August 2020
Lawyers With Purpose Insights

In This Issue

Upcoming Events

Join Us Online for TAPER Virtual!

The Pros and Cons of Life Estates in Real Property

Avoid Creating “Stuff”

Introducing New LWP Branding

Upcoming Events written in notebook

Upcoming Events

Weekly Member Calls

Our new weekly call format is replacing the daily check-in calls that we've been having since March, and with this new format, calls are scheduled for the first four Wednesdays of each month.

Each week you will hear from a different LWP team member about a topic within their area of expertise, with discussion topics rotating among:

  • Legal/Technical, hosted by Brittney Shearin, Esq.
  • Coaching & Implementation, hosted by LWP Coach, Phil Miner
  • Session with Dave Zumpano
  • Marketing, hosted by SmartMarketing strategist, Lisa Roser

The registration page shows dates for consecutive legal/technical-related calls, but you only have to register once; by registering using the link below, we'll make sure you're registered for each weekly call, and you can join the ones you can!

Register Here

1 Day LIVE LWP Virtual Medicaid Workshop

Thursday, August 13, 2020 | 9am – 5pm EST

Health Care Concept. Doctor holding a jigsaw puzzle with MEDICAID word.


Platinum Members: Free.
Bronze, Silver, and Gold members: email for discounted pricing.

Medicaid crisis planning is immune to the coronavirus. People in need of long-term care must find a way to pay for it ASAP, regardless of what the virus and the economy are doing. In addition, this is the greatest opportunity for Medicaid preplanning since 2008.

If you’re not doing Medicaid crisis and preplanning already, now is the time to start. We are offering a 1 Day LIVE virtual Medicaid workshop, hosted by Amanda Smith, LWP Director of Education and Technology on Thursday, August 13, 2020 from 9am – 5pm EST.

During this one-day session, Amanda will teach you everything you need to know to master Medicaid planning and add it to your practice within 30 days. You will learn:

  • Medicaid Crisis and Preplanning
  • Medicaid Planning Principles: The Rules, Exceptions, Strategies, and Secrets
  • How to Accurately Complete the Medicaid Qualification Worksheet™
  • Spend-Down Methods and Calculations
  • The Value Proposition Conversation and Asset Risk Analysis™
  • Funding Strategies, including the Funding Roadmap™
  • How to Determine Medicaid Eligibility (Real World Case Studies Will Be Utilized)

This virtual workshop will incorporate our proprietary Teach, Show, Do, Go process... the same process we use during our Practice With Purpose (PWP) events. It’s the difference between “hearing” how to create proper Medicaid plans and actually designing them. So, you can add Medicaid planning to your practice with confidence… the confidence that enables you to demonstrate your value and convert prospects into clients. By completing this workshop, you will also earn CLE credits (the precise number is pending and varies by state).

Join Us Online for TAPER Virtual!

To protect the health and safety of our Members and team, we have made the unprecedented decision to hold TAPER online in October. However, given our mastery of modern technology, we can assure you that a virtual TAPER will be as close to “real” as possible.

In fact, this is an apt example of how LWP cutting edge software, tools, strategies, and training, together with our shared core values and resilience, will help us build the law firms of tomorrow today.

Here are the particulars:

  • PWP and TAPER will stream virtually. You will receive a top-notch educational experience from the comfort of your home or office
  • The agenda (below) will remain the same, including our popular Firm Retreats on Thursday afternoon
  • There will be plenty of opportunities to “mingle” and share insights with fellow Members and the LWP team
  • Special pricing will be in effect. Watch your email for details!

In the coming weeks, we will be providing you with details about each of the breakout sessions. For now, if you have any questions, Amanda Ross has the answers at (877) 299-0326 or

Let’s turn adversity into opportunity and make this a TAPER to remember. We can’t wait to see you online in October!


TAPER Virtual Agenda. Click to view larger
Download Agenda

The Pros and Cons of Life Estates in Real Property

By Brittney Shearin, Esq.

Business woman holding a pen and looking over paperwork

When an individual transfers property (hereinafter “Grantor”) to a beneficiary (hereinafter “remainderman”) he or she may reserve a life estate in the property. This article will discuss the pros and cons of doing so for Medicaid and tax-planning purposes. As always, it will not serve to cover every single scenario, especially because state-by-state Medicaid rules are so nuanced. Be sure to check with your local Medicaid office to confirm how a life estate is treated.

Pro = Allows Client to Live There Undisturbed.
The most obvious pro to reserving the life estate is the Grantor’s right to remain at the property, without having to pay rent and without the worry of the remainderman kicking the Grantor out. Furthermore, reserving life use will (in most cases) allow the Grantor to retain any tax property exemptions he or she may be entitled to during life. There is no worry that the remainderman can sell the property out from under the Grantor during Grantor’s lifetime.

Con = Requires Consent of Grantor to Transfer.
The reason we don’t have to worry about remainderman sneakily selling the property is because the life estate holder must sign off on any transfers of the property. I list this as a con, only because sometimes that makes it difficult for transfers to happen if Grantor is incapacitated or otherwise unavailable – this is easily avoided though with a validly executed power of attorney that allows the agent to sign on behalf of Grantor.

