A day when grandparents may have been taken from their families or when grandparents became the solid foundation for those who lost parents.  Thus, this year in particular National Grandparents Day allows us to remember the impact grandparents may have ... Read more
  • Facing a Tough Diagnosis – Four Lessons of Gene Wilder With Gene Wilder’s death, the family released a statement that revealed to the world that Gene Wilder had died due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.  The family also stated that Wilder had not wanted to reveal his diagnosis earlier and risk “one less smile in the world.”  In releasing the statement as they did, the family has provided us with a few valuable lessons about planning.  What should ‘the public’ know?  From the statement, it seems clear that in receiving an irreversible diagnosis, Wilder’s family talked about how to handle the news both publicly and privately.  Families that have received ... Read more
  • Three Key Documents Every College Age Child Needs to Sign The middle of August is a time when families look towards Fall sports, cooler temperatures and the kids going back to school.  For those families with children starting college, this time is fraught will all sorts of emotions, checklists, logistics and large bills.  It is also often a time that parents forget that their little one, who has now grown to an adult, is treated as an adult in the eyes of the law.  Moreover, this is also a time when adult children are not yet entirely independent of their parents, but their parents may not be permitted to help ... Read more