Feb 2024 (1)

Estate Planning Still Is Essential for Young Adults

When you’re in your 20s or 30s, estate planning might seem like a distant concept, reserved for a much older version of yourself. However, life’s unpredictability doesn’t discriminate by age. A prime example is in situations when something like a sudden illness leaves you incapacitated for weeks, with no legal directives for care or finances. This is important for everyone at any stage in life. Estate planning is not just about asset distribution; it’s an essential step in life management, allowing you to make crucial decisions about healthcare, financial assets, and personal belongings in case of unexpected events.

Why Estate Planning Matters for Young Adults

Estate planning goes beyond the realm of the wealthy or elderly. It’s about making sure your wishes are respected, no matter what life throws your way.

Health Care Directives: Imagine if, like Sarah, you were unable to make your own healthcare decisions. A living will and a health care power of attorney would enable someone you trust to make those decisions, ensuring your wishes are followed.

Financial Power of Attorney: Jack, a 32-year-old entrepreneur, faced a dilemma when he unexpectedly had to leave the country. He had no one legally designated to manage his startup’s finances in his absence. A financial power of attorney would have allowed Jack to appoint a trusted individual to handle his financial matters, ensuring business continuity.

Asset Management: Consider Lisa, who, at 30, thought she had little to leave behind. However, after a sudden accident, her family was left scrambling to access her digital assets, including valuable digital art and online accounts. A simple will could have provided clear instructions, easing the burden on her family.

Beneficiary Designations: Young adults often overlook updating beneficiaries on policies like life insurance or retirement accounts after major life events. This was the case for Mike, who, after his divorce, hadn’t updated his beneficiaries, leading to unintended consequences.

Making Estate Planning Relatable and Approachable

Estate planning need not be an overwhelming or morbid task. It’s about taking control and ensuring peace of mind.

Start Simple: Begin with the essentials. You don’t need a complex plan right away, just something that reflects your current life situation. Young adults should begin with basic estate planning documents like a will, health care directive, and power of attorney. These are foundational elements of a broader estate plan.

Professional Guidance: Don’t shy away from seeking help. Legal professionals can simplify the jargon and tailor a plan that fits your unique life story. Consulting with legal professionals can help demystify estate planning. Lawyers can explain terms in plain language and customize an estate plan to fit individual needs.

Regular Updates: Life is constantly changing. Just like you update your resume or social media profiles, your estate plan should evolve with you. Life events such as marriage, the birth of children, or significant financial changes necessitate revisiting and updating the estate plan to ensure it aligns with current life circumstances.

Educational Resources: Knowledge is power. Workshops, blogs, and legal consultations can demystify estate planning and show its real-life applications. Educational tools like workshops, online resources, and legal consultations can provide young adults with the knowledge needed to understand the importance of estate planning.

Estate planning is a journey of empowerment for young adults. It’s about crafting your legacy and ensuring that your wishes are honored, come what may.

At Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center, we are committed to making this journey relatable and accessible. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur like Jack, a creative soul like Lisa, or navigating life changes like Mike, our team is here to guide you. Contact us for a consultation, and let’s tailor an estate plan that resonates with your life story and secures your future.

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Securing Your Future at Every Life Stage

Estate planning might sound like something reserved for older or wealthier individuals, but it’s a crucial step for young adults as well. Understanding the importance of estate planning early on is not just about managing assets; it’s about taking control of your future and ensuring your wishes are respected, no matter what life throws your way.

Why Estate Planning Matters for Young Adults

Estate planning is vital for young adults, offering a structured way to manage future uncertainties. It’s not just for the wealthy or older individuals; young adults have significant reasons to consider estate planning:

Preparing for the Unexpected: The unpredictable nature of life underscores the importance of estate planning. It’s not just about who inherits your assets; it’s about making sure your healthcare preferences are followed and that your financial affairs are in order, even if you’re temporarily or permanently unable to communicate your wishes. Estate planning offers a sense of security, knowing that you are prepared for unforeseen circumstances.

Asset Protection: Regardless of the size of your estate, you likely have assets and belongings that hold value, whether monetary, sentimental, or both. Estate planning is the process of deciding the future of these assets, ensuring they are distributed or managed according to your desires. This includes everything from your car and savings account to digital assets like social media accounts and digital files. Estate planning allows you to control the narrative of your legacy, ensuring your assets are protected and passed on as you intend.

