Articles Posted in Asset Protection

As the new year begins, new opportunities are created for people to make the most out of their finances. Currently, the country is proceeding through the “Great Reshuffle”, which is seeing a large number of workers leave their jobs and make new ones. While many workers want to do their best to save as much as they can, some people are finding it hard to save and reach financial goals. This article reviews some of the important things that you can do to make the most of your finances in 2022 and beyond. 

# 1 – Examine Existing Retirement Plan Contributions

This year, 2022 workers can contribute as much as $20,500 to a 401(k) or make similar contributions to 403(b) plans and many 457 plans. This is $1,000 greater than the limit established in 2021. If you’re at least 50 years old, you can also add another $6,500 in “catch-up” contributions. 

In 1990, the United States Supreme Court acknowledged the constitutional right of a patient to decline medical treatment. Over the last couple of decades, New York state has slowly recognized that traditional health care advance directives do not sufficiently deal with mental health issues. Consequently, a large number of states have issued legislation permitting mental health care advance directives. 

New York Law and Psychiatric Advance Directives

A person can utilize New York’s Health Care Agents and Proxies law to nominate an agent to make decisions for them if that individual cannot do so. Additionally, a person might decide to write a living will containing instructions for the mental health care that person would like to receive. 

Much attention has been paid the last year to the conservatorship of Britney Spears. A judge this year recently denied a 

request to remove Spears’ father as her conservator. Consequently, some people expect that Brittney Spears will soon seek for the court to end her conservatorship entirely. Due to this case, many people have begun to consider whether a conservatorship might be right for them or their loved one. This article reviews some of the most common questions that people have about conservatorships and the role that they can play in estate planning.

What A Conservatorship Is

The Social Security Administration recently voiced concerns over a spike in reported Social Security scams. Additional data shows that the number of Social Security fraud cases has surged during the pandemic. The agency received more than 718,000 reports of telephone scams in the fiscal year ending September 30th which totaled nearly $45 million in losses. 

This number also marked an increase from 2018 when 478,000 cases of Social Security fraud occurred. Fraudulent calls during the pandemic also increased from less than 6,000 in April 2020 to over 100,000 in September. To better protect you and your loved one from being harmed by social security fraud, this article reviews the 4 most common types of Social Security fraud as well as what you can to avoid being harmed this way.

# 1 – Fraudulent “Criminal Act” Phone Calls

The value of carefully drafting a trust or will is emphasized by understanding the limited situations in which a court corrects mistakes that might arise in trusts or wills. The court’s response varies based on not the jurisdiction, but also often the type of estate planning mistake that was made. This article reviews some critical details to understand how New York courts various estate planning errors.

# 1 – Distinguish Capacity and Undue Influence from Mistakes

If a mistake is the result of the lack of competence by the testator or if the testator under the undue influence of someone else, courts often apply a different test to assess whether the will or estate planning document should be set aside. It’s sometimes the case that the concepts of undue influence, fraud and mistake are joined together, which can lead to substantial confusion.

The term, sandwich generation, was created to refer to a generation of individuals who were taking care of their parents while also having their own children. As the baby boomer generation ages, younger individuals are moving into a similar situation and in many cases are doing so at a younger age than their parents did. While this can be a complex process, adequate planning can help.

A recent AARP study found that approximately one in four family caregivers is a millennial, which refers to individuals born between 1980 and 1996. One reason why younger caregivers are becoming more common is that many baby boomers decided to wait until later in life to have children. Another reason for the increase in millennial caregivers is that divorces are more common and millennials are often acting in the caregiver role that a spouse would have filled. 

Caregiving for an elderly loved one is not an easy process. For one, providing care to an elderly loved one is a time-consuming process. Young caregivers also have less secure jobs and are hesitant to discuss caregiving obligations with the previous generation. Even in the best situation, acting as a caregiver while juggling employment and other obligations can be overwhelming. Through adequate planning, you can fortunately avoid some of the stress associated with caring for your loved one. As a result, this article reviews some important support systems that you should make sure to have in place if you are caring for an elderly loved one. 

