We have the opportunity to provide our clients with peace of mind, and this is a very gratifying part of our job. There are a number of different estate planning and elder law concerns that people typically have, and we help them craft plans that address them appropriately. In this blog post, we will look at some of the different matters that our clients care about and share the solutions that are typically utilized.
Nursing Home Asset Protection
This sounds like an instance in overstating the obvious, but you must have something left if you are going to be able to pass along a suitable legacy to your loved ones. Even if you have been careful about the way that you have proceeded along the way, there is a huge expense that can potentially consume everything that you have always wanted to leave to your family members.
Most senior citizens are going to need help with their activities of daily living at some point in time. Many will reside in nursing homes or assisted living communities. These facilities are very expensive, and Medicare does not pay for long-term care. To preserve your legacy, you must plan ahead in an intelligent, fully informed manner.
Medicaid is a government health insurance program that does pay for nursing home care. Though it is intended for low asset/low income individuals, if you take the right step, you can divest yourself of assets that are earmarked for your loved ones as you aim toward future Medicaid eligibility.
Alzheimer’s disease is getting a lot of attention, and all seniors who are seriously looking toward future will naturally have concerns. This disease actually strikes around 40 percent of the “oldest old.” This term is used in the geriatric community to describe elders who are 85 years of age and older. There are different stages of severity, so you could have difficulty making sound financial and health care decisions on your own even if you are not completely incapacitated.
To account for this possibility, you can execute estate planning documents called durable powers of attorney. The “durable” designation is relevant, because a durable power of attorney will remain active in the event of your incapacitation.
You could execute a durable financial power of attorney to name someone to make your financial decisions, and a durable power of attorney for health care could be added to empower a medical decision maker.
A living will is another incapacity planning document that will be part of a comprehensive estate plan. With this type of will, you state your wishes regarding the utilization of life-support measures like feeding tubes and artificial respiration.
Obviously, estate planning lawyers help their clients facilitate effective asset distributions. A last will is one way to get assets into the hands of your loved ones after you are gone, but it may not be the best way. When you use a will, it must be admitted to probate, and the court supervises the administration of the estate. This process is time-consuming, there are a number of expenses that accumulate during probate, and it opens a window of opportunity for disgruntled parties who may want to challenge your estate.
A revocable living trust is an alternative that many people choose once they understand the facts. While you are living, you do not surrender control of assets that you convey into this type of trust. As the name would suggest, if you ever want to revoke the trust and take back direct personal possession of the property that you conveyed into it, you can do so. You act as the trustee and beneficiary throughout your life, so you maintain absolute control of the trust.
In the trust agreement, you name a successor trustee to administer the trust after you are gone, and you name your heirs as successor beneficiaries. The trustee would be able to distribute assets outside of probate, and this is a major advantage. You would also be able to empower a disability trustee to administer the trust in the event of your incapacitation.
A revocable living trust is one type of trust that can be very useful for a wide range of people, but there are others. The ideal choice will depend upon your circumstances.
Reserve Your Workshop Seat Today!
We are holding a number of informative workshops over the coming weeks. They are free to attend, but space is limited, so we urge you to reserve your seat today. You can do just that if you click this link: Kansas City, Missouri Estate Planning Seminars.