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New York Elder Law Attorney Blog

Estate planning can help New York residents with asset protection

Many New York residents want to protect their assets so that they may one day have the ability to pass them on to their loved ones. Of course, many unexpected events can happen in life that could easily put certain property at risk. Fortunately, individuals can utilize estate planning to work toward protecting their assets in various ways.

One tool that can often help ensure that assets remain protected is a trust. There are different types of trusts, but an irrevocable trust typically offers the most protection. These trusts cannot be changed, and once items are placed into the trust, they become property of the trust and removed from the estate. This removal helps protect assets from creditors and other parties who may attempt to make claims.

Planning for in-home or nursing home care for a loved one

Many people suffer cognitive decline as they get older. In some cases, the decline may be more severe than others due to diseases like Alzheimer's, and family members may need to make tough decisions on how to care for their ailing loved ones. It is not unusual for New York residents to want to care for a parent or other loved one themselves, but it is also possible that nursing home care may be necessary.

It is no secret that taking on the role of caregiver can be a stressful and sometimes thankless position. Individuals may easily feel overwhelmed and worry about whether they are even making the right decisions for their loved ones. Of course, in some cases, they may not have the legal right to make certain decisions, and it could prove wise to move forward with obtaining a financial power of attorney if the loved one has not declined too far to make such an appointment.

College savings may affect Medicaid eligibility

Many New York residents have savings goals they want to achieve. For instance, individuals who want to attend a certain college or who want to help their loved ones attend college may have an account set up to accumulate funds for that purpose. However, some concerns regarding those funds may come about if a person ends up in need of Medicaid.

Several factors could affect whether a Medicaid agent considers a college savings fund when determining eligibility for benefits. Agents will conduct a five-year review that involves looking at how a person used his or her money in that period. If a person made a gift to the account more than five years ago at the time of application, the gift will likely not result in a Medicaid penalty.

Parents of special needs kids can benefit from estate planning

It is common for people to think that having an estate plan is a good idea but to also think that they can put off planning until later. For some, thinking about getting started may lead to feelings of anxiety, and they may easily become overwhelmed, especially if they have children with special needs. However, estate planning does not have to be as intimidating as many people consider it to be.

While having a special needs child does mean that some New York parents will need to take different aspects into consideration than others, planning is not made any more difficult by this factor. The main concern that parents likely want to keep in mind is the possibility of disqualifying a child who needs government benefits. Parents certainly want to make sure their child will be taken care of, but simply providing them with an inheritance may have the opposite effect.

Living will is an important care-related document

Estate planning can help New York residents determine how they want their assets distributed after death, and it can also help them plan for care that may be needed while still alive. Various documents can help with care planning, but it can be confusing to know which documents may be needed. In particular, parties may wonder about the difference between a living will and a health care proxy.

First a living will is not the same as a traditional will. The living will lets individuals detail what type of care they want to receive in potentially terminal situations. Parties can include what treatment they want and what they may not want. One example that many people include in their living wills is whether they should remain on life support.

How does a Medicaid spend-down work?

The costs associated with long-term care often leave people reeling. Though you or a loved one may need extended care from professionals, you may struggle to pay the bills associated with the attention and treatment needed. As a result, you may want to take the time to plan ahead before that time comes.

Fortunately, you likely have various options when it comes to long-term care planning. In particular, when it comes to costs, Medicaid may be able to help. However, Medicaid comes with certain stipulations that you or your loved one must meet before having the ability to obtain benefits.

Steps may need to be taken to obtain assistance through Medicaid

Many parts of New York residents' lives revolve around their finances. Even if money is not the direct issue, a problem could arise that may result in expenses that will need addressing. In particular, older people may be at risk of suffering health issues that could result in the need for financial assistance through Medicaid.

Because everyone does not immediately qualify for this assistance program, they may need to take steps to help themselves meet certain requirements. A spend down can sometimes help individuals transfer their assets in order to be in a more favorable financial position when it comes to applying for Medicaid. However, officials for the benefits program tend to do a five-year look-back, and if any suspicious asset transfers took place during that time, the applicant could face penalties.

Many older adult children may provide long-term care for parents

The loss of a parent can be hard on anyone, but numerous New York residents expect to face this situation at some point. What many people do not consider enough, however, are the difficulties adult children can face when they must care for their aging and ailing parents. If the parents have not done their part to create an estate plan that addresses long-term care needs, their children could end up struggling in a number of ways.

It was recently reported that more individuals who are 65 or older are not only at risk of suffering from incapacitation themselves, but they also face the chance of ending up in situations where they must care for an ailing parent. In fact, 10 percent of adults in the age range of 60 to 69 care for a living parent. Additionally, 12 percent of adults 70 or older are also in this type of situation.

Trusts have benefits that could appeal to many in New York

Because everyone's life is different, their estates will also be different. As a result, the tools that suit one person's estate plan may not suit the needs of another person. For some, a simple will can cover the information that the individuals want to include. However, if New York residents would like to take their planning further, they may want to consider trusts.

There are a number of reasons why trusts can benefit estate plans. For instance, they can benefit minor children, those struggling with addiction and individuals with special needs. The trustee will handle the assets according to the terms of the trust to ensure that they are properly distributed and used for their intended purposes. Additionally, a trust can help ensure that a special needs individual does not inadvertently lose government benefits due to an inheritance.

Young adults in New York may want to consider estate planning

Many young people often have the notion that they can take risks and nothing seriously wrong will befall them. Of course, a serious accident could affect anyone of any age, and because of this potential, estate planning can be useful to any adult, even young ones. Those New York residents heading off to college or away from home for the first time may not have anticipated creating such a plan, but it may be wise.

In particular, young adults are often used to their parents making decisions on their behalves when it comes to health-related issues. However, parents no longer have that ability after their children reach the age of majority unless they are specifically designated in legal documents. Because of this reason, it makes sense for young adults to appoint a health care power of attorney agent who can act for them in the event of incapacitation.

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