When defining an estate plan, what should you consider? The first thing that often comes to mind is the Last Will and Testament. This well-known document dictates how an individual's assets should be distributed after death. However, the Will does not control everything. This can often lead to unintended consequences in a person's estate plan.
All over the country people receive mailings or emails that use “Social Security” or “Medicare in emblems or words to give the impression that they are somehow affiliated with the government. Sometimes they offer Social Security services for a fee, but these very same services can be received directly from Social Security offices for free. Services offered can be getting a corrected card showing a brides married name, replacing a lost card, getting a social security number for a child, or getting a social security statement.
Avoiding probate is a subject that gets everyone’s attention. What are the benefits, any downsides, and how do you do it? The benefits include immediate access to the funds owned by the deceased, greater privacy, and often less work to get the assets into the names of your spouse or children. The immediate access results when a bank account or car or home or stocks and bonds are owned in joint survivorship or in a trust...
Many people know that Medicare will pay for rehabilitation services in a nursing home if the patient has had a three day inpatient admission to a hospital. A physician must order the care in a nursing home and it must be related to the condition that resulted in the hospital services. Practically speaking, the care must only be available on an inpatient basis. The person must need to receive seven days a week of nursing home care, or skilled therapy five days a week or some combination seven days a week. This is the normal rehabilitation families know about.
Who gets your IRA, or 401k, or 403b or any other “qualified” money if you die? Seems like a simple question with a simple answer. The beneficiaries you name get it. What happens if your spouse is named, and unexpectedly dies when you still have young children? If your children or other intended beneficiaries are young adults going through the potential changes in life such as marriage, or divorce or are not experienced at handling money, could those assets be lost? Even adult children with good judgment cannot control a divorce, or health issues.
Three families came this past week to discuss the problems and stress of giving care to a spouse with some degree of dementia. In each case the caregiving spouse, all of whom happened to be wives, talked about and exhibited signs of the toll it was taking on them. They were not getting sleep, were anxious for their spouse and themselves, and felt overwhelmed by the unrelenting demands. They were incredibly devoted to their husband’s care, but reluctantly came to the realization that their own health was suffering, and that if they themselves became sick, that was bad for both spouses. What could they do?