With everything we have been through in the past year, I think it would be fair to recommend that all of us have reason to review our estate planning documents. And if you don’t have any, now is the time!
Especially if you are over the age of 60.
Typically, we tend to review our estate plan when we get older or if there has been a significant change in our circumstances. However, if you are over the age 60 and you haven't updated your estate plan in many decades, it’s time to update your documents. After everything has been updated, you should continue to review your plan every two and half years.
Here are a few age ranges and what they mean in terms of estate planning:
Don’t wait for a crisis to hit and realize you are not prepared. The whole point of proper estate/long term care planning is to have a plan in place with all the documents you need ready to go – regardless of what life brings. You want these documents ready to work the way they are supposed to, and most importantly, when you need them.
We never know what the future will hold, and tomorrow is never a guarantee. Which becomes even more evident as you approach retirement years. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place that can help you no matter what. For example, what if you or your partner develop dementia, one of you needs to move into an assisted living facility, you have a health emergency, or everyone stays well and happy for many years to come? Bob Michaels can help you prepare for all these possible scenarios and help you build a roadmap for the future customized to your specifications and personal situation.
The topic of estate planning is often something people are uncomfortable discussing or even thinking about. However, creating an official and legalized plan ensures that your wishes for the distribution of your assets are carried out when you die, and it ALSO means you’ll be prepared if you have a life crisis or become ill.
Any estate plan will minimally comprise a Will, Financial POA, Health Care POA with HIPPA, Health Care Directive and Mental Health Directives. However, if married, you should strongly consider a Community Property Agreement. If you are married and have a net worth more than $2.2M then consider a Trust to eliminate estate tax. If you own property in more than one state or wish to avoid probate, you should consider a Living Trust.
Let’s look at some of these Elements of Estate Planning. And you can always learn more on our website HERE.
Many baby boomers may hesitate to discuss money with their children, but the reality is that a massive amount of wealth will be transferred in the upcoming decades.
Some $68 trillion will move between generations in the next two decades, reports U.S. News & World Report in the article “Discuss Your Estate Plan With Your Children.” Having this conversation with your adult children, especially if they are members of Generation X, could have a profound impact on the quality of your relationship and your legacy.
With all of the tax documents continuing to arrive in the mail, we are all painfully aware that it is currently tax season. If you are an Executor of an Estate or the Trustee of a Trust that is or has become irrevocable, you should know that Estates and Trusts have to file their income tax returns. When you qualified as an Executor or took over as Trustee, you probably applied for a tax identification number for the Estate or Trust. That number is how the IRS knows to be look for the reporting of income and the payment of taxes.
What if you want to set up a trust for Medicaid planning purposes but want to protect income from going to the nursing facility if you need long term care?
Usually the purpose of an income-only trust in Medicaid planning is to protect the property in the trust either from having to be spent down to qualify for Medicaid in the first place or from the state’s estate recovery claim after the death of the Medicaid beneficiary. The trust can also be drafted so that the income is not distributed at all or distributed to people other than the grantor, such as the grantor’s children. While that would prevent the income from having to be paid to a nursing home, it would also mean that the grantor would not receive the income before moving into a nursing home. Do you want to forego the income while you’re healthy in order to protect it in case you need Medicaid coverage in the future, or do you want to receive it while you’re healthy with the chance of having to contribute it to your cost of care should you require Medicaid coverage in the future?