Elder lawyers devise ways to provide for your future care, plan for you to have a comfortable retirement, and ensure you are able to leave something behind for your heirs. However, that doesn’t mean you should wait until retirement to begin working with an elder lawyer. In fact, the opposite is true: the earlier you do it, the more options you will have available.
The Sooner You Plan, the More Options You Have
Life care planning is much like estate planning. Your attorney will ask you about your goals, look over your assets, and create a legally binding road map for what will happen if you are incapacitated or pass away. Since everyone’s circumstances are different, a one-size-fits-all plan rarely suits everyone’s needs—and the gaps in a boilerplate plan could cause legal trouble down the road.
For example, a young married couple might decide to create an estate plan after the birth of their first child. They have two more children, but never go back and revise their documents. They may have wanted their property divided equally among the children, but legally the oldest could inherit everything. If you have already created an estate plan, you can ensure that you’re ready for the next phase of your life by having a lawyer who practices elder law review your planning documents.
If you are hoping to age as painlessly as possible, our elder lawyers can help you and your children by:
- Providing for your spouse. Husbands and wives may be hit with taxes, fees, and payment of unpaid debts after the loss of a spouse, reducing their income and drastically changing their way of life. We can find the best way to pay for care expenses and minimize taxes to lessen the burden on your surviving spouse.
- Meeting benefit qualifications. Few people can afford to pay for long-term senior care out-of-pocket—and trying to pay those expenses can drain savings accounts and leave next to nothing for your kids to inherit. An elder law attorney can help preserve your Medicaid eligibility so that you can pay for a nursing home or assisted-living facility without sacrificing everything you own.
- Protecting assets. Asset protection can involve a variety of tools to preserve as much of your estate as possible from taxation and creditors. Common methods include revocable trusts (that you can control during your lifetime) and irrevocable trusts (that take assets out of your name so you qualify for Medicaid). We can set up trusts that place your assets under the care of a successor trustee, removing the need for probate after your passing and preventing your children from spending large inheritances all at once.
- Planning for disability or incapacity. A last will and testament is enforceable upon your death, but what happens if you are in a coma or are mentally incapacitated? An elder lawyer can draw up durable powers of attorney naming a trusted individual to make financial decisions for you and a health care surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf. These simple steps can help you avoid the need for guardianship proceedings if you are suddenly unable to care for yourself.
- Adhering to New York laws. Every state creates its own specific legal requirements regarding wills, trusts, and other documents. We make sure that your documents are prepared correctly and are compliant with both state and local laws.
- Addressing business concerns. If you own a business, your estate plan will need to include a succession plan stating the amount that you will receive as income after retirement and who will control daily operations when you are gone.
Speak to an Elder Law Attorney Today
You’re never too young to plan for the future! The attorneys at Landskind & Ricaforte Law Group, P.C., can help ease the burden during the difficult times in your family’s lives. Simply fill out our quick contact form or call us today to have us explain your options.