Do you have someone in your life who could be classified as a special needs beneficiary? If so, it is even more important that you have a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer to help you with this process. Planning for a loved one with special needs requires advanced consideration of how your many decisions might affect them in the future.
First of all, avoid disinheriting a special needs beneficiary. Plenty of disabled individuals get public benefits to pay for their basic needs like medical care, shelter, and food. Some families have been told mistakenly to disinherit a person with special needs in order to preserve their entitlement to benefits, and to instead give that portion to a sibling to use for the disabled person’s needs. But if the sibling passes away or becomes incapacitated, then the support is not available to help the special needs child.
Putting together a special needs trust helps to guard against this problem. Procrastinating when it comes to planning for a special needs child can be extremely expensive. Families must plan early and use a special needs trust that is appropriately funded. If this does not happen, the inherited assets could be required to repay the estate for assistance provided when assets that are inherited out disqualify a beneficiary from getting needed benefits.
Finally, never ignore the special needs of that beneficiary when conducting the planning process. An appropriately designed special needs trust gives happiness and comfort for a special needs beneficiary while ensuring that they maintain their eligibility for benefits.
An appropriately funded trust can help to pay for education expenses, medical costs and necessary equipment. Furthermore, the trust can also be used to make this special needs child’s life more comfortable, including quality of life-enhancing expenses like those typically provided by parents. Selecting a trustee wisely is even more important when establishing a special needs trust since this person will have important responsibilities.
Are you thinking about using a will? It is one of the most important estate planning tools and yet is also one that is frequently overlooked by people who could benefit from a will and other estate planning strategies. One of the biggest myths about estate planning is that a will oversees the distribution of each one of your individual assets.
A will allows you to establish how your belongings should be distributed. Whether it’s family heirlooms, a vehicle or something else, wills do have limitations, however. The will has control over the assets that are in the person’s individual name alone. If an owner has joint accounts or accounts listed with beneficiaries on them, the will has no controlling power over these accounts. This is a lesson that many people have had to learn the hard way when their loved ones expected to receive benefits outlined for them in the will but instead, these materials were passed on according to the beneficiary designation forms filed directly with appropriate companies.
Many different types of companies and accounts do use beneficiary designations that override what is established in the original will. These include retirement accounts, certain types of brokerage accounts and life insurance policies. A regular review of the beneficiary designations on these policies is helpful for figuring out whether they are outdated or include a former spouse. Since the only information that those companies have to pass on your assets are in the form of beneficiary designations, you must protect yourself by regular review of these materials.
Furthermore, you’ll want to establish a primary as well as a contingent beneficiary. The biggest reason for doing this is because if something happens to your primary beneficiary, you will want someone else to be able to receive those assets quickly and effectively.
People are always looking for good reasons to put off the process of estate planning, but one of these shouldn’t be the current political climate and the fact that it seems to alter and change relatively quickly. While it’s certainly true that you need to be informed about estate planning and tax planning issues, largely because of the fact that the political climate is constantly updating, routine estate planning check-ups should occur regardless.
Letting your estate planning documents lapse in terms of their accuracy could mean big consequences for you if you were to become incapacitated or challenges for your family members if you were to pass away suddenly.
It is important to always update wills and health care documents specifically. The individuals named in these documents may no longer be accurate if details in your life have changed. Physicians, such as a health care agent, guardian for the minor children, power of attorney, trustees on the testament to your irrevocable trust, trust protectors or trustee appointers should all be carefully considered and evaluated at least on an annual basis.
If your relationship has changed with any of the people named, if your life situation has changed, if the life situation of any of those people has changed such that they would no longer be available, interested or capable of carrying out the roles or if all of the people that are mentioned are not geographically appropriate, these issues should be used to update your estate planning materials. Furthermore, you will need to look into issues such as whether or not the amounts left to each beneficiary are still appropriate, how your relationship with each beneficiary has unfolded or needs to be updated and are any of the beneficiaries at risk when it comes to inheriting assets. When you account for all of these issues on an annual basis, you can be sure that your estate planning includes many of the most common issues that people overlook and issues that expose them and their family members to difficulties.
