Monthly Archives: October 2016

Protect your children's inheritance with a trust

Protect Your Children’s Inheritance with a Trust

Whether you have been married 5 years or 50, you may have a common estate planning concern:  what if one of you dies and the survivor remarries?  A new relationship after the death of a spouse does not necessarily diminish the love the survivor had for the deceased spouse, but it can diminish their children’s inheritance.

Many couples have Wills in which they leave all assets to the other, relying on the other spouse to provide for the children after both of them have died.  But a surviving spouse who loses mental or physical capacity after remarrying will usually rely on the new spouse to handle financial matters.  If the couple is elderly, it is not uncommon for the new spouse’s children to take control.  Somewhere along the way, a new Will is executed by the surviving spouse leaving all assets to the new spouse or his or her children.

Planning to protect your children’s inheritance is not difficult.  Instead of leaving everything outright to your surviving spouse, you can leave your assets in a Trust.  All of the income (interest and dividends) can be paid to the survivor, and the Trustee can be given authority to invade principal if needed for the surviving spouse’s health and support.  The surviving spouse can serve as a Trustee, but to protect the Trust assets there should be a Co-Trustee, such as a sibling, adult child, close friend, accountant or bank.

If the assets are in a well drafted Trust, the new spouse, and that person’s children, will not have the ability to divert the Trust assets.  At the surviving spouse’s death, the remaining Trust assets will be distributed to your children.

Making a Trust part of your estate plan is easy to accomplish while you are alive and mentally competent.  You and your spouse can’t know which one of you is going to become incapacitated or die first, so it’s vital to protect each other and your children by implementing a plan while you are both able.

To learn even more about why you should implement a plan now, we invite you to attend one of our Free Workshops where you can learn even more about how you can really protect you and your loved ones.  Go ahead and click to register today:

Medicaid for Long Term Care

Medicaid for Long Term Care

Nursing home fees are so high that many families find themselves struggling to pay for care.  Without the resources to pay, they turn to Medicaid, the government program that provides financial assistance for long term care for the elderly.

To qualify for Medicaid for long term care in Georgia, an individual is allowed to have $2,000 in assets.  A married couple can have an additional $119,270.  Certain assets are exempt while the recipient and spouse are alive, but after the Medicaid recipient and spouse both die,  Georgia will implement “estate recovery” to get paid back what it has spent on the Medicaid recipient’s care from the exempt assets.

To discourage giving assets away in order to get down to the asset limits, there is a five year look back period.  Assets given away during the five years before applying for Medicaid must be disclosed, and will result in a penalty period.

Although you can’t predict what will happen to your health in the next five years, and you can’t know if you will ever need nursing home care, there are 108 nursing homes in the metropolitan Atlanta area, and it’s likely the owners of those nursing homes are predicting their beds will continue to be filled by future residents.  I’ve never met anyone who looked forward to moving to a nursing home, but I think it’s foolish to fail to plan for what may eventually happen.

It is possible and practical to plan ahead to preserve assets and still be able to receive Medicaid.  Most of the people who plan over five years before needing nursing home care are not multi-millionaires.  They are middle class people who have worked hard all their lives, been responsible citizens, and accumulated a nest egg.  But they know what they have isn’t enough to pay $10,000 a month for nursing home care for an ill spouse, and still provide a decent lifestyle for the well spouse.  They don’t want to lose everything they’ve worked for, and they don’t want to become a burden to their children.

It can be confusing figuring out exactly what you need to plan your future.  That’s why we have created a Free Workshop to educate you on how you can protect your stuff in 3 easy steps.  We invite you to register today and take the first step in planing to have protection for your long term care.