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Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Chronic Medicaid

Chronic Medicaid

Question: I was speaking with a friend and she mentioned that I should consult an attorney for asset protection. I do not have a taxable estate, but she referred to a 5-year lookback. I do not understand why I would need asset protection. Answer: Your friend was most likely referring to asset protection relating to long term care planning. In the event that you require care in a nursing facility, you may be able to rely on Medicaid to pay for your room and board. As you are likely aware,...more »

I Have an Irrevocable Trust, Now What?

I Have an Irrevocable Trust, Now What?

Commonly, clients will create a trust to protect certain assets in case they need to apply for government benefits as they get older and require assistance with their daily activities. While certain provisions of this type of trust will be consistent from client to client, not all trusts are the same. Understanding your trust is the first step to successfully achieving your estate planning goals.  The drafting process of the trust document is vital because it outlines the rules of the...more »

Gifting to Minors

Gifting to Minors

Question: I want to designate my grandchildren as the beneficiaries of my retirement accounts and life insurance policies. Currently, they are ages 4 and 6. Is this possible? Can I simply complete a new designated beneficiary form with my financial institutions? Answer: You can absolutely designate minor children to receive money under retirement accounts and life insurance policies. However, you NEVER want to designate that the child receive those monies outright. In other words, you would not...more »

Contested Guardianship

Contested Guardianship

Question: I received Court papers that say that my brother is trying to take control of my mother’s finances and make medical decisions for her. I have been taking care of my mother for years and my brother is estranged from me and my mother. What should I do? Answer: It appears that your brother has started a proceeding asking the Court to appoint him as your mother’s legal guardian. A guardianship proceeding is usually commenced if someone believes that another adult is...more »

Kera Reed, Esq. Featured in June 2019 Suffolk Lawyer

Kera Reed, Esq. Featured in June 2019 Suffolk Lawyer

Congratulations to our attorney Kera Reed who was featured in the June issue of Suffolk Lawyer! Check out her profile here on page 5

Estate Planning for Teachers

Estate Planning for Teachers

Q: I am a teacher and currently off for summer break.  Now that I have time to myself, what should I be thinking about over the summer regarding my estate plan? What about retirement? What actions should I be taking? A: Summer is the best time to check items off your “to-do” list that get pushed off during the busy school year.  You just spent the last ten months teaching and giving everything you have to your students.  It is now time to do something for yourself,...more »

College Age Children and Estate Planning Documents

College Age Children and Estate Planning Documents

Question: My son is 18 and is leaving for his first year of college in September. Someone told me that there were some legal documents I should have in place before he leaves. This is the first that I have heard of this, as his school did not say anything. Is my friend correct? Answer: Yes, your friend is correct. With so many other things to worry about during this stage, it may be overwhelming to begin to consider the legal implications of your child reaching "adulthood." Yes, that's right,...more »

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts for Assisted Living

Revocable and Irrevocable Trusts for Assisted Living

Question: About six years ago my parents signed two trusts: a revocable trust and an irrevocable trust. They transferred about $150,000.00 into the revocable trust and their house into the irrevocable trust They sold their home about three years and deposited $400,000.00 into the irrevocable trust. My dad passed away and my mom is at an assisted living.  I went to the bank and I was told that I do not have access to the revocable trust because I am not the Trustee but I am the Trustee of...more »

Who Will Make your Medical Decisions if You Are Unable to?

Who Will Make your Medical Decisions if You Are Unable to?

In New York State, any individual over the age of eighteen may designate an individual to make medical decisions on his/her behalf by signing a health care proxy and designating a health care agent. The health care agent is only authorized to act if your doctors determine you can no longer make your own medical decisions. By signing this document and designating an agent, you avoid any confusion or issues when it comes time for your family to make a medical decision on your behalf as your family...more »

The Secure Act

The Secure Act

Question: What is the SECURE ACT and how might it affect my retirement benefits? Answer: the SECURE ACT is a proposed law that has been passed by the United States House of Representatives and is expected to pass in the United States Senate. Once passed in the Senate, it will be sent to the President for signature where it will become law. If passed, the Secure Act will change some of the rules for retirement plans and how we save for retirement. Some of the changes are positive to the retiree...more »

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