Trusts & Estates: Caregiving for Elderly Loved Ones
Over 40 million Americans are over the age of 65. As well, baby boomers are aging, and soon the number will grow to over 80 million people by the year 2050 as projected by the Population Reference Bureau. Seniors often need special medical care while on a tight budget, and they have unique psychological and social needs. It becomes difficult for family members to navigate the maze when a loved one becomes fully dependent, so it’s important that you plan ahead.
Before you, your parent or a loved one is faced with cognitive impairment or other life-limiting illnesses; it is necessary to have completed all estate planning paperwork. Regrettably, this isn’t always the case, and most families try to get the required legal documents under challenging circumstances. Therefore, when you or a loved one has assets, for instance, life insurance policies, a checking account, automobile, and a house among other assets, a will and a revocable trust are important. If they have assets that are worth millions of dollars, ensure that they consult an experienced trusts & estates attorney to draw up a will.
When you’re seeking sound legal advice, finding a competent attorney is important. You need a professional with whom you can feel comfortable and who has the expertise and experience to advise you on such matters. Ensure that you consult an experienced attorney as early as possible because your planning options will remain available only when you or your loved one has the legal capacity to make independent decisions.
A trusts and estates expert specializes in drafting revocable and irrevocable trusts, wills, and other tax related planning. A revocable living trust is an authorized legal vehicle where you can place your assets. You will serve as the trustee until a time when you are unable to manage your assets, and at this time the secondary trustee can take over. The main benefit of a revocable trust is that it helps one avoid probate. On the other hand, an irrevocable trust can be used to avoid estate taxes. These types of trusts should be written by an attorney.
Why Else Do You Need a Trusts and Estate Attorney?
There are several legal issues that you should consider before a person becomes incapacitated:
- The available options for long-term care
- Making arrangements on how to pay for long-term health care: Medicare, Private Insurance, and Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
- Management of financial matters during a loved one’s lifetime and the ability to pay for bills
- Management of medical decisions and personal care
- Preservation of the family assets by ensuring that a loved one is protected
- Housing options, for instance, home and out-of-home placement, such as nursing homes and assisted living
- Division of assets after death
Keep in mind that a revocable trust and will can always be modified or changed. Therefore, you can review them each time you do your tax returns, especially if you want to reduce yours through gifting.