Business Owners Need More Than Just an Elder Lawyer to Do Estate Planning

Elder Law

As a small business owner or a family business owner, your company is your legacy – a means to provide for your family and valued employees, giving them financial security and a rewarding career. But the reality is that all that can quickly fall apart if you don’t have the right estate plan.

Is an Elder Law Attorney Enough?

There are many different specialties in law and elder law attorneys offer clients services with considerable practical value. They specifically deal with issues that are highly relevant to small business owners, including:

  • Creating a Last Will and Testament
  • Creating Power of Attorney and Healthcare Proxy documentation
  • Developing Medicaid asset protection strategies 
  • Handling long-term care insurance and planning
  • Creating trusts
  • Inheritance tax avoidance

They deliver expertise, counsel and representation around many important legal and financial issues that affect seniors and their loved ones – but the reality is that this isn’t enough when you own a small business or run a family business.

NJ Business Succession Planning Protects You, Your Legacy and Your Loved Ones

It’s always difficult to consider a time in which you’ll no longer be around – but it’s essential to do so if you want to continue to achieve the goals that you set out to do when you started your own business. 

Without strategic business succession planning, family-owned and small businesses face a high risk of failure once the owner retires or passes away, being vulnerable to issues such as confusion over who will take on what role, who should or will inherit control over the business, and even family infighting. 

With larger organizations, business succession planning is seen as a given – a way to ensure the smooth running and stability of a business whatever may occur – but small businesses often overlook these benefits because it’s an uncomfortable conversation. In fact, around 58% of small business owners have no succession plan at all.

And it’s not just about protecting the company you’ve built from the ground up – it’s about effectively dealing with tax issues and skills development, and developing a strategy of what to do when or if there is no family member or employee available to take on the role. And this isn’t just about your sons and daughters, but the generations that come after them too. It’s not about walking away from your company or stepping back in your role; it’s about ensuring you have the flexibility and peace of mind to define your role as you get older.

Who Do I Call? An Elder Lawyer for Businessmen

Elder lawyers who also specialize in business law will help you develop an estate plan and business succession plan that helps secure the future of your business and delivers the peace of mind you need to focus on growing and managing your company. You’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance you need from Frank R. Campisano. In addition to NJ business succession planning, 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/

What is an Elder Law Attorney? Do I Need One?

Elder Law

Here is some important insight into this law specialization from an elder law attorney in New Jersey.

Firstly, an elder law attorney works to protect the rights of seniors and their families in areas such as age-related health concerns, wills and trusts, long-term care, elder abuse, and Medicaid planning or disputes. Most of the time, this work is about drawing up legal protection for seniors and their assets rather than working in court. The majority of work in this field includes:

  • Helping seniors draw up or manage their Last Will and Testament, healthcare proxy, Power of Attorney documents, working on inheritance tax issues or drawing up trusts.
  • Assisting family members with legal documentation for guardianship to help them care for, provide for and protect senior loved ones with dementia or other conditions that mean that they are unable to care for themselves.
  • Helping seniors plan for their long-term care needs and developing a strategy to ensure Medicaid qualification, to apply for Medicaid or to challenge a Medicaid dispute. Elder law attorneys are a good source of information when dealing with complex Medicaid issues, such as when one spouse has to move into long-term care while the other is independent.
  • Assisting senior veterans with accessing the benefits due to them, challenging disputes and developing a strategy to ensure quality long-term care.
  • Providing estate planning advice and support, including gift tax matters.
  • Providing legal advice and advocacy in the event of senior fraud or elder abuse, whether by a family member, caregiver, nursing home, or other person.

If you’d like any advice or legal support regarding any of these issues or any other legal issues that affect seniors, it’s advisable to speak to an elder law attorney.

Get Legal Advice and Support from Your Elder Law Attorney in New Jersey

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, 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/

Reverse Mortgages – Are They a Good Choice for Seniors?

Elder Law

If you’re considering a reverse mortgage (also known as a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage) as a means to supplement your retirement plan, it’s important to know the pros and cons. Here are some insights from your elder law attorney in New Jersey.

The Pros

  • You don’t have to make any payments on these loans until you die or move.
  • Your credit record is not a big concern, as the key factors are the value of the home, the loan amount and your age as the borrower.
  • If the value of the property drops, your heirs won’t owe more than the value of the home when it is sold. If the value goes up, your heirs may inherit some money from the sale of the home after the debt is paid.
  • You can shop around as there are many different reverse mortgage products on the market, so you can get good rates with a bit of research and guidance.
  • It’s a good source of tax-free income if your money is tied up in your property and you don’t have a lot of cash flow from retirement funds or investments.

