Estate Planning and Medicaid/Nursing Home Planning
Have you made your will? The easiest and most useful and practical estate planning tool is the Last Will and Testament. Everybody needs a Will because if you die without a Will then state law controls who will receive your assets and who will be in charge of your estate. At my law office I will sit down with you and go over the issues that are important to get you started and we will craft a personal estate plan for you that is practical, and easy to understand.
Do you need a trust? In general, trusts can be very useful but not everybody needs a trust. The greatest benefit of a trust is that it will help you avoid estate and inheritance taxes. However, in Kentucky you do not have to pay state inheritance taxes if you leave your assets to your spouse, children, grandchildren, siblings or parents. The law regarding federal inheritance taxes is more complicated as the laws change from time to time. Contact me to schedule an appointment to see how the laws have changed in this area and let me advise you on the estate planning documents that are best for your particular situation.
Are you in a nursing home, or are you likely to go into one in the near future? If you or a family member are considering going into a nursing home then you will be facing some very difficult issues and decisions. The most important thing to do is to make sure that you have all of the necessary estate planning documents, such as a power of attorney, living will or Last Will and Testament. The laws have changed regarding business powers of attorney and the Kentucky Courts have recently held that your power of attorney, if it separately lists the power or authority of your power of attorney, must include all the specific powers that power of attorney might need. This means that if you don’t have a power of attorney that is comprehensive and lists all of the potential powers that your agent might need,then your power of attorney might not be effective to assist you in this time of need. Also you need to know what assets are subject to estate recovery, and what assets are exempt assets that you can keep and still apply for long term government benefits known as Medicaid. These are all issues that I can assist you with at a consultation here at my office or at your home, whichever is more convenient to you.
Has your power of attorney been reviewed by an attorney within the last 3 years? The law continues to change and it is now more important than ever that you have an updated business and health care power of attorney that includes the specific language that allows your agent to set up trusts and to apply for government benefits. Let me review your power of attorney to see if it has the necessary language.