Pro = Stepped-Up Basis.
If the Grantor retains a life estate, the remainderman enjoys the benefit of a stepped-up basis for tax purposes at the Grantor’s death. The remainderman will get the basis the Grantor would have had on the date of Grantor’s death. For example, Grantor purchased the property for $95,000, and the value has now appreciated to $195,000. This would result in $100,000 capital gains upon the sale of the property (if we ignore any capital improvements and other basis-adjustors). Instead, if Grantor retains life use, the remainderman will now get a stepped-up basis to be the value of the house on the day the Grantor died, or $195,000. If remainderman sells the property tomorrow for that amount, there will be no capital gains realized. Voila!

Con = Includable in Taxable Estate.
In order to enjoy the stepped-up basis, however, the property must be included in the Grantor’s taxable estate. This is only a con when there is a taxable estate to worry about. With the estate tax limits being so high right now, this probably is not much of a concern for the majority of clients. However, we do not know what the estate tax limits will look like in 2026 when the sun sets on the current limits. This may also be a concern for practitioners dealing with State estate taxes.

Pro = Life Estates are NOT Countable Assets for Medicaid.
As mentioned above, make sure your state Medicaid office has not gone off the deep end and routinely counts the value of the life estate as a countable asset – they should not! If Grantor transfers the property, reserving life use, more than five years prior to entering a nursing home, neither the value of the property nor the life estate value are countable assets for Medicaid purposes.

Con = Rent, Sell or Let it Sit There.
When Grantor resides in an assisted living facility or skilled nursing home and remainderman has his or her own property and does not wish to reside at the transferred property, I often hear this from the remainderman: "Can I sell the property now? Or at least rent the property out to offset the taxes, utilities and insurance? I am paying so much in taxes, utilities, and insurance in these Upstate New York winters and I am worried about the declining condition of the property with no one living there."

They could rent the property, but rental proceeds will go to the Grantor (typically, Medicaid recipient) which may put them over the income limits and would go directly to the nursing home instead of paying those taxes and utilities. Further, if the tenants sued for any reason, liability would attach to both the Grantor AND the remainderman.

Additionally, while the life estate value itself is not a countable asset, if the property is sold, the Grantor is entitled to a percentage of that sale based on his or her life expectancy. If that happens, the proceeds are now cash and very much a countable asset that may disqualify a Medicaid recipient. The value of the life estate is based off the federal actuarial tables. Even though the value decreases as Grantor gets older, sale of the property may generate significant assets which would over-resource the Medicaid recipient.

If you let the property sit there, each month brings about utility bills even with no one living there (i.e. lights on to deter trespassers, heat to keep pipes from freezing, running water, etc.) Additionally, the remainderman does not typically enjoy paying taxes on TWO properties when only using one of them. The Grantor may pay taxes on the property, but NOT from his or her income; instead Grantor would have to delve into his or her assets which are now reduced for Medicaid eligibility so that is not a good option.

Pro = Avoids Estate Recovery and Probate.
The strategy of reserving a life estate will skip the step of “probate” and will keep Medicaid from placing a lien on the house through estate recovery after the Grantor dies. Remember, Medicaid can try to attach any assets that go through the Medicaid recipient’s estate. Here, the property is already transferred to the remainderman and vests in that person immediately upon the Grantor’s death, thus avoiding the Grantor’s estate altogether.

Con = Subject to Remainderman’s Indiscretions.
Although it seems like a no-brainer to transfer to an intended beneficiary now, that may avail the property to the remainderman’s creditors and predators! The remainderman is treated like the owner in the event the remainderman is sued, needs Medicaid or other public benefits, or even gets divorced. The transfer opens the property up to a whole other person’s potential problems.

There are many considerations when reserving life use in a piece of real property. Luckily, transferring the house to an iPug instead of a remainderman gives us the same benefits (life use reserved through the Trust, stepped-up basis at death of Grantor, Medicaid planning protection, AND avoidance of probate and therefore estate recovery). A simple deed reserving a life estate, however, may be an option for the clients who only have a house, who do not see the value in and/or cannot afford to retain you to create a Trust.

Avoid Creating “Stuff”

By Phil Miner, LWP Practice Coach & Implementation Specialist

In the LWP Power-in-Partnership™ model, you learn the power of getting behind the other person’s need first, and then also enrolling the other person into your need, but there is a lot that goes into the process for there to be partnership and success.

This process is key to your retention rate, moving allied professionals into referring business, and properly communicating with and empowering your team. I was trained by David E. Sander and David J. Zumpano on these concepts as part of a Power-in-Partnership training, and I hope you find them as beneficial as I have.

It is important to understand that most people do not know how to communicate, and in their lack of that ability, they use what we’ll call “Door A” of communication. Door A is easy and natural, like a swinging door with no locks, but it usually leads to “stuff” and is ultimately a dead end.

