How Expensive Is Long-Term Care?

The most pressing elder law issue of the current era is the matter of long-term care. People are living longer lives, and as you reach an advanced age, it becomes more and more likely that you will need living assistance eventually. Perhaps surprisingly, 70 percent of people who have attained senior citizen status will eventually need help with their day-to-day needs. You may assume that Medicare will pay for long-term care if you ever need it, but in reality, Medicare does not pay for custodial care. This is a serious matter, because long-term care is very expensive. Assisted Living Costs Genworth Financial has been researching the state of long-term care costs for the last few years, and the figures for 2015 have been released. Our firm is located in the state of Connecticut. According to the survey, in Connecticut, the median annual charge for a private room in a nursing home is a staggering $158,775 at the present time. A semi-private room is not going to provide much of a discoun

What Is a Family Wealth Trust?

Accumulating wealth that you can pass along to your loved ones after you are gone is rewarding, but earning the money is only half of the equation. Given the potential impact of estate taxes, you must also take steps to preserve your wealth. This can be done through the creation of a family wealth trust of some kind. Wealth Preservation There is no specific type of trust that is formally called a family wealth trust, but this is a general umbrella that multiple different types of trusts would fall under. Before we look at some of these family wealth trusts, we should provide some information about the estate taxes that could be a factor for you. First, there is the federal estate tax that everyone in all 50 states must be concerned about. You can transfer unlimited assets to your spouse tax-free, but asset transfers to others are potentially taxable. However, there is a relatively large credit or exclusion that allows you to transfer a certain amount of property free of taxation. For

Why Do I Need a Power of Attorney?

A well-constructed estate plan will be comprehensive in nature. Everyone is aware of the fact that you have to facilitate asset transfers when you put an estate plan in place, but you should also account for end-of-life issues. This is often done through the creation of documents called durable powers of attorney. Incapacity Planning When you think about your retirement years, some good times may enter your imagination, and your retirement years can be quite rewarding if you plan ahead effectively. At the same time, as difficult as it may be to consider, a very significant percentage of elders become unable to make sound decisions at some point in time. There are various different causes of incapacity. People sometimes become unable to communicate when they are experiencing physical decline, and there is also mental incapacitation. Alzheimer s disease is all too common among the oldest old. This disease strikes over 40 percent of people who are at least 85, and it is likely that you w

Medicaid Planning: How Is My Spouse Impacted?

There is a great deal to take into consideration when you are planning ahead for your senior years. You may be under the assumption that Medicare will take care of all of your health care expenses, and you may also assume that Medicaid is not relevant to you. In fact, Medicare does not pay for everything in full. There are out-of-pocket expenses that you should be aware of when you are budgeting for your retirement years. These would include co-payments, deductibles, and monthly premiums. The out-of-pocket expenses are only part of the equation. Most senior citizens will eventually need help with their activities of daily living, and Medicare does not pay for long-term care. Medicaid does pay for living assistance, and this is why it is relevant to a significant percentage of senior citizens. Medicaid Planning It takes careful planning to qualify for Medicaid coverage, because it is a need-based program. Most people retire with some resources, and the income and asset limits are very

When Will I Become Eligible for Social Security?

Social Security is going to be very important for most people who are planning ahead for their retirement years. You should understand the facts as you look toward the future so that you can create a sensible retirement budget. You become eligible for Social Security through the accumulation of retirement credits. It is possible to earn up to four credits in a year. In 2014, you accumulate one credit for each $1200 that you earn. If you pay taxes on $5000 or $5 million in 2014, you still get four retirement credits. Once you have at least 40 credits, you will qualify for Social Security when you reach the age of eligibility. The exact date of Social Security eligibility will depend on the year of your birth. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, you will be eligible to receive your full benefit at the age of 66. The eligibility age then rises by two months each year. To clarify, someone born in 1955 would become eligible for their full benefit at the age of 66 years and two months.

2015 Estate Tax Exclusion Increase Announced

At the end of 2010 a tax relief act was passed, and provisions within this legislative measure set the estate tax exclusion at $5 million in 2011. The credit or exclusion is the amount that you can transfer to people other than your spouse in a tax-free manner. Because of the existence of the unlimited marital deduction, you can leave any amount of property to your spouse free of the federal death tax. An inflation adjustment was applied for 2012 that set the exclusion at $5.12 million. At the end of that year, the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 was enacted. This measure retained the same exclusion with ongoing inflation adjustments. Throughout 2014 we have been working with a $5.34 million federal estate tax exclusion. Because the year is rapidly coming to a close, the Internal Revenue Service has released the amount of the inflation adjustment for 2015. During the 2015 calendar year, the federal estate tax exclusion is going to be $5.43 million. Unified Exclusion To prevent pe

Free Report: What Is Included In My Estate Plan?

When people ask about the components that would comprise an estate plan, they may not understand the fact that every case is different. There is no universal, one-size-fits-all estate plan that would be ideal for every person. At the same time, there is a certain basic structure. In this free report, we will dissect the structure, and we will drill down a bit further along the way to examine some of the specific circumstances that can require the implementation of more advanced estate planning techniques. Click here to read the whole report or download the PDF.

Does the State Take My Assets If I Go on Medicaid?

Long-term care costs are very high across the country, and they are particularly high in our home state of Connecticut. The average annual charge for a private room in a nursing home is well in excess of $100,000 in Connecticut at the present time. Medicare will not pay for long-term care, but Medicaid will assist with custodial care expenses. Because Medicaid is a program that is only available to people who can demonstrate financial need, people who retired with some resources are not going to qualify for coverage. There is an upper asset limit of $2000 for an individual in most states. However, we should point out the fact that many things that you own are not considered to be countable. Your home, up to $828,000 in equity in 2015, is not a countable asset for Medicaid purposes.You could also retain ownership of one vehicle, your wedding rings and heirloom jewelry, your household goods, and your personal effects. However, in spite of this, most of the elders who are residing in nur

Estate Tax Would Be Expanded Under Budget Proposal

High net worth families may be in a position to make things easier on succeeding generations, but there is an impediment. The federal estate tax is looming, and with its 40 percent rate, it can certainly be felt if you are exposed. You determine your level of exposure by comparing the value of your estate to the amount of the federal estate tax exclusion. At the end of 2010,  a legislative measure set the estate tax exclusion at $5 million for 2011, and it set the rate at 35 percent. The same rate was called for in 2012, but there was an inflation adjustment that brought the exclusion up to $5.12 million. At the end of 2012 you may recall the so-called fiscal cliff situation. It was resolved through a compromise that became known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Provisions contained within this measure retained the federal estate tax exclusion, but there have been ongoing adjustments to account for inflation. The act raised the top rate to 40 percent. During the current c