Monday, February 27, 2017

Three Important Components of Estate Planning

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, elder law attorney Michael H. Marks has worked in private practice for more than 35 years. Michael H. Marks works closely with individuals and families to help them protect their interests through strategic estate planning

"Estate planning" means making plans and arrangements for the future in case anything bad happens, by saying two important things: first, who will be authorized to help when needed, and second, what they will be authorized to do to provide assistance – either to help during someone's lifetime, or wind up their affairs after they are gone.

A comprehensive, basic estate plan has three standard components. 

Will: Perhaps the best-known component of estate planning, wills determine who receives certain items of an individual’s property after he or she dies. Wills also establish an executor, who acts as a legal representative and ensures that the terms of the will are fulfilled. Wills can be changed, and only become legally binding and final after someone has died

Business and Financial Power of Attorney: If an individual ever becomes incapacitated, the person to whom he or she grants power of attorney can make financial decisions on behalf of that individual. Establishing power of attorney helps individuals avoid court proceedings for appointment of a guardian or conservator, which can become expensive. Power of attorney also provides greater flexibility and convenience than a court supervised guardianship. Power of attorney is only valid and applicable during the individual's lifetime, and is not effective after the individual dies

Health Care Power Of Attorney and Living Will: if a person becomes unable to make or communicate their own healthcare choices, the healthcare agent is authorized to make medical decisions on their behalf. If a patient is unable to make or communicate their own decisions and is about to die, then a "Living Will" states the patient's wishes and gives the healthcare agent guidance on making decisions for providing – or withdrawing or withholding – end-of-life healthcare and life-sustaining treatment. 

Trust: an additional component of an estate plan often requires the use of a trust – a legal arrangement in which one party (the trustee) holds assets on behalf of and for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary). Trusts are used for a wide variety of purposes and applications, most commonly to provide assistance, supervision or control over an inheritance for a beneficiary who needs help to receive and handle the inheritance. A revocable lifetime agreement of trust or so-called "Living Trusts" enables individuals to leave their property to beneficiaries without going through probate. Other trusts are used to protect assets from the potential cost of long-term care, or for tax savings purposes.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Gateway Rehab Center Helps Workplaces Develop Drug Policies

For nearly 40 years, Michael H. Marks has served as the principal at Marks Elder Law, where he has not only helped clients address various legal issues and achieve important family and financial goals, but also provided clients with advice and support in times of need. Outside of his professional life, Michael H. Marks serves as a member of Gateway Rehabilitation Center’s Board of Directors.

According to Gateway Rehabilitation Center, research suggests that companies nationwide lose close to $81 billion annually due to workplace substance abuse. Gateway offers programs to help employers navigate these turbulent waters, giving them the tools they need to fight addiction in the workplace.

Gateway helps companies implement common sense, effective workplace drug policies that not only help address these cost issues, but also provide avenues for those struggling with addiction to get help. These policies cover important areas such as prohibited behavior, how to discipline employees who break the rules, and what resources are available to workers who are serious about fighting their addictions.

Most importantly, these services are offered by Gateway free of charge. All employers have to do is visit the organization’s website and schedule a time for training professionals to visit their workplace.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Pittsburgh’s Greenfield Neighborhood - A Commuter's Dream

Attorney Michael H. Marks concentrates on the field of elder law in his Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, private practice, where he leverages more than 40 years of experience to assist clients with estate planning and associated issues. In addition, Michael H. Marks has devoted extensive time to volunteer service with a number of Pittsburgh-based, community-focused groups, among them the Greenfield Organization.

Now expanded as the Greenfield Community Association, the group works to promote the interests of the Greenfield neighborhood in the city’s 15th Ward. 

Greenfield, situated southeast of downtown Pittsburgh, runs down Greenfield Avenue to the Monongahela River’s banks at 2nd Avenue. A walk through the hills of this vibrant community offers unexpected and stunning views of the city’s profile of buildings and skyline. 

Traditionally a millworkers’ and steelworkers’ neighborhood, Greenfield is experiencing something of a renaissance due to an influx of younger professionals and graduate students looking for a quiet, family-oriented community and an easy commute. 

Recent years have seen a number of first-time homebuyers moving into the older and very affordable homes in the area. The proximity to major employers, and to educational and cultural institutions such as Carnegie Mellon University and the Carnegie Museum of Art, only enhances the appeal. In fact, realtors have referred to Greenfield as one of Pittsburgh’s “best-kept secrets.”

Thursday, November 10, 2016

NAELA Praises Passage of Law Amending Special Needs Trust Fairness

With nearly four decades of professional experience, Michael H. Marks is a Pittsburgh-based attorney whose practice focuses on elder law. He currently maintains a practice in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Michael H. Marks is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc. (NAELA).

Established in 1987, NAELA is a professional organization for members dedicated to the improvement of the quality of legal services provided to aging individuals and people with special needs. Apart from providing continuing legal education to elder law attorneys, NAELA is also an active advocate for the welfare of the clientele the group serves.

Recently, NAELA released a statement praising the US House of Representatives for passing the Special Needs Trust Fairness and Medicaid Improvement Act (HR 670). The act aims to rectify an error in the law that presupposes that all persons with disabilities are automatically mentally deficient, deeming them incompetent to handle their own affairs and thus requiring those who do not have parents or legal guardians to petition the court to establish a statutory special needs trust. The Act allows an individual to establish his or her own qualifying special needs trust and avoid unnecessary legal fees when there happens to be no parent, grandparent or legal guardian available to help set up the trust.

NAELA specifically praised Representatives Glenn “GT” Thompson (Republican, Pennsylvania) and Frank Pallone (Democrat, New Jersey) for their bipartisan effort to push for the passage of the law. The House voted 382 to 22 in favor of passage.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Pittsburgh's Gateway Rehab Recognized as OUD Center of Excellence


Michael H. Marks is the principal attorney at Marks Elder Law, where he has been serving since 1979. During his free time, Michael H. Marks volunteers at Gateway Rehabilitation Center, Inc.

Committed to serving the population in and around Pittsburgh, Gateway Rehabilitation Center is the region's premier addiction recovery center. Gateway Rehab, a non-profit organization, is a pioneering center for effective, comprehensive treatment. Through the years, the center has helped countless individuals free themselves from the devastation of substance abuse disorders - at the same time helping innumerable family members, employers, neighbors and others affected by the costs of addiction.

For its uncompromising commitment to its mission, Gateway Rehab has been recognized by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf and the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services as an Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Center of Excellence in the state of Pennsylvania. It is one of only 20 centers in the state that have earned the distinction.

In a statement, Gateway Rehab President and CEO Paul Bacharach expressed his gratitude to the office of the governor for being very supportive of the center's comprehensive, systematic yet individualized approach in dealing with opioid addictions. Moreover, he is thankful for the funding provided in support of the center's innovative "hub and spoke" model of care.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Gateway Rehabilitation Recognized as an OUD Center of Excellence