An estate plan is something that most people think about as they near retirement or after they bring on a mortgage or have children. However, an estate plan can even benefit teenagers because turning 18 and heading off to the college means that that child is technically classified as an adult under the eyes of the law. Particularly true in light of social media and digital estate planning, Gen Xers and Millennials lead their lives online.
This means that a parent or another individual may need to know how to preserve the pictures or any writing that that person may have done on social media accounts. Answers to security questions in addition to passwords must be properly seared with an appointed individual. If a young adult does not feel comfortable sharing all of this information with a parent, such details can be given to an attorney who does the necessary estate planning with the condition that the materials associated with the security questions can be open upon death.
Powers of attorney and directives should also be drafted by someone who has reached age 18 because the issues surrounding sudden incapacitation or disability can affect anyone. Schedule a consultation with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer today to learn more about protecting your interests.
Unfortunately, the aging population in the United States is becoming increasingly affected by dementia. Furthermore, family members who are seeking assistance on behalf of their loved ones with dementia may be confused about how to proceed if they have never made a will before. Testamentary capacity is one of the most important components of the estate planning process for someone who has recently been diagnosed with dementia.
A person who is in the more advanced stages of dementia may not be able to understand what they are signing or be able to explain what they wish to happen to their property. This means that the will could eventually be challenged when that person passes away. the sooner on in the dementia diagnosis that you can share these concerns directly with your loved one and begin to put together a plan of action for addressing the major concerns for his or her future, the better all of you will feel about the situation and the less likely it will be to face a contested will situation down the road.
It is never easy to deal with a major diagnosis in your family, particularly when you have estate planning intentions that you wish to carry out. Having a knowledgeable estate and elder law planning attorney who has managed these delicate situations before and who can give you proper guidance about your future is extremely helpful in this difficult situation.
You and your spouse might have the same intentions for your future estate planning, but there’s plenty of good reason to set aside your own will for the purpose of protecting your loved ones. You need to ensure you have the right documents to protect your interests and plans.
When putting together a will for a husband and a wife, your estate planning attorney will probably recommend that each person has their own will. Although a married couple may reference a will as a joint document, the word will in the New Jersey probate code is usually used in the singular tense to refer to the last will and testament of a woman or a man. Establishing an individual will is extremely important particularly as your life circumstances change.
Although there is history for joint wills in New Jersey, it is not entirely clear how this would work unless both parties passed away the same time, such as in an accident. Because of this, you may wish to articulate similar goals as your spouse in your own individual will but it is powerful and preferred that you have your own estate planning document. You and your spouse can sit down and discuss the goals that you intend to accomplish and putting together a last will and testament together.
In the process of international estate and trust planning, there are many different details that need to be addressed to maximize the financial health of families that have connections to overseas countries and the United States, and to minimize the potential tax implications.
There are many concerns that will become more prominent in the coming years about proper succession planning and the transfer of wealth for U.S. citizens living abroad.
Many of these individuals have a concern about reducing their estate tax liability upon the death of the U.S. citizen wherever possible. Succession planning strategies that are implemented to minimize or reduce estate tax obligations should be carefully crafted so as not to trigger adverse tax consequences down the road. Scheduling a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer is the only way to know for sure that you have considered all potential obstacles and issues in your individual plan to minimize tax obligations.
The right attorney can be a significant asset as you raise questions and ensure that your plan comprehensively addresses all of your primary concerns. Schedule a consultation with an estate planning lawyer today to learn more.
Many adult children are now looking to step in and help their elderly loved ones with managing illness or disability. This requires a lot of adjustment, not just on the part of the caregiver but on the part of the person receiving support as well.
A family member who needs support may cause sudden and long-lasting impacts on your family, dealing with the implications of such an illness and what it means for the future as well as adjustments in your career.
In an ideal situation, your loved ones would be able to get care from a nursing home or similar facility. However, with the average cost being extremely high, it could decimate someone’s savings with just one stay of a few months long in such a place. Furthermore, family members are often interested, at least in the beginning, in stepping in to help support your needs.
