Articles Posted in Asset Protection

It is never easy to estate plan. For one, estate planning involves uncomfortable decisions about how your assets will be divided following your death. Estate planning, however, is critical because it avoids a number of serious obstacles including family disputes, additional taxes, and the probate process. Despite the potential to solve the numerous problems that would otherwise, some people still believe that estate planning should only be performed by the extremely wealthy. Instead, estate planning tools including trusts can be a particularly valuable tool for individuals. As a result, this article examines some of the advantages that people frequently realize by creating trusts.

# 1 – Trusts Help Outline How Assets Are Received

One of the primary benefits of creating trusts is that they allow individuals to exercise control over how their assets are divided following their death. By spelling out exactly how assets should be divided, a person can avoid any unnecessary disputes that might later arise among family members. When younger children are involved, trusts are capable of outlining the age and condition that children must be to receive assets.

personal representative named in a Last Testament is allowed to be an out of state resident only if that individual is a blood relative or a relative through an existing marriage. If a representative does not satisfy this criteria, a person is still able to use an alternative to estate administration in the form of a trust. There are several important things that a person should consider when determining who should act as their personal representative.

Tip # 1 – Trust the Person that Is Chosen

The person that is selected to act as a personal representative must have the ability to complete a task accurately and efficiently. This element is important because personal representatives are given the duty of financial responsibility over a person’s estate. As a result, the person chosen to act as personal representative should have displayed the ability to be trustworthy through other examples in their life.

One of the most common myths that exists about trust asset protection is that it is something that only the very wealthy need to worry about. In reality, many different types of individuals should consider using trusts to protect a person’s assets. Asset protection trusts are one of the best ways that individuals can protect their assets from creditors in addition to many other advantages including tax benefits. This article will review some of the important advantages that are offered by trusts as part of estate planning in the state of New York.

The Basic Structure of Trusts

While there are some significant differences between types of trusts, each trust involves three parties: a beneficiary, a trustee, and a settlor. A beneficiary is the party that receives the assets or valuable items that are placed within the trust. A settlor is the person that is tasked with making periodic contributions into a trust. A trustee is the individual that is responsible with disbursing assets from, managing, or overseeing assets that are placed within a trust.

Since obtaining the right to marry, same-sex couples have experienced some significant advancements. There are some special considerations, however, that same sex couples must pay attention to when estate planning. For one, same-sex couples must often perform extra planning to fully address. As a result, the assistance of an estate planning attorney can be helpful for these couples. This article will review five important steps that same-sex couples should follow when involved in estate planning.

Tip # 1 – Properly Plan for Children

While there are laws in place to make sure that a parent’s assets pass to their children, same-sex parents must be careful to make sure that any adopted children are properly positioned to inherit an estate. If a same-sex couple’s children are not properly provided for, a same-sex couple’s assets might pass to other family members including aunts, uncles, or other family members.

Tax preparation is one of the most important considerations when creating an estate plan. Whenever a person or business creates an estate plan, there are multiple types of taxes to avoid – inheritance taxes, estate taxes, and income taxes, to name a few. Without a proper estate plan, these taxes can eat into a large portion of the estate.

Here are several common estate planning strategies that could reduce your tax liability:

  1. Marital Transfers. If both spouses in the marriage are American citizens, then lifetime gifts or bequests at death between them not be subject to estate taxes.

Although passing an estate through probate can be an unnecessarily long and expensive process, it is usually an administrative task through which heirs receive their inheritance as the deceased saw fit to award. However, family dynamics can complicate the expediency at which executors are able to pass some estates through probate, leaving the courts, rather than the deceased in his or her last will and testament, to ultimately decide which heirs or other interested parties receive certain portions of the estate.

Instead of using the courts to settle these types of disputes, families should consider mediation as an alternative to expensive and time consuming litigation in front of judges with already heavy caseloads. Mediation is a type of dispute resolution where both sides meet with an independent party to help negotiate a settlement to the matter, out of court and without the need for extended litigation and costly legal fees.

