For more information about the author, click to view their website: Sharek Law Office LLC
Your Kids Will Thank YouOne of the questions I often ask people who come to our workshops, is What do you want to accomplish when doing your estate plan? Most people tell me they want to protect stuff from the nursing home, while others want to be smart about taxes. Some people say they just want to make things easy for their family. They dont want to be a burden and they want to keep the family peace. With this goal in mind, I want to share some tips on how we can put together a meaningful plan for your family to reduce their stress when you are affected with health issues. When you pass away, your family will go through the grieving process, but you dont want it to be a stressful time from a financial and or legal standpoint. Rather, you want to set your kids up for success.What Does It Mean By Setting Your Kids Up For Success? Often, when people do an estate plan theyll want to write a Will. When they pass away, the kids tend to take over as executor or trustee. If a parent gets sick before they pass away, the kids may take over as power of attorney or guardian. What Is Guardianship?Lets assume that people dont do any planning, and have no legal documents. Should they become incapacitated, their kids will end up in guardianship. Lets take Fred for example, who hasnt done any planning, and is a widower. If he has a stroke, his kids need to get control of the money and make decisions. However, if Fred has not done any planning, his kids cannot make decisions simply because they are his children. They have to go through a process called guardianship. This means taking Fred into the courthouse to be declared legally incapacitated, by a judge. The judge may request that the guardian reports back regularly, so that the judge can make sure the guardian is the right person to make the decisions. This can be an expensive legal process, which can also be emotionally challenging.Can Guardianship Be Avoided?Its easy to avoid the guardianship process by simply having a Power of Attorney document. This document lists somebody to be your agent, who will be your legal and financial decision maker. In the event that you become incapacitated, somebody else can act on your behalf. They can walk into any bank or financial institution with the Power of Attorney document, and do what needs to be done, while acting in your best interests. Fortunately, we dont need the courthouse to make it happen. While we cannot prevent getting sick as we get older, whether its having dementia or a stroke that affects us, we can give our kids the legal authority to make decisions. Communicate With Your KidsIn addition to having a Power of Attorney, you also need to have a Will or a Trust in place. We encourage our clients to use a trust instead of a Will, to avoid going through the probate process. Regardless of whether your child is the executor of a Will or the trustee of trust, when you pass away, they will have roles and responsibilities. It is important for you to communicate with your children to tell them about what their future roles and responsibilities will be. It is not enough to just create a document and leave it on the shelf. You need to tell your kids where your assets are, where you bank, who the financial advisor is and who the attorney is. Avoid The StressIt often happens after a parent has passed away, that the adult children come to us with a bag of their parents documents and paperwork, trying to make sense of it. The kids are not only grieving after losing a parent, but they now have to sort through mom or dads belongings and paperwork. They are also confused about what their responsibility is as an executor or trustee. I urge you to make it easy for your kids to fulfil their roles, by sharing details of where your assets are. You dont have to share details of the value of your assets while youre still living, but I encourage you to share the necessary details with your kids. This will help them with the administration and avoid a stressful situation.Why You Need An Advanced DirectiveWho would make any health care decisions, if you are affected by a health issue and cannot make decisions? You need to decide who that person will be, and communicate with them. If you are elderly woman with no surviving spouse, one of your children will have to make decisions if you are unable to. You would need a document called an Advanced Directive, stating what must be done if you get sick or become incapacitated. It is wise to appoint two different family members to make financial and healthcare decisions respectively.Consider Having A Life Care PlanI encourage you to consider enlisting our help to create a Life Care Plan, which we offer at Sechler Law Firm. This plan takes into consideration where you will get care, and how you will pay for it. It means your family will not have to worry about whether they have made the right decision about your care. We have a social worker and a healthcare professional on our team, because life care planning is more about healthcare planning than it is traditional legal work. However, we consider it to all be part of doing estate planning. To find out more, call 724-564-6615. You can also learn more by coming to one of our Three Secrets Estate Planning Workshops. Call to register for an upcoming free workshop!
