Subscribe to our Newsletter

Click here to learn more


Burlington, VT office 802.540.0529
Hanover, NH office 603.643.6072
Rutland, VT office 802.773.3822
Woodstock, VT office 802.457.9492

July 2, 2014 Newsletter Archive

United States Supreme Court Denies Creditor Protection to Inherited IRAs

In a major recent decision, Clark et ux. v. Rameker, Trustee, et ux., the US Supreme Court unanimously held that inherited IRAs do not receive the bankruptcy exemption granted to "retirement funds". The Supreme Court considered the rationale for the exemption and focused its opinion on the reality that retirement funds set up by the initial IRA account owner are for the retirement of that owner. However, inherited IRAs are not necessarily used by a beneficiary for that beneficiary's retirement and in fact can be accessed without penalty well before the beneficiary's retirement.

For estate planning purposes, the practical implications regarding this decision means that clients need to be aware that their beneficiaries may not be able to shelter IRA's from creditors if the beneficiaries file for bankruptcy. Fortunately, there are still ways to provide creditor protection for a beneficiary. The most common way of providing an IRA with creditor and bankruptcy protection is the retitling of the IRA into a revocable trust. The caution is that while trusts are a good option to address the bankruptcy issue, to capture the greatest income deferral allowed for IRAs the trusts should be structured very carefully by an estate planning attorney well versed in this area of the law. Another takeaway from this case is that a spouse who inherits an IRA should consider rolling-over that inherited IRA to convert the inherited IRA into the spouse's own IRA.

Watch us Grow: We are Expanding Again with our new Burington Office

Melendy Moritz has been on the go. We started off 2014 by moving our Hanover office to a more modern building. On July 1 we are opening a brand new Burlington office. Our new office is located at 135 College Street, just off of City Hall Park. Vermont's largest city, and with its vibrant economy, Burlington gives us the opportunity to bring our specialized boutique law firm to a larger population. Our highly efficient, 21st Century technology, allows us to optimally serve our new and existing clients elsewhere in Vermont and New Hampshire. Woodstock continues to be our main office and we look forward to continue to serve all of your needs in our optimal locations.


Alzheimer's Disease Research - Are we on the Verge of a Cure?

Hope on the Horizon

In May I traveled to Scottsdale, Arizona, to attend the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys [NAELA] Annual Meeting. The meeting is an opportunity to network with colleagues from around the country, and provides insight into new planning strategies and current court decisions.

One session I attended was a lecture by Dr. William J. Burke, a research professor of Psychiatry at the Stead Family Memory Center, Banner Alzheimer's Institute of the University of Arizona, College of Medicine. Dr. Burke discussed his organization's efforts to research and fight Alzheimer's Disease, and spoke of the current research he is doing with public-private partnership funding. The research targets amyloid, which forms in the body. The current hypothesis is that those with Alzheimer's disease form either too much amyloid, or their bodies are unable to turn off the amyloid produced. It therefore accumulates in the individual, eventually leading to tangles in the brain.

In the past, research focused on those with advanced Alzheimer's disease, but as genetic information has become available, today's research focuses on biomarkers and targets younger potential sufferers. In Dr. Burke's laboratory, researchers are targeting two specific groups of Alzheimer's disease suffers. The first are an extended family from Columbia with a genetic disposition to early onset Alzheimer's Disease. Over a five-year period, the researchers are conducting tests on the family members, treating some with an injected drug that is supposed to curb amyloid production and its retention in the body. If the research can lead to a way to curb Alzheimer's disease in people by five years, this will go a significant way to reduce the disease.

The second research project seeks to conduct testing on, and document and treat those, with a specific genetic proclivity to Alzheimer's disease. Here, the target audience is harder to amass. Specifically, the researchers seek to study those that have a predisposition to Alzheimer's disease due to their genetic makeup. Subjects would have to be willing to have genetic testing to screen for the disease's biomarkers. Dr. Burke suggested that those with early onset dementia in their families should be aware that they may carry such genetic predisposition and may seek to become subjects in this study.

If you are interested in learning more about Alzheimer's disease research, or are interested in participating in a study yourself, please contact:

Banner Alzheimer's Institute
901 E. Willetta Street, Phoenix, AZ 85006
(602) 839-6900
Research and Clinical Trials
(602) 839-6900

If you would like to make a donation to Banner contact:

Banner Alzheimer's Foundation
2025 N. 3rd Street, Suite 250, Phoenix, AZ 85004
(602) 747-GIVE (4483)

If you wish to speak to us about your IRA's or other estate planning matters please contact us

(603) 643-6072 or (802) 457-9492

Like us on FacebookFollow us on Twitter

We would love to hear from you! If you are interested in guest writing for our newsletter or simply have a comment to share, please let us know.

Melendy Moritz PLLC is a client centered boutique firm. We focus on your unique needs by providing the individualized legal counseling and advising tailored to your specific situation.

We concentrate on the planning that matters to you.
Call us at 603.643.6072 or 802.457.9492


This newsletter is made available by the lawyer or law firm publisher for educational purposes only, to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, but not to provide specific legal advice. No representation is made about the accuracy of the information. Discussed topics may or may not be updated subsequent to their initial posting for changes in applicable laws. Please note that information in this newsletter may change from time to time. In reading this newsletter you understand that this information is not provided in the course of an attorney-client relationship and is not intended to constitute legal advice. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney in your state.


Return to Newsletter Archives