Often times, disputes over who gets what during the probate process are the manifestation of long standing animosity between family members or individuals close to the deceased. While mediation has no authoritative decision making over who gets what, it can be beneficial because it allows both sides to keep control over their position, is less confrontational than a courtroom setting, and can preserve familial relationships by resulting in wins for both sides, rather than victory for one party and a defeat for the other.

Under state and federal laws, nursing homes can only evict patients for a limited set of reasons and are supposed to face serious civil penalties if they break the law to force residents out on the street. However, these same caregivers have very intimate knowledge of the regulatory system and often interpret resident behavior in such a manner that would allow the facility to expel an individual who would otherwise would have remain with the care facility.

While there are many reasons why a nursing home or assisted living facility may choose to evict a resident from their care, one of the all too common reasons may come down to greed as some patients services transition from Medicare to Medicaid. As a result, federal regulators have begun to step up investigation and enforcement actions against unscrupulous facilities who choose the more lucrative yet essentially illegal business practices.

In December 2017, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services sent memos to state nursing home inspectors notifying these departments that federal agencies would begin examining the discharge records from the nation’s 15,000 nursing homes. In 2015 alone there were almost 10,000 complaints filed by nursing home residents alleging they were wrongfully evicted from their facility. However, some elder legal advocates believe these numbers may be underreported because many more elders do not contest their eviction.

Acting as the executor to an estate is an important duty with many responsibilities. While it may seem overwhelming and confusing at first, there are some very simple and basic first steps executors need to take that can help acclimate them to the process and help ensure that the deceased’s final wishes are carried out and all beneficiaries receive all the portions of the estate that they are due.

Most people generally advise their loved ones of their final wishes as it pertains to funeral arrangements. If this is the case, it may also be so that the deceased or his or her family has also made arrangements to pay for the funeral. If not, it will be up to the deceased’s surviving family members to make such arrangements, something the executor will not be expected to complete. However, it will be necessary for the executor of the estate to keep a financial record of all the burial costs paid out of the deceased’s estate as they may be deducted from any estate taxes.

Next, the executor will need to locate the deceased’s last will and testament and filed with the Surrogate Court in the county where the deceased resided or intended to reside if he or she lived out her final days outside of the county. Sometimes, the will may already be registered with the appropriate Surrogate Court, making this step easier.

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) claims state and federal agencies tasked with evaluating experimental programs from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Studies (CMS) fail to properly evaluate the initiatives. According to the report, some states can take years to finish evaluations and complete reports on programs implemented to help save taxpayers money and improve patient care.

Furthermore, when reports do become available CMS often fails to give the public access in order for ordinary people to see for themselves what works and what does not for the working poor of America. While many experts studying the issue found the shortcomings to be troubling, many were not surprised at the way states and federal agencies go about evaluating what incremental changes to CMS programs could be worthwhile.

Some states do not even finish their evaluations and complete reports until after the federal government approves the experiments for a second time. Such moves often leave observers scratching their heads as to how states can continue to receive funding for experiments on CMS programs without even taking into account whether they have a positive impact on the health and wellness of state residents or the programs fiscal soundness.

A new study recently published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine suggests that doctors and patients could make use of the time old “bucket list” to make improved decisions on end of life care. The bucket list is typically understood as a list of accomplishments or experiences an individual wishes to achieve before his or her passing. Often times, this can be a combination of achievable, real life possibilities or other lists of fantasies.

Other research has already indicated the importance of having end of life care decisions between doctors and patients and this latest article suggests that adding the creation of a “bucket list” could be another vital piece of the puzzle. By focusing purely on diagnostics and disease management, many clinicians may unknowingly create a “conversation gap” that could deprive patients living out their last days in peace and happiness.

Sadly, when patients are faced with a serious diagnosis their sole focus often becomes centered around their medical care and can steer them away from both short and long term life goals. While it can be hard to imagine anything other than undertaking every possible treatment to fight what may otherwise be a terminal illness, many patients fail to take into account the loss of life experiences that add up when committing most of their time and effort into beating their disease.

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