In 2012, at the age of 77, my mother passed away unexpectedly. We had just helped her move from St. George to South Jordan, Utah, where she could be closer to her children and grandchildren. Being that her mother had lived a relatively healthy life for nearly 102 years, we thought Mom would be around for a while longer. Twas not to be.None of us has an expiration date stamped on our label but that day is inevitable. Though the timing of Moms death was a saddening surprise for us, some important preparations, fortunately, had been made. There were a will and a trust. An executor and a trustee had been named. The new home was transferred by quitclaim to, and other assets put in the trust. Assets could be managed and distributed to the beneficiaries, money could be accessed, expenses paid, and, most helpful of all from my perspective, probate avoided.As a trustee, I had authority to, among other things, contract with a realtor and sell the home, receive all income in respect of the decedent, and retain a CPA to file the final income tax return. All the companies and people I dealt with as trustee were very kind and considerate, but everyone expected to be paid any amounts due, including and particularly the IRS.Recent events witnessed and reported reinforce the need to prepare. At a minimum, you ought to have a will, especially if you have young children. Through a will you appoint a guardian to care for your kids if you are gone. Choosing one is, of course, a very consequential decision. You should consider parties who love your kids and are willing and able to do the task. When nominating a guardian, it is not required to have only one person. Co-guardianships are commonly drafted. Also, the guardian does not necessarily have to or want to manage the money you leave behind. It is a matter of personal preference but structuring your estate so that the trustee manages the money, and the guardian manages the kids can be advantageous for everyone involved.If you own a home, at a minimum you should have a living trust. Then the home does NOT have to go through the probate process upon your death. Probate is not always time-consuming and expensive, but it will be longer and more expensive than setting up a living trust now and putting your home in it (and it is all private)! Like I was able to do for my mothers estate when you pass away the trustee can continue managing the home while determining how and when to sell the property. You can preserve more of the homes value by eliminating the need for a fire sale. I kept the house in the trust for a few months until Spring approached and then sold for a very reasonable price.I am grateful to my mother for a thousand things, one of which is that she had her attorney-son draft a will and trust for her (at a terrific friends and family discount!) I estimate we saved at least $5,000 in court costs, attorneys fees, and other related expenses, and probably four- or five-months' time, by having a living trust.So, ask yourself a few simple questions. Have you done what you can to lessen the pain and problems that will come for your family upon your passing? Will property flow how you want it to and to the people you want it to? Will your personal affairs remain private? Will your loved ones know your wishes? Will your minor or special- needs kids to have someone to care for them?Are you ready?
#1 Act as a Disability Plan. A revocable trust provides protection during three phases: what happens while the trust maker is alive and well, what happens if the trust maker is alive but not so well, and what happens after the trust maker dies. Its during the second phase that trust really outshines a will if the trust maker becomes incapacitated, the disability trustee can step in and take care of things immediately and without court intervention. This keeps the trust property under the control of a trusted family member or friend instead of a guardianship judge. #2 Keep Assets Outside of Probate. Probate is a time-consuming and costly court-supervised public process. A will-focused estate plan lands heirs squarely in probate court. A trust-focused estate plan allows the settlement trustee to step in and carry out the trust makers final wishes without any court involvement or oversight. #3 Keep a Minors Inheritance Outside of Guardianship. A minor who is named as the beneficiary of a life insurance policy, IRA, or payable-on-death account will require a court-appointed guardian to manage the property until 18. On the other hand, a trust for the minor can be created in a revocable trust and named as the beneficiary of the policy or account. This allows the client to decide how long the trust will continue age 25 or 30, or even the beneficiarys lifetime not just until 18. #4 Keep Final Wishes Private. A will filed for probate becomes a public court record, which means anyone, including predators and your competitors, can go down to the local probate court and read wills and other probate documents. On the other hand, a revocable trust is a private document that remains confidential during life and after death.
