You may not realize how easy it is to accidentally disinherit your own children if you’re in a blended family. Your Will might leave an inheritance to your children, but if everything is owned in joint tenancy your Will won’t make a difference. In that case, everything would go to your new spouse, leaving your children without any inheritance at all.
Planning for a blended family requires a delicate balance of issues. Often, we don’t want to disinherit our own children but we also don’t want to leave our new spouse out on the street. A good estate planning attorney will walk you through all of these issues and help make sure your goals are met, whether you’re a brand new blended family or you’ve been together for 20 years.
Asset protection planning involves making prudent decisions today to protect yourself, your business, and your hard-earned assets from loss due to lawsuits, creditors or bankruptcies. This type of legal planning is especially prudent for professionals and business owners, whose personal assets could be at risk due the nature of their employment.
Statistically and anecdotally, we all know that the number of divorces, lawsuits and bankruptcies is staggering. While no one believes lightning will strike them, wealth created through a lifetime of work, saving and investing can be lost overnight if these forms of man-made lightning do strike. To protect your assets from such disaster, proper risk management strategies should be given careful consideration.
You don’t have to be “old” to need a plan for what happens when you die. Life and death both happen in unexpected ways, at unexpected times.
Imagine an accident on the way home from date night, the police knock at your door and ask the babysitter who your children will be staying with while things are sorted out. She doesn’t know, and the kids end up in the custody of the state for the next few days. Your kids just can’t understand why mommy and daddy aren’t there, and why can’t they be with grandma? Sadly, that can be just the beginning of the troubles you could leave for your children if you don’t have a plan.
If you have a child or other loved one who is disabled and eligible for SSI and/or Medicaid, it is vital to plan properly for their financial security in the event of your death or disability.
When you have a disabled loved one, whether it’s a child, sibling, niece or nephew, one of your most important goals is making sure that your loved one has all of his or her needs met for the rest of their life. Beware, however, of leaving money directly to someone with a disability.
There is a way to leave money that will actually benefit your loved one. It’s called a Special Needs Trust (also known as a Supplemental Needs Trust). By leaving money in this specialized type of trust, you can set aside dollars that will be protected for your loved one, available for many of their needs, without kicking them off government benefits. There are very specific requirements for what this trust can and cannot say, so it’s important to work with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Unfortunately, the overwhelming majority of nursing home residents enter a facility on a private basis and only later turn to the Medicaid program for coverage. Many spend themselves into poverty event though, through appropriate planning, they could have qualified for Medicaid sooner and preserved their assets for their family.
Many people think they will not qualify for Medicaid because they have too many assets or too much income. But don’t make a hasty judgment before learning all the facts! By restructuring your assets and diverting your income to special types of trusts, you may qualify now, or much sooner than you expect. With the help of an experienced attorney, you may be able to transform your assets so that you or a family member may qualify for Medicaid before your need for long-term care arises.