Healthcare Directives: A healthcare directive, or living will, specifies your medical care preferences if you become unable to make such decisions. This is crucial for maintaining your autonomy over health decisions.

Beneficiary Designations: Estate planning allows you to specify who will receive your assets and in what manner. It prevents state laws from arbitrarily deciding the fate of your estate. Additionally, it involves appointing trusted individuals to manage your affairs, be it financial decisions through a power of attorney or medical choices through a healthcare proxy. This ensures that the people making decisions on your behalf are those you trust and who understand your values and wishes. 

Starting Simple: For young adults, beginning with estate planning can seem daunting. Yet, starting with a basic will is a straightforward step that can bring immense peace of mind. It’s about laying the foundation for a secure future, both for yourself and for those you care about. Regularly reviewing and updating your plan, including beneficiary designations and considering the management of your digital legacy, ensures that your estate plan evolves with your life.

An Investment in Your Peace of Mind

Estate planning is an investment in your future and peace of mind. It’s not just about assets; it’s about making your wishes known and protecting yourself and those you care about. As a young adult, taking this step ensures that you’re prepared for whatever comes your way. Start simple, educate yourself, and consider seeking professional advice to create a plan that suits your needs. Remember, estate planning is a dynamic process, and as your life changes, so should your plan. The legal team at the Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center is here to provide guidance and support as you embark on this chapter of your life. Call (270) 982-2883 today, to schedule a consultation.

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How do you do estate planning if you have a disabled child?

By Ben Humphries, of Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center, of Elizabethtown, KY

The worst thing I have heard this week came from a person who told me that their attorney told them that because one of their three children were disabled that they should leave everything to the other non-disabled children and nothing to that disabled child.  I was shocked and hurt that a fellow attorney would give such horrible advice.  What if, after the parent died, the disabled child needed something?  What if the disabled child lost those government benefits somehow?   Most parents would say that their healthy children can simply use the inheritance to take care of the disabled child.  What if the healthy children die before the parent or die soon after the parent?  Or, even worse, what if the healthy children become disabled as well?  

So, what should the attorney have said to the person?  The person should have been told about a special needs trust that can be used to hold the inheritance for the disabled child after the parent has passed away.  The beauty of a special needs trust is that the parent can leave money to their disabled child, to make sure the disabled child has everything they need and resources if they need to supplement their government benefits, plus the disabled child gets to keep their government benefits such as disability or Medicare.  This is what they call a win-win for everyone involved and also a no-brainer when it comes to doing the estate planning for the parent. 

Upon the death of the parent a share of the inheritance goes into the trust for the disabled child, and can be used for that disabled child (subject to certain limitations provided by the government) and upon the death of the disabled child the money can go to the parent’s other children or the children of the disabled child.  These special needs trusts provide generational planning and you can do this type of planning in a basic will or in a revocable or irrevocable trust.

In fact, we like to put a special needs trust in all of our wills and trusts because you never know if one of your children may become disabled due to an accident or illness and you can easily include this type of planning in your will or trust just in case that situation arises and the trust won’t be used unless it is needed.  Simply put, a special needs trust should be in every person’s tool box when considering estate planning, especially if they have disabled children.

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Holiday Gifting Strategies for Savvy Estate Planners

The holiday season often brings warmth, family gatherings, and a spirit of giving. For many, it’s a time to share gifts with loved ones, a practice that can also be integral to estate planning. Strategically considered, gift-giving can align with one’s long-term objectives for asset distribution and protection, potentially reducing a taxable estate while benefiting family and friends.

Annual Gifting Strategies

One efficient gift-giving strategy is to use the annual exclusion, which allows an individual to give up to $16,000 to each recipient without incurring a gift tax. Utilizing this exclusion can methodically reduce the size of an estate over time, transferring wealth to beneficiaries during the giver’s lifetime.

Gifting can be particularly beneficial for assets that have increased in value, such as stocks or property. By transferring these before they’re sold, the giver can potentially avoid capital gains tax that would be due upon sale. At the same time, the recipient may benefit from a step-up in basis, depending on their individual circumstances.