If you have a limited period of time or if you are concerned about accomplishing your estate planning tasks in a particular order, there are certain things you can do to make things easier on you as well as your loved ones. One of the first and most important tasks you should do is to designate beneficiaries on your financial accounts.
Certain bank accounts, retirement accounts and life insurance policies require you to designate a beneficiary. It is strongly recommended that you name a contingent as well as a primary beneficiary. This is because if something happens to the primary beneficiary, another person is able to step in and receive these assets right away.
Although it might seem very basic to designate beneficiaries in comparison with putting together a will, but designating beneficiaries is often more powerful than the will process because you can help to ensure that those assets don’t go through probate. Many people probably don’t know that many of the brokerages in the United States will allow you to attach a transfer on death instruction associated with your non-retirement account.
Transfer on death deeds can be used in real estate that is located in 27 different states. Consult directly with your experienced estate planning attorney to figure out what applies to you. After you have done this, you will want to outline all of your liabilities including your credit card debt, your mortgage and your loans. A contact list of people that your family members can reach out to for assistance is also strongly recommended.
Any of the professionals that you have used in the planning process such as your insurance agent, your attorney, your accountant and your financial advisor should all be included on a contact list with their name, business, contact details, and what services they provided. Even if you do already have an estate plan, it’s a good idea to work with an attorney on the estate planning process because you can avoid most common missteps and obstacles.
A terminal or serious medical diagnosis can put a person in the position of realizing that they have far less time than expected to get their affairs in order. This raises important questions about the accuracy of your estate planning documents and important steps that you need to take to protect yourself as well as your loved ones. You need to consider questions such as; what is the best way to leave assets to your heirs? Should you pay off your mortgage or leave it alone?
A devastating medical diagnosis has ripple effects that can be felt throughout your family but giving into panic without planning can be a big mistake. When faced with disability or chronic disease, an experienced estate planning attorney should be contacted as soon as possible. While it may be uncomfortable, awkward or even filled with guilt because you haven’t done enough planning in the past, it’s important to use a professional to bridge some of the most common issues. Estate planning usually does occur with an emotionally charged event, but all kinds of issues that you hadn’t previously considered might suddenly boil to the surface. Make sure that you have a notebook so that you can keep track of all of your documents, the questions you need to answer and personal details.
Having all of this information in one place makes it much easier if you are suddenly unable to make decisions on your own behalf. You can allow a power of attorney or other agent to step in and get things tied up quickly. The first and most basic estate planning document is your will.
If you do not currently have one, a good place to start is making a list of all your assets including retirement accounts, real estate, and financial accounts. The will includes most of the important details related to things that do not have a beneficiary. Property is best spelled out in a will and this should always be done with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer.
Plenty of celebrities have provided for case studies for what not to do when it comes estate planning and thankfully, you can avoid these obstacles by working directly with an experienced and dedicated lawyer.
If you are thinking about the best way to protect yourself, regardless of the current political laws surrounding estate and tax planning, it’s a good idea to engage with a lawyer who also has a background in asset protection planning.
Most people don’t understand what asset protection planning includes until it’s too late. Shielding your assets from creditors and predators in advance, however, is essential if you don’t want to learn the lesson the hard way.
As a client, you will want to consider all real estate, family business, investments accounts and life insurance interests by transferring them into a trust, if possible. Issues like a family business can complicate your estate planning significantly. Since a family business usually seen as a long-term investment, you might want to sell it into a trust. This will give an income stream to older people who want to give up the day to day operations and responsibilities of the business without losing all of their access to the security of the financial security provided by the asset. Business interests should typically be sold when the value is modest, so that growth can occur outside of the individual person’s estate. Selling off a business interest also allows for things known as valuation discounts, such that greater equity goes into the trust. Life insurance can also be sold into a trust in order to avoid three years look back issues.
In the event that you choose to gift life insurance into an irrevocable trust and pass away within three years, typically the internal revenue service will put that asset back into the estate, but a sale of the life insurance policy into a trust can avoid this problem. Finally, real estate can be sold into a trust for similar reasons as family businesses.
If you wait until a legal claim or issue has already come up, the options for really protecting your assets are much more limited. That’s why you need the support of an attorney months or years in advance.
