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Brooklyn Probate & Estate Administration Law Blog

Understanding key facts about revocable and irrevocable trusts

To relieve the burden on your loved ones, you want to make sure that your affairs are in order before your passing. This is where an estate plan comes into play. A proper estate plan lays out your wishes and orders in regards to all of your belongings and capital.

A solid estate plan will include a trust. Depending upon your specific circumstances, it may be better to select a revocable or an irrevocable trust. As you weigh your options for a trust, consider these key facts about revocable and irrevocable trusts.

The process to obtain guardianship over an incapacitated adult

Many adults deal with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. If your loved one is incapacitated, you may want to step in and manage their life. To do this legally, you need to be granted guardianship of that person, taking them as a ward. 

Obtaining guardianship over a person over 18 years old falls under the Article 81 Guardianship statutes. In New York, any person over the age of 18 can petition the court to make legal decisions for another person who is unable to manage their affairs. The guardian also needs to be a citizen of the United States and cannot have a criminal record. 

VA benefits for elderly veterans

The Veteran’s Administration estimates that there are more than 12 million veterans in the United States who are over the age of 65. Many of these veterans are not aware of the benefits available to them through the VA.

Two programs that are especially helpful for senior citizens are Aid and Attendance and Housebound. These benefits are in addition to a monthly pension, and the veteran must be eligible for a pension to receive these funds. These programs raise the pension amount, but there are many conditions on receiving these benefits. 

Consider a power of attorney before you become incapacitated

A power of attorney is a document in which you, the principal, name another person, an agent or attorney-in-fact to act in matters on your behalf. Many military personnel create POAs before deploying overseas in case something happens that needs immediate attention or in case they become incapacitated. Incapacity is probably the most common reason people need POAs. A limited POA lets someone act in a specific situation. For example, you want your son to help you sell your home or help you move into a care facility. Upon completion of the task, the POA ends. 

You might want to grant a financial power of attorney to one child to help you manage your stock and investment accounts. You could also divvy up responsibilities among your children with specific POAs. One person could manage day-to-day bills while another has access to long-term accounts. 

5 Common myths about estate planning

It can be confusing to think about wills, trusts, health care directives and powers of attorney, but it is important to consider estate planning sooner rather than later. Do it for your family instead of leaving the state a portion of your estate when you die. Here are five common misunderstandings about estate planning to help you see the value in having a plan for your assets.

Things to consider when choosing the executor of your estate

Many people in Brooklyn do not give much consideration to who they choose to act as their estate executors. They choose family members and friends because they do not believe they will ever need them to fulfill those roles, and they are not aware of what is involved. Executor designations are not decisions that should be made lightly. It is important for you to choose someone you know and believe will act in good faith on your behalf. Here are some things you should consider when choosing an executor for your estate.

Caring for the elderly can cost more than raising a child, report finds

It is no surprise that the cost of caring for ourselves and our loved ones as we age is expensive. We expect there to be certain costs tied to nursing care, medical care and other needs as we age. We plan, we save and we do our best to make the right choices for our family's future financial stability.

Unfortunately, our estimates about these costs may be understated. A recent report by Forbes notes that the cost of caring for an older adult are more than originally thought. In fact, these costs can exceed the cost of raising a child.

Don't have any kids? You will want an estate plan

While an estate plan is important for parents, people without children might find an estate plan even more essential. If you do not have any kids then the result of your savings, house and wellbeing is up in the air without a written plan.

Make sure your money gets into the right hands

There are three options for your money after you are gone:

  • The government
  • Family and friends
  • Charity

If you do not have any kids and you don't plan on them, then establishing a will early in life can prevent your money from getting dumped down the governmental drain. You can create a will as early as your 30s or 40s to make sure that your money and belongings go to someone you care about. Even if you are in tip top physical shape you never know when an accident could happen.

Two retirement planning tips for families with special needs children

Planning for retirement is an important step towards financial security. Finding the right plan for your family can be an intimidating feat, especially for families with a special needs child. In addition to planning for the future financial needs of two adults who are no longer receiving an income from an employer, these families also need to take into account the needs of another individual.

A recent piece in Financial Advisor discussed some of the challenges that can come with retirement planning in this situation. Three of the biggest issues noted include attempting to estimate the cost of the child's care needs, determining the best cash flow options and deciding the right way to allocate investments.

Three tips for those considering Medicaid eligibility

Those who are starting to consider long-term care needs may want to take steps to qualify for Medicaid.

Three tips that can help better ensure you make the most of your hard earned assets include:

  • Gifting. If you are building your estate with the hopes of passing on assets to future generations, consider starting the process early. It helps out those who may need it when they need it most while giving you the opportunity to enjoy the gift getting put to use.

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