Trusts and Partnerships

When planning an estate, using trusts can be a smart way to manage and pass on assets. Trusts are legal arrangements where you can set aside assets for specific purposes, beneficiaries, or future use. They offer a structured way to distribute wealth to family members, charities, or others, often with potential tax benefits. Trusts can provide more control over how and when your assets are given to others, making them a valuable tool in estate planning.

Smart Gifting Tips for the Holidays

Beyond the mechanics of estate reduction and tax savings, the holidays are a time to consider the more personal aspects of gifting. It’s important to choose gifts that hold meaning for the recipient, whether these are tangible items, experiences like concert tickets, or even donations made in their name to charities they support.

Gifts don’t need to be expensive to be impactful; in fact, experiences or consumables can offer enjoyment without contributing to clutter or challenging the recipient’s space. Documentation of significant gifts is important, as it can help prevent disputes and ensure future estate settlement clarity.

Consistency in Estate Planning Management

It’s recommended to review your estate plan periodically, especially after making substantial gifts or if there have been changes in family circumstances or relationships. This ensures that the plan remains aligned with your wishes and that any gifts you give are well within the strategy you’ve laid out with your estate planning professional.

The holiday season is a reminder that planning for the future is as much about the present moment as it is about the years to come. If you’re considering how holiday giving fits into your estate plan, the Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center is here to help. We offer local knowledge and a focused practice to assist you in crafting an estate plan that works for your unique situation. Schedule a consultation today by calling (270) 982-2883 to ensure your holiday generosity aligns with your long-term estate planning goals. Let’s work together to give you peace of mind this holiday season.

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The Importance of Beneficiary Designations

Estate planning is essential to protecting your assets and quality of life in case of incapacity. However, will your legacy be appropriately distributed once you’ve passed on? Beneficiaries stand as the recipients of your assets. In this context, assets encompass everything from bank accounts and retirement funds to life insurance policies. The significance of maintaining current and well-considered beneficiary designations cannot be overstated. The constantly evolving tapestry of life requires a consistent and collaborative approach to estate planning and asset distribution. 

Thoughtful Selection of Beneficiaries

The decision surrounding beneficiaries is a pivotal moment in the estate planning journey. It demands careful consideration as it determines who will inherit your legacy. The spectrum of beneficiaries stretches from family members and cherished friends to organizations close to your heart. Of course, life has its way of providing unexpected changes. Whether there’s a marriage, divorce, arrival of offspring, or interpersonal conflict, it may require a revision of your beneficiary designations. The fewer the changes, the simpler the plan, so having a strong sense of who your beneficiaries should be and weighing your long-term relationship will be essential. 

Keeping Beneficiary Designations Current

Selecting beneficiaries should be treated with care, so adding or removing beneficiaries should not be taken lightly either. Of course, that’s where collaboration with your estate planning team comes in handy. An outside professional can assist you in harmonizing your beneficiary choices with changes in circumstances and personal wishes while also looking out for your best interests.

To ensure the efficacy and accuracy of your estate planning, the periodic review and update of beneficiary designations is a must. Life is unpredictable, and ensuring that your assets flow to your intended recipients will provide peace of mind and potentially prevent disputes.

Considerations

When bestowing the title of beneficiary, there are certain nuances to keep in mind:

Minor Beneficiaries: Should you designate a minor as a beneficiary, it’s important to appoint a guardian tasked with overseeing and managing the minor’s assets until they attain legal maturity. Selecting a guardian for this process is arguably equally important as designating beneficiaries, so work closely with your attorney to ensure that you’re making informed decisions.

Disabled Beneficiaries: When naming a disabled individual as a beneficiary, establishing a special needs trust might be the best course of action. This type of trust safeguards the beneficiary’s assets while ensuring they continue to receive essential government benefits.

Multiple Beneficiaries: Clear and concise communication and organization are essential in cases involving multiple beneficiaries. You can stipulate the precise percentage of your assets each beneficiary will receive or entrust the division to your executor or personal representative.

Ensuring your beneficiary designations remain current should never be overlooked. It guarantees that your assets will flow according to your intentions when the moment arrives. The dedicated team at Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center is here to help you navigate the estate planning process with ease. We want to safeguard your assets for generations to come. Schedule a consultation today by calling (270) 982-2883 and embark on securing your legacy and protecting what you most care about.