Caregivers often have very little training when it is a family member stepping in and this highlights why it is so important to explore all possible care options and stipulate a plan for long term care.
Given how many people are likely to suffer long term care challenges in the future, it is beneficial to schedule a consultation directly with an estate planning attorney to make things easier for your loved ones as well as you.
The opioid crisis has significantly affected many families across the country. The growing epidemic of addiction is also changing the need for estate planning. Addiction statistics show that more than 142 Americans die each day from a drug overdose. It’s also anticipated that more than 650,000 people will die over the next decade from opioid overdoses.
A family member suffering from addiction can generate unique concerns about estate and wealth planning. Estate planning professionals have for decades focused on tax planning- a valuable approach.
However, a lot of tax exposure has been eliminated in recent years, although an addict can put unimaginable financial and emotional strain on a family. If you are concerned about someone who is addicted to opioids in your family, they may be exhibiting unpredictable or violent behavior, and this can lead to further conflict within the family.
Estate planning options for someone who appears to be addicted to opioids could include:
- An outright bequest
- A disinheritance
- Distribution of funds to siblings for the benefit of the beneficiary addicted
- Trust planning
The addicted beneficiary should be given an opportunity to review any trust and then funding should be completed after the beneficiary signs the document.
These complex issues highlight why it is so important to hire an experienced attorney who will be sensitive to your individual needs and protect your family and loved ones well into the future. The right lawyer is a major asset when putting together the paperwork for your claim.
Far too many people put off the estate planning process for way too long and end up leaving behind a mess for their children. This can be literally, legally or financially.
The literal type of mess is the cluttered house, when the adult child must step in to clean out a house of things that have been accumulated after a parent passes away. However, the legal and financial mess may be associated with neglecting to put together a comprehensive elder law and estate plan in the event disability or death. Many times, when a loved one suffers a devastating disability or accident that ultimately claimed their life, this was unexpected.
Failing to do the necessary preparation to make it easier for your loved ones to take quick action can put them in a very difficult situation. Many people want their spouse, followed by their children to take over in the event of a disability.
But children or a spouse may be barred from doing so without the proper power of attorney and living will. These are also referred to as advanced directives and enable you to put other people in charge in your life and avoid the hassle of a guardianship proceeding in which a judge makes a decision about your legal guardian.
When you consider how many issues are affected by your willingness to plan ahead, you can make things much easier for your loved ones by stipulating an estate and elder law plan now that considers your needs as well as their future.
Passing things on to future generations is a common concern for many people interested in protecting their loved ones, but for a meaningful gift this holiday season, you might choose to establish an estate plan or contribute to a child’s 529 college savings account.
When you are thinking about the future of your loved ones, it’s always helpful to have an estate planning attorney at your side.
Doing so with the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney can help you pass on a gift that helps your loved one in the future to pursue his or her educational dreams. Education is the cornerstone of planning ahead for minor children and your thoughtful care to put together an estate planning tool that protects your loved one’s right to pursue education without having to worry about the burden of costs, can have positive impacts for generations to come.
Education is often very important to numerous family members and the selection of a 529 College Savings Plan or other estate planning tools that can allow your loved one to pursue education without fear of the high costs is a very valuable gift and one that will be treasured for years to come. Furthermore, college savings plans may offer you numerous estate and gift tax benefits. Consulting with a lawyer can tell you more about how this can affect you.
Most people already know that their last will and testament is the cornerstone of their financial and estate plan. However, many consumers don’t have this critical document in place. A 2014 American Journal of Preventive Medicine study found that up to three-quarters of Americans don’t even have a health care proxy, an advanced directive or a living will.
That’s in addition to only 42% of the population having a will. A well thought out will is one of the most important preparations to put in place as you age, but there are other estate planning and end of life documents that should be considered.
