Providing families of Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, the Washington, D.C. area, and New Jersey with exceptional legal representation in Estate Planning, Special Education, Abuse of Vulnerable Citizens, and Disability & Elder Law
“Crystal and everyone at McAndrews Law Offices were exceptional! They were understanding of my personal needs. This is especially true since we were trying to attend to P.’s special needs trust. Thank you!”
“A big thank you to Lesley Mehalick and Elaine Yandrisevits! Ms. Yandrisevits came out to visit me, my father and sister at an assisted living home. She was WONDERFUL with my father! She possess the perfect mix of warmth, kindness, and respectfulness. She made things simple and clear for him and he felt really good about the entire experience and the peace of mind it gave him.”
“I came to McAndrews Law Offices with a friend to meet Anthony Marone for the first time. While my friend has met many lawyers before, he insisted that Mr. Marone was incredibly friendly and great to work with. My friend was right! The first impression I have is very positive and we are so thankful that we got to select your law office to set up a special needs trust for our son. May God hear you in your service to humanity. Thank you!”
“Both Lynne Spangler and Pat Barr were extremely helpful, patient, and efficient. It was a PLEASURE working with them! Thank you to all of McAndrews Law Offices!”
June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month!
“Worldwide, 47 million people are living with Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Join the Alzheimer’s Association in going purple and raising awareness this June. The more people know about Alzheimer’s, the more action we inspire.” The Alzheimer’s Association.
Visit www.alz.org to learn more about
The American College MassMutual Center for Special Needs recently hosted a live webcast titled “The ABLE Act – What’s Next?”. Lesley Mehalick, JD, LLM, Supervisor of McAndrews Law Offices’ Estates, Trusts and Wealth Transfer Group, served as an expert panel member. They addressed the proposed ABLE Act, the next steps for enactment at the state level, and how the Act will work practically for individual families. Click here to access the archived webcast.
NETFLIX documentary honors Olympic gold medal wrestler David Schultz; features McAndrews & McGettigan
20 years ago, Olympic gold medal wrestler David Schultz was killed by multimillionaire John du Pont on his Delaware County estate “Foxcatcher”. To preserve the incredible spirit of her late husband, Nancy Schultz teamed up with director Jon Greenhalgh over the past several years to produce a fascinating documentary titled Team Foxcatcher (now on NETFLIX). Premiering at the Tribeca Film Festival, the film received tremendous reviews. It includes home footage/interviews featuring the family, friends, wrestlers from the farm, law enforcement and more. In 1997, John du Pont was found guilty of third degree murder and died in prison in December of 2010. Dennis McAndrews and Joseph McGettigan, both with McAndrews Law and co-prosecutors in trial, are featured in the documentary discussing the complexity of the case. Team Foxcatcher is a riveting and emotional film, serving as an astounding tribute to Dave, “The man with a million best friends.”
Dave Schultz’s legacy lives on through his son, Xander, and his charitable work to raise money for refugees in Greece. Through his efforts to help those affected by violence abroad, he has created the Zoë Bands. All profits go towards providing refugees with critical resources like food, clothing and medical supplies. Visit www.getazoeband.com to learn more about Zoë Bands and how you can help!
Dennis McAndrews & Joseph McGettigan provide their expert opinions to the media on the case against Bill Cosby
A Pennsylvania Judge recently ruled that comedian Bill Cosby will go to trial in regard to sexual assault charges. Such high-profile cases often raise complicated questions by the general public. Dennis McAndrews, Esq. and Joseph McGettigan, Esq. have been interviewed by several news outlets interested in their expert opinions on these types of intricate cases. News outlets include The New York Times, The LA Times, The Legal Intelligencer, Associated Press, USA TODAY, CNN, PEOPLE, and NPR. Read more about all of their interviews on
The famous singer-songwriter, Prince, recently passed away in April at the age of 57 in Minnesota. It is believed that the musician died without signing a Will, which leaves many questions as to how his estate will be managed and whether his wishes will be followed. With one full sibling (Tyka Nelson), a handful of half-siblings and now hundreds claiming to be a half-sibling, the absence of a Will makes this type of case even more problematic. Ms. Nelson recently filed an emergency motion, seeking the appointment of a special administrator to oversee the estate. A copy of the petition can be found here. To learn more and read
“Why Everyone Needs a Will” by Lesley Mehalick, Supervisor of McAndrews Law Offices’ Estate, Trusts & Wealth Transfer Department,click here.