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How to Protect Inheritance for Your Loved Ones

Estate planning is a deeply personal journey that goes beyond the mere distribution of assets. It’s about safeguarding the legacy you’ve built over a lifetime and ensuring that your loved ones are well taken care of when you’re no longer there to guide them. There are crucial aspects of protecting inheritance for your beneficiaries. Learning to navigate this complex yet profoundly meaningful process will help you maximize the assets that go to them. 

The Importance of Planning Early

Estate planning is often misunderstood as something exclusive to the wealthy or the elderly. The truth is, it’s a responsibility that transcends age and financial status. It’s about making deliberate choices to secure your family’s future. Here are a few examples of why it’s so important:

Clarity of Intent: Estate planning allows you to articulate your wishes clearly. It ensures that your assets are distributed according to your desires, sparing your loved ones from potential conflicts and uncertainties.

Financial Security: Beyond assets, estate planning addresses the financial well-being of your beneficiaries. It can include provisions for education, healthcare, and maintaining their quality of life. Even a small amount invested well can grow exponentially over time.

Minimizing Taxation: A thoughtfully crafted estate plan can help minimize tax liabilities, ensuring that your beneficiaries receive the maximum benefit from your legacy.

Understanding Your Options

Estate planning isn’t a one-size-fits-all endeavor. Your plan should be tailored to your unique circumstances and the needs of your beneficiaries. What estate planning tools work best for your situation will depend on your goals. Working with an experienced estate planning team will make this process much more streamlined. 

Wills and trusts are often lumped together, but they differ fundamentally in their protections. A will is a foundational document in estate planning, but it’s not always sufficient and doesn’t protect your beneficiaries from probate. On the other hand, trusts offer more comprehensive control over asset distribution, allowing you to specify conditions for disbursement. For example, if a beneficiary has special needs, a curated trust can safeguard their eligibility for government assistance while providing additional resources for their well-being.

Communication and Education

Discussing your estate plan with your beneficiaries is not always necessary, but open communication with them is helpful in times of uncertainty. While it may be a sensitive topic, discussing your estate plan with your loved ones can prevent misunderstandings and offer clarity about your intentions. It’s an opportunity to educate them about their responsibilities and rights as beneficiaries.

Your Estate Planning Partner

While creating a basic will online is possible, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney is invaluable. They bring expertise and insight into the process, helping you avoid common pitfalls and ensuring that your plan is legally sound. After all, estate planning is a deeply personal process, and an attorney will be open and honest with you about your best options for protecting your assets

Laws regarding estate planning can be complex and subject to change. Attorneys stay up-to-date on these matters and can work with you to ensure your plan remains valid and effective. This includes creating documents that offer preemptive conflict resolution. In the unfortunate event that disputes arise among beneficiaries, an attorney can help mediate and, if necessary, represent your interests in court.

Life is ever-changing, and so should your estate plan. Major life events like marriages, births, divorces, or significant financial shifts should prompt a review of your plan. Updating it ensures that it continues to reflect your wishes accurately. At Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center, we want to help you protect an inheritance for your beneficiaries so it continues to serve as an act of love and foresight. It’s about more than just wealth; it’s about preserving your values, your dreams, and your support for generations to come. Call our office today at (270) 982-2883 to schedule a free initial consultation.

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Did the IRS quietly change the rules on your children’s inheritance?

There have been recent news articles about some changes the IRS made concerning inheriting assets from trusts.  According to the article, in March the IRS issued Revenue Ruling 2023-2.  The new Ruling states that property held in an irrevocable trust is not included in the taxable estate at death will no longer receive a step-up in basis.  That ruling is consistent with the existing law.  In short, assets in a trust that are part of your gross estate (like assets in the ipug and revocable trusts my office does for clients) get an adjusted basis upon death.  Assets in trusts that have taken the assets out of the client’s gross estate (like the trust in the subject IRS case) don’t get an adjusted basis.

At our office, Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center, we typically use a specific type of irrevocable trust that does not remove the assets from the client’s gross estate.  Thus, if you have an irrevocable trust that does not remove the asset from your taxable estate then you can rest assured knowing the new IRS ruling does not relate to your type of trust.  There are many benefits to the kind of trust that we use.  The trust protects assets from lawsuits and future creditors like a nursing home and protects the assets you have worked so hard to save for your family.  Another great benefit is that the assets in the trust, such as the home or farm, will still receive the adjusted step-up in basis upon the death of the grantors of the trust.

