family modern

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.


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.

Love letter

Keep Valentine’s Day Romantic With a Nuptial Agreement

Valentine’s day can be a subject of excitement and joy for some couples, and a sore reminder for others. One of the easiest ways to keep things romantic is to eliminate the worry surrounding assets in a marriage is through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement. You may be wondering: “What’s romantic about a legal document?” We’re here to tell you that it’s not the document; it’s about the piece of mind it can provide.

What are prenuptial and postnuptial marital agreements?

A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that a soon-to-be-married couple files that outlines how they want their assets to be shared or divided during their marriage and after death. The agreement becomes valid and goes into effect as soon as the marriage is completed. 

A postnuptial agreement is essentially the same as a prenuptial agreement, except that it occurs after the marriage has already taken place. It can happen days or even years after the wedding, but usually comes up when a couple understands their individual needs a little better, or when new circumstances arise.

I feel secure in my relationship, do I need a marital agreement?

In Kentucky, just by being married, your spouse is entitled to half of your stuff. There is also a Dower and Courtesy Interest right which means that your spouse has the right to half of your property even if you want to buy it in your own name. These include instances where you are part owner of a business or are in line to inherit assets from your family. A marital agreement can help give stakeholders in your business peace of mind knowing that even if you are getting married, you still respect their investment and initial business agreement. 

A marital agreement can also protect children from a previous marriage. If you have assets that you want to leave for your descendants, a marital agreement can assist in drawing a legal boundary to protect their futures. A marital agreement also cannot be unbalanced one way or the other, so both you and your spouse are guaranteed to benefit in some way. 

Do we need a lawyer to sign a marital agreement?

First and foremost, for any and all legal matters, a lawyer should be involved. In order for the pre or postnuptial agreement to be equitable, certain parameters should be met. Both you and your spouse need to agree that you need a marital agreement. It might be a difficult subject to bring up when you’re excited about an engagement, but you should be able to talk about anything with your spouse-to-be.

When a marital agreement is in the process of being drafted, both spouses are required to disclose all assets and liabilities. This can be a really stressful situation if either spouse is only just now becoming aware of the other’s bad financial situation. A lawyer can use their expertise and experience to advise both you and your spouse on how best to navigate this difficult topic. 


One of the most important requirements for a court to enforce a marital agreement is that the document was made and signed willingly by both parties. If you or your spouse feels as though they are being pressured to sign, then it may not meet the requirement. In these scenarios, sometimes it’s best for you and your spouse to seek separate legal counsel to ensure equal footing. The marital agreement also doesn’t require a court filing, which means that a notary will be present while filing and it’s up to you and your spouse to maintain the document. A lawyer can make sure that the agreement is in compliance with court requirements and help update the documents in the event that your financial situation changes.

If you’re still on the fence, you’re actually not alone. Prenuptial agreements weren’t even legal in Kentucky until 1990 because many people believed that they were made with the assumption the marriage would fail. Now, marital agreements are not only the norm, they’re recommended for couples to create peace of mind and confidence about their financial futures. If you are ready to start working on a marital agreement, contact the Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center for a consultation. 


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 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.

Holidays Siblings

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.


End-of-Year Estate Planning Goals

While it’s impossible to predict the future, one thing is for certain. If we don’t plan for it, life can be difficult for our loved ones when we pass. This is why creating an estate plan is something we should do sooner rather than later.

Many people hold off on estate planning because they believe they don’t have a big enough estate or are simply too young to worry about things like wills and retirement. The truth is that everyone should have a plan, regardless of age or net worth. Conversely, other people create an estate plan, but fail to update it even after their life circumstances change. This results in a plan that does not reflect their new or changed wishes and relationships.

Below are some reasons why you should put together an estate plan or revise your existing one before 2023 rolls in!

You Got Married or Divorced

A spouse’s presence or absence could have a profound impact on how your assets are distributed after your death. If you get married, it’s likely you’ll want your spouse to inherit your estate, or if it’s a second marriage, you may want your children from a previous marriage to inherit your estate as well. When you get divorced, you will usually want to remove your former spouse from your estate plan as well as from your retirement assets, pensions, and insurance policies.

