As people get older it’s a natural desire to help their children financially, or perhaps make gifts to their grandchildren or other family members. But that generosity may later affect their eligibility for Medicaid benefits if they ever need long-term care.
WHAT IS MEDICAID?
Medicaid is a program that provides health coverage and long-term care to millions of Americans, including eligible low-income adults, children, elderly adults, and people with disabilities. Although the program is administered under federal guidelines and partially funded with federal funds, it is administered independently be each state.
MEDICAID AND LONG-TERM CARE
With the advancements in medical technology, people are living longer than ever before. As a result, it’s not unusual for them to outlive their financial resources. For those individuals who may require long-term care at some point during their lifetime, without the ability to pay for such care, Medicaid is often the program to which they turn. For those who meet the program’s strict asset and income guidelines, Medicaid can provide life-saving benefits to cover the costs of a nursing home or other long-term care. However, the program rules are extremely complex, and great care must be taken in order to comply with them. Actions that people take now could affect their eligibility for benefits in the future. Continue reading
Families with disabled children face a host of obstacles in ensuring the long-term care of their loved one. There are tools and resources available to help facilitate that care for the future. One potential tool is known as an ABLE account. In 2014, Congress enacted a law allowing qualified individuals to establish ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Account. These accounts give favorable tax treatment to contributors and beneficiaries, alike. Families of children who suffered a disabling condition prior to the age of 26 should consider creating an ABLE account.
As of this post’s publication, Wisconsin does not have its own ABLE account program, but Wisconsin residents may establish an ABLE account through another state’s program. Minnesota launched its own ABLE program at the end of January 2017. Continue reading
It seems like challenges to wills and trusts have become increasingly common. We often hear news stories about celebrities whose families spend a great deal of time and money fighting high-profile battles over their inheritances.
Many people who contact our law office for estate planning services follow the news. They ask us how to prevent fighting in their own families, ensuring that matters run smoothly as intended. We talk with them about the strategies available to minimize infighting, and the topic of a no-contest clause is often raised.
What Is a No-Contest Clause, Exactly?
A no-contest clause (sometimes called a “penalty clause” or “in terrorem clause” in Latin) is a special provision that can be added to a will or trust. It says that any beneficiary who tries to challenge the document will be eliminated from distribution of assets. In short, if you try to challenge the will, you will be cut out of it. If you try to challenge the trust agreement or the administration of the trust, you won’t receive any funds. Continue reading
Need Help Making out a Will? Preparing your Will is Important Business.
As an Estate Planning Lawyer, I often meet new clients who tell me that they’ve been putting off having their will prepared for several years. It’s certainly an easy thing to postpone. When we’re younger we often feel invincible – as if we’ll live forever. We don’t think about preparing a Last Will and Testament until we’re prompted by a certain event in our life such as a death in the family, a medical crisis, or even taking a long-distance vacation. But it’s never to soon to be prepared – every adult should be thinking about their estate plan. And drafting a will should not be taken lightly, it’s very important business. Continue reading
Beneficiary Designations to Avoid Probate
Beneficiary Designations to Avoid Probate can be a Great Estate Planning Tool When Properly Used. But Use Caution to Avoid Common Pitfalls.
You may have heard that you can avoid probate upon your death by simply placing beneficiary designations on your assets. Beneficiary designations, sometimes referred to as Pay on Death or POD designations, can be a great estate planning tool when properly used. Individuals who are named as beneficiaries on your various bank and investment accounts, insurance policies, retirement plans and so forth, can receive their share of the asset or plan upon your death directly from the institution or company involved, without the asset or funds being included as part of your probate estate. Depending upon the nature of your assets, sometimes probate can be avoided entirely with properly designated beneficiaries. However, be sure to use caution to avoid some very common pitfalls. As an Estate Planning and Probate Attorney I’ve seen various unexpected results with beneficiary designations, including the following: Continue reading
Elder Law and Estate Planning Attorney serving clients in Hudson, WI and surrounding communities
Gift Planning and Medicaid…Use Caution!
There are many reasons why we make gifts to our children or loved ones. Whether we’re helping them with college tuition, buying that first home, or assisting with a medical or financial hardship, we’re compelled to take care of our family. As an Estate Planning Attorney I find that many of my clients in their senior years often feel the need to begin gifting their assets to their children or grandchildren. But great care should be taken when making gifts in our later years. Careful planning with an attorney experienced in Estate Planning and Elder Law is necessary to help ensure that your gifting is not jeopardizing your eligibility for the Medicaid program should you ever need assistance with your medical expenses or long-term care needs. When I explain this to my clients, their first response is always to remind me of the annual gift tax exclusion, which allows them to gift a certain sum of money to each child and/or grandchild each year without gift tax consequences. Well, that’s true, but read on. Continue reading
Proper Estate Planning can Avoid Legal Battles.
New Year’s Resolutions. We all make them; we all break them. But estate planning is one resolution that’s too important not to keep. Whether you live in my home town of Hudson, WI or across the river in the great land of MN, you’re never too young to have your affairs in order with a suitable Last Will & Testament, Revocable Living Trust, Power of Attorney documents, and a Living Will. Continue reading