Medicaid planning is a strategy that can safeguard the future of senior citizens. This is a complex process, and it needs thorough consideration of various factors to ensure maximum benefits. Here is a list of 6 essential factors to remember during Medicaid planning for senior citizens.Eligibility Criteria:One has to meet certain parameters to avail of the benefits of Medicaid. Therefore, it is important to understand this requirement before proceeding with Medicaid planning for senior citizens. The income limits can be varied by state. The asset limits also vary, and assets like cash, investments, and property are considered.Asset Protection:Protecting the assets while availing the Medicaid benefits is also an important consideration that the applicant has to consider. Experienced attorneys implement various strategies like altering countable assets to exempt assets to protect the applicant's interest. Sometimes, prepaid funeral plans and particular annuities can also be used to protect assets during Medicaid planning for senior citizens.Lookback Period:Medicaid has a certain "lookback period." During this time, if any assets get transferred, they will be reviewed. Though this lookback period varies by state, it typically lasts five years. If the asset transfer has occurred during this period for less than the market value, then Medicaid may penalize that individual. Planning accordingly and avoiding improper asset transfers during this period is crucial in such conditions.Income Planning:Applicants with more than the Medicaid income limit must establish Miller Trust to get Medicaid benefits. This trust helps to deposit the excess income and use the money for future medical expenses. However, before going ahead, it is crucial to understand the specific rule associated with creating and managing trust.Long-Term Care Planning:Medicaid covers long-term care services that seniors require. This service can be availed at a nursing home or in the home. While considering Medicaid service, it is important to consider which specific care the senior needs and whether they can align with the Medicaid coverage in that state.Estate Planning:Estate planning is part of Medicaid planning. It mainly focuses on meeting the senior's wishes while maximizing Medicaid benefits. This planning phase involves creating a will, establishing trusts, or drafting power of attorney. Estate planning helps to protect assets from unwanted heirs.Conclusion:Medicaid planning for senior citizens is complex, and many rules and regulations are involved. Understanding the eligibility criteria, and other aspects is crucial for maximum benefit. Therefore, hiring any senior citizen attorney to handle this process is recommended. We at Platinum Services can guide and assist you in your Medicaid planning.
As seniors age, their healthcare needs increase, and Medicaid benefits become a crucial source of assistance for them and their families. However, obtaining these benefits can be a complex and frustrating process. From structuring assets to completing applications, families face many hurdles when trying to secure Medicaid coverage for their elderly loved ones. Completing a Medicaid application for elderly individuals can be overwhelming, especially for those dealing with emotional and financial stress. This article will focus on the Medicaid application process and how Platinum Benefit Services can help simplify it for you.Navigating the Maze of Medicaid Applications for Elderly Individuals:The application requires detailed information about residency, social security, health insurance, and asset and income sources, and all responses must be accompanied by official verification documentation from financial institutions. The application is submitted via ACCESS Florida. Once submitted, the Department of Children and Families (DCF) reviews it and issues a Notice of Case Actions (NOCA) that explains what is needed and when an application has been approved or denied.Understanding the Complexities of the Medicaid Application Process:The Medicaid application process for elderly individuals involves submitting an application through ACCESS Florida and waiting for the Department of Children and Families (DCF) to review it, which can be a slow and frustrating experience. DCF provides Notice of Case Actions (NOCAs) to explain when items are needed and whether the application has been approved or denied. However, these NOCA's can be difficult to understand and often contain errors that can be costly and delay the entire process. Moreover, reaching the applicant's caseworker is challenging, which adds to the frustration. Platinum Benefit Services offers a solution to alleviate these burdens and allows families to focus on caring for their loved ones by handling the Medicaid application process and staying on top of updates from DCF.How Platinum Benefit Services Can Help You with Your Medicaid Application:If you're struggling with the process with a Medicaid application for elderly , Platinum Benefit Services can help. Check out these benefits of working with us. We handle the entire application process for our clients, including gathering the necessary documentation.We make the Medicaid application process easier for elderly individuals.We check ACCESS Florida daily to stay informed of any new NOCAs.If a denial NOCA is received, we promptly identify and fix the issue.We ensure that clients don't pay the price for any errors or mistakes in the approval process.We double-check that all approved NOCAs are correct in every regard.We stay on top of DCF employees to ensure a timely application process.We use various methods, such as emailing and phone calls, to track down the contact information that may be difficult to find.Over to you:By partnering with Platinum Benefit Services, families can focus on caring for their elderly loved ones while we take care of the complicated and frustrating Medicaid application process. If you need assistance with a Medicaid application for elderly individuals, please get in touch with us at 1-800-582-1934. We are here to help you every step of the way.