You Welcomed Children into Your Family

There are many ways that you can welcome children into your family, and you’ll want to ensure that their future is protected. While birth and adopted children are heirs at law, foster or stepchildren must be named in your estate plan to be beneficiaries. If you have a child with special needs, they should be provided for differently in your estate plan, especially if their condition is a lifelong one. Review your trust, will, and other documents to ensure that your children are cared for appropriately, especially if you pass while they are still minors.

You Bought or Sold Property

Your estate’s value can be dramatically affected by the purchase or sale of real estate. Establishing a revocable living trust after purchasing real estate can help you avoid probate. Living trusts allow your property to pass directly to your beneficiaries after your death and to be divided proportionally, taking into account any outstanding mortgages or equity lines of credit. 

You Started or Sold a Business

Business succession planning specifies who will take over the management or ownership of your business after you retire or pass away. If you want to avoid confusion when your business leadership changes, you may need to update or establish your estate plan to include a business succession plan.

You Were Diagnosed With a Medical Condition

You should review your estate planning needs immediately following a serious medical diagnosis or sudden accident. Perhaps you should change your designations for who will handle your health care and financial decisions in the event you become incapacitated. Ensure that your current wishes are reflected in your estate plan, that you have completed all the documents you need and have them on file with all the medical and financial institutions who will need them if you become incapacitated.

Speak With an Estate Planning Attorney Today

With estate planning, sooner is better than later. At Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center, we will sit down with you, discuss your current family and financial situation, and help you create a plan that gives your loved ones security and you peace of mind. As your life changes, we will also update your plan to reflect those changes. To schedule a consultation, call 270-982-2883 today.

Revocable Trust

Revocable Trusts: Easiest Way to Not Pay Twice!

When you’re looking to reduce your probate tax and preserve as much of your estate as possible for your beneficiaries, a revocable trust can help you achieve both goals. Unlike their irrevocable counterpart, revocable trusts can be amended or revoked at any time and without anyone’s permission. You retain control of all trust assets for as long as you are competent and, after you pass, they can be distributed to beneficiaries according to the terms of the trust document.

Benefits of a revocable trust include: 

  • Avoid probate. A revocable trust permits assets to pass to heirs without going through probate, which can be costly and time-consuming. In most cases, a successor trustee takes over without court oversight.
  • Avoid ancillary probate. In the case of out-of-state property, shifting it into a revocable trust and registering the deed to the trust can avoid certain probate issues.
  • Protection in the event of incapacitation. If a grantor becomes incapacitated, a successor trustee can take over, and that trustee has a fiduciary responsibility to manage trust assets.

Another advantage that is often overlooked is the ability to avoid double taxation. More on that below.

Avoid Double Taxation

From an income tax perspective, revocable trusts are the simplest trust arrangement. Trust income is taxable during the lifetime of the creator, who retains full control over the trust’s terms and its assets. Taxpayer identification numbers of trusts will typically be the same as the creator’s Social Security numbers during their lifetime. The trust itself will not file a tax return, and all income, deductions, and credits will be reported on the creator’s personal income tax return. In other words, a revocable trust is technically invisible to the IRS and Kentucky state taxing authorities. 

Pay Close Attention to Trust Funding

Although revocable trusts can help you avoid double taxation, extra costs can arise if you don’t transfer all assets that may be subject to probate after you pass. If this happens, all property outside the trust becomes subject to probate. Your estate ends up in probate court and you technically pay twice: first, to set up the revocable living trust to avoid probate; and second, to have non-trust assets probated after your death. Being aware of this potential outcome can help you plan accordingly.

Questions About Revocable Trusts? Speak to a Kentucky Estate Planning Lawyer

While this guide is an excellent starting point for understanding revocable trusts, it doesn’t cover all of the details of setting one up, transferring assets, and managing it. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you understand the advantages (and disadvantages) of revocable trusts as estate planning vehicles, so you can make an informed decision. To schedule a no-obligation consultation, contact Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center today.


