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Mayfield Heights Estate Planning and Elder Law Blog

Long-term care planning is essential for every person

Long-term care planning should be a part of every person's estate plan. It's difficult to plan for your death and impairment, though, especially when you're young. You don't know what to expect, and you can't know how much it will cost.

The annual cost of a private nursing room is approximately $97,455, and those who live in major metropolitan areas tend to pay more than that. If that seems like a lot, you're right. It is. So, how do people afford it?

Don't overlook the importance of a solid will

Your will is important for many reasons, not just so that people you leave behind can receive your possessions. In fact, a will can do everything from helping protect your interests while you're alive to making sure the right people obtain your assets after you pass away.

It's true that the primary purpose of a will is to distribute your property after death. However, it can also indicate a number of other provisions that must be met. It also reduces the chances of your loved ones having to go through the probate process, giving you the peace of mind that your assets will be distributed quickly instead of being caught up in a legal battle.

Learn more about what trusts are and how they benefit you

A trust is something you may have heard about but not fully understand. Basically, it's just a financial arrangement that allows a third party to hold your assets on behalf of those who will become your heirs and beneficiaries. There are several kinds of trusts, all of which have their own benefits and downsides.

Perhaps the most important benefit of a trust is that it can help your beneficiaries avoid probate, which takes time and energy that most people won't want to spend when they've just lost someone they love. With a trust in place, your beneficiaries may be able to obtain your assets more quickly, and, if you set up an irrevocable trust, those assets may not be part of the overall estate for tax purposes.

Ohio is failing our senior citizens

Our seniors are some of our most cherished family members. They are mothers and fathers and grandmothers and grandfathers and so much more. It is our honor to take care of our aging population as they did for us when we could not.

Caring for our senior citizens when they no longer can care for themselves is a societal responsibility and one of society’s greatest challenges. Guardianships are one way our society has for caring for seniors.

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.

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