With an asset protection plan that uses our proven Estate, Tax, Elder Law, Medicaid and Special Needs Planning strategies, Amoruso & Amoruso, LLP gives you peace of mind by ensuring that your loved ones receive the care that they need.
Get a health care proxy and a financial power of attorney. These documents will enable someone you designate to handle things and make important decisions, if you are incapacitated and unable to do so.
Get a will. If your finances are not complicated, you might not need a complicated estate plan, but you should at least have a will.
Get life insurance if anyone is financially dependent on you so they will be taken care of, if you pass away.
Put some money aside for a funeral, so your family does not have to pay for it.
Keep your financial records organized so someone else can figure things out in an emergency. Let someone know where to find everything as well.
As things change in your life and your finances get more complicated and bank accounts get larger, review and update your estate plan to reflect your current situation.
An estate battle is often about lots of money, but sometimes it is about the small, but important items.
Personal items, especially those located in the family homestead, may well be what sparks a big estate fight, according to Business Vancouver in "Wills: Leave'em laughing."
While you are alive, the personal items are unlikely to cause any problems. However, after you pass away, they could very well cause problems for your estate. If you have more than one child who wants a particular piece of personal property, there needs to be a way for them to decide who gets it.
There are several different things you can do to make sure that your children do not argue over your possessions. If you want a child to have something in particular, then you can give it to them before you pass away or you can make specific designations in your estate plan.
Another method is to direct that your children use a reverse draft method. One child picks an item. Then the next child goes and so on. When every child has picked something, then the order of choosing is reversed and they all pick again.
A list also could be presented to each child of all the important items and they can rank them all by preference. The estate executor can then use those rankings to guide the distribution of personal items.
An estate planning attorney can help avoid the problems that arise over an estate distribution.
People who are not financial experts often have problems dealing with the complexity of handling an estate, if they have not been told beforehand what they will be dealing with and how to handle it. For this reason, estate planning attorneys normally advise their clients to have an in-depth conversation with their children about their finances.
If the children are going to be called upon to act as a power of attorney in the event of incapacity or to administer any portion of the estate, then they need to know what to do before they need to do it.
A total of 70% of parents report that they have had detailed conversations with their children. However, only 50% of their children report that those conversations have actually taken place.
What this suggests is that while parents might be giving what they think are detailed explanations about their finances, the children still have questions that should be answered.
An estate planning attorney can guide you to the estate plan that fits your unique circumstances as well as communicating the plan.
Giving children a little money now might go a long way to helping the child make a lot more money later. However, many parents are so eager to give to their children that they do not think through the best ways to make the gifts.
The most important thing to understand is how giving a child something might affect them and you in the future. For example, if you give a child a large sum of money outright and the child gets divorced, it is possible that your child’s spouse could get part of the money in a divorce settlement.
Another common problem people run into is naming a child as the joint owner of a piece of property. This can lead to big problems later if the child has financial problems as creditors can go after the property.
The best thing to do is to be careful and talk to experts before giving money to a child.
The little mistakes are what frequently cost families the most money.
While people and the media often focus on big picture mistakes, it turns out that small errors are the biggest problems in estate plans, according to the Pauls Valley Daily Democrat in "Oversights can cost your heirs money."
For most people, minor mistakes such as not having enough witness signatures on a will or not having the magic legal words in a trust document are what makes estate planning go awry. The law can be extremely formal at times and minding all of the little details matters.
If things are not done precisely right, then all the proper planning in the world can be undone with the stroke of a judge's pen.
Fortunately, there do not have to be any minor oversights in your estate plan.
An estate planning attorney can guide you through the details of creating an estate plan that meets your unique circumstances.
Make sure you have all of the elderly person's legal, financial and medical documents. You need to know where the person has their bank accounts. You need to have their power of attorney and health care proxy. You need to know who the elderly person's doctors are.
Make sure your own finances are in good order. You might want to take some time off of work at the beginning of your caregiving, so make sure that you understand the FMLA.
Make a personal care agreement with the elderly person. This is a written statement about what the expectations are. While not a legal document, this will help give everyone peace of mind and make the transition easier.
Have your own support team in place. Caregiving is not easy. Make sure that you have people who can support you when you need it. You should enlist the aid of friends, family and organizations for the elderly.
Medical advances and new personalized medical care plans, such as concierge care, make it so that those with sufficient means can make it far more likely than ever that they will live much longer than their peers.
This could mean that in the near future, it will be common for the ultra-wealthy to live for 100 years and even decades longer, in some cases. This will have some benefits, but it also comes with some unique estate planning challenges.
The biggest issue is that it is common for people to retain control of their own assets until they pass away. That can become a problem the longer people live. Scientists still do not have a cure for dementia and the longer people live, the more likely they are to suffer from it.
A long life of carefully managing money could easily be undone. Younger family members might also start to grow impatient waiting to take control and cause problems.
The ultra-wealthy may want to take a fresh look at estate planning, including who receives financial control and at what point.
Trump promised to end the estate tax in his campaign for office. While it is not yet clear whether he will carry through on that promise, many observers in Washington D.C. are wondering if it could lead to the permanent end to the estate tax.
With so much else Democrats object to, observers are speculating whether Democrats will finally capitulate and agree to end the estate tax or whether they will continue the fight. The battle over the tax has been raging for a long time.
One of the most remarkable things about the estate tax battle, is that the arguments have essentially remained unchanged for over 100 years.
The Republican arguments against the tax derive from those first advanced by early economists, including Adam Smith. Democratic arguments in favor of the tax are virtually the same as those advanced by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. If there is to be another fight over the tax in this Presidency, the old arguments are likely to be used again.
Of course, this might not be the final battle in the war. A new battle could arise when Democrats regain power.
Dr. Jack Kevorkian was prosecuted for assisting terminally ill patients to commit suicide, but he may have ultimately won the war.
Americans have gradually come around to the view that terminally ill people have the right to end their lives, when they want to and under the circumstances they choose. For some time now, polls have consistently suggested that more than 60% of Americans believe a physician should be able to help a willing terminally ill patient pass away.
Laws allowing it have been much slower to pass.
Given the popularity of the idea, it seems likely that even more states will soon allow the practice. That raises new challenges for the elderly, their families and for elder law advocates.
Families will need to consider things previously unconsidered, such as when it is appropriate for a family member to choose to pass away.
Advocates will need to make sure that laws and regulations are designed with appropriate protections for patients and doctors.