Greetings - Welcome to our firm's Blog! Curious to learn more about topics of interest in regards to Estate Planning, Medicaid Planning/Asset Protection and other elder law matters in general? Be sure to check out our online blog! 

To see a listing of our website blog articles tagged and sorted by their own specific topics,  just click on their corresponding 'Blog Categories' links below, located directly under the 'Contact Us Today' field on the lower right of this page. (If viewing this on a desktop or laptop computer.)

Prefer to listen to podcasts on the go instead? Our newest media offering from the firm is an ongoing podcast put out by Robert and Cricket Haley, called 'Aging Intelligently'. 

Welcome to Aging Intelligently, where we walk with you down the path of getting older and together, climb those obstacles that seem insurmountable. Information and preparation can change your perception of aging. To learn more, we invite you to also check out our Aging Intelligently website, located here.

Certified Elder Law Attorney®, Robert W. Haley, and his wife, Cricket, a Certified Elder Care Manager, share their journey from fat to fabulous. They discuss their research, personal experience and interview other experts in the fields of Elder Law, Care Management, Finance, Nutrition, Fitness, and even Travel, so you too, can be holistically well and secure wherever life's path may lead.

*This podcast is accessible through many applications, including AppleSpotify, Anchor, Breaker and Google podcastsSubscribes Welcome! 

Our firm has received great news this month: Managing Attorney Robert W. Haley, of the Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia is listed as part of the Super Lawyers list in the category of Elder Law for 2020! He received this distinction starting back in 2007, and onward from 2009 through 2019 as well.

This accolade is presented by the Super Lawyers organization, which is an independent rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement in their respective fields. The selection process includes independent research, peer nominations and peer evaluations.

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As the Managing Attorney of The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia, my staff and I recognize the important role that long-term care facilities play in our community with caring for and keeping their residents safe.

Due to the concerns of COVID-19, all facilities have imposed a no-visitor policy during these uncertain times. As the pandemic concerns continue, the corona virus (COVID-19) is frightening to many in our community, country, and across the world, but above all, is especially dangerous in regards to the health and wellness of our elderly loved ones.

While certainly necessary during this time, the unfortunate and unavoidable side effect of this policy is that elders often miss the routine contact and visits that they would normally receive from family and friends in the past. For those who suffer from memory loss or dementia, this isolation and protocol can be hard to explain. Sadly, this has become the ‘new’ normal. Furthermore, no one among us knows how long this may need to continue.

In doing our part to help address this unique problem and situation, this week, a member of our staff will be out in the area distributing Amazon Kindle Fire HD8 tablets to designated representatives in various nursing homes, for the purpose of their residents to have an option to be able to reach out to their loved ones by video conferencing during these difficult times.

We are all in this together: While a small gesture, it is our hope that this will make a resident's and their loved ones' day a little bit brighter. #staykind#giveback

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Wonder about why you need a Will, Powers of Attorney and a Living Will? Curious about Estate Planning, but hadn't been able to catch Mr. Haley yet at one of his seminars?

For his next seminar, Wednesday, April 8th at 12 noon, he will be presenting a WEBINAR on this very important topic! This is an online ZOOM Meeting, brought to you by New College Institute and their 'Learning Is Forever Program' that is FREE TO ATTEND! For more info, or to RSVP, please call (276) 403-5671

Follow online by following this link:
Meeting ID: 325 557 665
Password: 777163

For audio by phone only, dial
+1 929 205 6099

The truth is, everyone needs an estate plan! While most people already know they should have a Will, Estate Planning means much more than just preparing a Last Will & Testament or tax planning for the disposition of your assets upon your death! Any complete Estate Plan should include a Will, along with a Health Care Power of Attorney (which names an agent and an alternative agent responsible for medical decision-making) and a Durable Financial Power of Attorney naming an agent (and an alternate) responsible for asset and financial management if one is unable to do such things for oneself. A Living Will, or other Advance Medical Directive, gives instructions concerning the type of care one wishes to receive or avoid in the event of a terminal illness. Along with a Digital Diary, these documents are the 5 important estate planning documents that everyone should have in place by age 55!

