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Planning for Your Future Healthcare Decision-making: What Are Superagers?

Some elders will retain a significantly sharper memory and cognitive ability than their peers. In a recent study, it was identified that these people all carry a very unique trait.

The natural process of brain decline regarding memory begins in the late 20s and early 30s, however the average ager, according to a recent study indicates that memory is atrophying at twice the rate of someone who is classified as superager. Atrophy progression seems to blocked by superagers.

One of the most important connections for you to make is that you may struggle with a cognitive decline at any point in time, particularly after a major health care event or a car accident, for example.ThinkstockPhotos-71036988

Paying attention to your health at all ages is important, but you might not always be able to make decisions for yourself. If you’re incapacitated but have clear wishes about your medical care, another person should know these concerns and be legally allowed to make them on your behalf.

Having critical legal documents in place such as stipulating who is eligible to make medical or financial decisions on your behalf can make a huge difference for your loved one’s ability to step in and articulate your wishes for you. No one expects to be a victim of an accident but taking the necessary planning steps now can help to minimize the chances that you and your loved ones will be confused and unsure of next steps.    Contact a Virginia estate planning attorney today to learn more.

 

Posted in Aging, elderly, Long Term Planning | Leave a comment

The Connection Between Your Estate Plan and Your Real Estate in Virginia

Elegant new villa with backyardMost people don’t like to think about the prospect of estate planning, but it is also a necessity that needs to be dealt with. What will happen to your home when you pass away?The final wishes for a loved can become extremely messy and even controversial with your loved ones if you have not made these necessary decisions well in advance.

Many people may question whether or not you need a will to pass down real estate. You do not necessarily need a will to pass on real estate, but it is still a good planning tool. The intestate statute within your state will automatically pass your assets and your land to your closest relatives along with the laws within your individual state. However, if you wish for the land to stay together and go to a specific person than you need to put together a will.

Aside from specific plans you have about where you want certain property you go, you might also feel strongly about certain beneficiaries not receiving real estate assets.

Without a will, you will be unable to allocate where you want the property to go in lieu of individuals that you do not want to receive it. If you do not plan to have any children and do not currently have any children, you can select siblings, nieces, nephews or a charity as a beneficiary, but make sure that you identify primary and continued beneficiaries.

Want to talk about your property in Virginia and how to plan for it properly? Contact a Virginia Beach law firm today.

 

 

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More Americans Are Passing Away with Debt Than Ever

A recent study of 220 million consumers in Experian’s File One database, indicated that up to 73% of consumers are passing away with debt in high numbers. For those individuals who do not have a home loan, the average debt was $12,875. However, consumers with a mortgage carried approximately $61,554 in debt.

You may assume that debts are no longer your issue if you pass away, but that’s not true if there are assets inside your estate that may cover a portion or all of these debts. If you have communicated to your loved ones that you intend to give them particular assets, but those are seized and sold as part of your estate plan, you may wish to discuss your options for changing your estate plan with an experienced lawyer.

thumb_alternateThe types of debts most common included credit card balances, mortgage debt, auto loans, personal loans and student loans. Debt belongs to the deceased individual when he or she passes away. That means that creditors can pursue asset sold in the estate as part of their payment.

If there aren’t enough assets to satisfy debts, then creditors may lose out on all or some of their payments. But in the event that there are assets in the estate to pay out creditors, then your beneficiaries may actually receive nothing. This is why it may be important to discuss other opportunities such as a life insurance policy or advanced planning strategies with your knowledgeable estate planning attorney.

Posted in Asset Distribution, Asset Protection, End of Life Planning, Estate and Trust Administration, Estate Planning, Family, Legal Assistance | Leave a comment

Wealth Planning and Long-Term Care Planning for Aging Parents

If you have the responsibility of taking care of your aging loved ones, this is an extremely common situation that is facing more people in the sandwich generation. The sandwich generation often has children of their own, while they are also helping with the health care management or the costs associated with the loved one.

