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Suffolk County, NY Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Who Would Inherit From an Estate if Someone Dies Without a Will?

Q: Who would inherit from an estate if someone dies without a will?

A: Passing away without a will is known as dying “intestate”.  Administration is the process in which letters are issued to a distributee of the decedent who then collects the decedent’s assets, pays the decedent’s debts and then distributes the remaining assets to the distributees.


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Can I Resign or Decline Being an Executor?

Question:  My aunt recently passed away and I just found out that I was named executor of her Will.   I really do not want to serve.  Can I decline or resign from being executor?

Answer:  Just because you are nominated as executor of a Will does not mean that you must serve.  You can renounce your rights as executor and decline to act by simply signing and having notarized a Renunciation of Nominated Executor form and filing it with the Surrogate’s Court in the county in which your aunt resided.  If the Will nominates a successor executor, that individual would then have the right to seek to probate your aunt’s Will.


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Monday, October 20, 2014

Capacity to Sign Power of Attorney

Question: My mother has just been diagnosed with Dementia.  It is in the early stages and she is still very lucid, can she still sign a Power of Attorney?

Answer: It depends.  For starters, a Power of Attorney is the document which names a person or persons to handle your business and financial decisions. A Power of Attorney is valid when signed and permits the Agents named to step into your shoes and conduct all business and financial decision as if they were the Principal themselves.    For that reason, in order to make the decision to name a person as an agent to act on your behalf the law requires that you, as the principal, possess a certain level of capacity.  When a person is diagnosed with any cognitive deficit the concern of who will act for them if a time comes that they no longer can takes on significant importance.


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Revocable Trusts

Question:  My friend just created a Revocable Living Trust and I am not sure if I should be considering creating one as well.  I am in my sixties and have an estate worth approximately $800,000.00.  My current Last Will and Testament disinherits my estranged son.  Is a Revocable Trust something I should consider?

 Answer:  A Revocable Living Trust is a trust that you create during your lifetime and is great tool for those who wish to avoid the probate process. A Revocable Trust is designed to give you, as the grantor (creator) great flexibility.  With a Revocable Trust, you may act as your own Trustee, allowing you to maintain complete control over your assets during your lifetime. 


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Monday, October 06, 2014

Caring for a Pet

Q:  I have a dog that I want to make sure is properly cared for after my death. Can you give me any advice on how to do that?

A:   You may have heard in the news recently that Joan Rivers and Lauren Bacall left a portion of their estates for the care of their beloved pets.  Anyone that owns a pet or ever has understands exactly what Rivers and Bacall were doing, ensuring that pets would be properly cared for after they were gone. If you are a pet owner, you should follow the lead of Rivers and Bacall, no matter the size of your estate.


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Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Changes to the Community Medicaid Program
On August 5, 2014, the Department of Health issued a directive advising local Departments of Social Services (the Agency that administers the Community Medicaid program) of a new regulation regarding the income budgeting rules for married individuals where one spouse is enrolled in Community Medicaid through a Managed Long Term Care Plan. By way of reminder, Community Medicaid is the program that covers care at home. This program covers the cost of a personal care aide to assist with activities of daily living such as bathing, cooking, dressing, etc. The Community Medicaid program will also cover the cost of day programs, transportation to medical appointments, certain assisted living programs, and some durable medical equipment and supplies. Under the new regulation, where one spouse is the recipient of Community Medicaid benefits, the family may no longer utilize a pooled income trust in order to save the excess income. All income in excess of the spousal income allowance must be used for the applicant’s care before Medicaid will pay for any services.
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Friday, September 26, 2014

Using Pooled Income Trusts in Home Care Medicaid Planning

Question:  My parents are in their eighties.  Both are beginning to need assistance with their daily activities.  Even so, neither one is ready to move to assisted living or into a nursing facility.  Mom and Dad own their home and each receive social security and a pension.  Other than that, they do not have much in savings.  I have heard that Medicaid will cover this type of care so long as the recipient is under the income and asset limit set by Medicaid.  Is there a way to preserve Dad’s income for Mom and secure services for him at the same time?

 Answer:   Yes. The situation that you have described is a situation in which many elderly couples find themselves.  The good news is that an elderly person’s high income does not automatically disqualify them from receiving Medicaid Homecare Benefits.  With careful planning and the use of a Not-for-Profit Pooled Income Trust, many elderly persons are able to age in place, get the homecare services that they need, and preserve their monthly income for payment of household bills. 


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Monday, September 22, 2014

Updating Beneficiary Designations

Q: I have always heard that it is a good idea to review your beneficiary designations on financial accounts and life insurance policies periodically; do you have any suggestions?

 A: The biggest issue I see is that people forget to update the beneficiaries on their financial accounts and life insurance policies. Many people designated a beneficiary when they opened their accounts. For many of my clients, this was 10, 20 or even 30 years ago!


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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Estate Planning for Second Marriages

Question:  My spouse and I each have children from previous marriages. While we want to provide for our surviving spouse when the first of us passes away, we want to ensure that each of our respective estates is ultimately going to our respective children. Is there a way to accomplish this?

 Answer That is not an uncommon question at all.  There are several issues for you to consider, the first consideration being the execution of a post-nuptial agreement, wherein each of you agree to waive certain interests that spouses have in the other’s estate.


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Monday, September 08, 2014

New Parents Estate Planning

Q:  My husband and I are expecting our first child.  We do not have a lot of assets but we do have retirement plans, insurance policies and a house.  Everyone keeps telling us that we need a Will.  Is that necessary?

A: As you prepare for the arrival of your child, it is important to begin to think about your estate plan to protect your growing family.  “Estate planning” includes signing a Will, but also signing a power of attorney, health care proxy and living will.  Executing a Will and making thoughtful designation of beneficiaries for retirement accounts and life insurance policies ensures the best outcome for your family’s well-being. 

 

 


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Monday, September 08, 2014

Veteran Benefits Programs

Are you or a loved one missing out on unclaimed Veteran benefits?

 Many Long Islanders have a family member who has proudly served in our military.  Many of these Veterans are unaware of the benefits that may be available to them.  Often times, family members and friends are the ones to convince Veterans to pursue benefits for themselves and their dependents.  While many seniors seek assistance in maneuvering the complex world of government benefits and entitlements, most are not aware of the various all programs available to Veterans.


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© 2014 Nancy Burner & Associates, P.C.
12 Research Way, East Setauket, NY 11733 | Phone:631-941-3434
82 Main St., Westhampton Beach, NY 11978 | Phone: 631-288-5612
1115 Broadway , Suite 1100, New York, NY 10010 | Phone: 631-941-3434

Attorney Website Design by
Amicus Creative