Change is inevitable, and it comes in many shapes and sizes.  Death, disability, and divorce are three of the most common changes in life that can wreak havoc on an estate plan.  If your estate plan is not flexible, there could be unintended consequences.  With the increasing popularity of revocable trusts, whether drafted by attorneys…

While I cannot say whether there are mistakes in your estate planning documents, the wording of your document may be confusing to you as a non-attorney. Legal documents contain a great deal of legalese.  For purposes of this response, I am assuming that you are leaving all of your assets to your children.  First, it…

Co-authored by Joanna C. Feldman Let’s consider the cost of care versus the legal fees to implement proper planning. So often, when I ask clients about their assets, they respond “I have nothing”, yet they own a house.  For some reason, it seems to be common that where there are little cash assets, there is a…

The elderly are vulnerable, and as a result, are often soft targets for non-physical abuse. I refer to them as “silent abuses” because they are often difficult to identify, or worse, prove. Examples include undue influence, duress, coercion, mental abuse, and financial exploitation. Generally, a common predicate for most cases begins with a close, confidential…

Co-authored by Joanna C. Feldman To be eligible for Medicaid benefits in a nursing home in 2018, one may have no more than $15,150.00 in available assets. A life insurance policy with no cash value is not considered an available asset. If a life insurance policy has cash value, however, the cash value of the…

Co-authored by Joanna C. Feldman Generally speaking, Medicaid rules require most of one’s monthly income be contributed toward the cost of one’s care in a nursing home. When the spouse of the Medicaid recipient remains at home, however, the impact of losing the other spouse’s additional income can be detrimental. The spouse at home (known…

In many cases, a divorce is a traumatic experience for both parties. Usually, neither party has given any thought to the unintended consequences of death or disability during divorce. Until there is a final decree or judgment of separation or divorce, each party remains the spouse of the other. Upon the death of one party,…

Co-authored by Joanna C. Feldman This is a question we’re continually asked, so we’re glad we have another opportunity to clear things up. The main thing to remember is this: IRS rules are different from Medicaid rules. Under current IRS rules, you may gift up to $15,000.00 to as many people as you’d like in…

While an annuity might serve you well from a financial planning perspective, financial planners and clients must be aware of the treatment of annuities for Medicaid purposes. For Medicaid eligibility purposes, the cash value of an annuity is considered an available resource. This means that an annuity is treated like cash and if you need…

Figuring out how much to save for retirement and when you can safely stop working can be difficult. A growing number of online retirement calculators, many of them free, are available to help.

Co-authored by Joanna C. Feldman A Medicaid Trust is often used when planning for the future and contemplating the fact that one might eventually need nursing home care.  The average monthly cost of a nursing home in our area exceeds $12,000.00, and there are only four ways to pay for such care: privately (which can be…

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