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Mayfield Heights Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Start planning for your long-term care needs today

In terms of long-term care planning, it's important to make sure you plan for enough care over a long enough time period. It's hard to know how much care you will need, and there are times when people never need care all at. However, planning for care in advance is a good way to protect yourself if you do need assistance as you age.

Even if you don't think it will be necessary, planning for long-term care gives you a chance to learn about options for care and what they cost. While you're still capable of doing so, you can then make decisions about your care if you need it.

Understand taxation, and how it affects an estate

Few people actually have to face an estate tax, but for those who have many assets, the question of how the estate tax could affect them remains. The estate tax is not the only tax that can affect an estate, to be clear. Gift taxes are sometimes ignored but can be substantial. State inheritance taxes are sometimes levied as well.

In 2019, the federal estate tax is placed on estates valued at over $11.4 million. If you have a home in Ohio, you don't have to worry about the state inheritance taxes that could be used against your estate in other locations. Gift taxes, however, may still affect you.

What are some of the major reasons to use a trust?

Imagine wanting to leave your assets to your beneficiaries. You want to leave them a home, an inheritance including funds and many other items. You also want to make sure those funds and assets are protected against taxation and distribution to the wrong individuals.

You can take steps to protect your estate. You are called a trustor when you decide that a trust is the right way to do that. A trustor is a person who gives a trustee the right to hold the title to their assets for a beneficiary through a trust. The trust is established to provide protection to the assets and to make sure they're distributed according to your wishes after you pass away.

Plan for injuries and conditions with an advance directive

As you age, one of the best things you can do is prepare for the care you may need later in life. Many people require long-term care.

If you are making long-term care plans, you need to design your advance directive. Your advance health care directive is important at any age, not just in old age, but it's a good idea to have it in place in your long-term care plan.

Debts and death: What you should plan for

After your death, your debts must still be paid. Despite the fact that you're not there to pay them. Creditors may try to make your family members feel as if they have to pay these debts, even though they're not usually required to do so legally.

Your estate generally pays for your debts following your death. Your executor will need to let creditors know that you have passed away. Then, the estate's assets will be used to pay them down in most instances. If there is any debt remaining, those debts are usually dismissed.

How to talk to your parents about estate planning

It may be difficult to talk about estate planning with your parents. Your parents may be uncomfortable thinking about death, and the thought of losing independence as they age may be frightening.

However, if your parents wait too long to begin estate planning, there may be fewer options available to them, and you could end up exhausting time and money making sure your parents and their assets are cared for. This is why it is important to discuss estate planning with your parents early enough that an appropriate plan can be put in place.

How can you choose a power of attorney?

A durable power of attorney, known as a POA, is one of the most, if not the most, important documents in your estate plan. This document assigns a person as the representative who will act on your behalf if you are not able to do so. They may manage your business and financial transactions on your behalf.

Another kind of POA, a health care POA, is also known as your medical power of attorney. This person's job is different from a traditional power of attorney, because they are in control of your medical decisions if you can't make them for yourself. For example, if you are in a collision and are comatose, the medical POA has the right to make decisions regarding your care.

E-wills becoming more popular, but be cautious

Electronic wills are a new kind of will that might be more prominent as the digital age continues to grow and influence people in today's society. Electronic wills offer people the ability to create a will online and print it.

Right now, most wills are created digitally, printed and signed in person. However, digital signatures are becoming more common, which does expose wills to the potential for abuse. Someone who wants to write a new will could essentially do so by using an electronic signature of the person they're impersonating.

Make a plan for your long-term health care needs

Everyone is going to age. As a result, it's necessary to take steps to plan for aging. Long-term care planning is the formal name for the legal process of planning for your care once you reach elder status. It is the plan you make that covers your need for a nursing home, in-home health care or other services.

One of the first questions to ask yourself is how much you need to save. The next step is finding out what kinds of services you may need.

Should you set up a revocable trust?

If you are beginning to plan your estate, one beneficial type of trust to consider setting up is the revocable trust. A revocable trust is one where you can alter or cancel the provisions after you set it up. Unlike the irrevocable trust, this gives you more opportunities if you need to change the terms of the trust.

Throughout the life of the trust, you'll be able to have the income earned distributed to you directly. Once you pass away, however, the money or assets pass on to your beneficiaries.

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