Your unique situation will determine which of these strategies and tools is most important for you and sitting down with an estate planning lawyer is one way to identify what will work for you as well as what you need to protect your best interests. These documents include:
- A living will
- Health care proxy or power of attorney for health care
- DNR – DNI orders
- Durable power of attorney
- Organ donor designation
- Diminishing capacity letters
- Life insurance
- Digital assets memorandum
- Personal property memorandum
- Relevant information collection
Make sure that when you spend all of the time to put together necessary documents to protect your assets and to articulate your end of life wishes, that you provide information for your loved ones or at least your attorney to access this. In a heat of the moment and in the midst of a crisis, it can be challenging for your loved ones to figure out where you have stored such information, but an experienced attorney can be one method for protecting your interests and your rights.
A recent study found that three out of ten state securities regulators have seen an increase in elder fraud complaints and cases. Many people are under the impression that it is only cognitively affected older individuals who are at risk for financial scams. However, one out of every 18 cognitively intact elderly people can fall prey to financial abuse or fraud in a given study.
One 2015 report estimated that more than $36 billion is lost every single year to financial abuse and scams. That problem is increasing and older adults who are experiencing a decline in their cognitive abilities are only a part of the overall story. The population that is currently retiring is one of the wealthiest in recent history, in terms of their retirement savings and criminals know this and will target these elderly individuals to exploit them.
Seniors can also be more vulnerable. This makes it especially important to have assets protected with an asset protection plan and an estate plan. These tools should be updated at least on an annual basis to reflect any changes in your life. Consulting with an estate planning attorney can help you avoid many of the most common financial scams and abuse and to figure out a long terms strategy to protect the assets you have worked so hard to build.
If you are concerned about an elderly loved one who may be subject to financial scam and abuse, working with an estate planning attorney to protect those assets inside a trust can help your loved have peace of mind that they will have the funds they need to get through retirement and old age without a high chance of scams.
Most people looking ahead to retirement are at least considering moving to another state, if only to be closer to family, maximize their retirement dollars or enjoy better weather. But you need to remember that when you establish estate planning documents in one state, the rules of another state could influence how they are managed.
Contracts are usually managed the same way and are usually consider effective in any state. One type of contract that this applies to is a living trust. A living trust is one in which you generate, create and control the trust and enter into an agreement with a trustee, who manages those assets for you on behalf of the beneficiary.
Then the beneficiary would receive those trust assets, how and when you choose. Typically, a trust is portable throughout the entire United States and you can identify which state laws you’d like to govern your trust. You can move to another state and not have to change your trust. However, your other estate planning documents like your will, your health care power of attorney and financial power of attorney may need to be updated when you move to a new state.
The drafting of estate plans can be accomplished by consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney as you move to a new state. Bring a copy of all of your relevant estate planning documents and strategies to discuss whether or not these are portable or whether they will be interpreted differently in your new state of residence.
Your home state documents may not offer all of the options that are available in your new residential state and the only way to figure out what is going to work best for you is to schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney who can walk you through what is required as well as involved.
The composition of your retirement portfolio affects your ability to support your lifestyle after you retire as well as what you can give away to loved ones.
Many financial managers have recently found that retirees’ assets are in pre-tax accounts, also known as qualified plans. However, this has an additional consequence when it’s time to make withdrawals to cover your living expenses. You would need to pull out additional funds to cover the tax bill that comes with it.
Using a bucket strategy when planning for retirement can help to address this problem. A short-term bucket that has up to five years of retirement needs should be tapped without a major taxable event.
The second bucket should be filled with long-term fixed-income assets and after-tax equity. This bucket could be very important for generating taxable events, given the appreciation of assets. However, if the principle is all after tax dollars, this burden is reduced. The third bucket should be filled with 401(k), pre-tax retirement accounts, and traditional IRA accounts.
These are all subject to RMD rules that begin at age 70 and half and the distributions are taxed at ordinary income rates. The ratio of assets in your third and second buckets is determined by whether or not you have already saved enough to achieve your lifestyle goals in retirement. If you have more resources than you expect to need for your retirement goals, the pre-tax assets might be higher and you should consult directly with an experienced estate planning lawyer to talk about how you will pass on these assets to your loved ones in the future.