This important and informative online webinar held in conjunction through New College Institute, goes over the basics that everyone should consider to protect themselves and their family regardless of age for the future.

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How many law offices offer curb service when needed? Yesterday, due to mobility concerns, our office staff performed a review of a client's documents in our parking lot as needed for the safety and convenience of our client. 

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, both Bassett and Danville offices' focus has been on protecting and serving our clients during these uncertain times, by offering appointments either in our offices in accordance with recent CDC guidelines or via tele-conference or video-conference options.

Why do we do what we do? Simple: The need for planning hasn't stopped - Our clients are executing their estate plans (typically, Wills, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills, Trusts, etc.,) because the aging process will not stop for COVID-19. Our firm's approach evolves as needed to keep in step with the demands of the times we live in. 

Both offices are here to help: Contact us to see how we can help you and your family in planning for the future!

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Managing Attorney Robert W. Haley and staff of The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia, PLLC, would like to thank all who voted for us recently in the Chatham Star Tribune 2020 Readers' Choice Awards!

We greatly appreciate your support. Our office received First Place in the Best Law Firm category for 2020!

To see the online version of the Readers' Choice 2020 Awards winners from the Chatham Star-Tribune, that appeared in the newspaper today, check out this link:

#attorney #lawfirm #law #estateplanning, #elderlaw #appreciate

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Effective immediately today, March 3rd, 2020, in accordance with VA Executive Order 53, as you may have heard by now, Virginia Governor Northam has closed schools for the remainder of the school year and all  non-essential businesses.  Yet, the order also notes: “Non-essential brick-and-mortar stores can remain open if they practice social distancing and avoid groups of 10 or more people.”

The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia will remain open in BOTH our Bassett & Danville offices. But we are NOT accepting walk-ins at this time!

We ask that you call FIRST if you need an appointment! In addition, you will also receive a follow-up call the morning of your scheduled appointment to confirm your consultation and to confirm if you:

  • Do not have a fever
  • Have not been around anyone sick/exposed to COVID-19
  • Have travelled outside the Martinsville/Danville areas recently.

Do not arrive early!  If we have clients in the hour before you, we want to ensure they have left the building and we have had time to wipe down the conference room table, etc.

Once you enter the building, please go straight to the restroom as directed and wash your hands with soap and water and dry them with the paper towels and put the paper towels in the trash can.

We are here for you at this time. Let’s all use our common sense and take the necessary steps! We thank you for your cooperation.

To set an appointment, please call: (855) 503-5337

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A brief video message from The Estate & Elder Law Center of Southside Virginia, PLLC directly from Managing Attorney, Robert W. Haley, Certified Elder Law Attorney, regarding the COVID-19 virus:
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While of serious concern to all ages, the elderly are particularly at risk and susceptible to the effects of Coronavirus (COVID-19)! Various MFLA nursing home and rehab facilities in the area, such as Stanleytown Health & Rehab and Riverside Health & Rehab below as well, have issued press releases concerning this matter.

To read the RIVERSIDE HEALTH & REHAB press release, please click below:

In addition, similar facilities have additional policies in place, effective immediately per their representatives, such as MULBERRY CREEK (formerly BLUE RIDGE HEALTH & REHAB) in Martinsville: No visitors, not even family, until further notice. However, they will allow communication by phone to relay to you how your loved one is doing.

BLUE RIDGE THERAPY CONNECTION IN STUART: Medically necessary visits allowed only, no outside laundry, and no outside gifts or food may enter the facility.

If your loved one is in a care facility, be sure to call that facility directly to be up-to-date on their latest policies as the circumstances regarding Coronavirus (COVID-19) continue to evolve. We will post more information as we receive it - Likes & Shares Appreciated!

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We understand how stressful and difficult this time of year can be when trying to keep an elderly loved one well! As if battling the cold and flu season wasn’t enough, we’re currently facing a novel coronavirus that’s rapidly spreading across the U.S. and a growing number of countries. As of Monday, March 2, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) clocked the total number of cases in the U.S. at 43. Seventeen patients have been hospitalized, and 6, all in Washington state, have died, reports CNN. 