Protecting these assets and also considering the different ways that a family business or an individual could be exposed to the risk of lawsuits and other challenges should be carefully considered with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney when you are planning to look forward into the future and to do as much as possible to prevent problems and personal liabilities.
Plenty of Americans have not started the process of retirement planning at all or admit that they feel that they are in over their head and haven’t set aside enough money. With increasing longevity numbers and rising cost of long term care, retirement planning has become increasingly important.
However, a new study completed by Northwestern Mutual indicates that many people expect to delay their retirement years as a result of financial concerns. This comes from the 2018 planning and progress study known as Living Long and Working Longer, which discusses some of the long term financial security threats currently facing the older generation.
More than 2,000 adults were included in this study and 8 out of 10 people say they are somewhat or extremely concerned about being able to achieve an affordable retirement. Up to two-thirds of U.S. adults who responded in the study believes that it is possible that they will outlive their retirement savings.
A total of three quarters of Americans believe that it was only somewhat likely or not at all likely that Social Security benefits would be available when they retire. Unfortunately, however, nearly half of adults who participated in the study said that they took no specific to prepare for the potential of outliving their individual savings.
However, one-quarter of them did say that they had increased the amount of money they were putting aside each month. Less than 20% of people who responded in the survey had put together a financial plan to help get them to retirement and beyond.
More than half of the American people who responded in the study who anticipated living past the traditional retirement age said they had to so as a result of necessity, due to a lack of confidence in social security’s ability to protect their needs and inadequate savings.
Other concerns that came about as prominent in these responses included having to care for loved ones or rising health care costs. If you or someone you know has not thought carefully about how your retirement plan intersects with your estate plan, set aside time to schedule a consultation with an experienced lawyer.
A trust was initially created for the daughter of the celebrity chef who recently passed away. However, if the divorce wasn’t finalized, the ex-wife may be eligible to obtain one third of the estate. Details from his will reveal that his estate may be not have been as large as many people expected.
Documents were filed recently with Manhattan’s Surrogate Court, estimating that the estate was worth approximately $1.21 million. Some people estimated that he was worth as much as $16 million.
The 11-year-old daughter of Anthony Bourdain was listed as the primary beneficiary and the trust established will distribute assets to her when she is 25 and 30 years old and she will then be able to act as the balancer when she turns 35. Since Anthony Bourdain’s daughter is still a minor, a guardian will be selected by the court to ensure that the inheritance is safeguarded. Trusts that pay out over a period of time are extremely popular for young beneficiaries to ensure that they do not face the challenges of getting a big inheritance all at once.
A beneficiary can benefit from the assets that are inside over the long run and this information can be especially helpful and valuable for someone who is thinking about drafting a trust.
A will can be contested if it appears to have been procured through undue influence or if the person signing it was not capable of understanding the act or the will itself, among other reasons.
Although Anthony Bourdain’s will might become subject to passing up majority of the assets inside to his wife from whom he was separated, this is an important lesson for people to sit down with their experienced estate planning attorney to verify that any separated spouses are excluded from these documents and that legal details have been addressed.
One of the most common reasons for people to initiate the estate planning process early on is to avoid the process of probate. Probate is a public matter and one that can have substantial time and expense for your loved ones after you pass away. Not having a will or other estate planning tools means that your estate will transfer into probate. Any person who has to administer a deceased loved one’s estate knows that it can take up to six months after someone passes away or even longer in the event there are contests and challenges that emerge.
Assets that are governed by contracts, such as certain bank accounts and life insurance are governed by applicable roles inside the contract, but there are other assets that are governed by probate law. The value of contracts like bank accounts, real estate transfers and life insurance is triggered by death, and these have significant value related to affordability and speed. The probate process, however, can be extremely lengthy and frustrating largely because the primary purpose of probate is to ensure communication and fairness.
There is a great deal of grief associated with the passing of a family member, which means that other family members may become extremely impatient during probate administration. However, estate administration going through the probate process usually takes at least six months. The six-month period is because of the many different elements of closing on a person’s estate that needs to occur as soon as possible after someone passes away. Each of these stages, however, can take some time.
