One of the most troubling issues that we are forced to face as elder law attorneys is the matter of financial exploitation of senior citizens. This problem started to come to light back in 2011 when the MetLife Mature Market Institute published an influential study. They were joined by Virginia Tech University and the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, and they reached some eye-opening conclusions. At that time, they estimated that instances of financial fraud and … [Read more...] about Elder Financial Exploitation Is All Too Common
The acronym HIPAA stands for the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. In this post, we will explain why this piece of legislation is something to take into consideration when you are planning your estate. Advance Directives for Health Care Most people are aware that you arrange for post-death asset transfers when you put your estate plan in place. A lot of people think this is the long and short of it, but a proper estate plan will also address other issues you may face … [Read more...] about What Is a HIPAA Release?
Many families experience role reversals at some point in time. You may find that your parents need your assistance when they start to reach an advanced age, and the level of help that is needed may slowly increase. When the demands become significant, you may be incapable of meeting them on your own. This is something that many people experience, and under these circumstances, professional assistance will be needed. Assisted Living Costs The first thing to understand about assisted living … [Read more...] about Will Your Parents Need Nursing Home Care?
A lot of people procrastinate before they put an estate plan in place, and once they finally take action, they breathe a sigh of relief. The documents are tucked away somewhere for safekeeping, and they feel as though the responsibility has been fulfilled. It's certainly a good feeling to have an estate plan completed and in place. However, estate planning should be looked at as an ongoing process. There are various life situations that can call for an estate plan review, we will provide an … [Read more...] about Has Your Estate Plan Been Reviewed?
Before we look at the step-up in basis and a potential change that looms over the horizon, we should take a look at the broader tax picture. Most of the things that you need to know about how taxes can influence inheritances are surprisingly positive. An inheritance is not looked upon as taxable income by the IRS or state tax authorities, and this applies to insurance policy proceeds and direct bequests. If you bequeath an individual retirement account to a beneficiary, the distributions … [Read more...] about Inheritance Planning and the Step-Up in Basis
A lot of people are under the impression that a simple will is the right estate planning document for just about everyone. They think that trusts are very complicated legal devices that are only used by multimillionaires that have to pay estate taxes. This is simply not true. Yes, there are trusts that are utilized by high net worth individuals, but there are reasons why "ordinary people" should use trusts, and we will look at a few of them here. Providing for People With Disabilities If … [Read more...] about Why Would You Need a Trust?
Medicaid is an important part of the elder law equation because it covers the custodial care that nursing homes provide, and Medicare will not pay for long-term care. Most seniors will need help with their activities of daily living, and 35 percent of elders will eventually reside in nursing homes. These facilities come with some hefty price tags so it is impossible for most people to pay for them out of pocket comfortably. Qualifying for Medicaid Since Medicaid is only available to … [Read more...] about Medicaid Allowances for Spouse and Caregiver Child
When researchers delve into the subject, they find that most Americans do not have estate plans in place. A lot of these people know that planning is important, and in fact, this has been measured by surveys. One reason why they stay frozen in inaction is because they do not know where to begin. With this in mind, we will provide a simple step-by-step approach that you can take to initiate the inheritance planning process. Take Stock of Your Assets The first order of business will be to … [Read more...] about A Step-By-Step Approach to Inheritance Planning
A revocable living trust is a very versatile estate planning device that can be the right choice for many people. The first thing that you should know about this type of trust is that you do not have to be extremely wealthy to reap the benefits. When you convey property into a living trust, you are making the trust the owner of the property, but you would essentially be the trust in a figurative sense. You would continue to control and access the resources as usual. The idea is to use the … [Read more...] about Choose Your Living Trust Trustee Carefully
A lot of people think that estate planning boils down to one simple task. You take a little bit of time to record your final wishes in a will, and the matter is closed. All you have to do is buy a worksheet online and fill in the blanks, and you are good to go. That may sound sensible on the surface, but in reality, it is a gross oversimplification. Let’s look at some of the reasons why you may want to engage an estate planning lawyer to help you put your plan in place. Make Sound Asset … [Read more...] about Why Do You Need an Estate Planning Lawyer?