A letter of instruction can be a beneficial piece in estate planning. It is an informal document that will give your loved ones important information about personal and financial matters after your death.
Say your spouse is living in a nursing home and currently receiving Medicaid benefits to pay for the high cost of that care. If you were to pass before your spouse, you wouldn’t want your spouse to inherit all your life savings. Inheriting all of your life savings would jeopardize your spouse’s Medicaid benefits, and that is not what you want to see happen.
People work hard all their lives to own a home, and it is often their most valuable and significant possession. So when health begins to fail and the need for long-term care arises, we often get this fear-filled question from our clients: will the state take away my home?
Your parent recently returned home after a long stay in the hospital and in-patient rehabilitation. The care providers assure you that your parent will be fine returning home, but you still worry. How can you make sure your parent is safe at home?
It is a challenge to keep up with US Military benefits as they are always changing, and many veterans miss out on what can be life-changing aid.
Couples often bring children into a marriage from a prior marriage or union and then have children together.
The baby boom generation is comprised of those Americans born 1946-1964, and according to the US Census Bureau (Bureau of Census), their numbers are estimated to be 73 million strong. Their estate planning should take into account their unique circumstances.
The gift tax is a tax on the transfer of assets, cash or property, to another without receiving something of equal value. The asset has to be of a certain value for the tax to apply; otherwise, it falls under the gift tax exclusion, either annual or lifetime. If the gift is above a certain value, you will have to fix out a tax form, but you may still be able to avoid the tax.
For many people, real estate, including their home, is a big part of their overall net worth. How the home and other pieces of real property is titled deserves careful consideration.
Mabel's children were concerned that Mabel would need long-term nursing-home care in the near future. It was the holidays, and Mabel always got a lot of joy out of giving gifts. But her children had heard that people in Mabel's circumstances should not give gifts. The concern is real.
Although it can be useful to have another party available to pay bills when you’re sick or away, adding a child’s name to a bank account may be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Doing so may have unintended consequences for both you and the child.
In the United States, turning 65 years of age is a milestone on many levels, but before this birthday, there is a hefty checklist that you need to address to age successfully. Of all the items on the list, the most important after your health is your financial well-being.
It is essential to bring up a parent's aging expectations and set goals together even though initial discussions may be uncomfortable. Often, an exploration into a parent’s future thoughts about health, finances, and residential plans can make the difference between reacting to a crisis or following an established plan that can bring both the parent and their children peace of mind. The sooner an identified caregiver begins a dialogue, the better the outcome for all involved.
When the US federal government established its social insurance program on August 14, 1935, its purpose was to provide retirement, disability, and survivors’ benefits. Since that time, in part due to the disappearance of extended family networks, an increase in population, and a profound increase in life expectancy, it has become challenging for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to maintain the benefits promised to Americans.
Aging is something you cannot escape, and it affects all family systems. It can be challenging for adult children to imagine their parents as seniors and to understand and respond to the reality that each parent will age differently.
Even if you have been given an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, a study published in late October by Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, noted that it is possible to improve cognition with modifications to diet, exercise, and sleep.
It is no secret that a healthy lifestyle has a significant impact on your well-being and the earlier you implement a healthy lifestyle strategy, the greater the potential benefit regarding your longevity.
When it comes to establishing wills and estate plans, older Americans outpace their younger counterparts. Still, a significant number — 19 percent of those over age 72 and 42 percent of those between 53 and 71, according to survey data — lack any type of estate plan.
Maine's new Probate Code went into effect on September 1, 2019.
Trusts can be useful to estate planning and long-term care planning.
Careful estate planning can help avoid probate litigation. If someone expected to inherit more than the were left, they may challenge the will or the personal representative's actions. Items with sentimental value can also cause rifts. Call us for an appointment if any of these issues concern you.
People with stepchildren need to take special care with estate planning, if they either want to provide for them, or if they want to provide for their own children as well as their current spouse.
Many people – even lawyers – have trouble understanding some of the vocabulary of trusts and estates law. The basic documents are these three: Will (sometimes called one's “Last Will and Testament), Power of Attorney, and Advanced Health Care Directive. Each document has unique but similar roles within them.
The most beneficial part of a premarital agreement is that it creates a mutual contractual relationship that sets in stone the proprietary rules, during the marriage and after the marriage. It is a document that can be referred to find a definitive answer on every aspect of the family’s assets, much like an operating agreement can be referred to when questions arise regarding the operation of an LLC. It provides predictability, in a very unpredictable world.
A recent Maine Supreme Judicial Court decision should serve as a cautionary tale to beneficiaries of any estate involving real estate. Make sure any improvements on the real estate that are part of the estate are properly insured and don't assume that it is.