Your Guide to Administration of a Probate Estate

If your loved one died with an estate, and you were designated as the administer of that estate while it goes through probate, it is important to understand your legal rights and responsibilities. Probate is the process of settling an estate by distributing the assets to the beneficiaries according to the will. Although both processes can be overwhelming at first, with a little assistance, it becomes manageable. To help you navigate the probate and trust administration process, we have provided an overview of some of the most common tasks involved as well as tips for getting through the process as smoothly as possible.

How to Probate an Estate

The first step in administering an estate is to file a petition for probate with the local probate court. The court will notify any creditors with an interest in the estate. Creditors have six months from the time of notification to file claims seeking payment from the decedent’s estate. During this time, you should ensure that any outstanding bills are paid and that the estate has adequate funds to pay the claims after the claim period expires. Once the probate petition has been filed, the court will appoint an administrator for the estate who will be responsible for managing and distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will. The administrator will also have the responsibility of notifying the beneficiaries of the decedent’s death and preparing any necessary tax forms.

Managing the Estate After the Creditors’ Claim Period Expires

Once the creditors’ claim period has expired, the administrator will be responsible for closing out the decedent’s accounts and paying any remaining debts associated with the estate. If the estate has no outstanding debts at the time of the decedent’s death, nothing will need to be paid and those assets can be distributed to the beneficiaries according to the terms of the will. The administrator is also responsible for making arrangements for the transfer of assets. Typically, this will involve placing real estate in the name of the heirs and selling any other major assets if necessary. Some assets may need to be sold for the benefit of the estate in order to cover expenses such as taxes and debts. The administrator will need to notify all interested parties before a property is sold in order to ensure that their interests are protected. After the property is sold, the proceeds will be deposited into an estate account and all expenses incurred during the administration of the estate will be deducted from the account before they are distributed to the beneficiary(ies). When the assets are to be distributed, the administrator will prepare a final report listing all of the assets that were transferred and the costs associated with the administration of the estate. This report will be presented to the court for approval before it is presented to the beneficiaries for their review.

While this guide is a great start to the probate process, it doesn’t cover all of the ins and outs of the probate process. In order to ensure that you are fully prepared for your role as an executor or administrator, it is highly recommended that you consult with an experienced estate planning attorney prior to starting the process. Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center is here to help make probate simple – contact us today for assistance in your own probate process.


Medicaid Planning & Protecting Your Assets

At this time, the average cost of a nursing home in Kentucky is between $70,000-$80,000 a year. The national average for a private room is over $100,000 a year. Typically, the people who require these types of facilities are retired, live on a fixed income, and are not in a position financially to cover the significant costs associated with long-term care. The unfortunate reality is that many families exhaust the entirety of their savings within two years of entering a nursing home. 

Medicaid may appear to be the solution and problem for anyone in this position. It provides the financial assistance you need to pay for the long-term care facility, but you may have too many assets to qualify. From the onset, these same people begin to view the assets that they spent a lifetime accumulating are what is preventing them from getting the assistance they need. Because of the stress and urgency of the situation, they may make very costly mistakes. 

This includes selling their home for less than market value to a friend or relative or simply giving away their assets. In extreme cases, some people may give away everything they own and realize it wasn’t what they needed to do to qualify. When you work with a qualified attorney who understands Medicaid planning, you will discover that you can be eligible and retain your assets. 

Exemptions, Spend Downs, & Transfers 

Before you apply for Medicaid, your attorney will ensure that your assets are either exempt, have been spent, or have been transferred appropriately. For example, Medicaid cannot take your family home if your spouse lives in it. Even if you pass away in the nursing home, your spouse can continue to live in it. The same extends to a car and an IRA. These are examples of exempt assets.

Although Medicaid allows you to “spend down” the money, it must be spent on either the person entering the nursing home or their spouse. Medicaid has a five-year lookback period and can actually penalize you for improperly giving away assets and money during it. An elder law attorney can advise you on how to “spend down” your money correctly and legally. 