The CDC advised that person-to-person spread of the virus in the U.S. is likely to continue — and that more cases are expected to be identified in the coming days. 

That said, zeroing in on the facts about the virus might allay fears. “Since this virus is in the family of viruses that cause the common cold, it’s likely that healthy children and adults will resolve the illness on their own and recover without any problems,” notes Dr. Rodney Rohde, Ph.D., chair and professor of the Clinical Laboratory Science (CLS) Program and Associate Dean for Research for the College of Health Professions at Texas State University. 

Also, if you should need to schedule an appointment when calling our office and your's or a loved one's health and wellness is a concern, you do have another option for meeting with the attorney - Both of our Bassett and Danville offices have Video Conferencing capabilities! 

To read the entire article from, check out this link below:

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Picture it: In classic black-and-white movies, including some of the later popular Hammer-era horror movies from the late-60's to early '70's and other genre movies that date much earlier, there are usually scenes of a formal reading of a will. All the relatives are gathered around anxiously with bated breath. In those movies, family members in a shadowy office or in the parlour of some palatial, european countryside estate, listen intently to the estate's attorney as he reads aloud the Last Will & Testament of the deceased. In truth, a reading of the will rarely happens in real life these days, and only actually took place many years ago on occasion.
The simple truth is that will readings are not legally required in any state.  In reality, it is difficult to find more than a few examples in the past century of a formal will reading actually taking place. As an easy example, history tells us that in ancient times Julius Caesar's will was read aloud.  This appears to have been done for more of a political reason than for any true legal purpose.
So Why Aren't Readings Of The Will More Commonly Done In Real Life? Movie scenes showing a small-scale public reading of a will are certainly dramatic and may help to advance the plot forward. But there are good reasons why such readings like this should not actually occur in our everyday life!
For one thing, a reading of a Will can be awkward and potentially be very embarrassing to those who discover on the spot that they may have been disinherited or those who received far less than they might have been expecting. That type of discovery would be uncomfortable, to say the least.
Naturally, movies often play up this fact for the purpose of entertainment.  Those scenes of formal will-readings in these movies are particularly dramatic because, quite often, those who most expected to receive sizable bequests or property or assets typically received nothing, and those who expected nothing quite often received the bulk of the estate!
Another reason against doing a formal will-reading in that type of scenario is that, in real life, wills are typically filled with language that most laymen will find unclear and would require informed and careful explanation. That is not to say that readings of a Will never occur in these modern times, but they are the exception, not the rule!
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Sure, it seems crazy to start thinking about a possible future when you're infirmed and need long-term health care if you're only in your 50's. You're young, or relatively young, and healthy. But that's the point.  You don't want to someday be unable to take care of yourself and wish that you had done some pre-planning. If you're in your 50's, and you're not thinking about long-term care, these are some reasons you should be considering it, such as: 

(1.) You have plenty of time. That's why planning for long-term care now is a good idea. If you wait to plan for long-term care in your 60's, 70's or beyond, you're going to find that certain strategies aren't available (or practical) any longer.  There are generally three approaches people take to long-term care, which are:

       (a.) Private Pay: That is, no insurance, no government help – just you. You could research how much you'd likely spend if you became chronically ill and save for it. But that really isn't realistic for most people.  The problem with private pay is that people often find themselves needing that money 10 to 15 years into their retirement just to make it. So people who are intent upon self-funding might find themselves without options later on after they begin paying a bill of over $8000.00 per month!

        (b.) Medicaid:. Not Medicare, which won't pay for long-term care. "But Medicaid was created to do just that," experts say. For persons with typically less than $150,000 to $500,000 in retirement assets, Medicaid may make more sense.  But experts always advise talking to an elder law attorney, who can guide you through the ins and outs of Medicaid.