The Cons

  • Unlike a traditional mortgage, the amount you borrow will increase over time.
  • Your heirs will not inherit your property, but will inherit the debt of the loan, which would be paid off by selling the house. This will considerably reduce their inheritance.
  • There is no annual tax deduction of the interest.
  • You cannot leave your home for one year. If you leave after a year, the loan must be paid in full.
  • You have to be 62 years old or older.
  • The interest is still fairly high, and if you have good credit, good cash flow from other investments or other assets outside your home, there are better options like home equity loans or a second mortgage.

Make an Informed Choice and Protect Your Assets – Speak to Your Elder Law Attorney in NJ

If you would like to help your loved one get the legal assistance they need to protect their assets and wellbeing, speak to elder law attorney Frank R. Campisano today. Experienced in elder law and estate planning, he is compassionate and committed to his clients, ensuring that you’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance. In addition to sound elder law advice on preventing elder abuse, Medicaid assistance and Medicaid planning, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney documents, medical directives and trusts. For a free consultation, please contact us today or visit the 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/

Raising Awareness of Identity Fraud and Seniors

Identity theft is an unfortunate reality for all of us, but seniors are especially vulnerable to scams, con artists and fraudsters, putting their wellbeing and finances at serious risk. For caregivers, family and anyone who works with the elderly, it’s important to be aware of these issues and provide senior loved ones with advice and assistance to help keep their personal information safe.

Why are the Elderly More Vulnerable? 

There are two main reasons why seniors are targeted for identity fraud. They often have savings or investments, own their home and have good credit, making them a valuable target. They are also less likely to report fraud, often because they are unaware that they have been defrauded, or because they are simply embarrassed about the situation.

What Can You Do as a Caregiver or Family Member? 

Caregivers and family members can play a role in keeping senior loved ones safer from identity fraud. Here are some important red flags to be aware of:

  • If a stranger or acquaintance expresses interest in their financial history, social security information or other sensitive information.
  • If a caregiver, friend or family member expresses sudden interest in their financials or wants greater input into their spending, bank account access etc.
  • Sudden or inexplicable changes to their Last Will and Testament or other legal documents
  • Financial activity that is out of the ordinary, unlikely of the account holder or otherwise unexplained
  • Increases in withdrawals and purchases
  • Bills not being paid
  • Account statements no longer arriving at their address

It’s also important to remind senior loved ones not to share sensitive information (social security or financial) with anyone, especially unsolicited telephone callers, door-to-door salespeople or contractors. Any suspicious activity on bank and other accounts should be reported immediately.

Legal Advice for Seniors and Loved Ones from Your Elder Law Attorney in New Jersey 

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, 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/

Gifting Your Home to your Child – The Medicaid Implications

Medicaid planning

For many people, the cost of senior care is challenging or even impossible to manage without the assistance of Medicaid. In order to qualify for Medicaid, you need to keep the value of your assets below a certain limit, and one way that people choose to meet this requirement is by gifting assets, including their homes, away to children and loved ones. But what are the pros and cons of this strategy?

“Spend down” Strategies Help You Qualify for Medicaid 

A “spend down” strategy is where you actively reduce your assets to meet Medicaid requirements. It is an effective way to ensure that you qualify for Medicaid when the need arises – essentially, it means reducing your assets to the point where you qualify in a way that ensures you don’t incur penalties.

While gifting your assets is an effective way to spend down, it has to be done the right way or Medicaid will still penalize you or reject your application. The most significant obstacle to this strategy is the 5-year look-back period. If you have gifted away your home or other assets within the last 5 years, you face a transfer penalty where you are ineligible for Medicaid. Even the $14,000 per year tax-free federal gift allowance is included in this calculation and can affect eligibility.

You are only excluded from this look-back period under very special circumstances, including:

  • If your home has been transferred to your spouse.
  • If you have transferred it to your blind or disabled child under 21 years old.
  • If you have transferred it to a caretaker child – that is, your child who has lived with you for 2 or more years in order to care for you.
  • If you have transferred your home to your sibling who has an equity interest in the house and who has lived with you for 1 year or longer.
  • If you have transferred it into a special needs trust to care for a disabled person under 65 years old.

Speak to a Qualified Elder Law Attorney for a Sound Medicaid Planning Strategy 

Medicaid planning is a complex process and one where a reliable, clear strategy is followed step by step. With the right help, you or your loved one can get the care and financial assistance they need.