“Stuff” is anything that you observe or experience in the moment that is not what you want, like, need, understand, or expect. You get “stuff” when the other person is saying or doing something that is annoying, distracting, confusing, or making things difficult for you. How many times has that happened to you in a meeting? How many times have you done that to someone else in a meeting? Yes, as part of this process, you need to recognize that you may also be creating “stuff” for the other person in your communication. Remember when you are communicating that you send and receive messages in your perspective, as does the other person, and if not managed, you end up with the “stuff pool.”

The STUFF POOL diagram

We usually mishandle each other’s “stuff,” and in turn react with our own “stuff”, and so on and so on. “Stuff” knocks us out of partnership with the other person. (Oops!) That’s what happens when we take the easy way and go through Door A.

“Stuff” also shows up in the form of that little voice inside your head. The best description of that voice that I have heard was listening to Pastor Steven Furtick when he called it the “lizard brain,” and, unfortunately, that lizard brain can sabotage your success. You should always recognize that voice and determine if it is “stuff” or if it is valid and something to consider—either way, recognize the voice for what it is. The voice is not always sabotaging, but most of the time it is!

To avoid the “stuff pool” that will sabotage your communication efforts, use Door B. Door B is not natural; it requires a key, and it has to be opened and closed with care. It includes understanding the Power Path involved with Power-in-Partnership, using your Mify skills, and understanding how social styles and KOLBE could impact communication, as well as utilizing the GODUMB™ conflict resolution model.

A mindset you should have in any conversation is to “stay on the same page” and “reduce stuff.” You can do that by managing your Power-Path. This occurs when there is an activating event, like a yawn, a sigh, rubbing of the head, changes in vocal tone, crying, etc. When an event occurs, we typically interpret or make sense of that event in a way that is usually habitual, predictable, and at light speed, based on our perspective from our past experiences, values, and beliefs.

Our interpretation may be right, but it could also be “stuff,” unless we mirror, invite, clarify and verify. These steps are how we ensure that we are not creating “stuff” and staying in partnership. I remember a story Dave Zumpano once told in which he invited one of his top professional referral relationships to a presentation that he thought he would like. Throughout the presentation, Dave saw him repeatedly rubbing his head. This made Dave wonder if he made a mistake inviting him, as he thought he was irritated and hated the presentation. Concerned, after the presentation, Dave asked the speaker how he thought it went. The speaker replied that it went well and that one person had signed up. When Dave asked who it was, he learned that it was his top referral relationship.

Dave then went to the referral and said, “I have to ask; I saw you rubbing your head throughout most of the presentation, and I thought you were annoyed?” The referral’s response was, “Oh, no, I was rubbing my head while running the numbers through my mind, and they were making a lot of sense.” How many times have you misinterpreted a reaction or event, because you did not use your Mify skills?

After we interpret or clarify and verify, we then respond accordingly. If we misinterpret, we usually act in a way that results in a negative consequence. If we have used our communication skills and did not create “stuff,” there is a better chance our action or response will allow us to enjoy the reward. Which consequence do you want? Do you find yourself having to clean up messes? Do you find yourself not being retained after an Initial or Vision meeting? Are your professional relationships referring business? Do you find yourself at odds with a team member or not getting your needs met? If so, examine how you used your communication skills and the resources available to you.

The key to relationship building and having effective communication is to understand better how our habitual patterns of communications and those of others are either sabotaging or supporting our success. It is important to learn how to adapt these patterns though effective communication skills. Remember, the way communication usually breaks down and gets off track is when “stuff” occurs. Door B and a proper path to communication are the “Power-in-Partnership Dialogue Skills”, in which we use both sending and receiving skills to reduce “stuff” and remain in partnership, enjoying the rewards. (See Below.)

Power-In-Partnership Dialogue Skills process

Introducing New LWP Branding

You might recall from TAPER Orlando or from recent communications that LWP has been undergoing a project to update its brand image. We’re proud to announce that this brand refresh is now complete!

The new LWP branding features a bolder orange, navy, and grey color palette for stronger visual impact.

Lawyers with Purpose

As part of the branding refresh, we’ve also created a new LWP member seal, which, in keeping with the brand’s mission of protecting the personal and financial freedom of families, incorporates a shield in addition to the brand’s mission statement.

Lawyers with Purpose Member

The LWP member seal is for your use on your website bio page and footer, as well as in other marketing collateral including your email signature, business cards, and social media accounts.

By displaying the seal, members can support Lawyers with Purpose, show that they stand amongst the most dedicated Estate Planning and Elder Law attorneys in the country, and demonstrate their commitment to being part of a like-minded community. To support you in displaying the member seal, we’ve created a guidebook that illustrates the proper usage. In it, you will find technical guidelines on how to use the member seal. We ask that you follow these standards as outlined. If you have any questions about these standards or how the member seal should be used in a particular application, please contact, and they will be happy to assist you.

You can access and download your guidebook and logos in two places on the member website:

  • Welcome Page > Downloads portion of the left navigation bar
  • Firm Resources tab > Office Administration section > Downloads portion of the left navigation bar

Lawyers With Purpose


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