If you decide to establish a trust, you will likely need to select someone to make sure that the trust is administered in accordance with your wishes. A trustee is a person who assumes the position of managing a trust’s assets. The regulations to which the trustee must comply are contained in the terms of the trust. While trustees are often the trust’s creator when the trust is formed, trustees can also be the beneficiary of a trust. Following the death or incapacity of the trust’s creator, a person or institution is named as the successor trustee to manage the trust’s assets. The person or entity named in a trust as a successor trustee should also be carefully appointed because an unreliable trustee can both mismanage and waste assets. Also, because trustees have substantial powers, a risk exists that an incorrect trustee might end up harming a beneficiary. While selecting a trustee is a critical aspect of estate planning, too many people appoint a trustee without sufficient planning or thought. As a result, this article reviews some important qualities to look for when selecting a trustee. 

# 1 – The Ability to Perform the Job

To successfully administer and manage a trust, trustees must be capable of performing various tasks. These individuals must have an understanding of both trust terms as well as the applicable law. Trustees should also know how to successfully manage assets as well as be able to diplomatically deal with beneficiaries. While a trustee does not need experience with areas like finance or trust management, whoever is appointed as trustee should be able to show financial responsibility as well as successfully resolve matters with others. The person appointed as trustee should also be able to make ethical decisions and act in the best interest of the trust creator and beneficiaries. 

Estate planning disputes can arise in countless ways. One of the most common types of disputes involves individuals who cannot successfully represent themselves or argue for what is in their best interest like mentally incapacitated adults or unborn beneficiaries. In these situations, a New York judge will often appoint a guardian ad litem to act in the position as a surrogate decision-maker. If you find yourself in such a situation, it helps to consider some important things about guardian ad litem, which are reviewed in this article.

# 1 – Reasons to Consider a Guardian Ad Litem

Guardian ad litem can be utilized whenever disputes have arisen involving custody, visitation, or any other issues addressing the subject. In the case of an older individual, a guardian ad litem is often utilized to make sure that the subject is receiving the best care possible. In accordance with New York’s Appointment of Guardian ad Litem statute, the topic comes before a court as the result of a motion by a party to a divorce action, a conservator, a guardian, or the court itself.

It’s a common predicament. After the holidays have concluded, adult children are frequently left concerned about whether their parents can live safe independent lives. These adults often are left feeling uncertain about what the best decision is to make so that their parents remain safe but also do not have freedoms needlessly stripped. This year has made adult children more concerned than usual because with many people deciding to celebrate the holidays virtually, it’s becoming more difficult to recognize when someone can no longer live independently. Despite COVID-19, there are still several helpful strategies you can follow to have a conversation about long-term care with your parents now instead of later.

# 1 – Discuss Your Parent’s Daily Routine

Whether it’s in person, over the phone, or through video should, you should begin by chatting with your parents and discussing their lives as well as their routines. Some of the critical questions that you should ask include what are your parents’ daily habits and whether they find anything that limits their ability to live life as they once did. You should also inquire as to what modifications your parents have made to their daily lives as a result of the pandemic. Any clues that a parent’s basic daily living activities have ceased or are substantially limited should give rise to concern about the parent’s safety. 

The best types of estate planning involves a multi-faceted approach, which both addresses financial as well as health concerns. While many people are aware of the benefits provided by estate planning tools like wills and advance healthcare directives, one helpful but commonly overlooked estate planning tools are life insurance policies. As a result, to widen the types of estate planning tools that you can consider utilizing as you plan for your incapacity or death, this article reviews the role that life insurance policies can play in estate plans.

# 1 – The Primary Purpose of Life Insurance Policies

Life insurance is often viewed as an income replacement for dependants. For people who are the primary or significant income providers in households, income replacement is not optional. Similarly, if a person is a homemaker or the primary caregiver of a minor or disabled child, it is critical to remember that the cost associated with hiring a replacement caregiver is substantial.

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