Many people don’t like to think about incapacity, money or death, but this is extremely important for any situation in which you are helping a loved one work through the issues of aging. There are several different steps that you can take in order to minimize the negative impacts of failing to plan. Failing to plan can make things more complicated for everyone, in the event that your loved one suffers from incapacity or suddenly passes away. Several different things should be discussed with your aging parents, including:

  • Putting together a living trust.
  • Planning for the possibility of long term care, including long-term care insurance.
  • Evaluating housing options.
  • Determining transportation needs.
  • Ensuring proper documents are in place.

Having a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you address many of the issues associated with the estate planning and the elder law planning process. Learn more about how estate planning Virginia can help you by setting up a consultation today.

 

Posted in Aging, Elder Care, Elder Law, elderly, Long Term Planning, Long-Term Care | Leave a comment

Why You May Want to Choose Trusts Over Wills

Last Will Concept

Last Will Concept

After you have consulted with an experienced estate planning attorney to determine whether or not the estate tax will influence your assets after you pass away, it is then important to move on to the process of planning for your beneficiaries after you pass away. There are several different avenues for you can do this. Most people are familiar with wills. Bear in mind that a will is basically a document that gives clear intentions to the probate court, making them aware of how to handle your assets after you pass away.

The disadvantage to putting together a will, however, is that it may have to go into probate court and could ultimately be contested. A revocable living trust is an ideal option for those individuals who may not be fall under the umbrella triggering estate tax issues. Revocable refers to the fact that it is eligible to be changed.

The three different parties making up a trust include the grantor, the trustee and the beneficiary. You will serve as the trustee and the grantor because you are alive when you put together a revocable trust. Trusts give you ultimate power and control over your assets even after you pass away. This can give you a great deal of peace of mind and will help to remove these assets from going through the probate process, which can be extremely beneficial for you as well as your loved ones.

Ready to talk to your Virginia estate planning lawyer about putting together a trust? Reach out today.

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How to Make Sure Your Power of Attorney Actually Works

Estate planning

A durable power of attorney is an important document for protecting yourself. However, from an institution’s point of view it is important to consider what they would look at in determining whether or not a durable power of attorney is actually valid. A power of attorney could be a rescinded one as a result of a falling out or it could even be forged.

Financial institutions will typically take several steps to determine whether or not a power of attorney is valid in order to protect themselves from liabilities associated with a lawsuit. If you are going to put together your own durable power of attorney, there are several steps you can take to increase your chances of this being viewed as a valid document.

First of all, verify whether your institution has a form of their own that they would prefer you use. Filling this out gives them much more comfort in obeying an agent’s orders. Secondly, introduce the agent in your durable power of attorney to your local financial institution so that they know one another already. If an agent is unable to get approval on a power of attorney, request more information to learn why. This could be an ideal opportunity to change the wording on your document.

After you’ve hired a Virginia estate planning  or elder law attorney, it might also make sense to have them talk to your institution’s legal department. Sometimes, staff may be misinterpreting what the firm’s requirements actually are. In order to have a durable power of attorney honored that is currently being questioned as invalid, a lawsuit may be necessary. Guardianship may also be a last resort in these situations. Thankfully, consulting with an experienced estate planning attorney can help you avoid this problem altogether.

Posted in Estate Planning, Estate Taxes, Power of Attorney | Leave a comment

What You Should Know About Qualified Terminal Interest Property Trusts

Wife showing where to sign to her husband

Flexibility is a critical component for anyone who is looking into the estate planning process. One of the most flexible tools to achieve this is a Q-tip trust, also referred to as a Qualified Terminal Interest Property Trust.

As with all trusts, it’s important to set up a meeting with a lawyer first to determine the goals you want to achieve. An attorney can help you navigate the different kinds of trusts in order to determine the one most appropriate for your goals. In your situation, a lawyer might recommend a QTIP trust.

These are for the complete benefit of the surviving spouse. The major benefit of such a trust is that depending on circumstances, these can be changed either through the election of an independent fiduciary or through a disclaimer from the surviving spouse. They can be changed into a bypass or family trust for the benefit of the decedent’s descendants or the decedent’s surviving spouse.

