Gainesville Estate Planning Law Blog

Should I fund an incentive trust?

Adults of all ages can benefit from establishing trusts for the assets they plan to leave to their heirs. But there are multiple types of trusts, and no one-size-fits-all version to fit every circumstance.

Estate planners sometimes recommend incentive trusts to their clients. Would this type of trust be helpful in your situation? Read on to find out.

Senior citizens in Georgia often worry about these things

Many Georgia families include elders who are nearing or have entered their golden years. Loved ones beyond age 65 are often sources of great stories that provide information about family lineage, or they may simply share humorous, touching or interesting memories from the past. As adult children do their best to help their aging parents get their finances and other issues in order so they can enjoy their late-life years, they may notice them facing some particular challenges that are common among senior citizens.  

While people tend to live longer nowadays and many older people are in excellent physical shape, a large number of elders also experience adverse health conditions that wreak havoc on their finances. In fact, health care costs are often listed as a main concern of people age 65 and older. When helping an aging parent execute a solid long-term care plan, various medical issues may impact the plan, such as dementia, Alzheimer's or chronic diseases like osteoporosis.  

Scheduled trust in place for Anthony Bourdain's daughter

Food icon Anthony Bourdain's fans in Georgia and throughout the country were saddened at the recent headlines that announced his sudden, unexpected death. He was the father of an 11-year-old girl. He had also been planning to divorce his wife; however, the divorce was never finalized. While some estate analysts who have reviewed his situation say he did not leave behind a thorough enough plan, one thing he did do was place money in trust, with his child as the primary beneficiary. 

Since she is a minor, someone will be appointed to oversee the trust for her. Bourdain arranged it so that she will receive portions of her inheritance over time. As written, the trust will dispense assets to Bourdain's daughter when she reaches age 25, then again at age 30. At age 35, she will be granted full access to any remaining funds in the trust.  

Yes, it's possible to protect assets against Medicaid

Did you know that someone turning 65 today has around a 70 percent chance of needing medical support and long-term care during his or her life? According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that's the truth, but it's something many people don't fully recognize.

When you get older, the options for paying for long-term care include long-term care insurance, Medicaid and your own money. The problem with using your own funds is that they simply don't last long once you start needing nursing home care or assisted-living options. Most people want to use Medicaid, but Medicaid requires you to qualify based on your means. If you have too much money or too many assets, you won't qualify.

Using a trust to skip a generation in inheritance

Many people, perhaps including some in Georgia, have an aversion to thinking about their own mortality. Others understand the importance of pondering such things and to place certain things in writing regarding asset protection, wills and other estate planning matters. Various documents may be part of an estate plan, including a trust or durable power of attorney.  

Signing a trust is a serious matter, and it's critical that the person doing it clearly understands all it entails. For instance, one must determine whether to make a trust revocable or irrevocable. Some people use trusts as substitutes for a will.  

Time to choose a legal guardian? Read this first

When Georgia parents take on the solemn task of choosing adults to step in and become legally responsible for their children should they themselves die or become incapacitated, they often choose close family members to fulfill the role. However, choosing a legal guardian is a serious matter that parents should only make after considering various factors, including whom they believe would act in their children's best interests at all times. While it's easy and perhaps natural to want to choose relatives, the truth is, it might not always be the best decision.  

One woman wrote about choosing her own parents, but explained that instead of choosing her brother as a back-up guardian (which her mother assumed she would do) she chose her husband's sister. She told her mother that she and her husband gave the matter much consideration and believed they had made the best choice, namely because the woman's brother was not married and had next to no experience with children. These types of factors may require careful consideration.

The Medicaid look back period will impact your end-of-life plan

Planning for care at the end of your life or the end of your parent's life is an important step for long-term financial security. If you don't take steps as early as possible, your legacy or finances could end up compromised. While there are state programs in place to help pay for long-term care and skilled nursing services, there are income and asset caps that apply to that coverage.

Most adults have paid into Medicare throughout their working lives. They deserve to receive benefits without losing all of their assets in the process. Medicaid, however, is a welfare program that has applicable income and asset caps for coverage.

How to find a good nursing home in Georgia or beyond

Residence in a full-time assisted care facility is not always permanent. A person may be sent to a Georgia nursing home to recover from a surgery. Then again, many people, especially those who are aging and no longer able to live independently, may spend the majority of their elderly years in a nursing center. When researching nursing homes for oneself or an aging parent, there are several things to keep in mind. 

It helps to make a list ahead of time comprised of high priority issues. For one person, meal plans or physical therapy services might be important, while another may be more focused on religious affiliation or social atmosphere. Those whose loved ones suffer conditions requiring special needs care, such as dementia, will want to make sure the facilities they choose are equipped to address these needs. 

The many times to update your estate plan

Once you create an estate plan, it's easy to assume that you never again have to think about it. While it's not required that you review your estate plan in the future, you should get into the habit of doing so. You may discover a detail that needs your immediate attention.

Keep an eye out for these events

The importance of a living will increases as your parents age

Even for those with the longest potential life spans, aging takes its toll over time. Skin sags, muscles shrink and minds begin to atrophy. For many people, aging is a gradual process over many years. However, for some people, aging can suddenly leap forward without warning. Strokes, seizures, blood clots and heart attacks could all suddenly turn someone older but robust into someone struggling.

As the symptoms of aging increase, your family will eventually need to turn to the living will put in place by your parents. The documents included in a living will enable your family to make decisions about medical care and finances based on your parents' wishes and with their authority.

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