Ronald Fatoullah & Associates - Elder Law

Great Neck Estate Planning And Elder Law Blog

Preparing for long-term care

The most expensive part of your retirement may be long-term care. Not everyone plans for it, but it is an emerging need and not having a plan to pay for it can leave you with limited options. According to the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, if you are 65 years or older, you have a 70% chance of needing long-term care (LTC).

Although it is difficult to predict how long you will need LTC, the average time ranges between two and four years. Because this type of care is so expensive, it is never too early to start saving. Preparing early gives you the opportunity to choose what you want before you are unable to make those decisions for yourself.

Find out all aspects of estate planning that apply to you

Your estate plan is one that outlines what you want to happen with your assets when you pass away. This is conveyed in the will and through trusts. It is imperative that you do handle the creation of these so that your estate doesn't have to be distributed through the intestate process that is set by New York law. We know that this might seem like a daunting task, but we are here to help you through it all.

There are some other aspects of the estate plan that you need to think carefully about. Some of these might not apply to your situation so just don't worry about them if you don't need them.

  • Guardianship designations: If you have minor children at home, you need to make a plan for what happens with them if you and their other parent pass away, and they are left without a parent.
  • Financial power of attorney: You should name someone who can handle your financial affairs if you aren't able to make decisions for yourself. This would only go into effect if you were incapacitated.
  • Medical plans: Create a health care power of attorney designation and a living will so that your plans for your medical care are clearly outlined. This helps to ensure that you only have the types of medical care you want if you can't speak up for yourself.
  • Letter of instruction: The letter of instruction isn't kept with the other estate planning documents. Instead, you keep it somewhere easy to find so that your loved ones can refer to it to find out any special instructions you have, such as your funeral plans.

Medicaid planning: Beware of the look-back period before applying

As a person ages, their medical care needs might increase. This comes at a time when their income might be decreasing. By the time they are retired, they might need considerable care, but they might not have the money to cover that care.

There are two programs that senior citizens might be able to use to help cover the medical costs they will face. Medicare is one that workers are entitled to that they have paid for through payroll withholding. Medicaid is a needs-based program that has specific income and asset requirements.

Guardianships over adult parents might be necessary as they age

As adults age, they might begin to show signs of dementia and other age-related conditions. When the mind begins to slip and they can't understand how decisions impact them or relay decisions they make, it might be time to establish a guardianship for senior care. This isn't an easy thing to think about if you are dealing with your parent's decline, but it is a way that you can truly help them to be able to enjoy as much peace as possible in their final days.

This includes all aspects of financial management, medical care and estate planning. Ideally, you will be able to get a plan in place before your loved one is unable to make decisions on their own. It can be a battle if this doesn't happen. The court will go through a process to determine how the situation should be handled and who can serve as the guardian.

Who becomes involved if your loved one dies without a will?

Even if you lead a relatively simple life, if you die without a will it could take a team of professionals to settle your financial affairs. Celebrities, past presidents and everyday New Yorkers die without wills every day, but your loved ones do not have to be among them.

Intestacy is the legal name for the situation where someone dies without a will. If this happens, your estate could pass into a complex legal process, as happened recently in the case of the millionaire hermit. This can be an expensive process. But before that happens, who becomes involved?

Estate planning helps your loved ones

Most adults don't like having to think about the end of their life, but there is one thing that they have to do to ensure that they aren't putting undue stress on their loved ones when they pass away. This is to create an estate plan that covers all the basics. You can't leave anything out because failing to create a comprehensive plan could leave your family wondering what to do during a time when they should be handling their emotions.

There are several things that you have to think about when you are making an estate plan. One of these is that you need to create your will. Before you write this out, you need to list out your assets and heirs. Determine whether any assets would be better handled through trusts. Any that you do place in trusts don't have to be included in the will.

Are you worried about paying for a home health aide?

For many people, living in a nursing home or assisted living facility is either impractical or undesirable. You may choose to hire a home health aide as a compromise to stay at home. These professionals provide a great many services, but over time their services can cost a great deal.

Do you know if you or your family member’s estate can afford a personal health provider? Before flipping through the yellow pages, carefully consider your financing options.

Estate planning and retirement fund contributions

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Tax difficulties are the last thing anyone will wish to encounter during their retirement years. But with current rules regarding income calculation, expense deductions, and minimum withdrawals from retirement accounts, elderly individuals often make mistakes when it comes to filing taxes.

A few months ago, Forbes published an article warning about individuals stashing too much of their finances into 401(k)s. The article states that the IRS may be targeting such individuals for audits. As such taxpayers are purportedly saving more than is allowable, the treasury department was supposedly suffering a shortage of money.

Smart, Caring Strategy For Seniors: Call 516-466-4422.

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