It is strongly recommended that anytime you consider a complicated trust like this that you consult directly with a Virginia estate planning attorney who has assisted others with this process. This will give you the best possible chance of having all of your questions answered in full and understanding your rights and responsibilities moving forward.

 

Posted in Estate and Trust Administration, Estate Planning | Leave a comment

Parents and Adult Children Need More Estate Planning Communication

Adult Son Sitting On Sofa And Talking To Father At

Most people today would recognize the benefits of having an estate planning and at the bare minimum, a will. Others may even go one step further and have a trust in place. Unfortunately, however, parents and their adult children seem to be off when it comes to having conversations about these issues as well as identifying the value within the estate and the location of critical planning documents.

Not having an estate plan structured already can lead to a great deal of confusion as well as aggravation and even will contest for family members who are around when the loved one passes away. A recent study conducted by Fidelity Investments found that up to 70% of parents and their children had misconceptions about the values of the parents’ estate. The children were underestimating the parents’ estate value by up to $278,000. Furthermore, 80% of parents were under the impression that their adult children will know where to look to identify important paperwork such as wills and trust documents. However, only 60% of children said that they would know where to find this information. It’s important to put together an estate plan to leave protection for those who are left behind.
Many of the adult children and parents included in the study recognized the value of estate planning in general but seemed to have different answers regarding whether these difficult conversations about planning had already occurred. Just over half of the adult children stated that their parents had already had such conversations with them, although the numbers for parents were closer to 70%. If you have questions about the estate planning process, scheduling a consultation with an experienced lawyer in Virginia is strongly recommended.

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Caring for a Child with Addiction or Mental Illness After You Pass Away

A woman in train alone and sad

Every parent has concerns about how they will pass on their assets to their loved ones in the future but there are many more complications when you have a child who is struggling with mental illness or with addiction issues.

Many parents who find themselves in this situation may feel overwhelmed by the process of caring for these children and therefore, avoid thinking about how these children will be taken care of when the parents are gone. Estate planning might differ in this situation when compared with another type of family. There are a couple of important steps that you need to take in order to plan appropriately for the future.

Whether the child is affected by addiction or mental illness, they may never fully recover from this condition and this is why it is important to think about using tools such as a trust in order to strategically allow access to them for support.
Not distributing the assets directly to your children means that they will most likely be invested with an experienced financial advisor with the ideal purpose of the money growing. In the event that the mental illness or addiction problem gets worse, this allows for more resources to fight the addiction. If the addiction problem is abated, however, the trustee may be able to help the child with new endeavors such as education or job opportunities. Careful planning should always go into any situation in which there is mental illness or serious concerns about addiction or spendthrift behavior. A trust may be the most appropriate way to plan for this- ask your Virginia estate planning attorney for more information.

Posted in Elder Law, Inheritance, Irrevocable Trusts | Leave a comment

Three Changes in Your Life That Should Prompt You to Schedule an Appointment with Your Estate Planning Attorney

Aged copule is falling out and cannot reach the agreement

There are so many different circumstances that should warrant a meeting with your estate planning attorney. As estate laws or your individual life circumstances change, it is appropriate to update your estate planning documents to ensure that they are in line with your intentions. What follows are three of the most common changes in your life that could prompt a meeting with an estate planning attorney.

First of all, if you intend to access your retirement savings, whether it’s your 401(k) or your IRA, you should update your estate plan if these assets have previously been included in your estate planning. The second common reason that you wish to update your estate plan has to do with changing trustees or beneficiaries.

In the event that you wish to revise any of this information due to a family dispute or whether one of the trustees has passed away, you will need all of your documents to reflect these changes.
Finally, significant changes in your healthcare or the health condition of your spouse may require that you update your estate plan. Health care costs can impact your assets, so it is a good idea to review documents with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer.

Posted in Estate and Trust Administration, Estate Planning, Family, Finances, Retirement Planning | Leave a comment