Elder Law & Estate Planning

Don’t forget to fund your trust

Setting up a trust to handle your assets during your lifetime is one element of a good estate plan. A living trust gives instructions as to how your assets should be managed during your life and provides instructions on how they are to be distributed after your death. While the establishment of a trust is…

Special Needs Planning

Ensure your beneficiaries keep their public benefits

If you are the caregiver for an individual with special needs, there is a good chance he or she is receiving public benefits such as Social Security disability. Public benefits are subject to strict income restrictions, which, if exceeded can result in the loss of funds that your loved one has come to depend on.…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

Estate planning can help you avoid probate

Probate is the court-supervised process through which your assets are distributed to your beneficiaries and loved ones. The probate process applies to estates both with and without wills, and it can be smooth and orderly or contentious depending on whether or not family members are fighting over assets you have not specified beneficiaries for. There…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

Protect your business interests through good estate planning

If you own a business, whether you are a sole proprietor or own jointly with partners, it is important that you take into consideration how you want your business and its assets to be handled when you are no longer able to contribute to its maintenance and growth. You may want your business to be…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

Nothing can be taken for granted in estate planning

When thinking about estate planning it can be easy to assume that the transfer of your assets and property will proceed exactly the way you imagine without any contention or unexpected issues. Perhaps you think you know how your children, spouse or business partner will behave when you are no longer with them. Or, maybe…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

There is more than one way to leave property to your beneficiaries

While a Will is an essential part of any estate plan, there are some additional ways in which you may supplement your will by transferring assets directly to your beneficiaries. Assets that are eligible to be transferred directly include: • Life insurance proceeds. • Retirement plans, including 401(k) plans and IRAs. • Trustee accounts such…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

Protect the assets and property of your minor children

Estate planning should take into account all possible scenarios; one of which is the unlikely and unfortunate event that you should leave behind children under the age of 18. If this were to happen, you would want to make sure that the property they inherit is protected. An adult should be named to manage any…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

Planning for estate taxes

Currently, the estate tax exemption is set at $2 million. This means that you may leave up to $2 million in assets to your heirs after your death tax free. In 2009, that amount will increase to $3.5 million, and in 2010 the tax is scheduled to be repealed completely. Then, the exemption will revert…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

Getting organized: Questions to ask when starting your estate planning

A good estate plan contains many different elements, and as a result it is important to take an organized approach to starting the process. Answering some basic questions can help get your estate planning moving smoothly: • Who is going to take care of your loved ones and minor children? • Will your loved ones…

Elder Law & Estate Planning

Help your executor find the things you have hidden

We all have certain things, like banking records, that we hide away to protect them from predators who might wish to access them and cause us harm. Chances are that you have a variety of confidential records hidden away in safes or safety deposit boxes or filed electronically and password protected. While you may have all this information carefully stored away in the confines of your memory banks, it is important to remember that there will come a time when someone else, like the executor of your estate, will need access to that information.