4 Essential Components of an Estate Plan

When we hear the phrase “estate plan”, it’s easy to think of complex, convoluted legal strategies that only apply to the wealthy – but it’s not. In reality, it’s a set of legal documents that ensure that your wishes are met, whatever they are. Here’s a guide to the basic components, from an estate planning attorney in New Jersey.

  1. A Last Will and Testament: This document can be as complex or as simple as you want it to be – it’s all about you, after all. Using a Will, you can have your own say as to who inherits items, assets or funds from you in the event of your death – without one, the State will decide for you. This is a great way to leave sentimental items to loved ones, to provide for your dependents or even support a charity close to your heart.
  2. Durable Power of Attorney: This is a legal document that appoints a person of your choosing to make decisions on your behalf when you can’t do so for yourself. Without one, the State will appoint a person on your behalf to make these decisions. These documents cover significant decisions that can have a very real impact on your life, including making any type of financial or legal choice on your behalf.
  3. Medical Power of Attorney: This works similarly to a durable power of attorney, except that it applies to medical and healthcare decisions. Most people use this document to ensure that their wishes are protected if they become incapacitated by old age, a health condition or even an accident. For example, many people don’t want advanced lifesaving measures in the event that they are gravely ill or terminal, or if they are in a vegetative state.
  4. A Trust: There are many different types of trusts and your estate planning attorney can help you create the one that’s right for you. Essentially, it’s a legal entity that will own whatever assets you place into it, but you have a high level of control over how these assets can be used and who can benefit from them. There are plenty of advantages to trusts – they are utilized during your lifetime as well as after you pass, you have a lot more control over how your assets are used, and they can bypass the probate process. This protects your assets from taxation and allows the trust to be used to support your loved ones immediately, rather than having to wait months until they are granted their inheritance.

Get All Your Questions Answered – Speak to a NJ Estate Planning Specialist

At Sedita, Campisano and Campisano in New Jersey, estate planning attorney Frank Campisano is ready to assist you with all your estate planning needs – whether you need to make a business succession plan, Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney, a Living trust or to minimize inheritance tax on your estate.

Contact us today and let us deliver expert estate planning advice to take care of all your wishes – whether your needs are big or small. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

Single or Widowed? Here are Some Medicaid Planning Tips

Medicaid planning

Much of the Medicaid planning advice available focuses on protecting the assets of a spouse when their partner is in a nursing home or long-term care, but this isn’t particularly relevant to widow and widowers or seniors who are unmarried. Here’s some insight into how to plan for Medicaid benefits in these circumstances, from a leading elder law attorney in New Jersey.

Gifting strategies

Here, the assistance of an elder law attorney is important because any missteps in your gifting strategy, especially during the critical 5-year look-back period, could easily leave a senior ineligible for Medicaid assistance for a significant period of time.

Instead, you can invest in a different asset protection strategy that can help fund long-term care. For example, by purchasing an annuity, funds can be ensured to provide necessary care during the period where you are ineligible for Medicaid, preserving the much higher gift amount.

Exempt Transfers to Protect Assets

Unlike gifts, some transfers are exempt from consideration or penalties during the look-back period, so it’s important to take full advantage of these exceptions. This can include starting a trust to support a disabled loved one or to fund a family member’s education, or to transfer the home into the name of a family caregiver. Again, these transfers have to be done correctly in order to ensure the most benefit without incurring any penalties.

Some Assets are Purchase Exempt

Just like some transfers are exempt from the look-back period, some purchases are also excluded when considering Medicaid eligibility. These can be used as part of a spend-down strategy to better qualify for Medicaid care. Examples of this type of asset include burial plots, vehicles and even medical equipment.

Develop an Effective Medicaid Planning Strategy with Your Elder Law Attorney in NJ

Experienced in elder law, compassionate and committed to his clients, you’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance you need from Frank R. Campisano. In addition to Medicaid assistance, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Healthcare Proxy/Medical Directive, Power of Attorney documents and trusts. For more compassionate legal guidance and a free consultation, please contact us or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

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