Estate Planning Articles

  • How to Prepare a Letter of Instruction for End-of-Life Wishes

    A letter of instruction acts as a comprehensive guide to end-of-life matters for surviving family members. Learn what kinds of personal, financial and funeral planning information to include in this document and how often it should be updated.

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  • Estate Tax Q and A for Family Caregivers

    Taxes are an important element to consider when engaging in estate planning. Discover the answers to 5 key estate tax questions.

    2 Comments
  • Estate Administration: Know What to Do When a Loved One Dies

    When someone you love passes away, the last thing you want to think about is locating legal documents and handling financial matters. Use these steps to make the probate process as simple as possible.

    45 Comments
  • When mom dies, how can I avoid her estate going into probate?

    The primary purpose of a will is disposition of property. Assets in your mother's estate may or may not be subject to probate, depending on how ownership is designated.

    12 Comments
  • How to Find Out if a Loved One Had a Will

    Family members are often stumped when it comes to locating a loved one’s will after they have passed away. Use these tips to locate this legal document so you can begin the probate process.

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  • Weighing the Pros and Cons of a Living Trust

    A living trust is a financial tools that can be used for Medicaid planning, estate planning and tax planning purposes. It is important to know how this tool works and make sure it is the best fit for your assets, personal situation and goals.

    5 Comments
  • Can You Change or Cancel a Will?

    People, families and finances change over time, and these changes should be reflected in one’s estate-planning documents. Consult an elder law attorney about your options for updating or revoking a will to ensure your wishes are followed.

    8 Comments
  • 4 Reasons to Review Your Will

    Most people mistakenly believe that creating a will is a one-time task, but estate-planning documents should be reviewed regularly to ensure they still reflect your wishes.

    22 Comments
  • Medicaid Estate Recovery: Long-Term Care Benefits Aren’t Necessarily “Free”

    The goal of the Medicaid Estate Recovery Program (MERP) is to recoup all the money that Medicaid spent on a beneficiary’s care. Learn what families can do to minimize the impact of the recovery process.

    89 Comments
  • 10 Things You Should Know About Your Parent's Finances

    Would you know what to do if you suddenly had to take over managing money and paying bills for your parent? Here are 10 things you need to know before assuming this responsibility.

    40 Comments
  • 5 Common Legal Issues That Caregivers Face

    Seniors and their caregivers are prone to many unique legal challenges. Explore issues with POA, guardianship, elder abuse and why it's important to enlist the help of an elder law attorney in a senior's care planning.

    24 Comments
  • How Can My Elderly Parent Qualify for Medicaid?

    Find out how annuities play into Medicaid planning for your elderly parents. It may seem hard to believe that annuities can help the elderly qualify for Medicaid - yes, Medicaid. This is sometimes called the "Half-A-Loaf" approach, and in certain cases, it can be a lifesaver for those who need the help the most.

    45 Comments
  • Exercise Caution when Considering a Life Estate Deed

    Some individuals may consider transferring property to a trusted family member as a part of their estate plan or Medicaid planning. However, there are a few different scenarios to consider before opting for such a strategy to ensure you do not lose the property altogether.

    3 Comments
  • Married Couples Should Update Their Will to Avoid Medicaid Misery

    This path of inheritance is the normal distribution under many states' "intestacy statute" (the law setting forth the distribution of the property of a decedent with no will).

    1 Comment
  • What is a Trust?

    Details for caregivers on trusts, including definition of a trust, types of trusts and how to set up a trust.

    4 Comments
  • Inheriting an IRA Can Be Taxing

    Inheriting an Individual Retirement Account (IRA) has certain tax implications. Understand your options to avoid costly mistakes.

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  • Building Your Retirement Planning Team

    Assemble a winning team of professionals to help you manage your finances and plan for the future. Make sure these three experts are in your lineup for long-term success.

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  • Capital Gains Tax and Estate Planning

    Capital gains taxes play an important role in careful estate planning and the probate process. Knowing the specific rules for these taxes and any potential changes to them will help you and your family plan effectively.

    0 Comments
  • Mom put her home in a family trust. Do we have to pay capital gains tax once the house sells?

    Your liability for capital gains tax depends on the terms of the trust. Now is the time to find out how the trust was written before you decide what to do with the property.

    0 Comments
  • Medicaid vs. Inheritance

    Inheritance and bequests are usually wonderful gifts, but for a beneficiary on Medicaid, these funds can jeopardize their eligibility for benefits.

    19 Comments
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