Monroe Township NJ Estate Planning and Elder Law Attorney Blog | Neel Shah - Part 2
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Update Your Planning If a Divorce Is on the Horizon

June 23, 2020

Filed under: Blended Families — Laura Pennington @ 1:20 pm

Have you recently filed for divorce or are you in the midst of the proceedings to legally end your marriage? It’s easy to feel like there are plenty of details to think about, but chief among them should be what happens to your existing estate plans. During the divorce is a good time to evaluate any joint accounts, policies, or paperwork that gives your soon-to-be former spouse any level of decision-making power over your future. 

Most people forget in the process of handling all of the paperwork and the life changes that come with a divorce, to update their estate plans accordingly. In fact, it could be weeks or months before you update this necessary paperwork and if something were to happen in between, there’s a good chance that your former spouse is still listed as the person eligible to receive assets or to make decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so. 

There’s no doubt that this should be a top of mind priority as you approach getting closer to your divorce date. Many attorneys have reported that their office has been busier than usual with contacting questions about updating estate planning documents or getting estate planning done for the first time at all. 

These documents are not static and should remain living and breathing documents that should change just as often as your life does. Health care directives, powers of attorney and beneficiary forms are just a few examples of the documents that should be updated after you get divorced. To ensure that all necessary paperwork is updated with your new life, schedule a consultation with an estate planning attorney to walk through a checklist of what you can anticipate.       

Our law offices are still open and working with clients to ensure that all of your needs are addressed. If you need to set up a time to draft new wills, powers of attorney, or other documents, we’re here to help. 

Have You Discovered Gaps in Your Financial Plans?

June 22, 2020

Filed under: Finances — Laura Pennington @ 1:21 pm

If you’ve done any financial planning at all, it’s common to feel like it’s a bit overwhelming to keep track of all the things you need to do or feel like you should be doing. But don’t let that keep you from taking these important steps to protect your interests and even your family in the future. Now is the perfect time to take a deeper look at how you can incorporate holistic estate planning and financial plan into your future.

The pandemic has encouraged many people to take a deeper look at their financial plans and uncover potential problems. Some people might not have even looked at their financial and estate plans over the past ten years because there have not been significant changes in account value. However, since the impact of the pandemic, many account values decreased tremendously. 

The pandemic has brought forward a focus on end of life planning but other reviews of your estate plan can assist you with discovering ways that you need to alter your existing planning. For example, executives should be looking at opportunities to convert their traditional IRAs to Roths as long as they are considering the taxes that a client might have to pay for the conversion. 

A consultation with your estate planning lawyer can be especially valuable right now given the challenges that have been presented by the pandemic and the opportunity to align and update your estate planning materials to ensure that they have your best interests and your intentions for your family members in mind.       

Looking at the big picture financially, it’s good to have someone else review your existing retirement, asset protection, and estate plan. Another person’s insight can help you see some of the gaps where you need to step up your planning efforts. No matter where you’re at now, our lawyers can help you put together a plan that helps protect you into the future. 

Tips for Preventing Sibling Arguments Over Your Estate Plan

June 19, 2020

Filed under: Probate — Laura Pennington @ 1:42 pm

The last thing you want is for your loved ones to end up in court battling over the terms of your estate. In addition to piling on unnecessary stress and conflict during this period, issues like this can reduce the overall value of your estate, too.

You’ve thought carefully about your estate plan and what you hope to achieve with it and the assets you leave behind. You also have to think carefully about the message that you’ll be sending to your children when your estate plan is activated. 

Leaving behind unequal inheritances might make sense for your family but it can also pave the path for potential arguments and conflicts among the siblings who have received differing amounts. If you haven’t had the conversations about your decision to go this route, you need to think about your unique family dynamics. 

Leaving unequal inheritances isn’t the only way to find yourself facing these challenges. In fact, some children who have contributed more or might see themselves as having more substantial financial needs could be frustrated by a strictly equal distribution of assets. One of the first steps that you can take is to define what fair looks like for your family that might not be the same as what it looks like for everyone else, but the more carefully that you can think about this for your individual purposes the easier it will be to approach estate planning with care.      

What’s the Appeal of Using a Trust?

June 18, 2020

Filed under: Asset Protection — Laura Pennington @ 1:48 pm

A YouGov study found that over three quarters of Americans recognize that estate planning is essential but only 40% of people within the country do have a plan in place. A trust is one of the easiest ways to add some more control and protection into your estate plan, but it’s often overlooked because people perceive them to be too difficult or only aligned with different estate planning needs and goals.

One of the most common strategies to protect your interests and ensure that you have thought about estate planning at the high level is the use of a trust. Trusts are an excellent resource to use for wealth preservation due to potentially favorable treatment for your heirs, a greater layer of privacy and control. 

The perceived complexity that a trust is very difficult to create and put together is one of the most common reasons that people don’t use this tool. While it is true that some trusts can be very complicated, it is the variety of different kinds of trusts available for use that make it more likely for someone to skip over this estate planning strategy altogether. 

A consultation with an attorney can provide a great deal of clarity around whether or not trusts do make sense for your situation and how to decide what assets should be placed inside the trust. A trust might not make sense for everybody’s individual estate planning needs but it’s a good idea to talk with a professional about whether or not this makes sense for you and your family.       

Have You Considered Your Chances of Disability?

June 17, 2020

Filed under: Incapacity Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:55 pm

Many people think of those who live with disabilities as people in older years or those who have been diagnosed with a disability at birth or very young in their life. The truth is that a disability can happen to anyone at any time as a result of an illness or an accident.

If you end up suffering in an unexpected accident or coming down with an illness that renders you unable to work, this will impact your life and the life of your family members in multiple ways. To guard against making such a situation even more difficult, it’s important to take precautions to protect your interests ahead of time with an incapacity plan. Enabling the right people to act quickly in the manner you intend for someone else to help you can make a world of difference when there are already so many things to consider about how you adapt to your new life.

Many younger people in America expect that disabilities only affect others, but thousands of young people are seriously injured due to traumatic events every single year. Many critical medical conditions can also mean that a person suffers from disability very suddenly, such as a mental illness or cancer. These can affect people regardless of their age.

In fact, for 20-year olds in the United States, there is a 1 in 4 chance of becoming disabled prior to reaching retirement age. Therefore, it can be especially dangerous to ignore the opportunities with estate planning and incapacity planning in advance. You should not wait until something happens to you or a loved one to make the decision that you want to have, your care well thought out and appropriately addressed in advance. Schedule a consultation today with an incapacity planning lawyer to learn more.

 

Don’t Forget a Tax Strategy for Your Stock Options

June 9, 2020

Filed under: Asset Protection — Laura Pennington @ 1:41 pm

Executive compensation packages have increasingly included stock options in the last several years. This means that from an estate planning perspective, you must think carefully about how and when these might affect you. Do you know how to maximize, for example, your stock options with a tax strategy?stock-option-estate-planning

Option based executive pay fell out of favor in the last 20 years but there are signs that it might have made a comeback as the stock market continued to grow. One major reason for this is that C corporations have become more attractive because of a 21% tax rate. Understanding stock options is critical for your overall financial picture and for estate planning purposes.

Stock options are a form of incentive compensation that are given to retain or reward valued employees. Typically up to 25% of that stock grant will last every year as a method for keeping employees at the company for a minimum period of time. Executives must have a comprehensive strategy that takes into account many different elements, including their personal balance sheet, their perception of risk, the company’s overall outlook and the stage that person is at in their life and career.

Speaking with experienced financial professionals and estate planning attorneys is strongly recommended if you have received stock options. The two primary types of stock options are nonqualified stock options and incentive stock options. The vesting of a compensatory stock option and a grant usually have no financial or tax implications. However, you’ll need to discuss the specifics of this strategy with your estate planning lawyer.       

The Value of Estate Planning for Baby Boomers

May 14, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:39 pm

A total of 22% of today’s population includes the baby boomer generation. Many of them are quickly reaching retirement age raising important questions about the value of estate planning.

Estate planning is so much more than passing along possessions and assets to millennial children. It is also about protecting their lifestyles and taking a long-range view towards the need for possible Medicaid support or other long-term care planning. The youngest baby boomers are turning 56 in 2020 and many of them have wealth that is expected to grow in the coming decades. 

Plenty of these baby boomers might not consider themselves wealthy outright but having a home, a second property, a car or money set inside a savings account means that you can still benefit from the strategies provided by an estate planning attorney.

This is because estate planning is more expansive than determining what happens to your possessions when you’re no longer around. It takes into account your individual decisions and preferences around long term care and health care. Schedule a consultation today with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney to discuss how this can fit into your plan as a baby boomer.     

Our law office is still open but helping our clients over the phone and virtually. Don’t hesitate to reach out to determine how we can help you connect your estate plan, your elder law plan, and your retirement plan. 

Charitable Gifting During the Pandemic, Tips to Use & Tricks to Avoid

Filed under: Estate Planning — Raymund Rasco @ 2:10 pm

No one could have foreseen or wished for this Pandemic, or the impact that it has had on our planet. Yet one of the silver linings of all the current events has been the compassion and willingness that humanity has exhibited in helping one another. The amount of kindness, charitable gifting & volunteer work has been tremendous, and it is quite different than it was prior to the Pandemic.

Specifically, under the CARES act passed earlier this year, there are several changes to the way gifting is done to charitable organizations.

To start, there is now a $300 deduction available for Charitable Gifts to qualified organizations, even if you’re not itemizing your tax deductions. That is a change from the current law. It’s not clear whether this will continue beyond 2020, but it has certainly made it easier to obtain a tax benefit as a result of the gift.

Also, there is a suspension for tax year 2020 of the rule that requires you to limit your charitable deduction to 60% of your adjusted gross income – no matter how much you’ve gifted. There seems to be no limit in 2020.

Gifting for Retirees has taken on a different angle as well.  Because of the suspension of the rule that requires retirees to take Required Minimum Distributions from their Qualified retirement accounts, retirees might be less incentivized to utilize the Qualified Charitable Deduction tool which allows them to gift directly to a charity from retirement accounts such as and IRA and 401k (thereby reducing potential tax liability.)  Although that rule is still an acceptable method of gifting, and should still be considered when gifting above the $300 amount.

Unfortunately situations like this also bring out the worst in some people. That also means that scammers and those with less altruistic intentions can take advantage of generosity. Two tools which can be used to investigate whether or not a charity is in fact a legitimate charity and determine whether or not is properly formed for tax purposes are (a) the IRS website and (b) the Charity Navigator website. Specifically under the IRS website you can do a search to see whether it is a tax exempt organization.

It’s important to set the expectation at the onset whether or not you are expecting to receive a tax benefit as a result of your charitable gift. It’s not always the case that the donor is seeking tax benefits.  However, if a tax benefit (deduction) is sought, best to confirm that it is a 501 (c) (3) organization & obtain proper documentation of the gift.

Checking on some smaller charities & grassroots organizations/movements is much more difficult – it’s important to know how you came across the charity – a personal connection? Social media? Or did they solicit you from out of the blue.  Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions of the organizers.

Gofundme.com  pages have had a tremendous impact on helping with causes, although they’re usually not for tax-exempt charities. You should know that there is minimal supervision & policing of what exactly is done with the money after it’s been collected. Again, here a personal connection to the cause and to the persons in charge of the cause is helpful to determine legitimacy.

Neel and Pink recently hosted a Webinar on Facebook and on Youtube with such grassroots organizations, you can find the replay here: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10221506184629053&id=13845705

Taking Control (5/12/20): How We Are Taking Care of Each Other

Property Tax Relief is Coming for New Jersey Homeowners

May 12, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 9:13 am

An executive order from Governor Phil Murphy now means that municipalities can update their property tax payment deadline from May 1st to June 1st. According to research completed by The Tax Foundation, The Garden State is actually home to the highest mean effective property tax in the entire country at 2.21%.

This gives homeowners in New Jersey a little bit of breathing room in their taxes. Now is a really good time to evaluate your current tax obligations across the board. 

Do you have appropriate tax planning strategies in place to protect your estate as well as taking into consideration the possibility of needing long term care in the future? Schedule a consultation with an experienced New Jersey estate planning lawyer if you have more questions about the best way to protect your interests. 

Do you have planning in place for what will happen to your property if something happens to you? Do you own other real property either in New Jersey or in a different state? You need to plan for this as part of your asset transfer strategy. 

Tax strategy planning can go a long way in helping you to avoid problems and potential disputes down the line. When your estate enters the probate process, the work you’ve already done in terms of planning will help your family members during this difficult time and ensure a smooth transfer of your property using the tools you’ve already outlined. 

Schedule a consultation with a lawyer who is very familiar with state and federal taxes and how they fit into the bigger picture of your estate plan.       

Protect Your Company Longevity with Business Succession Planning

May 11, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:27 pm

An important part of owning a successful business isn’t just documenting what you do now that makes you effective but also outlining a plan for what happens when you decide it’s time to move on or are forced to move on for circumstances outside your control.

Do you already have a successor lined up who can make the difficult decisions that you have made in the past? The next in line person to take over your role and take the business into the future should be someone who has a big passion for the work, the expertise needed to leverage business longevity and the willingness and ability to work with other employees.

Far too many small and medium sized businesses fail due to a lack of succession planning. In fact, the exit planning institute reports that 78% of businesses have no transition team in place and nearly 83% have no written transition plan. The employees staying in the business and the entire company at risk.

The right succession plan will be created now before you have any intention of leaving. It helps to protect a thriving enterprise and covers the need to transfer control to a successor and the possibility of the owner’s sudden departure. Finding the right successor is a process that should begin now.

Talk to our business succession planning lawyer today to learn more about how to begin the process. Your succession plan is there to help your employees, your leadership team, and the company not just survive your departure, but to continue growing and building on the firm foundation of success you already set up.

What Is A Long-Term Care Plan?

May 6, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:06 pm

Research shows that two out of every three Americans will need some form of assistance with activities of daily living. These activities of daily living are defined as dressing, bathing, walking, and toileting.

These activities of daily living could be impeded for an extended period of time or for a short term. Long-term care is often associated with nursing homes, but this is not the only way where the individuals can get support with care. In fact, the truth is that many people who need additional assistance get that care from home.

A long-term care plan is your big picture understanding of what you intend to happen in your retirement years and beyond in the event that you need long term care assistance. It is a common misconception that Medicare, the federal program that administers health care benefits for senior citizens, will step in to pay for long term care services on your behalf.

Medicare does not cover the vast majority of long-term care expenses and for those who do not have a long-term care insurance policy to support them, it falls to them to self-fund for their care. This can be especially overwhelming and confusing for those families that are approaching the long-term care crisis for the very first time. An elder law attorney or estate planning attorney can assist you with crafting a long-term care plan with your individual needs in mind.       

Is Now the Right Time to Pull Cash from Your IRA? Beware the Tax Implications

May 5, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 10:34 am

It might feel as though everything is up in the air with your financial planning situation lately. Since this has impacts on your day to day life and your overall financial picture, it’s important to think about how any changes you make now in light of the pandemic could influence your estate planning picture.

Our estate planning law firm is here to help you evaluate your current strategies or define your next steps for adjusting your strategy. The IRS has been issuing guidance about issues ranging from the Paycheck Protection Program to the ability to pull money from your IRA, but it’s up to you to be informed about how you respond and what you do next.

As of May 2020, you can remove up to $100,000 from your IRA so long as you pay it back within three years and take no tax hit for that transaction. However, you might be looking at some tax issues in the interim. The IRS has chosen to call these transactions coronavirus-related distributions. But as with all aspects of the new programs available to individuals and business owners, proceed with caution.

Each withdrawal and then repayment back into the IRA is treated like a rollover transaction classified as “free.” The good news about this is that there are no limits on what you can use the money you withdraw for, however, you might need to file amended tax returns in order to get the federal-income-tax-free treatment.

If your IRA was also an important component of your retirement and estate plan, you’ll want to think carefully about what makes the most sense in terms of how you proceed and whether pulling money from your IRA is the right choice for you right now. If you need assistance in recalibrating your estate plan or strategies right now, set up a meeting with our office to discuss options- we’re still working and here to help virtually.

Long-Term Investors, Don’t Let a Recession Faze You

May 4, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Raymund Rasco @ 9:49 pm

With activity in many industries sharply curtailed in an effort to reduce the chances of spreading the coronavirus, some economists say a recession is inevitable, if one hasn’t already begun.1 From a markets perspective, we have already experienced a drop in stocks, as prices have likely incorporated the growing chance of recession. Investors may be tempted to abandon equities and go to cash because of perceptions of recessions and their impact. But across the two years that follow a recession’s onset, equities have a history of positive performance.

Data covering the past century’s 15 US recessions show that investors tended to be rewarded for sticking with stocks. Exhibit 1 shows that in 11 of the 15 instances, or 73% of the time, returns on stocks were positive two years after a recession began. The annualized market return for the two years following a recession’s start averaged 7.8%.

Recessions understandably trigger worries over how markets might perform. But history can be a comfort for investors wondering whether now may be the time to move out of stocks.

GLOSSARY
Fama/French Total US Market Research Index: The value-weighed US market index is constructed every month, using all issues listed on the NYSE, AMEX, or Nasdaq with available outstanding shares and valid prices for that month and the month before. Exclusions: American Depositary Receipts. Sources: CRSP for value-weighted US market return. Rebalancing: Monthly. Dividends: Reinvested in the paying company until the portfolio is rebalanced.

_______________________________________________

Nelson D. Schwartz, “Coronavirus Recession Looms, Its Course ‘Unrecognizable,’” New YorkTimes, March 21, 2020; Peter Coy, “The U.S. May Already Be in a Recession,” Bloomberg Businessweek, March 6, 2020.

_______________________________________________

Sources: Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Kinds of Powers to Give to an Attorney in Fact

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:44 pm

When you appoint another person to make decisions for you that are legally binding, you need to use a power of attorney to establish this authority. The person you empower is referred to as an attorney-in-fact. There are many different kinds of powers that can be given to this person, and the most common ways to use such a document include giving them authority for your medical decisions or your financial choices.

However, you can decide with your lawyer what makes the most sense in terms of giving powers to your attorney-in-fact. Tailoring the POA to work for you means thinking about whether or not you have other things you’d like to be able to pass on to this agent.

You can specifically name the kinds of things you’d like this agent to be able to do, such as:

  • Paying for a child’s medical expenses or college tuition
  • Hiring a repairman to fix something on your property
  • Handling government benefits or filing for taxes
  • Exchanging, purchasing, or selling certain goods
  • Giving to charities with your assets
  • Handling the management of your existing insurance policies
  • Accepting benefits and changing retirement plans

You can make your power of attorney document as specific or as broad as you choose. The important thing is that you have a lawyer review this document and walk you through the benefits or potential challenges of the way you’ve laid it out. This will give you clarity and the chance to update or adjust things as needed.

Not everyone can be an attorney-in-fact. This person must be classified in your state as an adult, should not be someone who is filing for or waiting approval for a bankruptcy discharge, and not the owner or employee of a nursing home where the principal (the person creating the document) is a current resident. It’s a good idea to select someone who is comfortable serving in this important role and someone who you trust with your affairs.

Have more questions about the process of creating and implementing a power of attorney? Speak with a lawyer today about your options.

Your Estate Plan Probably Needs a Trust

April 28, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:35 pm

Some people assume that unless your estate size is substantial, that you can skip out on enhanced protections provided by something, such as a trust.

You might even assume that it’s not necessary to hire an attorney to create a will for you. However, a knowledgeable lawyer will take the big picture look at all of the issues in your estate plan including those you have not considered and provide you with a step by step roadmap that minimizes the potential of exposure to will contests and other lawsuits.

Your attorney can also help connect the dots between your situation and the strategies available to you, such as the benefits of creating a trust. Creating a trust enables a grantor or the person developing this trust to have more control over what their heirs do with money and assets and the manner in which the heirs receive this information. This can be especially important if you have younger heirs and you are concerned about their ability to effectively receive and manage these assets.

A trust can include specific rules designed at your discretion so that the heirs don’t, for example, receive all of the inheritance at once or they receive it after completing their college education, for example.

Additionally, by creating a trust you can also transfer property without exposing your assets to public record or going through probate court. If you don’t yet have a trust as a component of your estate plan, schedule a consultation with a lawyer today.       

How Long Would It Take for My Estate to Be Settled?

April 27, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:14 pm

If you have done the necessary planning to ensure that your estate has been discussed with a knowledgeable estate planning lawyer, this is the first phase in protecting your desires and giving your loved ones an opportunity to receive the benefits you intended when you pass away. A common question either as a beneficiary to an estate or as you plan your own estate, is how long it can take for an estate to be settled.

Get help from a NJ probate lawyer

One year is a good rule of thumb for an estate to be settled. It can take a long time to dig through all of the details, to clean out the house or apartment, to file a final tax return, to liquidate any investments, pay off bills and even sell real estate. When everything has been held in trust and there is nothing in probate, it can go a lot faster. The process can also take longer if there are other complications, such as a need to sell real estate.

There can also be issues associated with anyone who files a challenge on the existing status of the will. Set up a consultation with our estate planning attorneys today to discuss how to make your estate easier to handle for your loved ones so that you have the peace of mind that comes with putting all of your estate plans in order.       

While it might seem like this process is a long ways off, you don’t want your loved ones dealing with the consequences of your lack of planning. Set up time to speak with an attorney who can help you structure your estate plan the right way.

Do You Have a Plan for Social Security Benefits with Your Estate?

April 22, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 12:35 pm

Benefits provided by social security are often one component of an overall estate plan that can also easily slip through the cracks. It is essential to have a financial power of attorney to ensure that there is another person to step in and take care of your finances if you become unable to do so as a result of illness or injury.

A financial power of attorney is a crucial component of your estate plan and since part of managing your overall finances is to manage your social security benefits, it is important to realize that the social security administration doesn’t recognize power of attorneys. In fact, you may need to contact the social security administration in advance as part of your estate plan to name a designation of a representative payee.

This program was created under a 2018 law that allows a person to name one or more other individuals responsible for managing the applicant’s social security benefits. The SSA then must work with the named individuals or individual. You can rank up to three people as advanced designees and list them in order of priority.

A person who is already getting Social Security benefits at their age can also name an advanced designee at any time and someone who is just beginning to claim benefits from the Social Security Administration can also name the designee during the claiming process.

You can do this on the Social Security website or by contacting the social security administration over phone to get further support. Using the website is currently in your best interests as many different government agencies are being contacted by many people at once and there are long wait and hold times on the phone. Schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer today to discuss benefits including Social Security that might affect your future planning.

These Two Cornerstones are the First Step Towards Making Your Estate Plan

April 21, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:17 pm

Today, estate planning attorneys are being contacted at record numbers to get assistance in putting together power of attorney documents or wills in the midst of the pandemic. If you are in a situation in which you feel compelled to quickly pull together your estate plan, it’s important to partner with a knowledgeable professional in the form of an estate planning lawyer. Certain suggestions can help you accomplish your goals more effectively than others. 

One of the most important things you can do is to schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning lawyer. An estate planning lawyer will have the necessary experience in understanding your state’s laws to be able to craft a legally valid document that takes into account the state and federal issues as well as your unique concerns when you approach your own estate plan.

There are many different questions that need to be answered and it is in your best interests to make sure that an attorney has helped you craft and review these documents to verify that they meet necessary rules and regulations.

Be wary of attempting to pull together a general estate plan or general estate plan documents, such as a will, on your own. While there are many online planning tools that can help give you the information to jumpstart this process, these should not be relied on as your only resource.

The second thing you can do to pull together your estate plan quickly is to create a valid will. It’s important that this document is created under the state laws of the area in which you reside. Some people believe that this can be a challenge with stay at home restrictions but you can contact your estate planning attorney to learn more about what you need to know and how you can jumpstart the process so that you do not miss out on the important opportunity to get your estate plan in line.

Scheduling a phone or Zoom consultation with your estate planning lawyer today is the necessary first step to give you peace of mind and to ensure that you are on track to create these documents that could become critically important now or in the future.

What Is Long Term Care Insurance? Do You Really Need It for Your Estate Plan?

April 20, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 2:36 pm

Many older Americans have been thinking about the concept of long-term care insurance recently and with good reason. Chances are good that you’ll become injured or sick at some point during your retirement and require extra support to pay for your medical bills.

This is a service that can be especially valuable to long term care insurance policy holders. In the past, many of these policies were sold with one single premium, meaning a lump sum payment of up to $50,000 or $100,000 per individual. However, long term care insurance companies have evolved significantly to allow annual payments for this important protection. 

Since research shows that it’s approximately a 50% chance that a 65-year-old American will require some form of long-term care insurance in the future, you could be personally responsible for paying up to $140,000 if you don’t have this all-important long-term care insurance.

However, the vast majority of US seniors have put off purchasing long term care insurance because they think they don’t need it or that it’s too expensive. Only 7.2 million people in the United States currently have long term care insurance.

Those who choose to skip it are taking a big risk in doing so. Do you have a plan for what will happen to your money if you were to suddenly need LTC? Would it harm the savings plan you have in place with your spouse? Then you need Medicaid planning. 

It’s also important to remember that someone who faces challenges with long term care insurance might not only encounter these challenges in the concept of their retirement years. A person can sustain an injury that requires long term care rehabilitation at other ages in their life, such as a bicyclist who is struck in an accident and seriously hurt. Long term care insurance should form an important component of your personal estate planning responsibility.

Life Insurance: Is it Part of Your Estate Plan?

April 15, 2020

Filed under: Estate Planning — Laura Pennington @ 1:25 pm

As part of an estate plan, your knowledgeable attorney might recommend different tools to help you accomplish your individual goals and allow for the streamlined transfer of assets to your loved ones. This can mean using something such as life insurance to help support other asset transfers within your overall estate plan.

There are three primary types of life insurance you might consider in this process: group, whole and term. Group insurance is most frequently offered as part of an employee benefits package and therefore, this is extremely convenient.

The challenge, however, is that this kind of insurance will not follow you during a career change and you’ll also want to determine whether the amount of the set policy is really enough to support your family in the event that you pass away.

Whole life insurance is much more expensive because it covers an individual for their entire lifetime while also offering an added benefit in the form of cash value that increases over time. It’s a good idea to have an advisor or insurance agent help you with this process since purchasing whole life can be expensive and confusing. The final kind of insurance that is most popular for people who are thinking about it in the context in their estate plan is term life insurance.

Term life insurance is the most affordable option and it is seen as renting insurance since you get the policy for a period of 10, 15, 20 or 30 years. This enables you to protect your income during your primary working years, for example.       

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