For example, all debts must be paid, all paperwork must be obtained and properly filed, and if someone comes forward to challenge the validity of the will or the estate itself, this can lead to additional challenges on behalf of the loved ones who were anticipating that probate would be closed out as soon as possible.
If you would like to streamline the probate administration process by conducting appropriate estate planning well in advance with the support of a lawyer, an estate planning attorney can walk you through every phase of what to anticipate and can help you avoid some of the most common missteps.
A lawyer can tell you the best strategies to use to avoid probate so that your loved ones can move on sooner rather than later.
Whether it’s planning for your own retirement or even setting aside time to think about your legacy plan with your estate, you need to ensure you have a lawyer to support you. Women in particular must be concerned about long-term needs because they often live longer and must factor in these additional years.
Far too many women are unprepared for retirement and especially for the risk of long-term care needs down the road. If their spouse passes away, the challenges can amplify.
A study recently completed by RBC Wealth Management indicated that there has been a major change in the attitude about wealth shared between millennials and the baby boomer generation. Approximately half of boomer women who participated in the study said that they took the lead on financial planning, whereas up to 72% of millennial women were responsible for this area of their households. This trend was consistent across charitable giving, will planning and day to day banking.
The wealthier the household, the higher the chances were that a woman was leading the financial planning and was actively involved in the legacy and estate planning. For those households that had greater than $5 million in investable assets, women were the primary decision maker. Key differences also recorded in the study between the two generations were shifts away from thinking about money as a method of providing security, and instead towards the opportunity to do more for the world. Approximately 41% of boomer women said they intended to pass on their wealth to their children, whereas only 15% of millennial women responded the same.
A total of 65% of women classified as millennials felt that it was their responsibility to use their wealth to benefit society at large compared with only 52% of women in the boomer category. Women who are wealthy as millennials are much more likely to have developed their wealth on their own when compared with boomer women. If you have recently found yourself in the position of needing the services provided by an experienced estate planning attorney, now is the time to schedule a consultation to talk about leaving behind a legacy, asset protection and other important issues connected to estate planning.
Everyone can benefit from estate planning and every so often, there is a celebrity controversy or story that shows the challenges of financial predators and elder abuse. The 95-year-old creator of Marvel Comics, Stan Lee, has a fortune apparently under attack from financial predators.
The creator of X-Men, Black Panther, Spiderman and the Fantastic Four has an estate that is valued at more than $50 million. However, his current memory, vision, and hearing impairments are being used to claim that he is unable to resist undue influence from caregivers, family members and business associates. Experts believe that increasing numbers of people who are closely connected to Lee will try manipulating him to get control of his assets.
Financial advisors and estate planning professionals have shared that this type of circumstance might become more prominent in coming years as people benefit from increased longevity and living into their nineties or hundreds, but might not have the mental faculties in order to manage their affairs effectively during this time period.
Estate planning accomplishes the overall picture about distributing someone’s wealth after their death, but all too often, skips out on later life planning and other issues connected with aging. Consolidation of financial accounts can help to ensure that the simpler balance sheet is easier to oversee, and appointing someone else to take over financial affairs, as well as using revocable trusts, are powerful tools for accomplishing the clients’ goals without putting them at risk of elder abuse.
Schedule a consultation today with an experienced estate planning attorney to learn more about what you can do to protect your best interests.
More than $30 trillion will be transferred from baby boomers to future generations in the coming years, but most of this younger generation is not appropriately equipped to handle such a sudden influx of assets. Because of this, this is an excellent opportunity for people who wish to consult with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Those baby boomers who are intent on passing on assets to future generations should also consider a consultation with an estate planning lawyer to ensure that their own documents to protect themselves over the course of their life and after death, is important. According to a recent study of financial advisors, this asset transfer that is pending in the future poses significant risks, if planning opportunities are not taken.
Only one-third of advisors shared in a study completed by Investing Channel Inc. Insight, that some sort of asset transfers plan is in place for these baby boomers. That study included more than 700 financial professionals indicating that while estate planning is a crucial component for many people who are looking forward into the future, failing to follow through and develop the right tools can put clients at significant risk.
