Articles Tagged with new york elder law estate planning

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease affects more than five million Americans today. While a large majority of those affected are over the age of 65, it is not just a disease for the elderly. Symptoms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease can occur in individuals as young as 30 years old, and currently affects an estimated 200,000 people in America. The diagnosis can often be missed or misdiagnosed as another condition or an association with the changes both men and women go through during their 40s and 50s, however, a comprehensive medical examination is required in order to properly diagnose those with early onset dementia. While the cause of the disease is not yet known, it is important to look to your family history as a way to determine if you or your loved one should be monitoring specific behaviors and changes in personality.

The thought of losing your memories, ability to perform basic tasks, as well as ability to think clearly, remember the time, date, or place, is a very scary feeling for anyone. As these functions start to go, it is important that the loved person, either elderly or young, has in place a comprehensive medical and estate plan, when the day comes that he or she is no longer able to make decisions for themselves. The unfortunate reality of this disease is that it is not a question or if, but of when they will no longer be able to make their own decisions based on a lack of capacity.

First, the individual in question must have their legal capacity assessed to determine if they are able to understand and appreciate the consequences of their actions in signing documents that give specific power to named individuals. In doing so, you should also consult a medical professional if you have doubt as to their ability to understand and make decisions. Also, if the individual has previously executed any wills, trust, or power of attorney documents, those should be revised as necessary to accommodate their current condition while still respecting their wishes.

Probate and Contested Estates

When an individual dies, their transfer of property through the legal system is known as probate. During this process, the court determines the validity of a legally formed will or a how property will be distributed if it has not been designated to be inherited by another named party. When an estate enters probate, all of the debts and taxes owed by the deceased on the property are paid, any remaining income, dividends, stocks or investments are sold and the property is distributed or transferred out to the heirs of the deceased. While the deceased individual can leave property or assets to any party they wish, there are certain situations that call into question the validity of the transfer. If one of these suspicious situations arises, a party may raise a contested issue with the distribution.

Examples of Contested Estate Issues

Claiming inheritance upon its distribution is something that many individuals welcome and conversely is the source of many family disputes. There are many reasons why someone may want to refuse their bequest however, in a process in estate planning referred to as disclaiming inheritance. Some beneficiaries seek to disclaim their inheritance due to their personal wealth, whether wealthy or poor, for tax reasons, or to pass the gift on. In estate planning, if you decide to disclaim your gift or bequest, you will be treated as if you died before the grantor did, and your share is redistributed according to the terms of the will.

Examples of Why You May Consider Disclaiming

Estate taxes can be particularly hefty and if disclaimed, the gift or bequest would pass to the next of kin, who may be more willing to take on the potential tax burden. In years past, disclaimers have been used a stopgap measure after the estate tax expired in which the first million in assets valued from an estate is exempt and assets thereafter is levied at 55%. Once the tax expires, there are sometimes unintended consequences which end up negatively impacting the estate of the beneficiaries.

As the older population continues aging, we are constantly trying to find new tools to help this population manage their lifestyle with more ease. Assistive technology is any service or tool that aids the aging population in performing their otherwise increasingly difficult or impossible daily activities. This technology ranges from a smartphone, to a walker to GPS tracker, many of which allow the individual to continue living independently or without care, while also allowing their loved ones to check on them.

Paying for Technology

As with any other medical assistance, insurance coverage is always a concern. Although there is no universal plan covering assistive technology for the aging population, some plans do cover a portion of the costs. Medicare Part B will cover up to 80% of the cost of technology that can be considered medical equipment. Also if you are eligible with the Department of Veteran’s Affairs for assistance, they will pay for a portion of the cost and will also help train those who are using the device.

Over the course of your life, you go through many stages. For some people that includes moving to and from different states, entering or dissolving a marriage, having children, losing loved ones, and having significant changes in income. As these events shape your life, your outlook and perspective on how you want your assets to be taken care of may change. If you decide your wishes have changed and you execute a new will, you should carefully assess whether any previous wills or documents differ from the terms of your new will, as to make sure your wishes are properly followed.

Two Wills

Traditionally, in estate planning if a person leaves two wills and both are offered into probate, the court will look at the surrounding circumstances to determine which will ends up taking precedence and which will be considered revoked. The best way for the maker of the will to express that the most recent will is the one they want followed, is by explicitly revoking the earlier will in the writing of the new will. Issues can arise in probate court when it is not clear whether the maker of the will, also known as the testator, wanted the first will completely revoked.

ANOTHER CELEBRITY CASE MAKING CHANGES

In the last few months that Casey Kasem had on this earth, he was the center of a brouhaha between his daughter, Kerri Kasem, and her stepmother, Jean Kasem, Mr. Kasem’s second wife. More specifically, Kerri Kasem alleged that at the end of the Mr. Kasem’s life she tried to visit with him but was not allowed until she forced the issue via a court Order. Kerri obviously cared deeply for her father and was clearly distraught over how everything played out during Ms. Kasem’s last few months as almost anyone would. She decided to do something about it and created the Kasem Cares Foundation to advocate for parental visitation laws.

It is not surprising that Kerri Kasem sound to advocate for change, as Mr. Kasem was well known for his advocacy against things such as factory farming and his refusal to engage in movies as a voice actor that portrayed Arabs in a negative light; the Kasem’s are of Lebanese heritage. Kerri Kasem also followed her father into the radio industry. Mr. Kasem passed away on June 15, 2014 and in the last two years, the foundation can justifiably claim some modest success.

CONVERSION OF LIFE INSURANCE DURING LIFE OF COVERED INDIVIDUAL

As this blog discussed in the past, long term planning insurance is something that many consumers are reluctant to purchase for a number of reasons One of the main reasons for this reluctance is the long term cost may not financially justify its utilization. Life insurance companies recognized this problem and started to allow for a hybrid financial product in their life insurance policies. The life insurance company allows for the conversion of a life insurance policy to pay for the long term care services.

The animating philosophy is that there will be a pay out regardless of whether or not it happens during the insured’s lifetime, so the life insurance company could just as easily pay out on the policy during the insured’s life. Every day over 10,000 baby boomers turn 65, so the population base that could potentially utilize such as a product is growing larger every day. It is estimated that at least 70 percent of the baby boomer population will need some sort of long term care during their lifetime, with 40 percent in need of nursing home treatment.

As increased numbers of investors reach the age of retirement, the market for investment services designed for the needs of seniors has greatly expanded. The needs for retired seniors is often unique from those individuals who are still working. For example, senior investors must execute a plan that allows for a comfortable living without the fear of running out of money. Because of this growing market, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) are concerned about the potential for abusive sales practices that may constitute elder financial abuse.

What is Elder Financial Fraud?

There are three primary ways in which elder financial fraud is committed. These include when a financial advisor or stockbroker:

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