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Letha Sgritta McDowell, CELA

Director of Legal Strategy

Picture: Letha Sgritta McDowell, CELA

Letha Sgritta McDowell, CELA

Letha Sgritta McDowell currently serves as InterActive Legal's Director of Legal Strategy and she practices law with The Hook Law Center.

Letha Sgritta McDowell is licensed to practice in both North Carolina and Virginia and has been an elder law and special needs planning attorney for more than 10 Years. Ms. McDowell is a Certified Elder Law Attorney and Board Certified as a specialist in Elder Law by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization and she is accredited to prepare and prosecute claims with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

At InterActive Legal, Ms. McDowell provides insight into how modern law firm run in order to assist in strategic decisions about how to maximize the tools provided by InterActive Legal as well as what tools may be useful for practitioners in the future. In addition, Ms. McDowell contributes to the elder law and special needs planning content in the software and contributes to the InterActive Legal practice management and development tools.

Ms. McDowell is a member of the Board of Directors for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, a member of the North Carolina Bar Association's Elder Law and Estate Planning Sections, serves as Vice President of the Elder Law Specialization Committee for the North Carolina State Bar, and serves as an active mentor to a number of young attorneys through the North Carolina Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys. Ms. McDowell is a 2001 graduate of Purdue University and a 2004 graduate of the University of Maine School of Law.

Events

Kaestner Case and State Income Taxation of Trusts

On June 21st, the Supreme Court of the United States entered its opinion in North Carolina v. Kaestner, 588 US (2019). The Kaestner case represents an extremely important decision for all estate planners, trust officers, trustees, and advisers. Although the holding is a narrow one, it is vitally important.

Christian Estate Planning

Each component of a client’s estate and financial plan can embody their Christian values, beliefs, and lifestyle. Perhaps the simplest way to integrate Christian values into an estate plan might be for a client to add to his or her will a bequest to an organization that has been instrumental or inspirational in his or her life, or which embodies the values he or she holds dear. But there is so much more.

Practitioners can guide clients to write a letter of final instructions, or an “ethical will,” to their heirs. This can explain to the heirs the client’s connection with the Church, and how the Christian concept of stewardship over assets is carried out by making a bequest in your will to complement philanthropy during a lifetime. Each aspect of your client’s financial, retirement, insurance, death (dispositive scheme), and post-death (e.g., trusts for heirs) planning and documentation can be imbued, to the extent the client wishes, with Christian values.

Current Developments, New Ideas, and More

This 90 minute program will review new cases, rulings, news articles and more from the first four months of 2019.

Included in the discussion will be an analysis of the Sanders tax bill which might serve as a blueprint for a Democratic tax proposal should there be a change in administrations in Washington in 2020 and what practitioners should advise clients to do now. Several recent malpractice cases will be reviewed with an emphasis on practical steps practitioners in all disciplines, but especially estate planning attorneys, should take now to modify how they practice in light of the issues and risks of those cases (regardless of how they are resolved). New data on elder financial abuse and steps to help clients will be discussed. Cases and rulings on a wide array of topics including decanting, GST planning, charitable deductions and much more will be discussed.


Life and Death Planning for Retirement Benefits

Digital Subscription | by Natalie Choate

For more information, visit RetirementBenefitsPlanning

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Melbourne, FL 32901