Wills, Trusts & Estates

Wills and Trusts - Not just for the older person. A Will can be an important document to have for a young person, especially if they have children. It allows you to name a Guardian for your children as well as set up Trusts to distribute any assets to the children as they get older. Whereas an older person wants the freedom of knowing exactly how their estate will be handled upon their death by naming the Executor of their choice and distributing their assets as they desire.

When we prepare a Will we usually include the Living Will, Health Care Proxy and the Power of Attorney. These documents together provide a comprehensive planning mechanism for your estate planning and saves money.

Living Wills - Sets out the parameters for prolonging dying if one should be in an incurable or irreversible mental or physical condition with no reasonable expectation of recovery. It is signed and witnessed.

Health Care Proxy - Gives the person you designate (the proxy) the power to make heath care decisions you, if you cannot. Your agent or proxy must act consistently with your desires as stated in this document. By this document you give your agent the same authority to make health care decisions for you as you would have had.

Power of Attorney - Whereby you appoint an agent of your choosing to act in your place and stead when you cannot. Example, to do your banking, pay bills, etc. You may choose to restrict or expand the power given to your agent.

Estate Planning for Medicaid - Laws governing estate planning are changing. As of September, 2011, New York State has adopted proposals that seek recovery against a decedent’s property for Medicaid that was paid during a recipient’s lifetime.

Life Estates - Putting one's property in a Life Estate can provide a safe way to protect your home if nursing home care becomes necessary. A Life Estate is created by deed and it allowes the home owners to live in the premises for their life and upon death, the house passes to the Remainder person or persons named in the deed, usually, their children. However, there is a look-back period of five years from the date of creation of the Life Estate. The five-year look-back applies to all transfers of property for estate planning purposes.

Revocable Trust - Principal and accumulated interest earned from a Revocable Trust can possbly be subject to recovery from medicaid without proper planning.

Irrevocable Trust - Is becoming a popular vehicle to protect assets. Assets placed in this type of trust are better shielded from Medicaid recovery, if that is the goal.