Anyone who is set to receive a massive inheritance in coming years should have the opportunity to develop their own team of professionals, including an estate planning lawyer and a financial advisor to protect their best interests and to articulate a long-term plan for their own needs and what they intend to accomplish with their estate planning in the future.
Far too many people put off the process of estate planning because they assume that it doesn’t affect them. But younger generations who might not even have any estate plan or a will at all, could receive significant inheritances from their grandparents, thus putting them in a difficult situation of having no estate plan and significant estate assets.
Are you thinking about appointing someone to handle your estate after you pass away? This is a wise decision and one that should be discussed directly with your estate planning attorney, but it is equally important to sit down with the person you intend to appoint and to figure out whether or not they are clear about the many different tasks involved in settling an estate. Settling an estate means concluding the legal, financial and personal affairs of the person who passed away.
Typically, a trustee of a trust or the executor of a will is the person in charge of the relevant tasks when someone passes away. Some of the more immediate needs that must be handled by this person include locating paperwork including trusts, burial and funeral arrangements, wills and any veterans’ information that could be connected to benefits. Furthermore, the social security administration and post office must be notified in addition to friends and family members.
Distribution of the decedent’s assets happens by inventorying and then titling the assets. If the decedent also had a trust, the trustee is responsible for distributing assets amongst the beneficiaries, according to the directions listed in the trust.
This is done without the interference of a court proceeding. An administration proceeding administrator, will executor, or trustee has to figure out all of the assets linked to the decedent to protect and manage those estate assets, to pay out any debts and taxes, and to distribute any remaining assets to beneficiaries regarding any specific wishes that were shared about personal or household items. It is very important that the person who steps into this role is prepared to do so and is detail oriented.
Estate planning is a very personal process but because of that, many people choose to put it off until it is too late. Thereby, leaving their family members to try to pick up the pieces after a financial disaster caused by someone’s mental or physical incapacitation or sudden death. For these reasons, it’s important to at least have a conversation about the benefits of estate planning and how you’ll break the news about what you decided to your kids.
Many people are confused about just how much information they should give to their children about estate planning and whether or not these documents should have copies made and given to the kids. There is no one-size-fits-all answer about how much information should be shared with children since every person’s circumstances are different. Many people share a lot of information with their clients.
Most people who meet with a probate lawyer after a person has passed away within their family already know what’s in the estate plan but might not have copies of the critical documents. Usual recommendations from estate planning attorneys are to keep the estate planning documents in a secure, accessible and safe place.
These documents are extremely important and they may be needed someday and in the heat of the moment, you want to ensure that everyone has access to them.
Giving copies of these estate planning documents to an experienced estate planning attorney and advising key family members who may be stepping in in the event of an incapacitation or sudden death, about how to find this information, can be instrumental in minimizing the challenges typically associated with estate planning.
If you have a plan developed well in advance and things are organized in a clear and easy to locate manner, you are that much more likely to be effective with communicating these goals to family members and enabling them to find this critical information when the time comes about. Bear in mind that your decision about how much to share with your family members regarding your estate plan is ultimately up to you and that many people choose customized decisions based on how comfortable they feel with the relevant family members.
You can ask questions of your estate planning attorney to help figure out what may be in your best interests.
Even if you have an individual estate plan, it is not enough if you also own a company. Many different challenges can befall your family members or employees if you don’t have a business succession plan in place. In fact, up to 90% of businesses in the United States are owned by families but less than 10% of them will make it to the third year in the family and less than 33% will survive even into the second generation.
Owners sit down in the business succession planning meeting to determine a plan to move forward in the event that an owner needs to leave the company due to illness, retirement or death. Estate planning strategies are customized in the business succession planning process and multiple options are evaluated with the help of a professional to ensure that there is a smooth transition in place.
Common issues addressed in the business succession planning process include disagreements, estate taxes, management capabilities, liquidity and percentages of ownership. In addition to developing a comprehensive business succession plan, those key stakeholders involved are responsible for communicating this to the relevant stakeholders. Training of key team members needs to occur well in advance and should never be left until the last minute.
