Holidays can often put you in a reflective mood, and Thanksgiving is a special event that revolves around gratitude. When you sit back and think about the good things that have happened in your life, you can probably pinpoint people that helped you out along the way.
Hold that thought for a moment and consider these statistics. According to a 2020 survey, 68 percent of American adults are going through life without any estate planning documents.
You would expect younger adults to put it on the back burner, but more than 50 percent of people that are 55 years of age and older are completely unprepared.
If you do not have an estate plan in place, you may want to use Thanksgiving as motivation to take action. When you plan your estate, you show your love for your family and your appreciation for your own good fortune.
There are a number of different asset transfer methods you can use, and the right course of action will depend on the circumstances. A living trust is a very effective estate planning tool that is a better choice than a last will in many cases.
When you establish a living trust, you act as the trustee while you are living so you have direct access to the resources. You name a trustee to serve as the administrator after your passing, and your heirs would be the beneficiaries.
The trustee will have simpler task when the time comes because the asset ownership will be consolidated, and the terms will be crystal clear. And speaking of the terms, you can change them at any time during your life so there is versatility.
In addition to the revocable living trust, there are other types of trusts that can satisfy a wide range of objectives. This is why you should discuss all of your options with a licensed estate planning attorney before you make any decisions.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
You should consider the nursing home costs that you may incur late in your life. Just over one third of seniors will eventually live in nursing facilities, and they are very expensive.
Medicare does not pay for the custodial care that nursing homes provide, and it does not pay for professional in-home care. Medicaid will cover these costs, but you cannot qualify if you have significant assets in your own name.
It is possible to divest yourself of resources before you apply. You could fund an income only Medicaid trust, or you could give direct gifts to family members. However, the divestitures usually must be completed at least five years before you apply for coverage to be exempt from penalties. You may still have options to preserve a portion of your assets even if you are not planning five years before needing care.
The plan should include an incapacity component because a very significant percentage of elders become unable to handle their own affairs. A living will can be used to state your life-support preferences. You can add a durable power of attorney for health care to name someone to make medical decisions on your behalf that are not related to life-sustaining measures.
For financial matters, you can name a disability trustee if you have a living trust. To account for property that is not in the trust, you can include a durable power of attorney for property.
Attend a Free Webinar!
We offer webinars on an ongoing basis in an effort to share important estate planning and elder law information with our neighbors. These sessions are free, and you never have to leave your home to join us, so you should totally take advantage of one of these opportunities.
You can visit our Charlotte, North Carolina webinar page to see those dates, and we also conduct webinars for people in the Ashland, Kentucky area.
Need Help Now?
If you are ready to take action today, you can schedule a consultation at our Charlotte, NC or Huntersville, NC office if you call us at 704-944-3245. The Ashland, KY office can be reached at 606-324-5516, and the Florence, KY office can be reached at 859-372-6655. You can also fill out our contact form if you would like to send us a message.
- What You Need to Know about the Medicaid Look-Back Rule - January 3, 2023
- How to Pass Down Your Legacy in Your Estate Plan - October 3, 2022
- Practical Steps to Take after Receiving a Terminal Diagnosis - September 30, 2022