How – and when – to revise your Last Will and Testament

Life is constantly changing, so your Last Will and Testament should be periodically reviewed and updated in order to keep up with these changes. Here is some advice from estate planning attorney Frank R. Campisano in New Jersey.

When should I change my Will? 

  • A change in circumstances: If you inherit a large sum of money or substantially increase your earnings, your strategy for your estate plan is likely to change. You may want to change how much beneficiaries would inherit, how they would inherit or even add new beneficiaries. A Trust may now also make more sense for you and your beneficiaries financially in terms of taxes. Similarly, a reduction in financial circumstances may also impact your estate plan.
  • Marriage: Spouses are entitled to a certain portion of your estate by the State unless it is otherwise stated in your Will. You may want to increase or decrease this amount, as well as include particular assets that you would like your spouse to inherit.
  • Divorce: A legal divorce doesn’t necessarily impact on your Will, so your former spouse could still inherit your assets even after legal separation and remarriage. At the very least, issues like this can cause extensive court battles and confusion along with spiraling legal costs and emotional distress. It’s best that, in the event of a divorce, you immediately change your Will to reflect your wishes.
  • A new baby: Whether you are adopting a child or having your own biological child, you need to update your Will in order to provide certain legal protections. This includes naming a guardian and ensuring that they inherit the right assets in the event of you or both you and your spouse passing away.
  • A blended family: If you marry and your spouse had children from a previous marriage, you may want to update your Will. Without changes to your Will, your step-children cannot inherit from you, so it’s important to specifically include this update especially if you already have children of your own.

Update your Will – or write a new one? 

Often, it is far simpler to revoke all old Wills and write an entirely new legal document. Your original Will is likely to change many times over your lifetime, so additions and changes can easily create legal confusion to the point where your actual intentions can be lost. A new document will be able to state your intentions clearly and stand up to contestation and scrutiny by the courts and other legal entities.

Expert assistance in creating your Last Will and Testament 

If you would like to revise your Will or create a new Will, Frank R. Campisano can assist you each step of the way. Whether you want to create a simple will or are interested in creating more complex estate planning documents such as trusts, medical directives and Power of Attorney documents, he can ensure that the right legal documentation is developed in order to meet your specific wishes.

For peace of mind estate planning or advice on creating your Last Will and Testament, please contact Frank R. Campisano or visit our website today at https://www.scclegal.com/

When should you start planning for long-term elder care?

Long-term care isn’t anything we want to think about, no matter how young or old we might be! It’s human nature to put off this kind of planning – and yet the consequences of failing to make these plans can be devastating. This makes it more important than ever to put an effective plan in place early, leaving you with peace of mind and the freedom to concentrate on other life pursuits, says elder law attorney Frank Campisano in New Jersey.

Average costs of long-term elder care 

Elder care costs are on the rise, not just in New Jersey but also across the United States, with the Genworth Cost of Care Survey placing 2015 costs at:

  • Assisted living services (Non-medical and medical): $20 per hour
  • Adult Day Health Care: $69 per day
  • Assisted living in a facility: $3,600 per month
  • Nursing home care: $220 – $250 per month

Of course, these rates are an average taken across the country and different facilities, additional services and extended hours will all cause changes in these rates.

While Medicaid and Medicare are available, there are strict regulations for getting into these programs. An elder law attorney can assist you by helping you plan your estate in such a way that you can access your Medicaid benefits when you need them. This requires long-term planning however, so be sure to speak to a professional at least 5 or more years before long-term care becomes necessary.

Legal considerations of long-term elder care planning 

In addition to ensuring that you are financially able to afford to live out your senior years in comfort – whether in assisted living or in your own home – there are several legal issues that are important to include in your long-term plans:

  • Last Will and Testament: This will ensure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes. Without a Will, your property will be redistributed by the State of New Jersey and may be subjected to a lengthy probate process and taxes.
  • Financial Power of Attorney: This legal document appoint a person of your choosing to handle financial decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.
  • Medical Power of Attorney: Similar to a Financial Power of Attorney, this legal document appoints someone of your choosing to make medical decisions on your behalf in the event that you cannot do so yourself. It can also contain Advanced Healthcare Directives that you can state in advance, for example, if you do not want to receive certain advanced life-saving measures or would like to include a Do Not Resuscitate clause in your treatment.

Speak to a leading NJ elder law attorney for expert assistance 

It’s never too early to start planning for long-term elder care, so contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano of Sedita, Campisano & Campisano, LLC. A compassionate and experienced attorney with over 30 years of experience in elder law and estate planning, he can assist you with every aspect of your long-term care plan, including:

  • Will and Trust creation and administration
  • Medicaid asset protection
  • VA aid
  • Special needs trusts
  • Trust planning
  • Estate and trust litigation

For more information on long-term care planning and elder law in New Jersey, please visit us today at https://www.scclegal.com/

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