Top 10 Reasons to Plan Your Estate

10) Peace of Mind: When you have taken the time to plan your estate you will feel as if a weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You will feel secure knowing that you have a plan in place that
addresses all of life’s “what-ifs”. Sooner is better than later, and the sooner you plan, the better you will feel.

9) Protect Your Assets from the Cost of Nursing Home Care: Long Term care insurance is a great way to protect your assets from the cost of nursing home care; however, many individuals are ineligible for medical or financial reasons. – An alternative to long term care insurance is an Asset Protection Trust, which insulates your assets from having to be “spent down” before qualifying for Medicaid.

Private Pay:

  • Local Nursing Home costs up to $168,000 per year
  • Local Assisted Living costs $3,000 to $7,500 per month
  • Home Care Costs can range from informal caregivers (friends/family) to formal care 24/7 at $17 to $80 per hour depending on agency & care needed

How long will assets last?

What Are The Medicaid Eligibility Levels For Nursing Home Care?

The APPLICANT- a single person or an ill spouse

Resource Allowance

  • $15,900 Total Available Assets
  •  Prepaid Funeral Expenses
  •  $1,500 Life Insurance (Face Value)
  • IRA in Periodic Payment Status

Income Allowance

  • Applicant’s MONTHLY income allowance= $50

What Can My Spouse Have?

The CSRA (Community Spouse Resource Allowance)
2021 Maximum = $130,380.50
This figure does not include the ill spouse’s allowance of $15,900

  • The family home, as long as one spouse (or other qualified individuals) is living in it
  • A car of any value
  • $1,500 face value of life insurance
  • Prepaid funeral expenses

Community Spouse’s Income Allowance:

  • $3,259.50 Monthly
  • $39,114 Annually

Asset Protection Trust

For the trust to qualify to protect your assets:

  • Trustee – cannot be you or your spouse – can be children or other relatives. You reserve the right to change the trustee.
  • Principal Residence – you maintain a life estate in your house
  • Trust Income – you receive all the income from the trust
  • Trust Principal – You cannot receive principal distributions from the trust (unless you do a Partial Revocation of Trust)
  • Upon your death – trust assets go to your beneficiary/s

8) Avoid Probate: Probate proceedings are expensive, public and time consuming. By executing a proper estate plan, either with the use of a Trust or by creatively titling your assets, you are able
to leave your assets to your beneficiaries privately and efficiently.

What is the Probate Process?

All Wills must go through Probate before their provisions will be given legal effect

  • A probate petition typically requests the Court take the following action:
    • Offer the Will to court to pass on its Validity
    • Approve the Appointment of the named Executor
    • Approve any named Testamentary Trustees
  • Probated Wills are Public Record

7) Provide for special needs children: Particular care needs to be used when planning for children or grandchildren with special needs. There are many planning techniques that can be used to ensure your special needs child or grandchild is provided for

6) Protect children of a prior relationship: Do you have children that are “yours, mine and ours”? Do you have a plan in place that ensures they will all be treated fairly after your death? Without proper planning, you may unintentionally disinherit your own children.

5) Plan for minor children’s inheritance: You have the ability to set up a Trust for the benefit of your minor children in your Will/Trust.

  • A Testamentary Trust can ensure that your children do not have access to potentially large sums of money at a very young age and that the assets you leave them will be used for their care.
  • Without a trust in place, the court will determine who will manage your child’s assets and the level of resources available to them.

4) Plan for minor children guardians: Who will raise your children if you die? Without a plan, a court will make that decision. With the correct plan, you have the ability to appoint guardian/s that will raise your children.

3) Choose your beneficiaries: Without a Last Will and Testament in place, your estate will pass according to New York’s intestacy laws. By executing a Last Will and Testament you get to
determine how your assets will be distributed upon your death

2) Loss of capacity-power of attorney: A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you appoint an Agent to make personal and financial decisions on your behalf in the event you are unable to do so. Even if you are married your spouse does not have the ability to access your individual assets without a Power of Attorney.

A powerful legal document that allows an individual (Principal) to name another (Agent) to act on their behalf with financial matters

  • Principal must have capacity to sign.
  • Must be signed and notarized by the Principal AND the Agent(s)
  • It does NOT need to be signed simultaneously

1) Loss of capacity- medical directives: Anyone, any age can be left incapacitated without warning. – The Terri Schiavo case was a wake-up call to many families. Medical Directives are an important part of any estate plan

  • Health Care Proxy
  • Living Will

Contact our law office for a free consultation to plan your estate.

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