Elder Law Overview
Elder law covers a range of estate planning subjects. With help from an experienced elder law attorney, you could take control of how your assets will be divided to heirs and charities.
Learning How to Protect What You Value
If a New Jersey resident dies without a will, his or her assets will be distributed in accordance with the state’s intestate succession laws. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, nearly 60 percent of all Americans are in that situation; should something happen to them, they will have no control whatsoever over how their belongings are divided up. A Middlesex County estate planning attorney can help you develop a strategy so that your assets will be dispensed to loved ones and/or charities based on your own wishes.
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Planning for the Future
Estate planning is not the only way an experienced New Jersey probate lawyer could assist you. These professionals are often knowledgeable about many of the legal ramifications of the aging process. Some common aspects of elder law include:
- Long-term care planning
- Medicaid crisis planning
- VA benefits planning
- Charitable planning
- Asset protection
- Special needs trusts
Let’s take a closer look at the ways a New Jersey estate planning lawyer can help you with these matters.
Long-Term Care Planning
As you age, the likelihood that you’ll require long-term care will increase dramatically. The average cost of long-term care in the Garden State is $130,000 a year. Without careful planning, the retirement fund you spent a lifetime compiling could easily be spent in a few short years. A lawyer could help you navigate the legal complexities that entangle this sensitive subject by drafting an estate plan that protects your assets.
Medicaid Crisis Planning
Many older Americans rely on federal assistance to pay for health care. Medicaid estate planning transfers resources out of your name so that if you have to apply for Medicaid in the future, you will meet the program’s eligibility criteria. This strategy can also help protect your assets should you be affected by a devastating injury or illness.
VA Benefits Planning
If you served the nation as a member of the armed forces, you may be entitled to a pension benefit that’s often referred to as “aid and attendance.” Once again, eligibility for this benefit is often determined by financial criteria. The rules determining eligibility were overhauled in 2018. A Middlesex County probate lawyer will make every effort to deploy legal strategies and tools that aim to help you qualify for VA benefits without jeopardizing the wealth you worked so hard to acquire.
There’s more to philanthropy than just signing checks. While certain charitable gifts may be able to reduce your income tax liability, others may help maximize the value of the estate you hope to leave to heirs. An experienced elder law attorney may explain the differences between bequests, split-interest trusts and donor-advised funds so that you can choose the method of giving that best aligns with your philanthropic intentions.
If the likelihood seems high that you are going to need to qualify for Medicaid to help you pay costs associated with medical care or a stay in a long-term nursing care facility, speak with an attorney about sheltering your assets. Medicaid’s rules on transferring assets are stringent, but you may be able to set up a trust or spend money on necessary household repairs.
If someone you care about has a physical or mental disability that requires living assistance, you may want to think about setting up a special-needs trust. This will allow you or some other trustworthy individual to manage property such as money or real estate on your disabled loved one’s behalf. Setting up this type of trust is particularly important if your loved one is receiving government assistance such as Medicaid or subsidized housing.
Reach out to Jason Alguram in Milltown, New Jersey, today to learn more about the ways that working with an estate attorney who’s knowledgeable about elder law and estate planning can benefit you and your loved ones. Stop by our office or give us a call at (732) 351-2121.