Failing to have a plan can set the business up for a catastrophic problem and many business owners want to avoid this as much as possible. This business succession plan process is also an opportunity to figure out whether the family members that you anticipate taking over the company ae truly interested in doing so. If you discover that a child or other family members do not intend to take over the company, you can begin to make alternative arrangements. Schedule a consultation today with an experienced business succession planning attorney to learn more.
Have you ever heard about how a living trust can help you to accomplish your estate planning goals? Many people know that trusts are one type of tool that could be incorporated into your overall estate planning but with so many different types of trusts out there, and especially in what seems to be a regularly shifting environment surrounding the estate planning taxes, it might be hard to figure out which of these tools, if any, is most appropriate for you.
Of course, a sit-down consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer is one of the most effective ways for someone who is thinking about incorporating a trust to ensure that any existing documents they have are updated to reflect their individual concerns, while also developing new tools and strategies as necessary. A living trust can be part of your retirement and estate planning.
It is important to think beyond just a simple estate planning process but also about the impacts that you plan can have in the future. For those seniors who have a surviving spouse, a family to support after they pass on, and significant assets, a will in and of itself is often not enough of an ideal document. Building a living trust is a critical structure to help you accomplish these additional goals. Your living trust might also be referred to as a revocable trust because it can be changed or dissolved based on the wishes of the person who establishes it.
The great thing about a living trust is that it helps serve as a bridge across the challenging process known as probate. Whereas in the probate process, your entire estate will fall into the temporary court possession, your living trust is a container that smoothly transitions your asset possession from court to the successor trustee. Your experienced state planning attorney is a valuable asset to help navigate this transition by pulling together the key documents and tools that you need. Consult with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney today about how to use a living trust.
Most people assume that they do not need long term care planning in their overall estate planning. Since illness and death are both extremely difficult subjects to broach on your own, many people don’t even realize the serious possibility of facing the high statistics. In fact, a recent fidelity study found that the amount of money people will have to spend on typical medical and health care expenses in retirement is up 70% from 2002 numbers.
A person retiring this year at age 65 will have to come up with around $280,000 just for their health care, and the cost for long term care insurance is not helping the situation either. In fact, long term care insurance premiums have been rising dramatically in recent years and this means that people now have to pay more to get even less support from their long-term care policies. It is a huge mistake to assume you won’t be touched by long term care. There is a possibility that you have already encountered a family member who did not do appropriate planning and has had to suffer financially as a result of a sudden incapacitating event, such as a diagnosis of dementia or even a broken hip that leaves them in the nursing home for far too long. A tsunami of baby boomers is expected to retire in the coming years and have a significant need for long term care.
Details from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services shows that a person turning 65 this year will have a 70% chance of needing long term care. But fewer than 16 % of American adults today have long term care insurance to pay for that. Avoidance is the planning default because many people don’t realize the opportunities available to them or how to most appropriately fit it into their existing schedule. If you find yourself in this situation, it is important to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer in New Jersey today to learn more about your options and to consider how Medicaid and other planning tools can help you while you are still alive.
A recent lawsuit filed in Florida was brought forward by an astronaut, Buzz Aldrin, who claims that his children have inaccurately accused him of having dementia and have made it impossible for him to manage his own financial affairs. Two of his children and his former business manager are being sued after he claims that they misused his credit cards and transferred money outside of an account without his permission.
The primary basis for the two children who brought their own legal case is that they allege he is suffering from delusions, paranoia, memory loss and confusion. They both requested that the court appoint them as legal guardians, claiming that the assets being spent by Aldrin were disappearing at an alarming rate and that he had been cohorting with new friends who are attempting to alienate him from his family members.
In this situation, the Florida courts put together an evaluation panel to determine the mental status of Aldrin. Although it remains to be seen how the Aldrin case will unfold, this is an important lesson for those people who are contemplating putting together their estate planning documents, since someone else may be allowed to request legal guardianship over your case by alleging that you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself. Being classified as mentally incapacitated could enable people you don’t want making decisions on your behalf to have all of the power relating to your finances or medical care.
This is why it is so important to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney to verify that you have the legal documents empowering the right people in the role of power of attorney and for your health care directives. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself.