Estate Planning and Elder Law

What is the Difference Between Estate Planning and Elder Law?

Answer: 

It is a common misunderstanding that elder law is only for the elderly and that only wealthy people in the latter part of their lives should take up estate planning. But neither is true. Everyone has an estate — it just depends on what is a part of it. Elder law is an area of law that touches anyone at any age who wants to be old in the future. Well before reaching old age, many people wonder:

  • What will happen to me if I cannot make decisions for myself anymore?
  • Who will make decisions for me?
  • Are there special benefits I could qualify for?
  • How will I deal with any financial obligations?
  • What will I do with some of my belongings?
  • Where will I live when I am old, and how will I pay for it?

These types of questions are what elder law is meant to answer. Engaging an elder law attorney and considering concerns and options means taking a proactive, forward-thinking approach, especially for people with health and medical concerns. Estate planning is often a part of elder law, but elder law goes beyond just estate planning because it also addresses quality of life, housing, familial, financial, and even medical concerns.

What Does an Estate Planning Attorney Do?

Everyone can benefit from an estate plan, and not even the wealthy are immune to the damage that can be done to families in conflict when the deceased left without a plan in place. Anything you own is part of your estate: car, home, bank accounts, life insurance, furnishings, and personal property. You should start thinking about an estate plan early and regularly update it throughout the course of your life.

An estate planning attorney helps people think ahead, prepare, and make arrangements while still living for disposition of their estate after death. Estate planning helps to minimize taxes and probate costs. If you do not work with an estate planner to create an estate plan ahead of time, then your estate may be distributed according to default state rules and courts. If you die without a plan, then the default probate law will govern how your estate is distributed, which may mean that your spouse, children, or other relatives will not be provided for in the way you would have wanted.

Estate planning attorneys discuss wills, trusts, beneficiary designations, powers of attorney, gifts, financing arrangements, or insurance with clients to prepare potential estate plans. Some of the ways estate planning attorneys help include:

  • Help provide instructions regarding who gets what and when so that your wishes are carried out
  • Minimize taxes, court fees, and other expenses
  • Health care directives including instructions on what should be done if you become disabled
  • Take care of minor children by naming guardians and ensuring the right person will manage any inheritance
  • Provide for special needs relatives
  • Insurance, including life, disability, and long-term care
  • Ensure wishes are carried out as to any business plans including transfers of ownership

What Does an Elder Law Attorney Do?

Elder law is very broad and actually encompasses many areas of law. Elder law can include all the functions of estate planning, but it goes further. Special financial and life concerns come along with all stages of life. People are living longer, healthier, and more exciting lives than ever, but this means people need to plan more carefully for themselves and their families. More people are thinking ahead and thoughtfully planning out their lives whether it is budgeting finances so you can go travel, understanding veterans benefits, or figuring out how to finance housing. Anyone at any age should be planning their finances and making arrangements so that none of life’s twists and turns will catch you off guard. An elder law attorney can represent, counsel, and assist individuals across many areas of law including:

  • Estate planning: wills, living trusts, insurance
  • Conservatorship / Guardianship
  • Medicaid, Medicare, social security
  • Retirement benefits
  • Long-term care and housing, including financing
  • Retirement income
  • Age discrimination
  • Elder abuse and neglect, including abuse in nursing homes
  • Healthcare and medical decision making, including durable power of attorney
  • Disability planning
  • Veterans planning
  • Insurance issues
  • End of life decisions

An elder law attorney is good at handling and finding solutions for the financial, physical, and even emotional needs of clients thinking about life concerns and priorities that need to be thought out and arranged for. The attorney can serve as a resource to navigate handling finances, determining benefit eligibility, discussing medical care contingency plans, or helping you understand your rights. Prudent decision making today will mean easier decision making later. You never know when a you or a loved one will get too sick to make decisions or live independently. Medical costs can quickly rack up, so it is important to think ahead.

People often get overwhelmed and don’t know what to do if they haven’t made a plan and they or a loved one becomes very sick or needs nursing care. Many people don’t even know where to start when considering how to pay for nursing homes or protecting finances. Nursing homes can cost $75,000 or more per year. Too many seniors exhaust all their savings, thinking they have no choice, when planning ahead could have offered better alternatives. Another misconception is that in order to protect their assets, they need to gift them at least five years prior to entering a nursing home. Many people don’t realize that improper gifting could forfeit your eligibility for Medicaid benefits.

An elder law attorney holistically considers all the unique features of a person’s life, weighing advantages and disadvantages, to best plan for life’s necessities and wishes. It is never too early to start thinking about planning out your finances, benefits, medical care decisions, and housing issues — concerns, dreams, expectations, and preferences should all be addressed now.

Elder Law and Estate Planning: Partnering with You for Your Future

Aside from the fact that elder law largely encompasses estate planning, it may be helpful to point out how these areas of law function for clients. Both estate planners and elder law attorneys protect their clients. Estate planners help clients protect their estates and make sure their wishes are carried out. Elder law attorneys protect their clients many additional ways — counseling prudent financial choices, holding caregivers accountable for medication errors, setting up powers of attorney so the right person is making decisions, or fighting against age discrimination. Elder law attorneys and estate planners are also similar in that they both act as partners with their clients: listening, collaborating, and communicating about what would be the best plan for each individual’s special circumstances.

National Directories of Estate Planning Attorneys and Elder Law Attorneys

If you have questions about Estate Planning or Elder Law issues in your state, you can find thousands of Estate Planning Attorneys and Elder Law Attorneys across America in the following online Directories:

Estate Planning Attorneys

Elder Law Attorneys

These are  2 of 15 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that are sponsored by the ElderCare Matters Alliance, a national organization of Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

1. ElderCareMatters.com
2. ElderCareWebsites.com
3. FindDailyMoneyManagers.net
4. FindElderCareMediators.net
5. FindElderLawAttorneys.net
6. FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net
7. FindGeriatricCareManagers.net
8. FindHomeCareProviders.net
9. FindLongTermCareInsurance.net
10. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net
11. FindProbateAttorneys.net
12. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net
13. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net
14. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net
15. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

In the ElderCare Matters Alliance-sponsored Elder Care / Senior Care Directories you will also find Answers and Articles about a wide range of Elder Care Matters, information that is provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners – some of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals who are members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance and have years of experience in helping families with Elder Care Matters.

Estate Planners and Elder Law Attorneys

Don L. Rosenberg, Attorney and Counselor
The Center for Elder Law
Troy, Michigan
An ElderCare Matters Partner


Probate Law

What is Probate Law?

Answer:  The loss of a loved one can be one of the most difficult situations you’ll ever face. Unfortunately, dealing with the distribution of your loved one’s assets-especially if he or she did not leave behind a will-can add stress to an already emotional time. Probate administration is the legal process by which assets from a deceased individual are distributed among beneficiaries.

National Directory of Probate Attorneys

If you have questions about Probate legal issues in your state, you can find thousands of Probate Attorneys from across America in one online Directory titled FindProbateAttorneys.net. This is 1 of 15 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that is sponsored by the ElderCare Matters Alliance, a national organization of Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

1. ElderCareMatters.com
2. ElderCareWebsites.com
3. FindDailyMoneyManagers.net
4. FindElderCareMediators.net
5. FindElderLawAttorneys.net
6. FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net
7. FindGeriatricCareManagers.net
8. FindHomeCareProviders.net
9. FindLongTermCareInsurance.net
10. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net
11. FindProbateAttorneys.net
12. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net
13. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net
14. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net
15. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

In the ElderCare Matters Alliance-sponsored Elder Care / Senior Care Directories you will also find Answers and Articles about a wide range of Elder Care Matters, information that is provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners – some of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals who are members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance and have years of experience in helping families with Elder Care Matters.

Arizona Probate Attorney

 

Keith R. Lyman, Esq.
Keith R. Lyman, LLC
Phoenix, Arizona
An ElderCare Matters Partner


Medicaid Qualification Criteria – 2015

What are the 2015 Medicaid Qualification Criteria for residents of the state of Florida?

Answer:  Here are the Monthly Income Limits, Total Assets Limits, and information about Transfers as they pertain to Florida’s Medicaid Qualification Criteria for 2015. 

Monthly Income Limits

  • Medicaid Applicant’s (MA) income cannot exceed $2,199.00 gross income per month. If income exceeds $2,199.00 gross income per month, then a qualified income trust (QIT) must be established and the bank account funded in the month of application and ongoing.
  • If Medicaid Applicant (MA) is married, the spouse’s income is NOT available for eligibility purposes. Spouse’s income is only considered after MA qualifies and for purposes of diversion of some of MA’s income to the community spouse (aka well spouse) at home for expenses.
  • Income includes social security, civil service, pensions, VA pension, interest, annuity income and mortgage income annuity income.

Total Assets Limits

  • “Countable assets” = savings accounts, checking accounts, money market accounts, certificates of deposit, stocks, corporate and municipal bonds, U.S. savings bonds, real property other than homestead (includes instate and out-of-state real property), limited amounts of whole life (cash value less than or equal to $2,500).
  • “Exempt Assets” = Homestead property, 1 automobile, household furnishings, wedding ring, burial space, prepaid funeral contract, designated burial fund account ($2,500 maximum) or funeral trust ($15,000 maximum), unlimited amounts of term life insurance.
  • Medicaid Applicant’s assets cannot exceed $2,000 + “exempt” assets.
  • If Medicaid Applicant is married, and applying for nursing home (ICP) program, the community (aka well-spouse or at home spouse) spouse’s assets may be an additional $117,240 + exempt assets.
  • If the community spouse’s assets produce very little income (less than $1939 per month), he or she may receive income from the institutionalized spouse and if a shortfall exists, the community spouse may be entitled to a greater Community Spouse Resource Allowance (CSRA) (up to $2,931) through appeal processes.

Transfers

  • Transfers between husband and wife or wife and husband are unlimited and do not create a penalty period.
  • Transfers or gifts made to anyone other than a spouse within the last 5 years result in a penalty period. If a penalty period is imposed by DCF, then no Medicaid benefits will be paid during the penalty period.
  • Calculation of Penalty period-take the value of all gifts that fall within the penalty period and divide by $7,638. Suppose that the total gifts equal $15,276, and then dividing $15,276 by $7,638 would be a 2 month penalty period.
  • A Medicaid Application is now required to be filed in order to trigger a penalty period. New rule effective 11/01/2011.
  • A penalty period can only be triggered if an individual is “otherwise eligible” for Medicaid. New rule effective 11/01/2011.

National Directory of Medicaid Attorneys

If you have questions about Medicaid issues in your state, you can find thousands of Medicaid Attorneys from across America in one online Directory titled FindMedicaidAttorneys.net. This is 1 of 15 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that is sponsored by the ElderCare Matters Alliance, a national organization of Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

1.   ElderCareMatters.com
2.   ElderCareWebsites.com
3.   FindDailyMoneyManagers.net
4.   FindElderCareMediators.net
5.   FindElderLawAttorneys.net
6.   FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net
7.   FindGeriatricCareManagers.net
8.   FindHomeCareProviders.net
9.   FindLongTermCareInsurance.net
10. FindMedicaidAttorneys.net
11.  FindProbateAttorneys.net
12. FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net
13. FindSeniorMoveManagers.net
14. FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net
15. FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

In the ElderCare Matters Alliance-sponsored Elder Care / Senior Care Directories you will also find Answers and Articles about a wide range of Elder Care Matters, information that is provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners – some of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals who are members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance and have years of experience in helping families with Elder Care Matters.

 

Medicaid Attorney
Ivan Michael Tucker, Esq.
Law Office of I. Michael Tucker, PLC
Altamonte Springs, Florida
An ElderCare Matters Partner


Answer to Medicaid Question

Do I have to spend all my money before I will qualify for Medicaid?

Answer:  While Medicaid is a “spend down” program, you don’t have to be destitute, or leave your spouse destitute, to qualify for Medicaid. Certain assets and transfers are exempt from a Medicaid spend down, and by effective planning, you can qualify for Medicaid and still keep, transfer, or gift certain assets to your love ones.

National Directory of Medicaid Attorneys

You can find thousands of Medicaid Attorneys in one online Directory titled FindMedicaidAttorneys.net. This is 1 of 15 “Mobile Friendly” Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that is sponsored by the ElderCare Matters Alliance, a national organization of Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

1. www.ElderCareMatters.com
2. www.ElderCareWebsites.com
3. www.FindDailyMoneyManagers.net
4. www.FindElderCareMediators.net
5. www.FindElderLawAttorneys.net
6. www.FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net
7. www.FindGeriatricCareManagers.net
8. www.FindHomeCareProviders.net
9. www.FindLongTermCareInsurance.net
10. www.FindMedicaidAttorneys.net
11. www.FindProbateAttorneys.net
12. www.FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net
13. www.FindSeniorMoveManagers.net
14. www.FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net
15. www.FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

In our Elder Care / Senior Care Directories you will also find Answers and Articles about a wide range of Elder Care Matters, information that is provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners – some of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals who are members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance and have years of experience in helping families with Elder Care Matters.

Medicaid Attorney

James C. Siebert, Esq.
The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates
Arlington Heights, Illinois
An ElderCare Matters Partner


Geriatric Care Manager Answers Today’s Question about Elder Care “Red Flags”

Are there some “Red Flags” that will help us identify when Mom needs help with her Elder Care Matters?  And is there a national Directory of Care Managers that we can use to find a Geriatric Care Manager near us?

Answer:  Below is a list of some of those “Red Flags” that you should be looking out for that may suggest that your mother needs help with her Elder Care Matters:

  • Deteriorating hygiene or appearance
  • Erratic or inappropriate behavior changes
  • Increasing confusion or disorientation
  • Depression with tearfulness, loss of appetite
  • Signs of insufficient nutrition, dehydration, or weight loss
  • Inability to manage money
  • Friends or neighbors express concern
  • Inability to manage medications
  • Unclean or unsafe living environment
  • Falling, lack of mobility, wandering, or significant vision or hearing difficulties
  • Wears same clothing more than two days in a row
  • Difficulty getting out of bed and preparing for the day
  • Noted changes in short term memory loss

National Directory of Geriatric Care Managers

You can find thousands of Geriatric Care Managers across America in the online Directory titled FindGeriatricCareManagers.net. This is 1 of the 15 Elder Care / Senior Care Directories (as listed below) that is sponsored by the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

1. www.ElderCareMatters.com
2. www.ElderCareWebsites.com
3. www.FindDailyMoneyManagers.net
4. www.FindElderCareMediators.net
5. www.FindElderLawAttorneys.net
6. www.FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net
7. www.FindGeriatricCareManagers.net
8. www.FindHomeCareProviders.net
9. www.FindLongTermCareInsurance.net
10. www.FindMedicaidAttorneys.net
11. www.FindProbateAttorneys.net
12. www.FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net
13. www.FindSeniorMoveManagers.net
14. www.FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net
15. www.FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

In these Directories you will also find Answers and Articles about a wide range of Elder Care / Senior Care Matters, information that is provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners – some of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals who are members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance and have years of experience in helping families with the issues of aging.

Find Geriatric Care Managers
Lauren Spiglanin
Family Connect Care
Rancho Palos Verdes, California
An ElderCare Matters Partner


What is a Supplemental Needs Trust? Today’s Q&A on ElderCareMatters.com

What is a Supplemental Needs Trust?  Today’s Q&A on ElderCareMatters.com

Answer:  A Supplemental Needs Trust, sometimes called a Special Needs Trust is created to ensure that beneficiaries who are disabled or mentally ill can enjoy the use of property, which is intended to be held for their benefit. In addition to personal planning reasons for such a trust, such as the person lacks the capacity to handle their financial affairs, there may be fiscal advantages to the use of this type of trust.

Leaving money to someone who receives essential government benefits can create serious problems. A Special Needs Trust may avoid beneficiaries losing access to such benefits. A Special Needs Trust is most often a “stand alone” document, but it can form part of a Last Will and Testament. A Special Needs Trust can be a valuable estate planning and investment tool.

A/Z Health, Trust & Elder Law LLC will help you protect your disabled family member’s eligibility for benefits, to ensure that they have every opportunity for a fulfilled and happy life.

National Directory of Special Needs Attorneys

You can find thousands of Special Needs Attorneys across America in the online Directory titled FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net.  This is 1 of the 15 Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that is sponsored by the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

1. www.ElderCareMatters.com
2. www.ElderCareWebsites.com
3. www.FindDailyMoneyManagers.net
4. www.FindElderCareMediators.net
5. www.FindElderLawAttorneys.net
6. www.FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net
7. www.FindGeriatricCareManagers.net
8. www.FindHomeCareProviders.net
9. www.FindLongTermCareInsurance.net
10. www.FindMedicaidAttorneys.net
11. www.FindProbateAttorneys.net
12. www.FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net
13. www.FindSeniorMoveManagers.net
14. www.FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net
15. www.FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

In these Directories you will also find Answers and Articles about a wide range of Elder Care & Special Needs Matters, information that is provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners – some of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals who are members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance and have years of experience in helping families with Elder Care & Special Needs Matters.

Find Special Needs Attorneys
Mary Kay Furiasse, BSN, JD, LLM
A/Z Health, Trust & Elder Law, LLC
Wheaton, Illinois
An ElderCare Matters Partner


Today’s Q&A on ElderCareMatters.com is about handling Probate when property is owned in other states

Question:  How would probate be handled for my mother who lives in her paid off home in Michigan but also owns real estate in other states as well? And where can I find a Directory of Probate Attorneys?

Answer:  When this type of situation happens you will usually have to open probate in each state. Probate is the process by which a court grants an executor, personal representative or administrator authority to deal with property owned by a deceased individual as directed in the individual’s will. The reason for needing to open a probate case in multiple states is that each state has separate probate laws. The domiciled state has jurisdiction over all real estate located within that state. The probate court located in the state the deceased party lived in as of the time of death is where the primary probate proceeding will occur.

The only part of the estate that the primary probate court does not have jurisdiction over is any real property (real estate) owned outside the state. Therefore, a separate probate proceeding called an “ancillary” probate must be opened to deal with out-of-state real estate in the state the property is located. If there is ownership of real estate in multiple states, then additional ancillary probate cases will need to be opened in each state. Without an ancillary estate opened for each state, then any deeds or other transfers of that real estate may not be binding and a cloud on title could result.

Most often the executor named in the last will and testament files all the required probate proceedings. The primary probate judge grants the executor authority over the money, accounts, personal property, business interests, etc., as well as the real property within that state. Then the executor would file for the ancillary probate where the out-of-state properties are located. The executor must apply to the probate court in each jurisdiction and request authority to handle the property within that state.

In Michigan, opening an ancillary probate is similar to opening a primary probate. The difference is that the Michigan probate court’s primary concern is the real estate owned in Michigan. The probate court will also need certified or exemplified copies of the probate court proceedings from the primary probate and any ancillary probate matters being handled in other states. As a result, you will want to open the primary probate before opening the ancillary probate.

Probate matters are very complex and take an experienced probate attorney to ensure your rights are protected and give you competent legal advice – especially when multiple states are involved due to the variance of laws in each state.

If your loved one lived in Michigan and you need to file a probate case to handle their estate, contact the experienced estate lawyers at Barron, Rosenberg, Mayoras & Mayoras, P.C. at (248) 641-7070 right away.

We can also help not only with ancillary estates in Michigan, but also working with probate professionals in other states, such as Florida, from the network of estate and elder attorneys we have relationships with, so that we can serve as a one-stop shop to administer multiple estates in different states.

National Directory of Probate Attorneys

You can find thousands of Probate Attorneys in one online Directory titled FindProbateAttorneys.net.  This is 1 of 15 Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that is sponsored by the ElderCare Matters Alliance, a national organization of Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

1. www.ElderCareMatters.com
2. www.ElderCareWebsites.com
3. www.FindDailyMoneyManagers.net
4. www.FindElderCareMediators.net
5. www.FindElderLawAttorneys.net
6. www.FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net
7. www.FindGeriatricCareManagers.net
8. www.FindHomeCareProviders.net
9. www.FindLongTermCareInsurance.net
10. www.FindMedicaidAttorneys.net
11. www.FindProbateAttorneys.net
12. www.FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net
13. www.FindSeniorMoveManagers.net
14. www.FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net
15. www.FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

In our Elder Care / Senior Care Directories you will also find Answers and Articles about a wide range of Elder Care Matters, information that is provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners – some of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals who are members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance and have years of experience in helping families with Elder Care Matters.

Find Probate Attorneys
Don L. Rosenberg, Attorney and Counselor
The Center for Elder Law
Troy, Michigan
An ElderCare Matters Partner


What are Elder Law Attorneys and where can I find a Directory of Elder Law Attorneys?

Question:  What are Elder Law Attorneys and where can I find a Directory of Elder Law Attorneys?

Answer:  Elder Law Attorneys are attorneys who work with the elderly.  They bring more to their practice than just experience with the legal issues. They have an understanding of the elderly that allows them and their staff to ignore the myths related to aging. At the same time, they recognize and empathize with the true physical, mental, social and financial difficulties that often accompany the aging process. Elder Law Attorneys are aware of the real life problems, health and otherwise, that seniors experience as they age. They are tied into a system of social workers, psychologists, geriatric care managers, and many other elder care professionals who may be of assistance to their clients.

Legal Issues

Elder Law attorneys deal with legal issues involving:

  • Health and personal care planning, which include the following topics: Powers of Attorney and Living Wills; Lifetime Planning; Family Issues; Advance Directives.
  • Planning for a well spouse when the other spouse requires Long Term Care; Asset Protection; Public Benefits such as Medicaid and Veterans’ benefits;
  • Capacity; Guardianship, and, most importantly, Guardianship avoidance;
  • Resident rights in Long Term Care facilities;
  • Will and Trust planning;
  • Planning for minor or adult Special Needs Children;
  • Probate;
  • Elder Law encompasses all aspects of planning for aging, illness, and incapacity. The specialization requires a practitioner to be particularly sensitive to the legal issues impacting elder clients.

National Directory of Elder Law Attorneys

You can find thousands of Elder Law Attorneys in the online Directory titled  FindElderLawAttorneys.net, 1 of the 15 Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that are sponsored by the national ElderCare Matters Alliance, an organization of Elder Care / Senior Care Professsionals who help families plan for and deal with a wide range of Elder Care Matters.

1. www.ElderCareMatters.com
2. www.ElderCareWebsites.com
3. www.FindDailyMoneyManagers.net
4. www.FindElderCareMediators.net
5. www.FindElderLawAttorneys.net
6. www.FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net
7. www.FindGeriatricCareManagers.net
8. www.FindHomeCareProviders.net
9. www.FindLongTermCareInsurance.net
10. www.FindMedicaidAttorneys.net
11. www.FindProbateAttorneys.net
12. www.FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net
13. www.FindSeniorMoveManagers.net
14. www.FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net
15. www.FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

In our Elder Care / Senior Care Directories you will also find Answers and Articles about a wide range of Elder Care Matters, information that is provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners – some of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals who are members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance and have years of experience in helping families with Elder Care Matters.

Find Elder Law Attorneys
Kevin Pillion, Esq.
Life Planning Law Firm, P.A.
Sarasota, Florida
An ElderCare Matters Partner


If you have a Will, must your estate go through Probate?

Question:  Even though I have a Last Will and Testament, I understand that my estate must still go through probate.  Is this correct?

Answer:  You need to discuss your individual circumstances with an Estate Planning Attorney.  A Last Will and Testament does not avoid probate. A Will is more of an expression of your desires regarding your Estate which desires will be carried out through the Probate process. If your Estate is less than $100,000 and does not include real estate, your estate can be distributed outside of Probate using a small estates affidavit. If your estate is larger or includes real estate the best way to avoid Probate is through the use of a Revocable Living Trust. I strongly recommend against trying to avoid Probate by adding your family members to the title of your assets, as it gives your family authority over what you do with your own assets and it exposes those assets to your family members creditors. I recommend that you meet with a Estate Planning attorney and discuss your options to avoid probate.

If you need help with Estate Planning or with other Elder Care Matters, you can find thousands of qualified Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals in the following 15 Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that are sponsored by the national ElderCare Matters Alliance to help families with their issues of aging.

1. www.ElderCareMatters.com
2. www.ElderCareWebsites.com
3. www.FindDailyMoneyManagers.net
4. www.FindElderCareMediators.net
5. www.FindElderLawAttorneys.net
6. www.FindEstatePlanningAttorneys.net
7. www.FindGeriatricCareManagers.net
8. www.FindHomeCareProviders.net
9. www.FindLongTermCareInsurance.net
10. www.FindMedicaidAttorneys.net
11. www.FindProbateAttorneys.net
12. www.FindSeniorLivingCommunities.net
13. www.FindSeniorMoveManagers.net
14. www.FindSpecialNeedsAttorneys.net
15. www.FindVAAccreditedAttorneys.net

In our Elder Care / Senior Care Directories you will also find Answers and Articles about a wide range of Elder Care Matters, information that is provided by our ElderCare Matters Partners – some of America’s TOP Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals who are members of the national ElderCare Matters Alliance and have years of experience in helping families with Elder Care Matters.

Probate
James C. Siebert, Esq.
The Law Office of James C. Siebert & Associates
Arlington Heights, Illinois
An ElderCare Matters Partner


New York Estate Planning Attorney Answers Today’s Question on ElderCareMatters.com

Question:  I would like to leave a legacy for my heirs; however, I won’t have a multi-million dollar estate.  Could one of your Estate Planning Attorneys provide me with a suggestion?

Answer:  Most people do not believe that they can leave a legacy for their heirs because the word is usually tied to large, multi-million dollar estates. However, there are ways to leave a legacy that does not involve complicated estate planning tools or extreme amounts of wealth. Two simple moves can be made with the money that you have now that can help you leave a legacy for your family, friends, or charitable organizations.

Moving Money to a Roth IRA

If you have assets in a traditional IRA that you do not think that you will deplete in your lifetime, consider converting those funds to a Roth IRA. High income earners are often prevented from contributing to a Roth IRA, but anyone can convert a traditional IRA to a Roth. After the conversion of the traditional to the Roth, when the Roth IRA is held for five and a half years and you have reached the age of 59 ½ years old all of the distributions are tax-free.

In addition, the Roth IRA comes with the additional benefit of no required minimum distributions when you reach 70 ½ years old, unlike the requirement for traditional IRAs. As a result, you can let the money in the Roth IRA accumulate over the course of your lifetime, as opposed to having the required minimum distributions decrease the overall amount in the fund.

Re-characterization rules for traditional and Roth IRAs also help make the shift from one type of account to another. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) gives you until October 15 of the year following the conversion of a traditional IRA to a Roth to re-characterize it back to the traditional IRA if you lose significant value from the shift. The account can be re-characterized again into a Roth IRA in the next tax year after the initial conversion or thirty days after the re-characterization, whichever is later.

Moving Money to a College Fund

If you would like to help fund your grandchildren’s education, you can consider moving money into a 529 college savings plan. Earnings in a 529 plan compound tax-deferred and the distributions are tax-free, as long as they are used for qualified educational expenses. However, a 529 plan also gives an added benefit to the grandparents that hope to leave a legacy for their loved ones.

A special accelerated gifting provision for 529 plans allows for grandparents to fund their grandchildren’s college while also reducing the size of their own estates. Typically, the annual gift limit is $14,000 per beneficiary or $28,000 if you are married. However, the 529 plan exemption allows for up to five years of $70,000 per year or $140,000 for a couple per grandchild.

A 529 college savings plan is a great alternative to an irrevocable trust for tax purposes. In addition, this type of plan has relatively low administrative fees compared to a typical trust. Finally, a 529 plan gives the donor a surprising amount of control over the funds in the plan. You can control how the money is invested and who will receive the distributions. In addition, you can change beneficiaries or cash out the 529 plan if you decide to change your mind about the fund.

If you need help with Estate Planning or with other Elder Care Matters, you can find thousands of qualified Elder Care / Senior Care Professionals in the following 15 Elder Care / Senior Care Directories that are sponsored by the national ElderCare Matters Alliance to help families with their issues of aging.

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Estate Planning Attorneys
Michael Ettinger, Esq.
Ettinger Law Firm
Albany, New York
An ElderCare Matters Partner


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