Trusts and Estates Blog

Estate Planning and Elder Law

Grandmother reading a book to her children and parents in living-roomPerhaps one of the most rewarding careers in the legal fields comes in assisting elderly people plan for the latter years of their lives. Those working in elder law are able to assist people as they transition their lives and plan for the future of their lives, estates, and possessions.

Although many times accomplished by the same lawyer, notice the difference between estate planning and elder law.

Estate planning—The overall planning of a person’s wealth, including the preparation of a will and the planning of taxes after the individual’s death. (dictionary.com)

Elder law—Planning for disability to get the persons you want to handle your affairs and to protect your assets from being depleted for long-term care. (Michael Ettinger, Esq.)

Everyone needs to plan for their future by preparing a will to allocate the assets of an estate, and also by preparing for the possibility of mental and physical impairment. Yet in our world, elders face several challenges in planning for the future.

Avoiding court dealings. Those who fail to prepare for their future will either face court hearings to designate assets or their loved ones will have to endure legal hearings. Preparing a trust or will before an emergency happens will help elders avoid court dealings.

Designating a caretaker. Who can you trust enough to carry out the directions of your will? Or who will take care of you in the event you are incapacitated? Since a revocable living trust takes effect during your lifetime, you can designate who will care for you and your estate while you are still alive.

Reducing high taxes. The ever-changing tax rates the government has placed on estates has many elderly people worried their estate will go to nothing more than paying government taxes. Proper planning, though, can reduce the number of taxes on your estate through methods such as two-trust plans for couples, revocable living wills, and other legal measures.

Too many people put off estate planning and elder law, but a wise person plans for their future before circumstances happen that take the power out of their hands. If you wish to talk to one of our lawyers about planning for your future, contact our offices today.

If you would like more information concerning Elder Law and estate planning, visit www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com today. www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com is a comprehensive online resource for elder law, estate planning and related issues. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand.

Enjoying Your Retirement

Grandparents with grandson (African American)Most people in the workforce look forward to the day they can pack up their office and close the door for the last time. Retirement is a wonderful time in a person’s life if planned well. But if not planned for, retirement can lead to financial frustration, legal confusion, and a return to working. Rather than risking that, take time to plan ahead for your retirement.

1). Review your portfolio. As you approach retirement, spend time reviewing where you have money invested and what investments are (or are not) yielding returns. With an unstable market, it might be wise to relocate some assets. Also look into rolling over any 401k accounts into a single IRA account, consolidating any taxable accounts. Limiting your portfolio to only a couple accounts helps you better manage them.

2). Establish income. Once retired, you can no longer rely on a monthly paycheck to fund your lifestyle. Monies will be coming from investments, pension payments, or social security checks. Establish an income stream. In example, deposit all investments into a savings account while keeping monthly checks in an easily accessible account from which you can pay bills.

Keep an eye on how much cash you have available to withdrawal from your investment funds. While you may have more than enough in the fund, sufficient cash may not be available for withdrawal, leaving you with an “insufficient balance” when seeking to use your cash.

3). Plan for your estate. Too many retirees put off estate planning until they are too old or medically incapable of making wise planning decisions. Before you begin enjoying your retirement, take time to sit down with an estate lawyer and create an estate plan. Designate beneficiaries, create a living will/trust, decide if you want to gift your assets before you die or leave it for inheritance, and establish a power of attorney.

Your retirement is time for you (and your spouse) to enjoy free time together. Don’t get stuck worrying about financial and legal issues. Before you begin your prolonged vacation, set your affairs in order and ensure that you will be able to enjoy the years to come.

If you would like more information concerning retirement and estate planning, visit www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com today. www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com is a comprehensive online resource for retirement, estate planning and related issues. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand.

Trusts and Estates Blog