If you have questions about the new IRS ruling call our office at 270-982-2883 and we will schedule you for a free workshop that covers all of the potential threats to your estate plan, which includes information about the taxes and how they could impact your estate plan.

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Estate Planning for Blended Families: Strategies for Success

Although nuclear families still exist, blended families are becoming increasingly common. It’s more common to see step-parents taking a more active role in raising their step-children and better attitudes toward peaceful and friendly co-parenting. However, the increasing preference over “chosen family” may complicate traditional estate planning methods. If you have a blended family unit, it’s still possible to utilize all the same estate planning tools. In fact, it could be argued that it’s even more important to develop a comprehensive estate plan as a blended family to protect your loved ones and the values that matter to you most. Here are some tips for creating an estate plan that works for you.

Trusts

A trust allows grantors the flexibility to specify how and when assets are distributed to beneficiaries. There are many benefits to establishing a trust, including avoiding probate taxes and the level of customization makes it an appealing choice for many families. For example, you may want to set aside a nest egg for your children, but also want them to wait to access the funds until they have matured and are prepared for the responsibility of managing a large sum of money. A trust can dictate who has access to it, how it’s distributed, when it’s distributed, and what the funds can be used for.

Designate Beneficiaries 

Designating beneficiaries and keeping them up to date is one of the most important pieces of any estate plan. There are many reasons to name beneficiaries, especially in a will. The primary reason is to make sure that the people you love are left with the assets you have worked so hard for. Without a will, your assets will be subject to a lengthy and costly probate process, and they may be automatically distributed to your next of kin. If you want to include special beneficiaries that are not in your immediate next of kin, it’s important to name them as a beneficiary in your will. For example, you may have a close bond with a step-child who may not have legal rights to your estate, but you may want them to receive some of the assets you leave behind. Conversely, if you’re not close to your family and prefer to leave your assets to a close friend or neighbor, including them in your will is an important step to ensuring your wishes are met.

Power of Attorney

Estate planning is not just for dispersing assets after your death. There are many cases where you want to protect your assets and best interests while you’re still living, which can be done with trusts or a power of attorney. There are several types of power of attorney that can be used in the event that you’re incapacitated. Much like with designating beneficiaries, you may want the attorney-in-fact to be someone you trust that may be someone other than your next of kin. For example, it might be preferable to select your best friend as a medical proxy (or medical power of attorney), if they are a medical professional, or can better follow the values outlined in the power of attorney documents.

Estate planning can be challenging, especially if you have a blended family, but it’s crucial in making sure that your loved ones are taken care of and your wishes are met. No matter how your family is built, they’re important. The experienced team at Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center is ready to use their expertise to create the perfect estate plan for your unique needs. For a free consultation, call (270) 982-2883 today.

Power of attorney

Power of Attorney And Estate Planning

Estate planning is more than just dividing assets to beneficiaries after your passing. There are estate planning tools that were created to protect you and the people and things that matter to you most even while you’re still alive. Establishing power of attorney for a variety of situations is a great addition to a comprehensive estate plan. This article will explore the different powers of attorney, and their best uses.

When To Use Power of Attorney

Power of attorney (POA) is a legal document that allows someone, the “principal,” to grant authority to another person, the “attorney-in-fact,” to act on their behalf in legal and financial matters. The principal can give the agent broad or limited powers, depending on their needs and preferences. Here are some examples of different powers of attorney and their potential best uses:

General Power of Attorney: The agent can potentially have broad authority to act on behalf of the principal in any legal and financial matters, including managing bank accounts, paying bills, and selling property. The authority granted under a general POA typically ends if the principal becomes incapacitated or dies. This type of POA works well for business and health matters.

Durable Power of Attorney: A durable POA is similar to a general POA, but it remains in effect even if the principal becomes incapacitated or unable to make decisions. This type of POA is useful for situations where the principal wants to ensure that someone can act on their behalf if they become unable to do so. This is often applied for adult children caring for their elderly parents suffering from dementia or other incapacitating illnesses.

Limited Power of Attorney: For a limited POA, the agent is granted the authority to act on behalf of the principal in a specific transaction or for a limited period of time. For example, a limited POA could be used to grant an agent the authority to sell a particular property or manage a business interest for a specific period of time. This type of POA works well for long-distance real estate transactions and business matters.

