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Mayfield Heights Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Plan for long-term care when young to prepare your finances

Preparing for long-term care is something everyone will have to do at one point or another. The reality is that it's better to do it as soon as you can. If you begin to plan for long-term care in your youth, it's a relief to know that you're going to be cared for no matter what happens.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services show that around 70 percent of people will require long-term care of some kind after the age of 65. Some factors that play a role in whether a person needs long-term care or not include:

  • Lifestyle choices
  • Health and family history
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Gender

Explaining who can see a will after a testator dies

Have you ever wondered what happens when the testator of a will dies?

First off, who is a testator? A testator is the person who creates a will. Unlike what happens on television and in the movies, there is no official reading of a testator's will after he or she dies. So, let's take a look at what actually happens after a testator dies so you can prepare for what's next.

Understanding Alzheimer's: Key facts

One of the main reasons to do long-term care planning is so that you know you will be taken care of if you end up with a disorder like Alzheimer's. Alzheimer's, a form of dementia, can dramatically change your life and make it difficult or even impossible to make important personal choices after it strikes. Having a plan in place in advance gives you peace of mind because you know you are ready.

To help you understand Alzheimer's, here are a few important facts:

  • About one-third of all seniors will have dementia or Alzheimer's in their life.
  • Fatal cases are only growing more common, as they rose by 123 percent from 2000 to 2015.
  • Overall, it ranks as the sixth leading cause of death for people in the United States.
  • The costs of care measure in the hundreds of billions of dollars.
  • By 2050, financial and medical experts believe these costs may exceed a trillion dollars.
  • A new case is diagnosed every 65 seconds, or just a bit over single minute.
  • Right now, nearly 6 million people have the disease. By 2050, projections indicate it could be as many as 14 million.
  • 10 percent of people have the disorder by the time they reach 65 years old.

3 questions about taxes and probate

When people typically think about the time after a loved one's passing, they know it can be difficult emotionally. That should be your first focus. However, there are also many complex financial realities that have to be addressed at some point, including the paying of taxes. It is important to know how this process works. Here are three common questions that people have:

Does the deceased still have to pay income tax?

Veterans administration aid & attendance rules change 10/18/18

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has finalized new rules that establish an asset limit, a look-back period, and asset transfer penalties for claimants applying for VA needs-based benefits. This is a change from current regulations, which do not contain a prohibition on transferring assets prior to applying for benefits such as Aid and Attendance.

How often should you take another look at your will?

You want to get a will drafted and filed, but you don't think this is something you can just do once and then forget about. How often should you get it back out and go over the details?

Generally speaking, it is best to do this twice per decade, at the very least. Life changes fast. While you don't need a new will every six months, you definitely do not want to pass away with a will that you last considered 20 years ago.

The importance of updating your estate planning materials

Effectively planning for the future can’t be complete in just one simple step, as appealing as that may sound. Taking the time to prepare an initial estate plan is an important step in planning for the long term, but it is not the end of the line. It is important to continue revisiting and revising an estate plan throughout your lifetime.

Once you have created an estate plan complete with a will, trust, living will or other key materials, continue to update these documents over the years. Maintaining a relevant and comprehensive estate plan can help your loved ones and beneficiaries avoid a potentially litigious estate dispute once it comes time to utilize these plans.

Long-term care can have a devastating financial impact

A lack of planning for long-term care can leave a family in dire straights, financially speaking. Many people underestimate exactly what it costs or how much care they will need.

For example, one woman told a story about taking care of her mother as she grew older. That younger woman was in charge of her mother's money and legal decisions; she had the power of attorney.

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