Our Firm Prepares You for Life What makes our firm different is that we were built with the needs of growing families in mind. We understand you are BUSY, you are growing, you are planning for a life of prosperity and you value ease, convenience and efficiency. You are raising children, and caring for elderly parents, while also working hard to build your own nest egg for a lifetime of support. You want to know youve made the best decisions for your family and that your plan will work when your loved ones need it most. You want to make sure your minor children would be raised by the people you choose, and never by anyone you wouldnt want, and that your teens and adult children are properly prepared to care for you and what you leave behind. You want to feel confident that youve made the right choices, and handled everything so that you arent leaving behind a mess, when something happens. That is our focus as well. Weve developed unique systems to give you the same access to a Personal Family Lawyer as was previously only available to the super-wealthy, so you can have the guidance you need to build and maintain a life of prosperity and wealth. And, to keep your family out of court and out of conflict, which is the greatest risk to the people you love and all you have created, even if youve already worked with a traditional lawyer or created documents online. Our Team Is Here for You We encourage communication with our clients. In fact, weve thrown out the time clocks so you never have to be afraid to call with a quick question. Everything we do is billed on a flat-fee basis, agreed to in advance, so there are never any surprises. We have a whole team to serve you. When you call our office to ask your quick question, you wont have to wait hours or days for a phone call back. Youll get your question answered, right away. And, if you need to schedule a more in-depth legal or strategic call with your Personal Family Lawyer, a call will be scheduled when you're both available and ready for the call so we can make the very best use of your time and not waste your time by leaving voicemail after voicemail back and forth. And, we ensure the most important details of your planning are followed through on and your plan continues to work throughout your lifetime. We have a funding coordinator to ensure your assets are owned the right way throughout your lifetime and none of your assets will end up going through a long, expensive court process or being lost to the state because they were missed after your death. Weve created unique membership programs to keep your plan up to date year in and year out as well as give you access to our Trusted Team of Legal Experts for guidance on ANY legal or financial matter. One day you will need a lawyer. I dont know why and I dont know when, but when you do, you will be grateful you can call on us and well be here to advise you or get you out of a jam. We Help You Transfer Your Life and Legacy Lastly, we believe your financial wealth is only a small part of your overall Life and Legacy Planning which is made up of your far more valuable and most often lost upon incapacity or death intellectual, spiritual and human assets. These assets are what make you who you are, and sum up whats most important to you. And, a survey of inheritors has revealed that what they care about even more than inheriting your money, is inheriting these intangible assets. Most estate plans only focus on the transfer of your financial wealth to the next generation. Most people have such great intentions of passing on the intangible, but very few ever get around to it. Its just not a priority, until its too late. How much do you know about your grandparents values? Their most prized personal possessions? How they felt about you? What they had learned during their lifetime? If you are like most people, you know very little. Thats why we build the capture and passage of these most valuable assets into every estate plan we create. Not only will we help you pass on your money, but also your values, your insights, your stories and your experience the truly valuable assets your loved ones care about the most. Weve developed a tool that allows us to capture and pass on your whole family wealth, including your Intellectual, Spiritual and Human assets. I cant go into all of the details here, but well definitely talk about it when you come in for your Life and Legacy Planning Session.