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July 2015 Archives

What are the different types of guardianships?

Several weeks ago on this blog, we talked about the basic definition of a guardian and we delved into how a guardianship works. This week, we will dig a little deeper into the subject and talk about two of the most common types of guardianships, temporary and testamentary. While they both sound similar, they are completely different. Let's break them down.

Avoiding the most common gaffes in estate planning (cont.)

Several weeks ago on this blog, we delved some of the most common pitfalls in estate planning. Of course, estate planning is a broad subject, so we only touched on a few of the most prevalent errors people make in the process. This week, we will pick up where we left off and give you some more tips for sidestepping mistakes as you begin planning.

  • It almost seems too obvious to say, but by far the most common pitfall is neglecting to draft an estate plan in the first place. Many have a misconception that it's just for the elderly or that it's something to put off for a rainy day. That couldn't be further from the truth. Everyone should have an estate plan.
  • Many fail to use gifts as a way to reduce the taxes on the estate. By doing so, you're leaving a potential $26,000 in tax savings on the table.
  • Others don't take advantage of the spouse exemption. That can protect up to $675,000 in taxes.
  • Leaving a life insurance policy is a good idea, but some people aren't aware that life insurance policies can leave your loved ones with a massive tax bill. Instead, an attorney can help you design a life insurance trust that can save your family a world of grief.
  • Making a bad choice for the executor. By default, many choose a child or spouse to handle things, but that's not always the best route.

Do you need an estate plan if you're single?

Many people think an estate plan is only for elderly people with major assets and children to pass it on to. However, having an estate plan in order is essential for everyone, regardless of age and wealth. After all, life can change on a dime and you don't want to leave your loved ones in the dark about your wishes. This holds true regardless of marital status as well; single people should be making an estate plan as well.

Medicare 101

The ins and outs of medical insurance, Medicaid and Medicare can get so complicated that it can feel like you need to go back to school to figure out all of the options. With that in mind, let's start with Medicare's absolute basics.

It's never too early to start planning for your future care

Granted, it's not a subject anyone enjoys thinking about, but planning for your care is of vital importance. After all, do you want anyone else making decisions for you about which nursing home or care facility you'll be in or what happens to you if you become debilitated? If you want to make sure your wishes are carried out, you'll want to consider advance care planning. Advance care planning puts you in charge of your future by letting you do the research and letting you decide where and how you wish to be cared for.

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