This week our New York elder law attorney, Bonnie Kraham, Esq., published yet another article in the Times Herald-Record in order to help spread information about elder law and estate planning issues. Many area residents understand the need to conduct this future planning, but they are not exactly sure what is included in one of these plans. That is why in this latest piece Ms. Kraham shares information about the actual documents that are commonly part of the planning process.
For example, most plans include a revocable living trust (RLT) and an irrevocable Medicaid asset protection trust (MAPT). These tools protect assets from probate and ensure that those valuables are protected from nursing home costs. However, the MAPT need be created at least five years before the long-term care is needed. For families with a higher net worth, separate trusts may need to be created–one for each spouse–with the benefit of doubling the estate tax exemption.
In addition, inheritance trusts are often added to plans to help keep assets in the family bloodline and protected from divorces, lawsuits, and creditors. This ensures that grandchildren actually receive an inheritance instead of in-laws or strangers.
Documents like a power of attorney and health-care proxy are also created so that legal affairs and medical decision can be accounted for in case of disability. Burial instructions are helpful as well to ensure that wishes are carried out exactly as desired. In addition, final instructions are an important–and oft forgotten–part of these plans. This information these instructions contained is directed to your friends and family and shares vital information (PIN numbers, access codes, etc.) and contact information to help them in case of disability.
Personal property is usually not included in a trust, so a memorandum of personal effects is created where a benefactor explains what items (jewelry, collectibles, etc.) are left to which beneficiary. By having these items listed separately an individual is free to change their mind without having to change a legal document.
Our New York elder law attorneys are eager to share information about these and related matters. Please consider visiting our office to learn more about how you can avoid probate, save estate taxes, protect assets from nursing home costs, keep property in the bloodline, and protect against disability.
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