Articles Posted in Asset Protection

Electronic wills are likely to play a large role in future estate plans. The ability to both create and store a document align has greatly facilitated the creation of estate plans. The Uniform Law Commission also recently passed the Uniform Electronic Wills Act, which has greatly influenced how many states approach electronic wills. If you’re interested in creating an electronic will or are deciding whether an electronic will is a good idea for you, this article reviews some important issues that you should consider. 

Whether Electronic Wills Are A Good Idea

While many people wondered what parts of the estate planning process could be done electronically, this question has only become more common during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Millennials as well as many younger individuals often find it an antiquated and outdated idea to physically sign a will. These individuals often question why if so many tasks can be performed electronically, why creating an estate plan can also not be done in such a manner. Consequently, electronic wills are playing a more common role in estate plans.

Parents can make medical decisions for their children. After a child reaches the age of 18, however, and is viewed in the eyes of the law as an adult and a parent’s ability to make these decisions ends. 

Fortunately, through the use of a few simple estate planning documents, young adults can avoid this situation as well as many others.

# 1 – Financial Power of Attorney

Losing a parent is not easy. While being prepared for the event might not make the emotional aspect any easier, it can help to eliminate the potential for additional problems. As a result, this article reviews some of the important financial steps that you can take after a parent passes away.

# 1 – Determine if Your Parents Had an Estate Plan

The position of managing a parent’s estate after their death can be made much easier if a parent had an estate plan. Ideally, a parent will organize all of their estate documents in an easy to find but secured location. The best estate plans include wills that address how assets should be handled, dispositions of last remains regarding how a parent’s remains should be disposed of, and several other documents. 

Wills play an important part in the estate planning process. The best estate plans, however, include more than wills. Instead, the best estate plans anticipate the numerous complications that can arise at the end of a person’s life.

Advance Healthcare Directives

Medical powers of attorney and living wills serve an important role that wills simply do not touch. A medical power of attorney can be used to appoint someone to make healthcare decisions in case you become incapacitated. A living will can be used to determine what type of life-prolonging measures you would like if you end up on life support. 

The usage of 529 plans is growing substantially. While for years, many families relied on these plans to fund college, these plans are also capable of being utilized to manage wealth, minimize taxes, and make multi-generational gifts. 

This article takes a brief examination of the advantages as well as limitations that 529 plans can provide. 

Avoid Gift and Estate Tax Rules

State plans for medical assistance under federal Medicaid law must comply with certain requirements located in Title 42 U.S.C. § 1396a.4, but do not always do so. In 2018, the United States District Court for the District of Alaska in the case of Disability Law Center of Alaska v. Davidson denied a motion for summary judgment on three claims alleging that Davidson who in her position as the commissioner of the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services had violated federal Medicaid law. 

The violations of which the Center was accused were: failure to provide adequate notice on how to apply for and access applied behavioral therapy, not reimbursing for ABA under the program, and not providing ABA services under the program with reasonable promptness. In arriving at its decision, the court noted that the Disability Law Center had the burden under federal law of establishing that Davidson had deprived them of the following rights: the right to notice of availability of ABA services, the right to be reimbursed for ABA therapy, and the right to have ABA therapy provided. 

The court’s subsequent decision subsequently supported the position that any state that has elected to participate in federal Medicaid programs must be prepared to provide services identified under the federal statute as mandatory. This case underscores the right that many individuals in the United States have to Medicaid benefits.

One of the common responses that many people have as they learn about estate planning is that there are a number of estate planning documents. In addition to things like wills, living wills, advance directives and powers of attorney, there also also a number of other important documents.

In New York there are Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) forms. This article briefly reviews what MOLST forms do and situations where you might need one of these documents.

The Role of MOLST Forms

An appellate court recently reversed in part and affirmed in part the judgment of the Court of Appeals concerning a decision by the Comptroller of the Treasury to include the value of a marital trust in an estate in a tax assessment. The trust contained qualified terminable interest property that was reported on the deceased individual’s federal tax return but was excluded from the estate’s Maryland estate tax return. The Court of Special Appeals held that the Comptroller lacked the authority to tax the trust assets as part of the Maryland estate.  The appellate court, however, found that after the death of the deceased person’s spouse, the qualified trust assets were transferred on her death and that the transfer of the property was subject to Maryland estate tax.

A marital trust is a particular type of irrevocable trust that is designed to hold a deceased spouse’s assets that are greater than the amount capable of being protected from death taxes. Rather than be taxed at the time of the death of the first spouse to pass away, assets are not taxed until the second spouse dies. As a result, if the second spouse has limited financial means, marital trusts can play an invaluable role.

The Three Types of Marital Trusts

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in Northport Health Services v. Posey recently reversed a lower court’s decision to grant summary judgment in a wrongful death action. One son in the Posey family in this case had signed the admission agreement of his brother at a resident rehabilitation center owned by Northport, which included an arbitration agreement. Northport then sought to compel arbitration and the district court granted this motion. The brother then appealed claiming that the district court misapplied the third-party beneficiary theory to the case because there was no underlying agreement between the Posey family and Northport. 

Making the decision to place a loved one in a rehabilitation center after they are in the hospital can be a difficult decision. Reviewing the associated terms of any agreements concerning a loved one’s care are just one of the many things that you should make sure to do. Fortunately, by following the advice below, this process can be made much easier. 

# 1 – Plan for Discharge as Soon as Possible

To create the best possible estate plan, it is critical to not only tell your advisor important information about your case. It is also critical to be honest. Failure to honestly disclose information about your financial status can lead to a number of serious complications and can sometimes even require your advisor to perform estate planning all over again. Unfortunately, there are a number of important things that people forget to disclose their estate planning advisor, which is why this article will list some of the important things that you should remember to mention.

# 1 – Family Issues

Many people with challenging family issues can find these matters difficult to discuss even though they have the potential to greatly interfere with a person’s estate plans. Often, an experienced estate planning attorney can help create estate plans that take these issues into considerations. For example, in situations where a person has an adult child with substance abuse, it might be possible to create a trust or other type of estate planning device to pass assets to the child. In deciding whether details should be disclosed to an estate planning lawyer, it is important to inform an estate planning advisor about any former spouses, any child support that you pay, any existing legal agreements in your family, or any relationships that you might have that could lead to financial obligations.

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