If you begin your Medicaid planning early, you and your attorney can discuss the possibility of placing your assets in an irrevocable trust. The downside of these trusts is that once your assets go into the trust, you will be unable to take them out. (Do not confuse these with irrevocable income-only trusts.) The tremendous advantage of an irrevocable trust is that once you fund the trust with a specific asset, that asset is no longer counted as yours. 

Contact the Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center 

Medicaid laws are constantly changing and are complex. The attorneys at the Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center study and follow them, so we will be in the best position to advise how to retain your assets legally and still qualify for Medicaid. Contact us today to schedule your consultation.

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Remarriage Protection in Estate Planning

For those who are divorcees and considering remarriage, estate planning can provide a safe and secure way to protect one another’s assets. By creating a prenuptial agreement alongside other estate planning documents, spouses can also decide how assets should be distributed among both sides of their new family. People who choose to remarry often have significantly more assets than in their first marriage, so the protection of these assets is crucial.

How Does a Prenuptial Agreement Work?

It’s a common misconception that a prenuptial agreement keeps all of the property separated between spouses. While this can be done, it’s not the only thing that an agreement can do for you. Spouses can decide on what should happen to each other’s property upon death, whether or not they have the right to specific pieces of property, and even establish alimony for one another. Postnuptial agreements are also available for couples who have already married and can provide all of the same benefits.

Your estate plan should also be updated to account for a new marriage and prenuptial agreement. While the prenuptial can manage how property is distributed between a married couple, a will or trust can determine how the property that is retained should be distributed to other loved ones. This can be in any manner that you like, including passing down assets to family members of your spouse’s side. 

A common issue in remarried couples without a comprehensive estate plan is that the assets of a deceased spouse are often transferred to their surviving spouse, instead of their children. Without a plan in place, assets will have to go through probate. By default, these assets will likely be transferred to the surviving spouse. By making use of a prenuptial agreement, spouses are able to ensure that some of their assets are set aside for their own children, while still providing their surviving spouse with financial security. An estate plan can also provide the benefit of avoiding probate, which can cause conflict in deciding how assets should be distributed, especially in the case of blended families.

If you’re considering remarriage, or want to start your own estate planning to protect your assets for the future, contact Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center today to get started on a plan that meets your needs.

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How You Can Effectively Protect Your House From Medicaid Estate Recovery

If you or a family member is making use of the Medicaid program, it’s important to keep in mind that states will attempt to recover the costs of that care from the estate of the Medicaid recipient. Unfortunately, in most cases, the only substantial asset remaining at death is the personal home – often leaving families and would-be beneficiaries without the largest item of intergenerational wealth. Those utilizing Medicaid aren’t necessarily stuck in this predicament, however. With some proactive estate planning, you can ensure that your house will remain safe from Medicaid estate recovery.

A Trust Can Provide Protection

The primary method by which we can protect your home is with an irrevocable trust. These trusts can protect your home from estate recovery, liens, and lawsuits by effectively separating it from your own property. After placing an asset, such as your home, into an irrevocable trust, it is essentially separated from your own property. It should be noted, however, that irrevocable trusts are just that – irrevocable.  Even though the trust is irrevocable you can still change your beneficiaries and the trust can also distribute assets out of the trust those persons named as lifetime beneficiaries. There are many different considerations that have to be accounted for in establishing an irrevocable trust, so working closely with an experienced estate planning attorney is always recommended to ensure the viability of your trust.

The Benefits of an Irrevocable Trust

The benefits of an irrevocable trust don’t stop at protection from recovery. Transferring the family home into a trust also protects from a higher tax burden on your beneficiary, as simply giving the house to a beneficiary during their lifetime could result in capital gains taxes if the beneficiary sells the house during their own lifetime.  The trust will also provide a much safer transfer of the home to your beneficiary, without the troubles of using a direct deed. 

The security of your family’s biggest asset shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you’re ready to take the next steps in protecting the family home from Medicaid recovery, contact the Kentucky Estate Planning Law Center today.