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Women and Estate Planning

By Hook Law Center

When people hear the term “estate planning,” they often think of a wealthy older gentleman managing extensive business and personal assets. But estate planning is a smart step for everyone, especially women.

Women generally step out of the workforce earlier and more frequently than men do in order to care for children or other family members, earn less on the dollar than men in the same fields, and outlive their male counterparts by several years. Women over the age of 65 outnumber older men 22.4 million to 16.5 million. Older women are a significant section of the U.S. population, and their living standards are often compromised during their retirement years. Estate planning can change that.

What can a woman do to oversee her own estate planning? Work with an established estate planning attorney to set up a retirement fund according to the latest tax guidelines, and make sure there are assets under her name. Work with her estate planner to create a will to address what will happen to those assets upon her death, and consider additional documentation, including a living trust to hold assets in the case of incapacity, a power of attorney, and an advance medical directive. A comprehensive estate planning approach might also include exploring potential long-term care insurance plans.

It is never too soon to begin protecting one’s assets and planning for the future.

The elder law attorneys and estate planning lawyers at the Hook Law Center in Virgina Beach and Suffolk, help Virginia families with trust & estate administration, guardianships, long term care planning, special needs planning, veterans benefits, and more. Learn more at

Posted on Sunday, October 21st, 2012. Filed under Estate Planning.

Choosing Guardianship for Your Child

By Hook Law Center

One of the last things a parent wants to think about is what will happen to a child if something were to happen. However, deciding who shall serve as a guardian in such a scenario may be one of the most important things you can do to preserve your peace of mind, and provide for the safety and care of your child. There are numerous issues to consider when choosing a guardian, including:

Connection. How comfortable is your child with the potential guardian? It would be prudent to ensure your child has some level of comfort and a connection to their potential guardian.

Location. Does the location of the potential guardian ensure that your child will remain in a familiar environment, or will your child have to relocate?  What might location mean for extended family and friends?  It is important to understand your child so as to determine how he or she will adjust to the changes around him or her.

Resources. Is the potential guardian able to care for your child financially, emotionally and physically? While the potential guardian may dearly love your child, you must assess whether the guardian would be able to physically and financially provide for your child.

Planning for the future of your family, and planning for various care contingencies, is part of being a parent. Working with a qualified estate planning attorney, you can structure a guardianship that works best for your family and evaluate your current estate plan, which can include, but is not limited to, life insurance policies, designation of beneficiaries, trusts, and of course, your Last Will and Testament. This will empower you with control to make decisions that will ensure your child is taken care of in the way you would deem proper in the event something happens to you.

The elder law attorneys and estate planning lawyers at the Hook Law Center in Virgina Beach and Suffolk, help Virginia families with trust & estate administration, guardianships, long term care planning, special needs planning, veterans benefits, and more. Learn more at

Posted on Wednesday, October 10th, 2012. Filed under Senior Law News.

In Case of An Emergency

By Hook Law Center

We never know when an emergency situation might happen. Because of this, it is important for every person to carry emergency contact information in a wallet or purse.

If a person has a cell phone, then it’s easy to list people one would like to have contacted in the event of an emergency. Many people indicate their emergency contact information under the entry “ICE” (an acronym for “In Case of Emergency”) and then list the person’s name and telephone number. This is an excellent idea, and every cell phone user should identify the user’s emergency contacts. This is important because an individual could, for example, have an elderly parent’s phone number in the contact list for convenience, but the individual would not want the parent to be the first one contacted in the event of an emergency. An e-mail circulated a few years ago reported that that using the ICE entry could result in viruses being passed to cell phones or premium charges being billed to the phone; this was proven to be a hoax.

Many people, however, do not have cell phones, particularly the elderly. Further, cell phones can be lost, damaged, or emergency medical personnel may not have the time or the ability to access the contact list. As a result, everyone should have an up-to-date listing of the emergency contact numbers in their wallet or purse. This is why Oast & Hook provides every client who executes an Advance Medical Directive (AMD) with a wallet card that includes the telephone numbers of the agents under the AMD. This also serves as an emergency notification card.

An advance medical directive (AMD) is a healthcare power of attorney and a living will. Why should you to register your AMD? Research has found that 75% of the time you need your AMD, it is not available, for example, when you are in a hospital emergency room. Oast & Hook can register your AMD with DocuBank, a company that ensures that your AMD is available worldwide, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Posted on Tuesday, October 9th, 2012. Filed under Estate Planning.
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