Special Needs Trusts are typically irrevocable, which means that they cannot be revoked and can only be amended in very limited circumstances, if at all. These trusts are usually in place for the lifetime of the Beneficiary, and over such a long time, various circumstances invariably change. Unfortunately, the irrevocable Trust cannot simply “change” with time, and the trust as originally drafted may not be suited for the beneficiary’s changing situation.
There are many situations in which a trust modification might be needed. Most notably, trust modifications are frequently needed in cases where proper special needs planning was not done originally. In those cases, a modification of the trust is crucial in order to become eligible or to maintain eligibility for essential public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Modifications can be needed for various other reasons as well, such as changing trustee provisions, adding a trust protector, changing the trust terms to make the trust more tax efficient, changing the trust situs, and responding to changes in family circumstances.
Over the last decade, many clients’ portfolios have shifted from being “probate heavy” (i.e. with most assets passing under one’s Will) to “non-probate heavy” (i.e. with most assets passing outside of one’s Will). The reason for this is the accumulation of wealth in retirement plan assets, such as IRAs and 401(k) accounts. These retirement assets do not pass under the terms of one’s Will, and therefore are “non-probate”assets. Rather, these assets pass as dictated by the plan participant on his or her beneficiary designation form.
Designating one’s beneficiaries can be very simple or can present a series of complex issues. The most simple and straight forward situation is one in which a client has a spouse and one or more adult children, none of whom has special needs or circumstances that might be impeded by being named as a retirement plan beneficiary. In this case, the plan participant likely will name the spouse as the primary beneficiary and the children as secondary beneficiaries, each entitled to an equal share. If the plan participant is the second spouse to die, each adult child will most likely be able to take the annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) based on his or her own life expectancy, thereby taking advantage, to the extent possible, of income tax deferral.
Several months ago, this author examined the importance of beneficiary designations with respect to one’s retirement assets. The income tax treatment of annual required minimum distributions (RMDs) can be very different depending on whether one designates an individual or a trust as the primary beneficiary of one’s retirement plan.
This article expands on the prior discussion by addressing the situation of leaving one’s retirement assets to a Special Needs Trust (SNT) established for the plan participant’s disabled child. (For simplicity, this article will use the acronym “IRA” to mean any retirement plan which requires the beneficiary thereof to take annual RMDs).
When a trust, other than a SNT, is named as the beneficiary of an IRA, sound income tax planning would include a recommendation that the non-SNT contains a provision which requires the RMDs to paid outright to the trust’s income beneficiary or beneficiaries. This will allow the annual RMD to be taxed at individual income tax rates rather than at the trust’s more compressed income tax rates (indeed, trust income of slightly over $11,000.00 is taxed at the highest individual income tax rate).
‘Customers First’ to Become Law in Retirement Investing
The rules governing how financial professionals handle the trillions of dollars they invest on behalf of Americans saving for retirement are about to get a lot tougher. The Labor Department, after years of battling Wall Street and the insurance industry, has issued new regulations on Wednesday that will require financial advisers and brokers handling individual retirement and 401(k) accounts to act in the best interests of their clients. The government move is expected to encourage a shift of retirement funds into lower-cost investments – potentially saving billions of dollars for many ordinary investors – while setting off one of the biggest upheavals in the financial services industry in decades. “The marketing material that I see from many firms is, ‘We put our customers first,'” Thomas E. Perez, the secretary of labor, said in an interview. “This is no longer a marketing slogan. It’s the law”.