Springing Power of Attorney: A springing POA only becomes effective when a certain condition is met, such as when the principal becomes incapacitated. This type of POA can be useful for people who want to ensure that someone can act on their behalf if they become incapacitated in some way, but do not want to grant broad authority until that time.

Medical Power of Attorney: A medical POA, which is sometimes referred to as a health care proxy. This grants an agent the authority to make medical decisions on behalf of the principal if they become unable to do so. This type of POA is often used in conjunction with a living will or advance directive to ensure that the principal’s wishes regarding medical treatment are followed.

 

Establishing Power of Attorney

POA documents can be customized to meet any of your unique needs. They are also flexible enough to grant as limited or broad authority as desired. They can easily be revoked or amended at any time, as long as the principal is not incapacitated, making them an ideal tool to have on-hand. It is important to discuss your plans for creating a power of attorney with someone you trust. They will potentially have significant authority over your affairs and should be consenting and capable of carrying out your wishes. 

Creating a comprehensive estate plan should include some form of power of attorney in case of an emergency. Speaking with a legal team that is experienced in estate planning and working with powers of attorney should be your first step to finding solutions that work best for you. To start your estate planning journey, contact the Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center by calling (270) 982-2883 and schedule a consultation today.

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Special Needs Estate Planning

Few things are more beautiful and pure than a parent’s love for their child. Parents work hard to ensure that their children have the best chance at a successful career and one day retire after living a fulfilling life. However, not all children have the same needs, which requires a specific type of estate planning process to make sure their needs continue to be met even after you are no longer able to provide their care. Although the prospect of not being there to help guide your children through the rest of their lives can be anxiety-inducing, there are specific ways that you can protect your special needs child and their assets after your passing.

Tools for Disabled Individuals

A trust is a valuable tool for special needs estate planning. Disabled adults and children are vulnerable to exploitation and abuse, which makes trusts uniquely capable of granting protection to beneficiaries. The goal of each trust is to ensure that your special needs child receives the necessary support and resources to maintain their quality of life, while preserving their eligibility for government benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI).

Special Needs Trust: A special needs trust is a type of first-party trust that is designed to provide for the ongoing care and support of an individual with a disability without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. The trust can be used to pay for a wide range of expenses, such as medical and dental care, housing, transportation, and education.

Pooled Trust – This is a type of trust in which assets from multiple beneficiaries can be combined and managed together by a nonprofit organization or professional, which will act as the trustee. Each beneficiary has a separate account within the trust, and the trustee manages the funds in the accounts to provide for the beneficiary’s needs, such as paying for medical expenses or other care services. Pooled trusts are often used by individuals with disabilities who are seeking to qualify for government benefits while also preserving some of their own assets. It works especially well if you’re concerned about whether your abled children are unable to manage your disabled child’s assets.

Funding a Trust 

Funding a trust is not always an easy endeavor, which is why it’s important to look into the option of opening an “ABLE account” for your special needs child.

Achieving a Better Life Experience account (ABLE) – Is a type of tax-advantaged savings account for individuals with disabilities that was created under the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014. ABLE accounts are designed to help individuals with disabilities and their families save and pay for disability-related expenses, such as education, housing, transportation, and healthcare, without affecting their eligibility for government benefits. Contributions to ABLE accounts are made with after-tax dollars, but the earnings in the account grow tax-free, and withdrawals used for qualifying disability expenses are also tax-free. As part of estate planning, ABLE accounts can be used as a tool to provide for the ongoing care and support of an individual with a disability after the account holder passes away. 

Although there are many types of trusts that can benefit your special needs child, developing an estate plan that has the flexibility to provide support for a wide range of needs will give you peace of mind. At Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center, our true focus is helping families plan for and take control of their future. For a consultation, contact us online, or call our office at (270) 982-2883.

2023

Estate Planning New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s is fast approaching, which means that many of us are reviewing 2022 and deciding what we can do better in 2023. We’re also identifying new goals based on everything that’s happened this year.

Estate planning should be on everyone’s agenda for 2023: either creating a new one or updating the plan you currently have. It’s easy to do with the help of a Kentucky estate planning lawyer, and you set yourself up for success that goes well beyond the accomplishment of keeping a New Year’s resolution.

