Estate Planning

August 11, 2010

What is estate planning?

Estate planning includes designing a plan that provides for your needs during your lifetime and for the disposition of assets upon your death. The lifetime planning issues to be addressed may include: (1) financial planning to ensure your lifetime care needs are met; and (2) planning for the management of your affairs in the event you lose capacity to do so, through the use of tools such as durable powers of attorney, trusts, and healthcare advance directives. After death, estate planning will include issues such as: (1) who will receive your assets and when? (2) who will handle the distribution of the assets? and (3) how can these goals be accomplished at the least possible cost and with the minimum amount of taxation?

What consideration should a family give to estate planning if one spouse has Alzheimer’s disease?

One point to consider is that if the well spouse leaves his or her estate (whether it be in the form of liquid assets, retirement assets or life insurance) to an ill spouse, those assets may cause disqualification from Medicaid benefits in the event of a disability.

What is a life estate?

A life estate normally involves a situation in which a parent transfers a residence to a child and retains the right to live in the residence for life. A life estate may create favorable tax benefits as well as Medicaid benefits.

Source: National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, Inc.


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