Old age has its challenges. Proper planning can ease those challenges:
- Proper planning can allow you to avoid guardianship or conservatorship if you become disabled.
- Proper planning allows you to determine who will be in control of your assets if you become disabled.
- Proper planning can help you prepare for the potentially devastating cost of nursing home care and, where appropriate, help you qualify for public assistance.
Proper Estate Planning addresses several important issues:
- What issues will I confront in the event I become disabled, and how do I maintain my independence for as long as possible?
- What is the best way to protect and provide for my family upon my death?
- What potential liability issues do I face, and am I adequately protected?
When planning estates with our clients, we review both your assets and your family dynamics to construct a plan to protect your family, preserve your assets, minimize taxes, and reduce or avoid the costs and delay of probate, all in the most efficient and least complicated manner appropriate. We will review with you the many tools available, including wills, trusts, powers of attorney, advance medical directives, and the proper titling of assets, to construct the right plan for you.
Administering an estate, especially while still grieving over the loss of a loved one, can be a daunting task. While no single aspect may be difficult, it can seem like there are a million details to be addressed:
- Debts need to be paid.
- Insurance forms need to be filed.
- Bank accounts need to be closed.
- Investment accounts need to be opened.
- Tax decisions need to be made.
- Tax returns and probate forms need to be filed.
- Heirs need to be informed.
- Assets need to be divided and distributed.
- And if not done properly, you could be liable for mistakes.
We can help you through the process, assisting you as much or as little as you wish, in the most efficient manner possible, and help you avoid problems before they arise.
Unmarried and Same-Sex Couples
It is especially important for unmarried couples to properly plan, because the law generally does not recognize any relationship between them. There is no right of inheritance between these “legal strangers,” so attention to asset titling and use of a will or trust is critically important. There is not right for one to make medical decisions for the other without a medical power of attorney/advance medical directive. You cannot rely on the default provisions of the law to help you, but you can take matters into your own hands and take care of those challenges yourself.
Though the legalization of same-sex marriage helps resolve many of the estate planning difficulties same-sex couples faced, such couples, married or not, still face special challenges. Families can be unsupportive if not outright antagonistic to the couple’s relationship and estate planning goals. Prejudice can create obstacles to the enforcement of legal documents and valid agreements. But there are solutions. Proper use of wills, trusts and other contracts and agreements can help you overcome these obstacles. We can be your advocate and help.
When you need to provide for a disabled family member, estate planning is especially important. Not only do you want to provide for the individual’s care, but you also do not want to jeopardize eligibility for critical governmental benefits. A direct bequest to a disabled person could be the worst thing you could do for him or her. Again, proper planning makes all the difference.
The use of a special needs trust that satisfies certain governmental regulations can provide an extra level of support to help the disabled person lead a more fulfilling life, and yet allow him or her to maintain the governmental benefits that are needed for primary care.
- Powers of Attorney
- Medical Directives
- Revocable Living Trusts
- Irrevocable Trusts
- Estate and Trust Administration
- Trustee and Executor Services
- Probate Settlement
- Special Needs Trusts
- Medicaid Trusts
- Charitable Trusts
- Deed Transfers
- Gift Planning
- Medicaid Planning
- Bill-Paying Services