Create a New Estate Plan

A recent study by Caring.com suggests that while more people in the 18-24 year age group are setting up estate plans since the pandemic, a significant portion of U.S. adults still don’t have a will or estate plan.

Estate planning has many purposes, and each individual’s or family’s goals should be determined by their personal preferences, financial situation, and other factors.Your specific objectives for estate planning in 2023 might be:

  • Lifelong asset protection and management
  • Identifying heirs and providing for loved ones
  • Establishing beneficiaries, executors, trustees, powers of attorney, etc
  • Nomination of guardians for children or dependents
  • Keeping tax burdens to a minimum
  • Making a plan for charitable giving
  • Business succession planning

After you define your specific goals, an estate planning attorney can help you determine the appropriate legal documents, financial instruments, and planning steps for protecting your assets.

Review Your Estate Planning Goals

Even if you already have a plan in place, you can still make estate planning your resolution for the year ahead. Ideally, you should review your estate plan and documents on a regular basis with the help of an estate planning attorney who can advise you of any changes in state and federal law. 

Those who change or update their estate plans sometimes neglect to talk to their families and heirs about them. You can save your family from unexpected surprises after your death by having this conversation sometime in the New Year, so that they know what to expect when the time comes.

Speak With an Estate Planning Attorney Today

People often fail to keep their New Year’s Resolutions because their goals are unclear or they feel overwhelmed or discouraged. Reaching out to a Kentucky estate planning attorney will give you the confidence and information you need to set realistic goals and determine how you will achieve them. 

At Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center, we understand how sensitive and personal estate law can be, which is why we offer personalized estate planning and administration services. Whether you are looking to draft your first will or update a plan you’ve had in place for years, we are here to guide you through the changes you face. To schedule a consultation, call 270-982-2883 today.

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Holidays Are For Estate Planning!

The holiday season is when you see family members who don’t live nearby. That’s one of the main reasons why Christmas and New Year’s are such festive times: the extended family either gathers under your roof or comes into the immediate area so you can all catch up and count your blessings together.

It’s also the ideal time to think about putting together an estate plan or revising your existing one. When you’re all together, it’s a lot easier to take note of everyone’s current situation: your children, grandchildren, and others who will benefit from the plans you’re preparing to put in place. In this blog, the team at Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center explains how holiday conversations can help inform your estate planning decisions in the New Year.

Is Anyone Likely to Get Divorced?

Although Kentucky generally excludes inherited assets from property division during a divorce, there are times when separately owned property becomes commingled with the marital estate. For example, if you leave your Florida vacation home to your son and he renovates it using marital funds, any increase in value is subject to division upon divorce.

If you get the impression that your son’s marriage isn’t as harmonious as it used to be, you can put their inheritance in a trust with an independent trustee, such as a dependable family member or even a bank or attorney. As an additional protection, trusts may be drafted in a way that authorizes an independent third party to temporarily remove your son as a trust beneficiary if a divorce is pending.

Is Anyone Having Debt Problems?

Sometimes, even after all the nurturing, love, guidance, and support you can give a child, they still don’t know how to handle money. There are a variety of reasons why your adult child may have financial problems, including not budgeting or overdoing it with credit. Whatever the reason, if your holiday conversations suggest that the problem isn’t improving, you may want to plan more carefully for them.

This is another situation where a trust can be beneficial. Consider setting up a spendthrift trust that can protect your loved one from financial dangers and temptations. With this type of trust, the beneficiary’s access to assets is carefully controlled. Rather than receiving their inheritance all at once, the funds are released incrementally. In addition, since assets belong to the trust, creditors can’t come after them to satisfy your child’s debts.

Divorce and debt issues are only two considerations when you’re creating a new estate plan or updating an old one. Others include a child or grandchild who has been diagnosed with special needs (making a special needs trust advisable), the arrival of a new grandchild, and more. 

Make an Appointment With an Estate Planning Lawyer

Estate planning requires action as well as planning. Once you know what your goals are, it’s time to discuss them with an estate planning lawyer. At Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center, our goal is to help you prepare for the future your loved ones deserve. Whether you need a brand new plan or want to update an existing one, we’re here to help. To schedule a consultation, call 270-982-2883 today.