New Hyde Park Estate Planning Blog

Choosing an executor is necessary when estate planning

If you have started planning your estate, then you may realize that you need someone to become an executor for your estate. An executor has an important job to do. He or she is in charge of making sure your last will and testament is carried out as you wished. The executor must make sure your property and assets are cared for and that debts are paid off. Any remaining property you have must be distributed to your beneficiaries, and that's something your executor makes happen.

There is no law regarding who an executor has to be. It could be a good idea to work with an attorney as your executor, since he or she will be familiar with the law and working with the court. Anyone can be your executor, though, from a sister or brother to a friend or a child.

Visiting an attorney? Know what to expect

As you age, you may realize that there are many legal documents you need to complete. You need to create a will, an estate plan and may want to design a trust. You want to protect your assets and avoid losing them because of needing nursing care. Yes, there are many things to think about, which is why you may want to work with an elder law attorney.

An elder law attorney's job is to help you understand ways to protect yourself and your assets as you age. Your attorney may be able to help you apply for benefits, too. These attorneys are specialized in elder law, helping people make the right decisions to protect themselves and their loved ones as they age.

Can a conservatorship help my incapacitated elderly parent?

If you have an elderly, incapacitated parent who is unable to make independent decisions, or you have a parent who is at a high risk of becoming incapacitated, you are likely under a great deal of stress. There are many decisions that must take place as you face the inevitable end of your parent's life. 

In the meantime, you must also face the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities of your own life and of your own family. There are many factors to consider, and you may lack the information you need to make the right decisions. Here is some information that can help you as you move forward in taking care of your aging parent.

Only those with legal standing can contest a will or trust

When you write a will or create a trust, you need to understand that people still have a right to contest your documents. Fortunately, only those who have legal standing may do so. That includes people such as disadvantaged or disinherited heirs or beneficiaries. Without standing, a person can't file a lawsuit, helping prevent frivolous and expensive court dates.

In some states, you can have your will and trusts validated before you pass away. Several states including Delaware, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, North Dakota, Alaska and Arkansas, allow for pre-death validations. Usually, only residents may use this technique, but sometimes, nonresidents are allowed to do so as well. If you can get a pre-death validation, it limits or eliminates the chance of challenges against a will or trust. It may be worth looking into if you live close to a state where it's allowed or have beneficiaries in that state.

Estate planning the right way: Starting early is key

As you get older, one of the things you need to think about is estate planning. Estate plans help make sure your wishes are known following your death. If you haven't planned yet, there's no good excuse not to get started.

Around a third of all Americans have a will, but the number of people who don't vastly outnumbers them. It's obvious that people don't want to think about dying, but estate planning is more than just thinking about your death. It's thinking about how you can leave behind something for your beneficiaries and continue to provide for your family. It lets you decide on your funeral and gives you a chance to appoint representatives who make decisions on your behalf when you can't.

Medicaid: You can shield some of your assets

Medicaid has it's place, and it helps the elderly get the medication and care they need as they age. Patients have only three choices when it comes to paying for extended care. They can use their own money and pay privately, use Medicaid or use long-term care insurance. Medicaid is a means-tested program, which means that you aren't allowed to own much property or many assets if you want to qualify.

If you have an estate flush with assets, this may be distressing to you. How can you protect what you've put together for your beneficiaries? Why does your health care have to wipe out all you've saved?

Can I make a will for my parents?

A lot of issues can come up as adult children watch their parents get older. For example, you may notice that your parents are no longer able to drive safely or that they need assistance in daily living activities. It can be a struggle to get parents to understand or accept what is going on, and some never do.

Sometimes, parents do not even have a will. This can be distressing for you and other family members. You may even think about writing a will for your parents and just having them and the necessary witnesses sign the document. However, this approach to estate planning can be problematic.

What are some estate planning terms to know?

As you get older, you begin to understand the importance of estate planning. As soon as your first child is born, you realize that a will is necessary. A trust could protect your child's future inheritance, and pointing out guardianship in the case of your death becomes more than a passing thought.

There are many terms you may be unfamiliar with in estate planning. Legalese isn't easy for everyone, so it's best to get a good idea of what these terms mean before you sit down and try to understand a contract or to talk to your attorney about what you need. A little bit of education now can save you trouble later on.

3 ways to avoid a will contest

When you write your will, you expect it to be carried out the way you planned. Unfortunately, that doesn't always happen. If your will has errors or was changed very close to your death, people may choose to contest it.

Fortunately, avoiding a will contest is possible. Here are a few tips that you can follow to avoid trouble in the future.

Planning early for elder law issues is key to an easy transition

It is no surprise that some people don't want to talk about estate planning. It's not a comfortable topic. Discussing your estate plan means you need to accept that you won't be around forever, and you need to address what you want to do with your assets, debts and liabilities.

In the case that you are disabled or pass away unexpectedly, it's a good idea to have your legal affairs addressed ahead of time. If you don't have a will or estate plan, your loved ones may have to go to court to fight for your assets and will have to work through your liabilities on their own. That's a complicated path to take, and it's not fair to the people you love.

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