Trust arrangements established by the Playboy founder, Hugh Hefner, may enable his third wife to receive income without technically inheriting anything from the estate. He left behind a major estate valued at more than $40 million and that doesn’t even include the $100 million sale of his Playboy mansion that happened last August. His fortune was left behind to his children, charities and the University of California Film School. In the 1970s, the estate was estimated at upwards of $200 million.
The 31-year-old third wife of Hugh Hefner won’t inherit anything from the estate due to a prenuptial agreement that was signed in advance of their marriage in 2012. However, news reports indicate that she will be “looked after”.
He may have used a Q-tip trust in order to accomplish this. He may have also used life insurance in an irrevocable trust. Not enough information is yet known about the estate planning tools that Hefner may have used to pass on things more effectively, but even those who are not uber rich or owners of a $100 million home can benefit from the estate planning services provided by a knowledgeable lawyer.
Establishing a trust in conjunction with the development of your will is frequently the cornerstone of a person’s estate plan. However, you shouldn’t think that your work is done after you’ve created the trust. This is a crucial first step that should be completed with the guidance of an estate planning attorney but many people forget to fund their revocable trust, which in essence means it doesn’t serve a purpose. No trust can exist unless it also holds assets.
When you put together a revocable trust, you will need to retitle your accounts in the name of the trust and a brokerage firm or financial planner can help you with this. Additional estate planning strategies may be recommended based on your individual needs. An annual review scheduled directly with an estate planning attorney may be necessary to figure out whether or not your current estate planning documents and tools are working as you need them to work.
Many people experience major changes in their life such as the birth of a child, marriage and divorce. All these issues can alter your existing estate plan and therefore, a lawyer should be used to review them in full. Do not hesitate to get help from an experienced estate planning attorney who has years of working directly with people to not only establish trusts but to properly fund them so that they are valid. A regular review with an estate planning lawyer can save you and your loved ones.
You might be relatively healthy now and assume that this will continue for many years. But considering that plenty of research shows that most people entering retirement will need long term care assistance at some point in their life, you should never neglect the possible health care costs of long-term care in your retirement plan.
The most expensive long-term care options, a nursing home, can cost up to $97,000 per year. Many Americans have a blind spot when it comes to retirement planning because they do not incorporate long-term care at all. Many underestimate the costs of health care planning and assume that their health insurance will cover it but Medicare is extremely limited as far as the coverage provided to those individuals in nursing homes and Medicaid can be difficult to qualify for if you do have access. This means you might be required to spend through your assets or to self-fund your long-term care until Medicaid kicks in.
The U.S. government has conducted research showing that up to 70% of people aged 65 will receive some type of long-term care during their lives. This could add up to nearly $150,000 in long-term care costs over the lifetime of an elderly person, according to research released by a 2007 Bipartisan Policy Center report. Up to two-thirds of Americans aged 40 and older admit that they have done no planning for their long-term care needs, according to research shared by the Associated Press NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. Your retirement planning should always incorporate long-term care needs. Schedule a consultation directly with an experienced attorney today.
A recent study completed by the National Bureau of Economic Research finds that older individuals today are more likely to enter retirement with debt than compared with previous decades.
The number of older people taking on mortgages, for example, has increased significantly when compared with previous age cohorts. Massive debt generated by American households has been featured in plenty of different academic studies but very little has been done to determine how senior citizens are affected by debt or the volume debt they accumulate close to retirement.
The study was analyzing financial vulnerability and older individuals’ debt by comparing information collected by the National Financial Capability Study and the Health and Retirement Study. Planning ahead for your assets and ensuring that your debts as they decrease are incorporated into your estate plan is extremely important.
It is also crucial to consider how indebtedness in retirement years may affect your ability to pay for your own care such as long-term care support and other medical needs that you may develop over the course of your retirement. Consulting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney about these issues and ensuring that your retirement plan, estate plan and long-term care plan are all working together can make for a better retirement for you.