New York Elder Law And Estate Planning Blog

The importance of planning ahead after an Alzheimer’s diagnosis

If you have a family member who has been newly diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, you likely have witnessed its impact on your family. A diagnosis can spur a range of emotions, including confusion, anger, denial, fear and sadness. The cognitive symptoms of the disease are heart-wrenching and devastating.

Alzheimer’s is a terminal, progressive disease that destroys memory and thinking skills. Symptoms of the final stage of Alzheimer’s disease include the inability to move around on one’s own, speak or make oneself understood as well as needing help with most, if not all, daily activities. Before your loved one loses the mental capacity for making important legal decisions, it is vital to have a conversation about end-of-life care.

How to prevent an adult child from wasting his or her inheritance

As a parent, you will always love your children. However, your children have grown into adults. They lead their own lives and must be accountable for their own actions. While some children develop into financially savvy adults, not every child does. Although you may want to leave your wealth to your children, you may have concerns about the most responsible way to do so.

Age does not necessarily equal maturity or financial sense. Even those with reasonable financial management skills can lose all restraint when they suddenly receive a large amount of money. If you are concerned that your adult children may squander their inheritances, it may be prudent to protect your hard-earned money.

What makes a will valid in New York?

Because of the general importance of an estate plan and a will to an estate plan, it is essential that a will is valid and that the estate planner is familiar with the requirements for a will to be valid. As such, estate planners should ensure they are familiar with how to draft and properly execute a valid will.

The requirements for a will to be valid vary by state, so it is important for estate planners to be familiar with the requirements for a valid will in their state. Estate planning allows the estate planner to make several important decisions for how they want things handled, including how they want their property to be divided, who they want to watch over their minor children and who they want to administer their estate.

The importance of Medicaid benefits

Medicaid benefits can be important for many families and older Americans. Medicaid is a federally mandated healthcare system for low-income Americans that is administered by the states. Medicaid is also funded by both the federal government and state governments. As of March 2018, greater than 67 million people were enrolled in Medicaid.

Medicaid covers basic health care costs such as doctor visits, hospital stays and nursing home care. The primary concern to qualify for Medicaid is income. Eligibility for Medicaid is based on income because the program is intended for low-income Americans of all ages to help with their medical needs. The modified adjusted gross income is used to determine eligibility for Medicaid. It is helpful for older Americans and their families interested in Medicaid eligibility requirements to be familiar with what is included in the modified adjusted gross income calculation.

What is an advance healthcare directive?

An advance healthcare directive is an important part of an overall estate plan. It serves an important purpose estate planners should be aware of and they should also ensure all of their questions about an advance healthcare directive, and including one in their estate plan, are answered.

An advance healthcare directive provides protection for estate planners if they become incapacitated at any point and are unable to make medical decisions for themselves or direct their medical care and treatment. Additionally, an advance healthcare directive can provide important peace of mind for family members who may not know how their loved one would want to be cared for during what is already a difficult time for them.

NYSBA ELSN Member Spotlight - Felicia Pasculli

Felicia Pasculli was featured in a member spotlight article in the Elder and Special Needs Law Journal, a publication of the Elder Law and Special Needs Section of the New York State Bar Association. Felicia was interviewed by Katy Carpenter and here is a portion of that interview with the full article attached below. 

Knowing when to update an estate plan

Knowing when to update an estate plan is important to avoid estate planning errors and problems. Updating an estate plan as life changes is as important as ensuring the estate planner has all the components that an effective estate plan should have in place. As a result, estate planners should be aware of when to update their estate plan and how New York estate planning can help.

As a good rule of thumb, if an estate plan is greater than three years old, the estate planner should review it, update it and ensure it reflects the estate planner's current wishes. In addition, if the estate planner moves to another state, it is important to update an estate plan when they relocate. Estate planning rules, such as those for a will to be valid, can vary by state, so it is essential for estate planners to update their estate plan if they move to another state and ensure it is valid in their new state.

How can a trust help you avoid probate?

When you pass away, you want your assets to go directly to the heirs you choose. But when you only have a will, your inheritance goes through a probate court. Probate can take a lot of time and is open to the public. If you don’t want your heirs to go through that, you can put your assets in trusts.

Trusts avoid probate court. While there are different types of trusts you can create, a trust-based estate plan can speed up and simplify the distribution of your inheritance.

Common estate planning mistakes when one spouse dies

The death of a spouse can be a devastating event, and the emotional pitfalls can be even worse if there was improper planning or errors were made over the deceased spouse’s estate. Difficulties often arise if one spouse handled all financial matters, and the survivor has little or no knowledge of their finances.

Financial and legal experts advise each spouse to have three essential documents: a will, a durable power of attorney and an advanced medical directive. The surviving spouse should know the location of those documents and how to access them.

What is a special needs trust?

Setting up a trust can be an important part of an effective estate plan. There are different types of trusts for estate planners to be familiar with which can help based on their unique situation and circumstances. One type of trust is a special needs trust for estate planners to ensure they understand and know when to utilize.

A trust is created when property is transferred into trust to be managed by another party, referred to as the trustee, for the benefit of another party who is referred to as the beneficiary. The selection of a trustee is an important decision that should be made carefully. Special needs trust are created for the benefit of a beneficiary with a physical or mental disability, which may include those who lack the capacity to manage their one finances.

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