Nay & Friedenberg attorneys provide guidance on many legal matters, including:
- Planning for the distribution of money and possessions to heirs
- Planning for possible incapacity or long-term care needs
- Providing for a family member with disabilities
- Advising and assisting executors and trustees
If I can’t make legal, financial or healthcare decisions for myself, how can I be sure my wishes are carried out?
Powers of attorney for finances and advance directives for health care are simple and effective tools used by estate planners to ensure that the most appropriate person will have the authority to handle financial and health care decision making in the event of incapacity. In some cases, particularly if there is real estate such as a home, a trust is a better tool for financial management. Planning for incapacity is important to avoid the court process of guardianship and conservatorship.
How can I make sure my wealth and possessions end up in the right hands when I’m gone?
Both trusts and wills provide instructions for distribution of property upon death. These must be coordinated with assets that name beneficiaries such as pension assets and life insurance. Properly drafted and funded trusts have the added benefit of avoiding probate.
My spouse is disabled and needs more care than I can give. Will we lose everything to pay for care or are there options?
While most long term care is paid privately if finances are a problem it is important to look at Medicaid and Veterans options. These programs have complicated eligibility rules but generally allow a healthy spouse to keep some assets and income. With the right planning, no healthy spouse will lose everything.
My child is disabled. How can I provide for his future?
Specialized estate planning involving “special needs trusts” is usually advisable to plan for disabled children and grandchildren. These trusts allow disabled family members to remain eligible for medical coverage while having funds available to provide for special needs such as therapy, nutritional supplements, quality of life hobbies, trips and companionship.
My parents are aging. What should I know to help them when they need me?
You will be better able to help your parents if your parents plan for their future by preparing powers of attorney, advance directives for health care and a will or trust depending on their situation. You can also help your parents understand that advanced planning can mean the difference between losing everything, paying for the cost of long term care, providing for a spouse or children, paying or saving taxes and incurring or avoiding court costs.
My mother just passed away. What do I do now?
Settling an estate begins with putting together a list of assets and liabilities. The specific tasks will depend on many factors; form of ownership, value, named beneficiary or tax status. A lawyer familiar with settling estates will advise you of the most effective process to bring the decedent’s financial life to a close and can assist in the transfer of assets to beneficiaries. In an initial meeting with a probate attorney, a comprehensive review of the decedent’s estate will take place to determine whether the probate process is required or if there may be a less expensive alternative.
Do I have to be wealthy to benefit from a living trust?
Middle class people probably have more to gain by using a revocable living trust than wealthy people do. Even estates of modest value must go through probate without proper planning. The costs of probate can reduce significantly the estate’s value. In addition to avoiding probate, if there is an event of incapacity, a trust can save on the significant cost of a conservatorship.
Contact us for more information.
“Brett was personable, explained my options and worked efficiently to create my end of life plan. I’m pleased with his performance.”
— Paul G.