Ronald Fatoullah & Associates - Elder Law

Great Neck Estate Planning And Elder Law Blog

Don't make common mistakes when you create a will

As people age, they might start to think about their passing. One thing that they should do to prepare for this is to create an estate plan so that they can relay their wishes to their loved ones. The plan should include a will, but some mistakes can make it difficult to enforce a will.

When you create a will, think carefully about what you are putting into it. Things that covered under other documents aren't put in a will. For example, you won't include life insurance plans in the will because those are handled according to the beneficiary designation that you set when you bought the policy unless you changed it since then.

Your estate plan is a tool for your loved ones

Estate planning is a critical component of any adult's life plan. You shouldn't ever think that you have plenty of time to get this all on paper. The reality is that nobody knows when tragedy might strike. Unlike what many people think, crafting your estate plan doesn't have to be a difficult endeavor. For some, thinking about their loved ones' needs after they pass away is the most difficult aspect of this.

It might help if you think of your estate plan as a tool to care for your loved ones when they are reeling from your death. This is your chance to help them even though you won't be able to be there with them. The easiest way that you can do this is to have everything spelled out clearly for them.

Trusts can help your loved ones and heirs receive state benefits

If you are at or over retirement age, you may have already had to consider whether your assets and retirement income would potentially impact your eligibility for Medicaid if you need it in the future. Medicaid requirements are much different than Medicare, and Medicaid also pays for more services, which means older adults may require Medicaid coverage as they age.

Many retired adults engage in careful estate planning and long-term care planning to ensure that they can receive Medicaid benefits in the future in the event that they require long-term care. If you have a spouse you believe could live longer than you, you may also need to consider whether an inheritance will affect state benefits they depend on. The same is true for children and other dependents, particularly special needs family members.

Know what you can't put in your will

When most people think of an estate plan, they automatically turn to a will. While this is the primary document that is used for many things, some points shouldn't be included in the will. One of the primary things you shouldn't put here is your funeral instructions. These should be included in a letter of instruction or something similar because your will won't be read immediately after your death. Chances are good that your funeral or memorial service will be done long before the will is read.

You can't include any assets that have a payable on death designation. This includes most financial accounts, including checking, savings, retirement, and investment. If you want to change the beneficiary for any of these accounts, you will need to fill out a new designation form.

Maintain Medicaid eligibility with proper planning

As a person ages, they are likely going to accumulate assets. This is usually a good thing; however, if the person is going to need Medicaid to help pay for some of their expenses, it might not be such a good thing. Some individuals don't understand that they can't just give things away right before they need Medicaid. New York has a look-back period for Medicaid that spans five years.

In this state, the look-back period only applies to Institutional Medicaid, which means that it only occurs if the person needs to go into a nursing home or similar facility. If the only thing that is needed is Medicaid for other care, there isn't a look-back period.

Know the requirements for wills in New York

Making sure that your loved ones are cared for is probably a priority in your life. One option that you have to do this is to write out a will that enables you to take care of them after you pass away. In order for the will to be upheld in New York courts, it must meet certain specifications.

In this state, you must be an adult who has sound memory and a sound mind in order to write out a will. This means that you are 18 years old or older. It means that you can remember the impacts that the terms of your will are going to have when you pass away and that you fully understand them.

What constitutes home health care and personal care assistance?

As people age, they are more likely to need help with basic care. This doesn't necessarily mean that they need home health care, but they might just need some custodial care. These are two distinct programs that are handled in different ways.

One thing that some individuals might not realize is that Medicare and Medicaid are very selective in what they will pay for. There is a chance that you will have to cover these costs out of pocket, which can be costly.

Estate court battles can cause rifts between family members

When a loved one passes away, the last thing that you want to worry about are the legal ramifications of their passing. For some, the probate process is quick and simple. But there are times when disagreements between family members can cause the probate process to become much more complex and lengthy. We are here to help you through the process when litigation is needed to close out the estate.

There are many reasons why an estate might need to go through the court process. One of the most common is that a family member who was a beneficiary in a prior will or who is on the intestate succession list finds out that they have been left out of the current will. This can be a big shock for those who thought that they would receive something after a loved one's death.

Young, single adults need an estate plan

All adults, even those who are single, need to have an estate plan to provide instructions about where their assets will go when they pass away. It might not seem like you need to take your time to do this, but if you pass away without an estate plan, state laws will dictate who gets your things. There is a chance that this won't match what you want to happen for them.

Even if you think that the state law will pass your belongings down in the way you want, you still need to set an estate plan. Your loved ones will likely be able to get everything handled faster and a bit easier if you do have everything set up for them.

Preparing for long-term care

The most expensive part of your retirement may be long-term care. Not everyone plans for it, but it is an emerging need and not having a plan to pay for it can leave you with limited options. According to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, if you are 65 years or older, you have a 70% chance of needing long-term care (LTC).

Although it is difficult to predict how long you will need LTC, the average time ranges between two and four years. Because this type of care is so expensive, it is never too early to start saving. Preparing early gives you the opportunity to choose what you want before you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

Smart, Caring Strategy For Seniors: Call 516-466-4422.

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