Frank R. Campisano is highly experienced and compassionate elder law attorney with considerable knowledge of Medicaid issues. In addition to planning ahead financially for Medicaid eligibility, he is also able to assist with applications, appeals and other Medicaid issues. If you or a family member needs assistance with their Medicaid planning or protecting their assets effectively, don’t hesitate to get help today.

In addition, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Healthcare Proxy, Power of Attorney documents and trusts.

For a free consultation and Medicaid assistance, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

 

 

 

A Guide to Medicaid Planning When You are Single or Widowed

Elderly woman touching face of young female nurse

When it comes to Medicaid planning, a lot of the focus is on how you can go about protecting your assets through different strategies under existing spousal protection rules – but what about people who are unmarried or widowed? Fortunately, there are solutions, says a leading elder law attorney in New Jersey.

  • Gifting: Gifts made during the look-back period (currently set at 5 years) can make you ineligible for Medicaid for a certain period of time. However, this can form a part of your asset protection strategy. The purchase of an annuity, for example, can ensure that funds are available for care during this period of time without you having to draw on that gift.
  • Exempt transfers: These are assets that you are allowed to gift within the look-back period without compromising your Medicaid eligibility. Only certain types of gifts qualify as exempt transfers, however. These include money or assets given to a child or grandchild under 21 who is disabled, deeding your home to your child who has lived with you as your caregiver for at least 2 years, funding a trust for a disabled family member under 65, or deeding your home to a sibling if they have equity interest in the property and have lived there at least one year. While these are the most common exemptions, there are others that you may qualify for.
  • Purchasing exempt transfers: Some Medicaid planning strategies include purchasing assets that would then qualify as exempt transfers, protecting your financial wellbeing without compromising your Medicaid eligibility. Some assets that may qualify as exempt transfers include burial reserves, medical equipment and even a vehicle.

Effective Medicaid Planning Strategies from Your Elder Law Attorney in New Jersey

Frank R. Campisano is highly experienced and compassionate elder law attorney with considerable knowledge of Medicaid issues. In addition to planning ahead financially for Medicaid eligibility, he is also able to assist with applications, appeals and other Medicaid issues. If you or a family member needs assistance with their Medicaid planning or protecting their assets effectively, don’t hesitate to get help today.

In addition, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as your Last Will and Testament, Healthcare Proxy, Power of Attorney documents and trusts.

For a free consultation, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

How New Laws Support the Reporting of Financial Elder Abuse

Medicaid Application

In May this year, the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act was signed into law, and it contains some elements that are critical to reporting financial elder abuse. This is vital to protecting seniors and their assets, as financial abuse that targets the elderly is reported by the National Council on Aging to cost seniors between $2.9 – $36.5 billion each year and carries severe emotional trauma. In fact, these numbers are thought to be much higher specifically because seniors are unlikely to report these crimes.

The law includes a section from a previous stand-alone bill from Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) which incentivizes financial institutions to report financial abuse of the elderly (age 65 and up) that they witness. It also provides immunity from any lawsuit alleging elder financial abuse if the financial institution reports it to federal or state law enforcement. This is an important step because financial institutions are often the first to witness this form of abuse through elderly clients making unusual transactions that may indicate a scam.

Working Together is Key to Protecting the Elderly from Financial Abuse 

The elderly are especially vulnerable to financial scams and abuse, and it is often difficult if not impossible to recover from such an event, making it essential that each element of the community work together to prevent and report these incidents. Programs such as the Senior$afe program in Maine encourage this by helping state regulators, financial institutions and legal organizations to work together to educate employees on how to spot financial elder abuse and report it effectively to law enforcement. Similar programs are in place in counties across the country, helping to protect vulnerable citizens. It is also essential that elderly people and their families have someone they can trust to talk to about financial planning to help prevent them from falling victim to a scam.

Protect Elderly Citizens Through Effective Advice and Planning from an Elder law Attorney in New Jersey 

If you would like to help your loved one get the legal assistance they need to protect their assets and wellbeing, speak to elder law attorney Frank R. Campisano today. Experienced in elder law and estate planning, he is compassionate and committed to his clients, ensuring that you’ll receive the highest quality legal expertise and guidance. In addition to sound elder law advice on preventing elder abuse, Medicaid assistance and Medicaid planning, you can also prepare additional estate planning documents, such as a Last Will and Testament, Power of Attorney documents, medical directives and trusts. For a free consultation, please contact us today or visit the website at http://www.scclegal.com/

Inside Reverse Mortgage Scams

Medicaid Application

Reverse mortgages are a useful tool for seniors who often have significant equity in their homes (they have often made significant progress in paying off their homes) and want to be able to access that money to convert it into supplemental income. This is a fairly complex process, leaving the door open to scam artists and unscrupulous lenders to target seniors and mislead them – to the point where many people have lost their homes. Here’s some essential information about identifying and avoiding these dangerous scams, from a leading elder law attorney in New Jersey.

