Everyone owning a house or stocks should be aware of the capital gains tax rules. Both the federal and state governments impose a tax on the sale of real estate or stocks that have gone up in value over the years. But the tax laws have important exemptions that can result in no tax, or even a capital loss rule that will reduce taxes on your other income..
Many clients come to our office with the goal of creating a Last Will so that they can be assured assets go where they want without hassle. What many do not realize is that the Will is only used if probate is needed. This document expresses your final wishes, and tells everyone where you probate assets must go. However it is just a set of wishes until submitted to the probate court. Once the court agrees that the Will is valid it is admitted by the court, and is now the set of the rules that your Executor must follow..
People don’t consume their lives thinking about what happens to their “estate” after they pass away, but some thought must be given at some point so that unwanted results don’t occur. By way of example, let’s look at a family with both parents alive and two children. If the children are minors, or even in their twenties, they should not get a large chunk of money if the parents suddenly die. Their inheritance is best put into a trust that can be used for them and continues for their benefit until they get to an age where they have the maturity and experience not to waste the money. That differs based on each child.
A certain percentage of the elderly are going to be faced with a health care problem
that requires payment for long time care. Those services are not cheap, even if in the home, instead of an institution. What long range planning can you do so that your family is prepared for a sudden medical event such as a stroke, or gradual debilitation due to physical or cognitive decline?.
Scuttlebutt, gossip and secondhand information on Medicaid rules is often partially or totally wrong. That can cause panic in families facing the need for long term care at home or in a nursing home care. Even worse, wrong information can result in loss of family life’s savings and less care for a loved one and it can create a totally false sense of safety leading to great financial loss.
A family recently called with a problem that could have been avoided. The husband was in a nursing home on Medicaid (Title 19) and his wife was living at home with the assets she was allowed to keep. The nursing home had steered them to a company to do the paperwork for the Medicaid application. They did not seek legal advice from an elder law attorney who would have advised them on what other steps needed to be done, such as the wife doing a new will. She did not do a new will, and her old one left everything to her husband. The house, and her life savings went to him. Since he is on Title 19, the State of Connecticut has a legitimate claim against everything that went to him. This is a terrible result that did not have to happen.