Lauren Mullee, partner at Buncher Family Law, recently had the opportunity to speak with Kevin Snyder, managing partner of Snyder Law, PC, to discuss some of the more intricate situations related to a person’s financial challenges from a divorce and those separate and apart from divorce proceedings.
As an experienced attorney, Kevin has an extensive background in estate planning focused on the benefits for families, veterans, and seniors. Kevin is an active member of Wealth Counsel, Elder Counsel, and is a 2019 Super Lawyers Rising Star for estate planning. In addition, he continuously provides pro bono legal services to veterans through the Veterans Legal Institute.
Using his own personal experiences to better connect with clients, Kevin assists them in developing a deeper understanding of the options available based on their financial situation.
Kevin works with elderly clients to educate them on the challenges of financial planning and assists them in instances where there may be a lack of capacity or perhaps, they may be disabled. In working with veterans, Kevin helps them apply for and obtain disability benefits, called VA disability benefits, called VA Pensions, through the Department of Veteran Affairs.
The Elderly and Family Law
As far as the division of assets in family law proceedings, Kevin expressed that it is not uncommon, when dealing with elderly clients, that the issue of mental capacity may be raised. He stated that a professional must be very cautious about estate and financial planning when an individual lacks or may lack capacity. In some instances, the individual may be confused about whom their loved ones are (whose interests might be affected by such a plan), what their personal position is all about, or understanding the extent of their property. When dealing with these individuals, it is vital that the plan is discussed thoroughly with the client and their legal representative, finalized with appropriate witnesses, recorded accurately, and that the client’s best interest constantly remain of utmost importance throughout the entire process.
Helping Veterans Create a Better Future
With estate planning, many times veterans overlook or are unaware of some of the options available to them to better their future by creating a financial plan based on their individual needs and income. Some of the issues Kevin might highlight with veterans include developing a clearer understanding of their VA benefits, trust instruments, and their financial challenges. Kevin highlighted additional avenues certain veterans, and surviving spouses, can use when applying to receive a disability pension and/or compensation benefits.
Kevin knows that in order to be awarded any kind of VA benefit, one must apply and qualify. The application process may contain multiple requirements just to be considered for qualification, and can also be time consuming. Moreover, just last year, the rules related to disability pension benefits changed, now requiring lookback period and a penalty period that can result in a waiting period for approval and disbursement. That is why Kevin is a big proponent in his planning with veterans and their families. Moreover, there are different application processes and deadlines depending on the type of benefit being requested. There is no guarantee that a veteran will receive either a pension or disability pay. Given that the process is always changing, Kevin believes it is crucial for veterans to understand the options they have regarding the application process, the approval process, and the potential award or denial of either. Buncher Family Law could not agree more since depending on what award is given, consideration must be given as to whether it is considered income under family law, for purposes of support, and to determine whether those monies and investments stemming therefrom might be relevant when dividing assets upon divorce.