Medicaid law provides special protections for the spouses of Medicaid applicants to make sure the spouses have the minimum support needed to continue to live in the community while their husband or wife is receiving long-term care benefits, usually in a nursing home. Continue reading
What will happen to my money and possessions if I die without a will?
If you die without a will, what happens to your assets will be determined by the state in which you reside. Every state has intestacy laws in place that parcel out property and assets to a deceased person’s closest relatives when there’s no will or trust. Keep in mind these laws vary from state to state. A good resource to help you find out how your state works is About.com’s Wills and Estate Planning site, which provides a state-by-state breakdown of how your estate would be distributed if you die without a will. See StateIntestacyLaws.com for a direct link to this page. In the meantime, here is a general (not state specific) breakdown of what can happen to a person’s assets, depending on whom they leave behind. Continue reading
The mere passage of time has no effect on the validity of the will. Individuals and families experience life changes every 2 to 5 years. So even though a will remains valid, the individual and family’s needs change. Tax laws and statutes controlling wills and trusts change as well. Continue reading
What is the most important estate planning document? Answer: The one estate planning document that everyone 18 and older should have is an Advance Health-Care Directive. It is not the sexiest tool in the estate planning toolbox, but can head off family strife, heartache, and needless attorney’s fees in ways that no other document can. Continue reading
Special needs trusts come in three main flavors — first-party special needs trusts, third-party special needs trusts, and pooled trusts. All three trust varieties are designed to manage resources for a person with special needs so that the beneficiary can still qualify for public benefits like Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Medicaid. While first-party special needs trusts and pooled trusts hold funds that belong to the person with special needs, third-party special needs trusts, as the name implies, are funded with assets that never belonged to the trust beneficiary, and they provide several advantages over the other two types of trusts. Continue reading