What can long-term care planning or Medicaid planning do for you?
For starters, it can save you thousands of dollars on current or future long-term care. According to a 2020 Genworth study on nursing home costs, the average semi-private, full-time nursing home room in Kansas costs approximately $6,691.00 monthly ($80,292.00 annually). With this type of price tag, people are starting to realize the importance of planning for their end-of-life expenses.
If you are healthy and in no need of immediate care, you might want to seek advice on long-term care planning from an experienced elder law attorney. Upon examining a comprehensive list of your assets and their values and listening to your objectives, your attorney may suggest any number of legal strategies to help you accomplish your goals. A few of these suggestions might include purchasing a long-term care insurance policy, creating and funding an irrevocable Medicaid Asset Protection Trust, establishing a gifting plan to family members, transferring assets by beneficiary designations and transfer-on-death designations, or forming some type of business entity. The type of legal strategies recommended for you will depend on your unique situation.
Medicaid planning is the term commonly used to preserve assets for individuals already residing in or having an impending need for full-time, skilled nursing home care. Planning at this stage is often referred to as crisis planning. Once again, an elder law attorney will need a comprehensive list of your assets and their values, as well as information on any income streams that you have. Depending on your goals, assets, income, life expectancy, and other issues unique to your situation, your attorney might recommend purchasing a Medicaid annuity, initiating an asset gifting program, purchasing a prepaid funeral plan, having home improvement repairs done on your residence, or any other number of planning choices.
All of these are viable options that many people are unaware they can utilize, particularly once someone has already been placed in a long-term care facility. However, be cautious when moving forward with a Medicaid spenddown, because if not done correctly, it can result in a refusal of benefits. Hiring an experienced elder law attorney is a good way to ensure that mistakes are avoided so that you can qualify more easily for Medicaid while preserving the greatest amount of assets allowed by law for your family.
If you have questions about Medicaid planning or long-term care planning, contact Davis & McCann, P.A., Dodge City, Kansas at 620-225-1674. We are members of Wealth Counsel, a national consortium of Estate Planning Attorneys and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). We focus our practice on providing clients with the best legal advice on Estate Planning, Medicaid and Long-term Care Planning, Special Needs Planning, Family Business/Small Business Succession Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Real Estate, 1031 Exchanges, and related matters.
If you have minor children, one of most important things you can do is choose a guardian and formally appoint them in your Last Will and Testament. A guardian is the person you legally authorize to raise your children in the event of your death. Naming a guardian is one of the top reasons young parents create an estate plan. To help you decide on a guardian, here’s a list of topics you may want to consider while choosing a potential candidate:
Religion, Political, Moral Beliefs. These topics often are the most important considerations for young parents. Are you comfortable with the proposed guardian’s religious, political, and moral beliefs? Are you confident that your children will be raised in a way that honors your current religious, political and moral framework?
Location. Does the person you’d like to name as guardian live a significant distance from you? Are you comfortable having your children raised in the community where the guardian resides? Is the guardian’s home large enough to accommodate your children? Would your children need to relocate to a new school and leave their existing friends?
Existing Family. If the person is married, is the marriage stable? Would the spouse welcome and respect your children in his/her home? Does the person have children? If so, are the guardian’s views on education and social activities similar to your views? If the person does not have children, would they be comfortable raising your children? Is the guardian’s method of discipline similar to your own?
Age. If you prefer an older guardian, they might be in a better financial position and may have more time to spend with your children, but he or she might be less equipped to help your children face the social pressures of the future. Younger guardians may be more in tune with current issues but due to career demands, they may have less time for the day-to-day duties associated with child rearing.
Health. Raising young children is mentally and physically demanding. A guardian with ongoing health issues may not have the energy or strength necessary to provide a stable environment for your children. Is this person in a position to devote the necessary time and energy to help your children fulfill their potential?
Finances. Will acting as a guardian for your children cause a financial burden for this person? Do you have provisions in place to provide finances for your children’s care after your death? Is this guardian capable of managing the children’s finances or should you consider naming a separate person as conservator of their funds?
Willingness. An honest conversation with the proposed guardian is an absolute necessity. Be sure to discuss the anticipated responsibilities and your desires for your children’s future. He or she needs to understand the role of a guardian and be willing to assume the responsibility.
It is important that you always choose an alternate person to name as guardian just in case your first choice is unable or unwilling to serve. Remember, without formally naming a guardian for your children, you will allow the State to make that choice for you.
If you have questions about naming a guardian for your minor children or any Kansas estate planning topic, contact Davis & McCann, P.A., Dodge City, Kansas at 620-225-1674. We are members of Wealth Counsel, a national consortium of Estate Planning Attorneys and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). We focus our practice on providing clients with the best legal advice on Estate Planning, Medicaid and Long-term Care Planning, Special Needs Planning, Family Business/Small Business Succession Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Real Estate, 1031 Exchanges, and related matters.
Hoping to retire as the owner and manager of a family-owned business? Ready to turn over the reins to a successor, but not sure where to begin? Here are a few simple suggestions to help you in the process:
Bring in Professional Advisors (tax professional and attorney). An accountant will advise you on potential tax implications you might face if you sell or gift a portion of your business. An experienced attorney can assist with the preparation of all necessary legal documents for your business succession. Typically, the most advantageous plans are those that are implemented with the assistance of both your attorney and your tax advisor. Aside from the obvious professional experiences they bring to the table, your attorney and accountant can provide an objective, neutral viewpoint during what is often a very emotional time.
Choosing a Successor. If you have someone in mind to succeed you, make sure to provide them with ample opportunities for training, internships, and work experience. Assessing your successor candidate’s drive and passion during this time will be important to the future success of your business. Some candidate screening topics you might consider are:
Bridging the gap between generations. Incorporation of new ideas from young leadership will be critical to moving your business successfully forward after your retirement. To foster a smooth transition from the “old guard” to new leaders, you might consider:
If you have questions about business succession planning, contact Davis & McCann, P.A., Dodge City, Kansas at 620-225-1674. We are members of Wealth Counsel, a national consortium of Estate Planning Attorneys and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). We focus our practice on providing clients with the best legal advice on Estate Planning, Medicaid and Long-term Care Planning, Special Needs Planning, Family Business/Small Business Succession Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Real Estate, 1031 Exchanges, and related matters.
Q: My father’s mental status has been declining this past year and now I’ve discovered he doesn’t have any planning in place. Does his diminished mental capacity mean it is too late for him to do estate planning?
A: Not necessarily. If your father’s attending physician has not declared him incompetent, and he still has some capacity, your father may be able to execute legally binding estate planning documents. There are different levels of capacity required for an individual to sign some legal documents versus others. For example, it takes more capacity for an individual to sign a Last Will and Testament than a General Durable Power of Attorney for financial decisions. To determine what level of capacity your Dad has and, thus what planning he is legally competent to execute, he will need to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney. Some of the questions an attorney may ask while visiting with your father include:
Part of an estate planning attorney’s role is to evaluate a client’s competency (or incompetency), as legal capacity or competency requires a subjective opinion provided by a trained attorney. Sound mind a/k/a capacity is determined on a situation-by-situation basis, as legal capacity can fluctuate, even from day-to-day. Attorneys are trained to assess a client’s legal capacity and proceed to a signing only if they believe the client meets the standards of competency necessary for the execution of a client’s legal documents.
It’s common for family members of clients who have diminished capacity to request appointments at very specific times of day because their mental clarity is best at that time. For example, they may struggle to understand certain events in the morning but exhibit a good understanding in the afternoon. Mental capacity can fluctuate due to any number of factors: medication, illness, lack of sleep, stress, time of day, etc... It is possible that a client is legally competent one day and incompetent days or even hours later. Failing to have full capacity all day, every day does not prohibit a person from executing estate planning documents. If, in an experienced attorney’s opinion, the client meets the basic threshold of legal competency at the time of signing documents, those documents are legally binding.
Because your father has some diminished capacity, it is extremely important that you choose a highly reputable estate planning attorney to assist him with his estate planning. If you have a contentious family who may dispute your father’s estate planning, make sure to let your attorney know so that they can take every precaution to determine legal capacity and to document his/her findings in the client’s file. If your family is contentious, we recommend that your father meet privately with his attorney so that there is no doubt that the contents of his planning were voluntarily and willfully made by your father, without undue influence from you or anyone else.
If you have questions about diminished capacity or any Kansas estate planning topic, contact Davis & McCann, P.A., Dodge City, Kansas at 620-225-1674. We are members of Wealth Counsel, a national consortium of Estate Planning Attorneys and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA). We focus our practice on providing clients with the best legal advice on Estate Planning, Medicaid and Long-term Care Planning, Special Needs Planning, Family Business/Small Business Succession Planning, Probate, Trust Administration, Real Estate, 1031 Exchanges, and related matters.
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