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Second marriages are becoming a more common piece of the American experience. The remarried face unique and specific challenges in tailoring their life insurance policies to their individual situation

Deciding on a beneficiary can be a complicated process for the remarried. It’s rarely a simple decision, especially when children from a previous marriage are involved. In that case, it can be difficult to strike a balance between taking care of the current spouse and the previous spouse’s children.

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When a spouse becomes ill, the well spouse is suddenly faced not only with the emotional toll, but the burden of handling all the financial responsibilities and long-term planning on his or her own. If the ill spouse always handled the financial matters, even paying bills can be overwhelming.

Based on the experiences of many of our clients, it has traditionally been the primary breadwinner who managed family finances. But regardless of who kept the family books, often the other spouse is in the dark on the family’s financial matters and record keeping. Additionally, the well spouse may not know what long-term planning considerations have been made for her or what is even available.

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You Have the Power

Estate planning is a complex task, requiring the advice of a qualified estate attorney. What is the wisest course of action in your situation?

You can hardly read a paper currently without coming across an article about the Brooke Astor case. Sadly, this case highlights what can go wrong when someone abuses the trust inherent in a power of attorney agreement. Although signing a power of attorney is critical to any comprehensive estate plan, it’s wise to put safeguards in place to reduce the risk of financial abuse.

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Can a relative be completely removed from your will?  It’s often possible, but you should check with a qualified estate attorney about laws in your area.

Although we may love them equally, all children aren’t the same, which often leads to complication in the execution of a will.  Some parents feel that one child has received more, and should therefore be content with a reduced settlement in the will’s execution.  In some complicated situations, parents feel that one heir should simply be cut from the will altogether.  Regardless of the reason, disinheriting a close relative–especially a spouse or a child–can be complicated.

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Although you can be approved to collect Social Security benefits between age 62 and your full retirement age, this option lowers the benefits available for retirement. For example, if you were born in 1944 and decide to retire at age 62 (four years before your full retirement age of 66), your total benefit reduction is 25 percent. If your full benefit was to be $1,000 a month, your reduced benefit will be $750.

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While my father was in a nursing home receiving Medicaid, his sister died and left him money in her will, and to his children if he died before she did. I am his only child. My lawyer prepared a renunciation and had my father sign it. The lawyer said this was to facilitate the transfer of funds to me without Medicaid claiming it. My father passed away in 2006. Medicaid states that renunciation is not allowed by Medicaid patients, and they are going to court to claim the funds that are still in my aunt’s estate. After paying the lawyer $3,000, do I have any recourse?

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By: Bernard A. Krooks, Certified Elder Law Attorney® Unfortunately, Medicare coverage of long-term care is extremely limited and subject to significant restrictions. Thus, if one of us or a loved one gets sick and requires long-term care we must either pay out-of-pocket or rely on Medicaid. One way to minimize the burden of paying out-of-pocket is to purchase long-term care insurance. This can help assist with the cost of care …

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