How a Legal Reverse Mortgage Works 

Essentially, this works in the reverse to a regular mortgage – instead of taking out a loan and paying it back, the lender makes payments to you. The most common reverse mortgage product is the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HCEM), issued by private lenders and insured by the Federal Housing Administration. To qualify, you have to meet certain criteria including being a homeowner of 62 years or older, have a certain amount of equity in your home, and that you reside in the property that you’re applying for. There is a limit on how much of your equity you can access through this loan – currently set at $636,150.

How to Spot Reverse Mortgage Scams 

Keep your eyes peeled for these warning signs:

  • High-pressure sales tactics: Some mortgage brokers use strong-arm tactics to sign people up for reverse mortgages, whether they need them or not – and they specifically target the elderly. Unsolicited visits and phone calls by mortgage brokers should be ignored. According to the FBI, other sales tactics include approaching seniors through local churches and investment seminars.
  • Misrepresenting the risk: With any loan comes risk – never trust someone who offers a reverse mortgage and tells you that there are no risks involved. All reverse mortgages become due and payable at some point and this can mean you lose your home – if the property is transferred or sold, if the borrower moves out of the home, or if the borrower doesn’t meet the mortgage obligations (insurance premiums, property tax payments etc.)
  • Misleading advertising: A reverse mortgage is not free money or free income – it is still a loan with very strict conditions, fees and structure. Any advertisement that states otherwise this is misleading and designed to take advantage of people who don’t have a clear understanding of loan structures.
  • Encouragement to take out a lump sum early: Taking out a lump sum in your early 60s often leads to the amount being used up quickly – leaving you with nothing in your later years. As a result, many seniors don’t have the money to pay the insurance and property taxes required by the lender, which forces the loan to become due and your home into foreclosure.

If you are considering a reverse mortgage, it’s always best to do a lot of research on the risks and benefits yourself and speak to your elder law attorney or a trusted financial advisor before taking on a potentially risky loan. This way, you get the right information and the best financial program for your needs.

Consult with a Leading Elder Law Attorney in NJ Today 

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, 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/

Benefits for Elderly Veterans in New Jersey

The Department of Veterans Affairs is continually adjusting benefits to better suit veteran’s needs as they change – especially as the population of veterans ages. With over 12.4 million veterans over the age of 65 in the USA and over 413 veterans and their families in New Jersey, it’s important to know what the VA can offer in terms of assistance. Here are some insights from a leading elder law attorney in NJ.

The Aid & Attendance and Housebound Program 

Housebound and the A&A are pension programs where veterans receive monthly monetary assistance. To qualify, candidates must have fulfilled 90 days of active service and have an income below the qualifying threshold. These programs are designed to assist veterans who require assistance with daily tasks, are in nursing homes, are bedridden or have other complex needs. Depending on the circumstances, a veteran may apply for one of the programs but not both, and they can assist families of veterans who qualify.

The New Jersey Transportation Program 

This program offers free transportation to VA medical centers, clinics, hospitals and private physicians, as well as VA Regional Offices and local Veteran Service Offices. All you have to do is contact the NJ State Veterans Service Officer and they will assist with transportation needs.

Housing Benefits for Veterans 

Elderly veterans looking for an affordable housing solution can apply for the state’s three Veteran Memorial Homes situated in Menlo Park, Paramus and Vineland. Qualifying veterans must have been honorably discharged, and benefits under specific circumstances be extended to accommodate widows of veterans and Gold Star parents. There are also additional services that veterans can access, including occupational, speech and physical therapy programs, as well as support groups and counselling services.

Enjoy the Fresh Air 

Benefits are not limited to healthcare and housing services, as the NJ Division of Fish and Wildlife also offers benefits to veterans that include a selection of free licenses to qualified disabled veterans, from fishing and hunting licenses to trout stamps.

Access the Benefits You Deserve – Speak to a Leading Elder Law Attorney in NJ 

Frank R. Campisano is highly experienced and compassionate elder law attorney with considerable knowledge of veterans’ benefits, including assisting with applications, appeals and other Veterans and elder law issues.

For a free consultation, please contact us today and speak to Frank R. Campisano or visit our website at http://www.scclegal.com/

 

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