Trying to determine Medicaid eligibility is very complicated. The rules are often changing, and they are different in each state. Often medical eligibility differs by what program you need. In addition, the application is as well as the review process is lengthy. Sad to say, If Medicaid denies you, the consequences can negatively affect the comfort and health of a senior citizen and the financial stability of your family.Medicaid planners help their clients to structure financial resources and prepare documentation to ensure the best possibility of being accepted. Medicaid planners can create trusts, change countable assets into excused assets, and manage asset transfers to guarantee eligibility. Planners can show you how to protect a loved ones home and administer finances to safeguard the healthy spouse which allows them to have acceptable income and assets to remain living independently.If you are wondering if it is needed to use a Medicaid planner, the answer is it is a sound idea. Base your decision on whether to hire a Medicaid planner on your specific financial situation. Family situations impact the need for planning. Some conditions are: When only one spouse needs care, the cost of caring for one spouse can rapidly deplete a couples resources and possibly exceed the value of your home. To protect the spouse who is healthy and allow him/her to remain living at home, separation of resources is often necessary. This tactic is very complicated. If you need to separate resources, it is essential to use a Medicaid planner. If both of you require care, note that long term care costs for two individuals can bankrupt a family quickly. Without one spouse caring for the other spouse, the caregiving burdens that come from a Medicaid denial could be substantial. If you two of you are ill, the critical nature of acceptance into Medicaid requires the use of a Medicaid planner. If you are healthy and wish to preserve some of your assets for your children, working with a Planner may be the wisest thing you can do. Families can plan for themselves without professional guidance, but if you make a mistake in Medicaid planning, it can affect your eligibility for up to five years. If you are not confident enough to manage the complex legal and financial techniques, use a Medicaid planner. If you are single and have no assets and little income despite your health conditions, you do need help to navigate the waters of Medicaid eligibility. If you choose not to use a Medicaid planner, do get some help somewhere.The Medicaid planning process is not painful. Most Medicaid planning firms will offer you a free consultation where they will discuss the health status and financial resources of your family. Planners use this information to establish success with Medicaid and have a positive impact on preserving your assets. Planners also use your information to determine whether to accept you as a client.It does take several weeks to collect information and make a formal analysis of the familys assets. A plan is built, modified as needed, and continually discussed. Putting the program into action may take longer. It all depends on the strategy being offered. Sometimes where there is an immediate need for Medicaid care, the Medicaid documents can be prepared along with the execution of the plan. There are also some cases where Medicaid coverage is retroactive. It does take a Medicaid planner to determine your success of you being enrolled in Medicaid.Documents You Will NeedTo apply for Medicaid, you will need to verify your identity and your financial circumstances. Documents need to prove your age and can include your birth certificate or drivers license. You may also need to provide proof of citizenship which requires a US passport or a birth certificate. To verify your marital status, you may need to provide a marriage certificate, separation papers, a divorce decree, or the spouses death certificate.Financial resources are harder to confirm. You will need checking, and savings account statements, money market accounts and if you have them, certificates of deposit. Stock or bond, annuities plus IRA, 401K or Keogh Account documents must be provided. You will need the title to your automobile and the value, deeds to property, and mortgages. If you have a life insurance policy, you will need to show this information. Burial plot information is also required as is prepaid funeral contracts.Other documents you may need will be your social security card, Medicare card, and additional insurance plus RX cards. You will need to show guardianship documentation if you have it.Income can be verified by the most recent pay stubs, social security award letter, pension statement or unemployment check stubs. You may need to show a support or alimony check or court order, a VA award letter or an SSI Award Letter. The documentation could take weeks to get it together and maybe more than several inches high!When a loved one requires long term care, you have many challenges. The added stress of trying to cover all the needs to determine Medicaid eligibility is an unwelcome burden that will further compound your difficulties.Medicaid planning services from Plan Right Law is the best solution for optimizing your Medicaid eligibility. When you use a senior planning service, a secure financial future becomes a reality. Health insurance will cover some of the medical costs of caring for your aging family members, but if insurance is not enough, Medicaid can help.Medicaid is an insurance program for very low-income individuals with limited financial assets. Medicaid can pay for unlimited nursing home care and does pay for some home care, assisted the living, adult day care, and medical alert services.To receive Medicaid, you need to get through two challenges associated with Medicaid. The first is qualifying and the second is the availability of services. Work with a Medicaid planner to understand your health insurance benefits and to determine if Medicaid is right for you. A planner will also help you gather up the verification you need, fill out the paperwork for Medicaid, and be your advocate with the Medicaid system.
Dignity Health System was established to provide superior care and customer service to our patients and their families. We take pride in providing these services in an environment of dignity and respect for every person. We treat all employees with the same respect and dignity due them for their admirable work. Our Hospice care also recognizes the needs of the patients family and provides counseling, spiritual, respite and bereavement services.