Today’s client does not live in a vacuum. The client wants to make sure that not only must her or his legal needs be met, but oftentimes the family, whether dysfunctional or not, also must be taken care of . My law practice is holistic in that we make sure that the client’s wishes are met to encompass his or her family issues as well. The following elder law services are some of the needs of older Americans that I provide:
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I. Four Necessary Documents
The knowledge that we will eventually die is one of the things that seems to distinguish humans from other beings. At the same time, no one likes to dwell on the prospect of his or her death. But, if you postpone planning for your demise until it is too late, you run the risk that your intended beneficiaries – those you love most – may or may not receive what you want them to have. You also run the risk of extra administration costs, unnecessary taxes or squabbling among the heirs.
This is why estate planning is so important, no matter how large or small your estate. If you don’t state in a legally executed will what your distribution is, the State will use its generic plan for you. In the emotional time that the relatives are grieving your death, they may be also burdened with unnecessary red tape and financial confusion.
All estate plans should include, at a minimum, three important estate planning instruments. A fourth exists under certain conditions. These are:
- The Will
- The Living Will
- The Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare
- The Durable Power of Attorney
Medicaid and long term care planning
Medicaid is a joint federal-state program that provides health insurance coverage to low-income children, seniors and people with disabilities. In addition, it covers care in a nursing home for those who qualify. In the absence of any other public program covering long-term nursing home care, Medicaid has become the default nursing home insurance of the middle class. The system punishes those who have worked hard and saved their money for retirement, impoverishing the surviving spouse, and rewarding those who have not planned ahead for possible long term care costs. Medicaid allows the ill person to have onbly $1500 in assets, and taked all ofo thier income excpet for $50 to cover their personal monthly needs while residing in a facility. Assets can be preserved within the rules to make sure that no matter where you reside you can have a better standard of living for you as well as your surviving spouse.
When a person dies, the law requires that his property must be collected. After debts, taxes, and expenses are paid, the remaining assets are distributed to whomever is entitled to that property. That distribution is determined by the person’s will or the intestate laws of the state. It is the executor’s or administrator’s responsibility to collect the assets, to pay the death taxes, debts, and expenses of the decedent (the person who died), and to make the appropriate distribution of any remaining assets. The entire process by which these tasks are accomplished (with the guidance and supervision of the court system) is called “probate.” The court that oversees the process is called the probate court. Each county in Ohio has a probate court. The person’s county of residence is where the proper probate action is to be filed.
People spend a life time building up their estate. Oftentimes, however, they do no planning to make sure that the estate stays in tack with the least amount of taxes being assessed, that it provides for their future so that they do not outlive the assets, and that at their death it provides for the surviving loved ones or is distributed properly to the chosen ones. As one grows older, the increase is not as important as keeping what you have. Proper planning is the key to a peaceful retirement.
Veterans Administration Benefits
Veterans have benefits because they served our country. Most veterans don’t realize that they could qualify for assistance. These benefits and qualifications should be explored as part of the estate planning.