        (c.) Long-Term Care Insurance: After you purchase the policy and pay the premiums, of course – such as long-term insurance or a hybrid life insurance and long-term care policy. Clients who find insurance appealing need a competent broker that can walk them through the myriad of options available. There are even strategies an elder law attorney can implement in conjunction with a purchase of long term care insurance to ensure you get the biggest bang for your buck! Remember this, if you are thinking about the need for long-term care insurance, the 50's is the best time to buy it and take advantage of lower premiums!  If you wait, you may not be able to afford the monthly premium.

(2. ) You're still healthy:  Hopefully that's the case. Particularly if you're interested in any sort of long-term care insurance, which helps pay for the cost of having somebody help you with tasks like getting dressed and going to the bathroom. It's an unpleasant thought, of course, which is why many people don't like thinking ahead.

The key to purchasing long-term care insurance is to do so when you're still healthy to qualify. Once health deteriorates, clients may no longer be eligible for coverage, or their premiums may increase.  Approximately 25 percent of applicants who wait to apply for long-term care insurance after age 60 are declined for health reasons.

(3.) Insurance is cheaper. Any health insurance is always cheaper when you're younger, which is why – if you plan to get it, you'd likely want to get long-term care insurance now versus much later. Some experts advocate buying long-term care insurance as early as your 40s. The premiums are less the younger you are, so it pays to get started early. The earliest I have heard of is a couple buying their policies when they were 43 years old.  "Although we've had two premium increases since we bought them, we still pay around half of what people looking to buy traditional LTC at my current age of 55 [would pay] – and the benefits I own on that old policy are far greater than what I can quote a 55-year-old couple." 

The average cost of long-term care insurance is all over the map, depending on the insurer, your age and the policy, so it's difficult to say how much any one person will pay. Still, to give you an idea of why it's cheaper to get it sooner rather than later, it can be instructive to look at some of the numbers on the website of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance, a national trade association. A couple, both 55 years of age, with a shared policy would, on average, pay $2,350 a year with a $150 maximum daily benefit and a three-year benefit period. The same couple, if they were each 60, would pay $2,970 a year.

(4.) You'll have some peace of mind, earlier. I often tell clients that if they can tell me the exact date they plan to die, I’ll tell them exactly what to do!!  Yet, nobody knows the future, and so your planning may not help you someday – or you may draw up an elaborate plan only to later discover that someday, wow, you're a 101-year-old marathon runner who needs no help being taken care of, and all that money spent was for naught. But, still, there is something to be said for knowing that you probably have things figured out, way ahead of time. Life favors the prepared, after all.

Terri Cochran is the editor of a non-profit newsletter. She is 66 and says that she bought a long-term care insurance policy when she was 53. Her husband, Vince, the owner of a small laser manufacturing company was 69 and at the beginning stages of a neurodegenerative illness that they were then unaware of. An insurance company cold-called him, to sell him long-care insurance. He was ultimately denied due to his poor health, but Cochran decided to buy some for herself.

"I was afraid he would have expensive medical bills in the future, so it was another reason for me to have my own insurance," Cochran says. "Sure enough, he soon needed 10 hours a day of [care from] home health aides, which we paid out of pocket for well over 10 years until his death in 2016. We were lucky to have the money to pay for aides. I couldn't work either since he needed my full-time care."

Cochran says she feels prepared for the possibility that someday she may need long-term care, but even with the peace of mind of having a plan in place, she is a little unsettled.  "If I do need to use my long-term care insurance, I hope the insurance company isn't difficult to work with. Because I hear horror stories about people trying to collect on their insurance when they need it," she says.  But, imagine the horror stories of needing long-term care and not being prepared.

We deal with clients daily that are now in crisis and at a time when they would much prefer being with their spouse or loved one, they are busy gathering reams of documents, statements, policies, titles, deeds in order to structure accounts and investments, protect assets and apply for Medicaid on their behalf.  While this is successful, waiting until the last minute certainly has costs, emotionally, monetarily and mentally.    

If you feel the need to begin your planning, contact our office or a Certified Elder Law Attorney in your area! 

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