ESTATE PLANNING & ELDER LAW
Preparing for your future or the future of your loved ones can be an uncertain process, but careful planning is essential. No person is too rich or too poor to plan for the future, and many people are surprised to discover how much tax their heirs will have to pay.
While no one can predict the future, our firm’s years of experience with advanced estate planning techniques will ensure that your assets are protected to the greatest extent possible from estate taxes and creditors. We employ a wide variety of estate planning procedures, including Wills, planned gifts, life estates, insurance policies, irrevocable income only trusts, marital trusts, disclaimer trusts, credit-shelter trusts, and more. All of these tools have the same goal – to reduce the amount of tax that your estate will pay and increase the amounts your beneficiaries will receive. But beware – trusts are not for everyone, and may cause harm if not properly drawn.
Everyone needs a Will: no estate is too small, and it is never safe to be without one. A Will is a legal document that directs what will happen to your probate assets when you die and who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes. If you have children or grandchildren, you need a Will to protect them when you are gone. Even if tax avoidance is not your main concern, our firm has drafted carefully-designed wills for decades, ensuring that our clients’ belongings reach the heirs that they select. We will sit down with you, and take the time to fully understand your situation so that your Will fully reflects your wishes.
One of the most common mistakes people make is not updating or reviewing beneficiary designations on retirement assets. We will discuss your need to carefully name beneficiaries of assets such as IRAs, 401(k)s, and CREF accounts. These assets do not necessarily follow the wishes contained in your Will and can have hidden income tax consequences. The naming of beneficiaries can change the effect of your Will and these issues must be examined as part of the entire plan.
Additionally, with the passage of the SECURE Act and the SECURE Act 2.0, major changes have occurred in how the IRS treats retirement assets. We have researched the changes extensively so that we can advise our clients on how the changes affect them and their heirs.
A trust is a separate legal entity that holds assets and is managed by one or more trustees. Trusts come in many different types and can be very complex. Certain companies and lawyers market living trusts for everyone. Not everyone needs a trust. It is important to have a trusted and experienced lawyer who can guide you in the right direction.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
A power of attorney is a legal document that lets you (the principal) name another person or entity (the agent) to act on your behalf. The two common types of power of attorney are the business power of attorney that allows the agent to handle assets, bills, and finances, and the health care power of attorney with living will that allows the agent to make medical decisions for the principal if the principal is unable. Both documents have multiple options and significant consequences. We have assisted thousand of clients execute powers of attorney that meet their goals.
Charitable giving can have great estate planning consequences. Our office provides a wide array of processes for ensuring that the charities of your choice receive your full gift, and that you receive the full benefit. We can design charitable-remainder annuities, which allow you to give a gift to the charity of your choice and receive income from that gift during your lifetime. You may also receive immediate income tax deductions in addition to providing for your family members.
MEDICAID & NURSING HOME PLANNING
We spend significant time each year engaged in continuing legal education classes regarding changes in our state and national Medicare and Medicaid laws. Because of these efforts, we are able to offer the most up-to-date advice available regarding how you can fully benefit from our state and national elder care laws.
These laws are complex and often daunting, but what separates Pepicelli, Youngs and Youngs from other law firms is our commitment to taking the time necessary to ensure that you understand all of your options. Although gifting rules have changed, there are many planning tools available even upon admission to a nursing home. The rules are extremely complex and you may spend more on care than the law requires. Consult us early and often as you make your way through Medicaid process.
- Assisted a couple prepare Wills, Durable Business Powers of Attorney, Health Care Powers of Attorney with Living Will, and Retirement Trusts for Minor Grandchildren.
- Assisted a couple with $300,000 in assets and $2,000 per month income where one spouse entered skilled nursing care three months prior. The couple was paying almost $10,000 per month for the nursing care. We were able to obtain eligibility for Medicaid, reducing clients’ nursing home bill to $750 per month and preserving $268,000 in assets for the other spouse.
*No attorney can guarantee the same result in every case because the facts and circumstances of each case are different. The examples above are included to provide illustrations of work that we do, rather than guarantee the results we can obtain.